Driven by President Tayyip Erdogan a referendum has been called for 16 April to reform the constitution. With the proposed presidentialist reform, the prime minister disappears and the president of the republic concentrates the executive power. The president can also take part in the election of the judiciary. The legislative elections will happen every five years (now they are every four), matching the presidential elections. The number of deputies will increase to 600 (50 more than the current ones). In short, Erdogan attempts to concentrate full powers to perpetuate himself.
The referendum is held under a state of emergency and a brutal cut of democratic rights. Erdogan took advantage of the failed coup d’état last July to launch a terrible offensive that would enable him to push the constitutional reform trough. To achieve it he counts on the support of the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) of the extreme right. Erdogan rules by decree-laws to override and repress all opposition — tens of thousands of prisoners and detainees, more than 100,000 laid-off, and hundreds of media and associations closed. He has banned the strike of metallurgists and persecutes unionised workers. He has unleashed a brutal war in Kurdistan, with hundreds of dead, thousands injured and displaced, dissolved ten municipal governments, detained 12 deputies from the HDP (People’s Democracy Party, pro-Kurdish alliance) and dozens of Mayors and councillors. He has intervened militarily in northern Syria. His attacks on women’s rights have been constant.
The hardening of the regime that the government wants to impose is part of the clash between revolution and counterrevolution the region has been living since 2011 with the start of the revolution in Tunisia and that it had its expression in Turkey in the mobilisations of Gezi Park in 2013. The fight for the NO in the referendum is a call to redouble the struggle for the defence of democratic rights. It is a demand for the immediate end of the state of emergency, the repression and ruling by decree. It is a demand for the freedom of the Kurdish and left-wing Turkish activists detained, for the end of the lay-offs against the trade unionists and for their reintegration into their jobs. It is to defend the rights of women.
The hardening of the Bonapartist and dictatorial character of the regime is at the service of imposing harsh measures against Turkish workers in the context of the capitalist crisis worsening in Turkey with the growth of unemployment, the loss of purchasing power of wages, increased overexploitation, and accelerated debt growth, which comes hand in hand with a policy of adjustment and cuts in public services. This is why the fight for the NO in the referendum is a call for the mobilisation of the working class in defence of jobs and wages, in defence of the right to strike and unionisation, and against the adjustments and for the non-payment of the debt.
Likewise, the militarization and the police state that Erdogan wants to raise are also at the service of the oppression of the Kurdish people, of the scorched earth policy. That is why the call to defeat Erdogan’s plan is also a call for the rebellion of the peoples, to end the war in Kurdistan, to demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria and to conquer the right of self-determination of the Kurdish people.
Therefore, the International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI) calls for the support of the NO vote and for international solidarity with the workers and peoples of Turkey and to defeat Erdogan’s plans.
NO to Erdogan. For an end of the state of emergency and government by decree-law.
Freedom to the HDP leaders, Kurdish fighters and left-wing Turkish detained.
NO to the prohibitions of strikes. For the right to unionisation. Reinstatement of the laid-off.
Turkish troops out of Kurdistan and Syria.
On 16 April, we call to vote NO in the referendum.
International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU–FI)
28 March 2017