Turkey plays the Russia card to force US imperialism to drop the Kurds
(The following article is from the International Bulletin of August 2019 published by the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party Turkey/Kurdistan. We have made some minor stylistic changes. The article explores the apparent contradictions between the fascist Turkish state and US imperialism over the former’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles.)
Why does Turkish State Want the S-400?
The S-400 conflict between the U.S. and Turkish state has passed its first round as the first batch of the Russian S-400 missile defence systems was delivered on July 25.
The U.S. has responded to this move by excluding Turkey from industrial participation in the F-35 program. As we recall, the negotiations over the S-400 between Turkey and Russia began in 2016, one year after Turkey shot down a Russian jet near its border to Syria in 2015, which stood as a compensation payment for the jet shot down in the crisis.
Going parallel with a remarkable rapprochement process between two states, which has developed especially over their conjecturally matching policies on Syria, the S-400 negotiations resulted in a 2.5 billion dollars deal at the end of 2017, under which Russia agreed to supply Turkey, a NATO member state, with four S-400 batteries.
Since then, despite the objection of NATO’s big boss, including verbal ‘threats’ pointing out various sanctions, the Turkish state has mainly preserved its position and made some advance payments, as well as received loans from Russia. While the fascist chief Erdoğan has been marketing this process as a courageous step by the Turkish nation challenging the imperialist system(!), the Russian Federation on the other hand enjoyed an important profit not only in an economic but also in a political sense by pulling a NATO country to its side.
So, what was the actual reason behind Turkey heading towards the S-400 system, rather than to NATO’s Patriot missile defence system at the expense of deepening its conflict with the U.S.? Does the fascist dictator Erdoğan really intend to land a blow on the imperialist influence of the U.S. on Turkey, as his lackeys keep on yelling night and day? Is he conducting an anti-imperialist fight against the U.S.?
Of course not. Just as how he was in his initial years in power, today’s fascist chief Erdoğan keeps on working together with the U.S., IMF, World Bank and other sorts of imperialist states and monopolies for eliminating any kind of economic and political obstacles against Turkey remaining a financial-economic colony. The imperialist monopolies and their integrated collaborators, the monopolist bourgeoisie are still exploiting the labouring masses with the most brutal methods and there is no obstacle for them to letting the profits flow outside the country. Neither the U.S. nor Erdoğan will allow their capitalist exploitation brotherhood to be ruined.
Then why did Turkey move to deepen its conflict with the U.S. by buying the Russian S-400 missile defence system? The answer is nothing other than the Kurdish liberation struggle, the Rojava revolution.
If we remember the initial years of the Syrian civil war, we see that Erdoğan was the most loyal partner of the U.S., because of his bloody appetite towards benefiting from the regional hegemony gap. However, the Kurdish liberation gave this show away. If the Rojava revolution had not erupted, then he would have already seized Syria together with the U.S. But after the Rojava revolution erupted and conducted a heroic war against the ISIS, the U.S. was obliged to build a tactical alliance with the YPG. This led the Turkish state to approach Russia in order to destroy the advances of the Kurds. The fascist chef Erdoğan is well aware of the fact that neither his regional hegemony, nor his own fascist existence could be preserved unless the Rojava revolution was liquidated. Struggle is the actual reason for buying the S-400 missile defence system.
One may say that the Kurds in Rojava have no missiles that would threaten Turkey. Yes, it is true. That’s why the S-400 does not have a military meaning in this picture. It is the ransom for approaching Russia which Erdoğan uses as a “political weapon” to move the U.S. away from the Kurds in Rojava, or at least, make them totally neutral against the Turk’s fascist and colonialist hostility. In this equation, the fascist chief and his team are getting more and more close to Russia in order to save their political future while Russia seizes every opportunity to pull Turkey to its side, as an imperialist power.
However, economic relations and class interests may force the fascist chief to switch his way again. Let’s put it clearly once again: Turkey is a financial-economic colony of the world monopolies. The imperialist states and their local collaborator states are the representatives of the interests of the global financial oligarchy and their collaborator monopolistic bourgeoisies. The Turkish economy has been integrated with the world market which is dominated by the world monopolies, and Erdoğan has played a major role in this process. With any sort of bourgeois administration, Turkey cannot turn the tables on this situation.
Does the Turkish state have the power to redirect the political superstructure, even though it has completely tied its economic relations to the financial oligarchy? We do not argue here that the economic conditions determine the political superstructure one to one. This would be nothing more than economic determinism. There is no doubt that contradictions between the ruling classes, the struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed, as well as the class struggle all appear in the field of politics and thus create space for various manoeuvres.
However, economic conditions are ultimately crucial, and due to Turkey's dependence as a financial-economic colony there is scope for action to some extent. This action ends where political manoeuvres threaten the interests of the financial oligarchy as a class.
If faced with such a threat, the financial oligarchy will not hesitate to translate this financial-economic colonial dependency into a political blackmail against Erdoğan. Some sections of the financial oligarchy have already begun to prepare other bourgeois political alternatives manifest in the attempts of Erdoğan's former companions to found new parties or in the "rise" of the bourgeois opposition, the Republican People's Party (CHP) with its new political figure İmamoğlu, the newly elected mayor of Istanbul.
All in all, just as it is seen in the S-400 crisis, the fascist chief Erdoğan seems to continue holding the “Russian weapon” to create room for himself to manoeuvre against the U.S. hegemony which is an economic obstacle to Turkish colonialism’s objective of an immediate occupation on Rojava.
So far, being excluded from the F-35 program does not seem to be enough to dissuade this “naughty” NATO member from its plans. The “anti-imperialist” limitation of the Turkish state will show itself after a possible defeat in Rojava or other sanctions of the U.S.