What happened to Turkish and Kurdish neo-nationalists?
By ORHAN MIROGLU
todayszaman.com – 10/4/2014
Turkish nationalism, represented as it is by the National Movement Party (MHP), deserves attention not only in terms of the results picked up by the MHP in the March 30 elections, but in terms of where it now apparently stands on the political spectrum as illuminated by these results.
The policies embraced by Devlet Bahceli, leader of the MHP, bring classic (ethnic-based?) `milliyetcilik' (nationalism) a little closer every day to a different kind of more Kemalist `ulusalcilik' (neo-nationalism).
The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) tried to win Ankara with a candidate who had formerly run with the MHP. While this new CHP candidate did manage to pick up a considerable number of votes from the MHP this MHP-rooted candidate from the CHP still wound up losing in Ankara.
The MHP is no longer an effective or influential party in the east, the southeast or central Anatolia. Despite this, though, the MHP has seen an uptick in votes in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions. MHP candidates did also take both Adana and Mersin. But in both of these cities, CHP voters cast their votes for the MHP's big city municipality candidates.
In the Mediterranean region, there are a significant number of Alevi voters in the CHP base. And it appears that a significant number of their votes went to the MHP in both Adana and Mersin.
It is possible to say that in these elections, the Alevis went through a second Dersim syndrome.
And so it is that Alevis, who had been unable to break away from the Kemalist CHP, which was responsible for the massacre in Dersim, cast their votes for nationalist candidates in these most recent elections.
This really is an interesting state of affairs. Because in fact, the Alevis held the nationalist stream responsible for the massacres in both Corum and Maras prior to Sept. 12, 1980.
In both the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, where there is sizeable Kurdish poplulation, there is serious potential for votes for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). And in cities such as Mersin, Adana and Izmir, Turkish and Kurdish nationalism fuel each others' reciprocal fears and worries.
Both socially and economically, Kurds and Turks live cheek to jowl, but since their identity demands and ethnic problems have not been completely normalized, the municipalities won by MHP candidates in these areas are viewed by many Kurds as a complete disaster.
In Mersin, there is a population we could almost call half and half. Half of the city is Turkish, while the other half is Kurdish.
The big city municipality of Mersin was won by the MHP, while the city's most important district of Akdeniz was won by the BDP.
Here the BDP ran against the CHP, while the MHP offered its support to the CHP. In addition to this, in another of Mersin's bigger and more important districts, Toroslar, the BDP also went up against the MHP.
These examples make it quite clear that different sorts of Turkish nationalism are in fact becoming closer on a political level. Just as there are no more unscalable walls between Kemalism and the left today, it today appears that the walls that used to exist between Kemalism and Turkish nationalism are being knocked down one by one today. The reason for the growing political closeness between the MHP and the CHP is, I believe, that these two parties are becoming ideologically closer as well. And the most important reason for this increasing ideological closeness is the normalization of the Kurdish problem and of course the ongoing solution process.
Both CHP nationalists and the `Grey Wolves' of the MHP perceive the possibility of having to share national sovereignty equally with another people -- the Kurds -- as the path towards disaster.
With the party responsible for this disaster being the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), this makes it easy for the CHP and MHP to unite against it.
During the eras of Alpaslan Turkes and Bulent Ecevit, the CHP was the most powerful party in the region, while the MHP was praised for its Kurdish nationalists and a kind of nationalism that did not exclude the Kurds. But now the percentage of votes going to the CHP in the east and southeast is around 1 percent. As for Kurdish nationalists, they have long since abandoned the MHP. And Bahceli is busy trying to integrate those who remain into the CHP.
If the solution process reaches its ultimate goal and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) lays down its weapons, it will be no surprise if the MHP and CHP actually unite officially and turn into a single party.
So, as the Kurdish identity is finally rescued from denial and annihilation, and these problems are finally solved to some extent, no one ought to be surprised to hear these words, this slogan, being repeated by some: "Come together, Turkish nationalists of all kinds!"