Uđur Mumcu   |   From His Articles   |   Turkish Socialism
Turkish Socialism

The line of “We knitted motherland all around with railways” was an address of young Turkey to the merry days of future. However, a few decades later, Turkey has become an economically underdeveloped country from the Western perspective.


NATO officers get desert salary increase when they are in Turkey. It is the most heart-breaking example for both our economic condition and dignity…Turkish intellectuals and Turkish people bear the stigma of being an underdeveloped country on their foreheads as if they are criminals.


The poor people, who were left to ordeal for years, now are under the harrow of delaying future. Our democracy that is based on being a landowner in land-parliament has only created millionaires in every street corner for the last decade. The affluent minorities have become much richer through the pain of the hopeless majority. Economic plans have been attached to the cases of political entrepreneurs. Taxes have been put on the shoulders of low-incomers. Tax equity, social justice, labour rights have not moved beyond a fantasy literature and the worst of all, moral corruption in politics and economy have become an infectious illness.


We are a generation that is obliged to draw a lesson in front of the economic picture of the last decade. Our politicians who think about the future elections, instead of future generations are the painters of this very picture.  Liberalism has had its most painful experience in Turkey with its motto “Let them do, let them pass”. Those who give American capitalism as an example of antithesis to socialism, are the ones who cannot analyse the structural differences and are unable to compare the circumstances. What has that ten years old liberalism brought in our country?! Growth rate?! Financial solidity?! Increase in national income?! Or an underdeveloped country name that is called in Common Market Discussions?! Those who are content with the example of last decade and its consequences are none other than those street corner millionaires.


What has Atatürk’s statism principle made us lose? Or to what extent has it changed our economic conditions? The answers to all of these questions are the keys to Turkish socialism. It is necessary to consider systems and the history together with their processes.  Socialism is a proletariat dictatorship in Lenin’s definition. In Western definitions, it becomes an economic democracy, that is to say, the public’s governing itself economically. That is why we encounter different aspects under the same socialism. Turkish socialism should neither resemble Marx’s socialism, nor be a copy of Western socialism. A socialism that will be created by the given circumstances of country as well as the most suitable one to the political regime.


In Turkey, democracy could not have reached to its ideal phase due to the lack of framework and it resulted in some painful aspects. Socialism without a framework, though, would be a bad version of liberalism. We would suffer from it as a nation either. Let’s do not expect any miracles from socialism, unless we abolish bureaucracy, business card privilege, bribery practice and we find knowledgeable, rational and dynamic staff instead of those. Let’s place importance not on the magic of concepts, but the implementation of them.


Here it is…Turkish public…In the need of a Turkish socialism as well as a dynamic and rational framework that is created by its own circumstances.


We will, and we have to start everything with Atatürk’s power and the hope in the tenth year of Republic.


Cumhuriyet, August 26th 1962, Yunus Nadi Award, Article Contest Prize