He even criticized the CHP administration of the time for not adopting an anti-coup attitude and stance in that period. The CHP administration is taking a clear stance on the Feb. 28 investigation. It appears that the initial ambivalence in the party in reaction to the arrest of retired Gen. Çevik Bir is being replaced by a more concrete approach. This is pretty important for leftist politics.
This means that the CHP will not support pro-coup figures as evidenced in its stance vis-à-vis the ongoing coup investigations since 2007. Former CHP leader Deniz Baykal’s remark, “I am the advocate of Ergenekon,” and Kılıçdaroğlu’s statement, “Show me the organization; I will become a member in it,” were taken as proof of the CHP’s stance vis-à-vis the coup investigations. Left wing politicians have shown this standard reaction to the attempts by the government and the judiciary to take legal action against the coups. The initial reaction was that the coup makers did something wrong, but the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was at least as bad as these coup makers. References like civilian coup and civilian dicta were used to make an analogy between the coups and the AK Party. Left wing politics has ignored the fact that such criticism against a democratic government would mean that they were trying to exonerate the coups and the coup makers. The second reaction was opposition to the coup investigations based on flaws in the legal process. To this end, during the Ergenekon investigation, they asked why the Sept. 12 coup was not being prosecuted. And when legal action was taken to address Sept. 12, this time, a decision was taken to deal with Feb. 28 as well. The third reaction was that these investigations were actually part of a propaganda campaign to impress the people. The common denominator of all these reactions was the linkage between the left and the coup makers. Unlike the universal left, the Turkish left was pro-coup.
The explanation for this weird situation enables us to understand one of the central problems of Turkish politics and the Turkish left. A military coup is staged against a majority administration. The coup makers, in search of support for the minority, resort to left wingers. The National Democratic Revolution theory that the Marxist left offered in the late 1960s was a synthesis like Baath socialism that reconciled socialism with coup making. The people were backward; the conditions were not ripe for the development of socialism. In this case, the socialists should have cooperated with the military that was working on a leftist coup.
Parliamentary socialism, on the other hand, maintained ties between coups and partisan politics via sectarian bonds. The CHP attracts the support of the Alevi minority. The coup makers tried to use this minority as proof of popular support. So far, no coup has relied on sectarian preference. However, the coup makers have always seen the Alevis as a group that could be easily mobilized. The Feb. 28 postmodern coup went far on this matter. The Alevi tone was accentuated in this coup.
The Feb. 28 coup was supported by all leftist groups and factions. The unconditional support by a labor union like the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK), which relies on a socialist ideology, is enough to prove this. And it is natural for the left to become self-critical when the era of coups is over. Today, the leading figures of leftist politics are questioning their role in the Feb. 28 coup.
One of the reasons for the questioning is the end of coup tradition; but the other reason is the growing support by the people for the removal of the pro-coup actors from the political stage. Left-wing politics, including Kılıçdaroğlu, is aware of this. For this reason, he is trying to act consistently with the mainstream. The left, including the CHP, is testing out a new stance with regard to coups. Its success in this test will be a critical turning point in efforts to attract massive support.