Economic & Political
August 3, 2013 vol xlviii no 31
an obedient workforce to ensure cheaplabour, the military junta – adamantly supported by the Industrialists and Busi-nessmen Association of Turkey (Türkiye-Sanayici ve
stanbul bourgeoisie – crushed theleft brutally and suppressed the labourunions. Another tool of the junta amongmany others was to encourage religionagainst radical ideas and the left. Courseson religion were made mandatory throughout grade school and religioushigh schools proliferated.
And, shortly after the end of the junta in 1983, one of the largest Islamic congregations, theFettullah Gülen Congregation started toorganise in the police force and eventu-ally captured almost all of it.
It is thisbrainwashed police force associated withthe Gülen Congregation that has beenattacking protestors around the country in the name of God since May 31.The objectives of the 24 January 1980“stabilisation” programme were a reduc-tion of state involvement in production; anincreased reliance on the markets, a switchfrom an inward looking economy to anexport-oriented one, and the attractionof foreign investment – direct, I presume. After the declaration of the programmeTurkey signed three standby agreements with the
and ﬁve structural adjust-ment loan agreements with the WorldBank between 1980 and 1984. While thesolutions offered by the
programmes were short term and consisted of suchrecommendations as devaluing the cur-rency to increase exports and restrictingmoney supply to control inﬂation, thelong-term solutions of the World Bank structural-adjustment programmes aimedat transforming an inwardly-orientedeconomy to an outwardly-oriented one.These World Bank structural adjustmentsincluded trade and ﬁnancial liberalisa-tion, export promotion, privatisation of public enterprises and ﬁscal restructur-ing, that is, austerity.This is how it all started and the mainoutcome was the rise to prominence of the ﬁnance, real estate and insurancesectors in Turkey, as well as of tourism. And, the game of rent collection hadbegun. The
has been nothing butthe last agent of this ongoing neo-liberaltransformation in Turkey.In a recent interview with
Brasil de Fato
João Pedro Stédile,national coordinator of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers, analysed theeconomic roots of the ongoing Brazilianuprising as follows.
There have been many opinions as to why these protests occurred. I agree with theanalysis of Professor Erminia Maricato, whois one of our best specialists in urban issuesand has worked in the Ministry of Cities un-der Olivio Dutra. She defends the thesis thatthere is an urban crisis in Brazil’s cities, a re-sult of the current stage of ﬁnancial capital-ism. Due to an enormous amount of housingspeculation, rent and land prices have in-creased 150% in the last three years. With-out any government control, ﬁnancial capi-tal has promoted the sales of cars in order tosend proﬁts overseas and transformed ourtrafﬁc into chaos. And in the last 10 yearsthere has been no investment in public trans-port. The housing program “My home, my life” has driven the poor out to the periphery of the cities, where there is no infrastructure. All this has generated a structural crisis where for people, large cities have become aliving hell where they lose three or fourhours a day in transit which they could in-stead be using to spend with their family,studying or participating in cultural activi-ties. Added to this is the poor quality of pub-lic services, especially health and education,from the primary and secondary level, where children leave without being able to write. And university education has becomea business, where 70% of university students’diplomas are sold on credit (Fuentes 2013).
And, in a recent interview at
, Samir Amin, an Egyptianeconomist, described his views of theeconomic reasons behind the second revo-lution in Egypt, unfortunately capturedby the military once again, as follows.
Millions of people signed their names aftergiving deep political consideration to whatthey were doing: something totally ignoredby the international mainstream media.They represent the majority of all the elec-toral constituencies, but they do not haveany voice. The Muslim Brothers wield politi-cal power and like to think they can control100% of the votes. Thus, they ensured mem-bers of the movement in every public sector.Islamists have only ultraliberal answers togive to the crisis: they have replaced thecapitalists’ bourgeois clique that wereMubarak’s friends with reactionary busi-nessmen. Moreover, their goal is quite sim-ply to sell off public goods.It is theft to attach derisory prices to goodsthat are worth billions of dollars. These arenot the usual privatisations that reactionary regimes indulge in, selling off goods at theireconomic value. This is pure fraud, more thana privatisation (Amin and Acconcia 2013).
Put Stédile and Amin together, and youare more or less describing the thrivingTurkey of Sachs. If you see any resem-blance between your country and thesethree countries, namely, Turkey, Braziland Egypt, you can be certain that theelites of your country are trembling.
1 Ahmet Sik, “ImaminOrdusu (
The Army of the Imam
)”, 2011, unpublished manuscript ﬂoatingover the Internet because it was banned by the AKP.2 http://fgulen.com/en/
Amin, S and Acconcia, G (2013): “A Year of Demo-cratic Farce”,
, 4 July, viewed on23 July 2013: http://www.opendemocracy.net/samir-amin-giuseppe-acconcia/year-of-demo-cratic-farce#.UdV389zoAJ4.facebook Bandopadhyay, T (2008): “Back to the Easy Old Daysof Lazy Banking”,
, 4 February, viewedon 23 July 2013: http://www.livemint.com/Companies/uCzQuROgwo4cJdHqI7FyuO/Back-to-the-easy-old-days-of-lazy-banking.htmlBryant, S and M Bentley (2012): “Erdogan Will Fight‘Interest-Rate Lobby’ in Turkey, Says Rates ShouldFall”,
, 11 January, viewed on 23 July 2013: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-11/erdogan-will-ﬁght-interest-rate-lobby-in-turkey-says-rates-should-fall.htmlCao, B (2013): “Turkey to Romania Seen at Risk asEmerging-Market Inﬂows Slump”,
,26 June, viewed on 23 July 2013: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-26/turkey-to-romania-seen-at-risk-as-emerging-market-in-ﬂows-slump.htmlDeliveli, E (2013a): “Why Turkey Is NOT Thriving”,
Hurriyet Daily News
, 31 May, viewed on 23 July 2013: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/why-turkey-is-not-thriving.aspx?pageID=449&nID=47915&NewsCatID=430– (2013b): “Macroeconomics 101 for Finance Minis-ters”,
Hurriyet Daily News
, 21 June, viewed on 23July 2013: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/macroeconomics-101-for-ﬁnance-ministers. aspx?pageID=449&nID=49178&NewsCatID=430Fuentes, F (2013): “Brazil: João Pedro Stédile of theMST: ‘We Are in the Midst of an IdeologicalBattle’”,
, 24 June, viewed on 23 July 2013:http://links.org.au/node/3411Kayakiran, F (2013): “Erdogan Casts Bankers as Villainof Turkish Protests”,
, 19 June, viewedon 23 July 2013: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-19/erdogan-casts-bankers-as- villain-of-turk-protest-boosting-yields.htmlKömürcüler, G (2013): “‘Turkish Economy at HighRisk, But Not Due to Gezi Protests,’ MIT EconomistSays”,
Hurriyet Daily News
, 24 June, viewed on23 July 2013: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-economy-at-high-risk-but-not-due-to-gezi-protests-mit-economist-says.aspx?pageID=238&nID=49336&NewsCatID=344Goldman (2012): “Ankara’s ‘Economic Miracle’Collapses Changes in Turkey”,
The Middle EastQuarterly
, 19(1): 25-30, viewed on 23 July 2013:http://www.meforum.org/3134/turkey-eco-nomic-miracle– (2013): “The economics of the ‘Turkish Spring’ ”,
, 3 June, viewed on 23 July 2013:http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-030613.html