Issue 40 – State, Violence and Repression in 2000s’ Turkey

Contribution to the Marxist Critique of Critical Security Studies:
Rethinking “Security ” within the Context of State, Coercion and
Class Struggle
Pınar Bedirhanoğlu, Çağlar Dölek ve Funda Hülagü

“Security studies,” the development of which has remained largely confined to the discipline of international relations since 1945, have started attracting the attention of Marxist scholars -besides the ones in other social science disciplines- in recent years due to the implementation of authoritarian state practices all over the world in the post 9/11 era. Marxists, who have been involved in these debates within the context of the “critique of security,” were provoked by the violent state policies used to suppress social opposition in the neoliberal era, particularly after the 2008 global capitalist crisis. This article aims to have a bird’s eye view on this emergent Marxist literature on the relations of security and coercion, which has been indeed developing since 1990s, and to contribute to it through an imminent critique of those perspectives that hold a specific place in this literature. Such Marxist studies on the critique of security will be evaluated with reference to the hitherto made methodological debates in the Marxist theories of state. By doing so, the article will highlight the methodological problems of Marxist critiques of security that rest on their either functionalist or voluntarist perceptions of state. The article will also underline the silence of Marxist critiques of security on some issues of state’s security structures, and propose that making holistic sense of current political transformations requires the common utilization of both of these Marxist lines of thought to produce new analytical tools, and thus to develop alternative historical narratives on security, coercion and state.
Keywords: State, coercion, class struggle, critical security studies.

No Exceptions: Authoritarian Statism. Agamben, Poulantzas and
Homeland Security

Christos Boukalas

This article outlines and compares two different ways of making sense of counterterrorism and the configuration of political power in its context. Against the backdrop of US homeland security, it first outlines Agamben’s thesis on the permanent state of exception. Despite its resonance with key aspects of homeland security, this thesis is found to be analytically limited and theoretically brittle. To overcome its shortcomings and provide a better understanding of contemporary organisation of political power, a strategic-relational approach is suggested, derived from Poulantzas’sstate theory.
Keywords: authoritarian statism; state of exception, homeland security, strategicrelational approach, Agamben, Poulantzas.

Materialist Patterns of Fascist Ideology : Class, Capital and War

Utku Özmakas ve Kansu Yıldırım

The bourgeois historiography depicts the moment which created fascism as “deflection”, “breakdown of the natural order” or “malignance”. Together with the historical examples, an “objective”
analysis on fascism emphasizes the “crises” which determined by the class relations. The conditions of crisis have ideological, political and economical dimensions which result from contradictions between classes in the long run. In the analyses of Antonio Gramsci and Nicos Poulantzas, the critical point which differentiates fascism from other types of dictatorial and oppresive governments is the effect of fascist ideology on class organization and the form acquired by the state apparatuses. The tendency of integration between coercive and ideological apparatuses increases depending on level and depth of the crisis. In accordance with that, fascist ideology is strengthened by different social and ideological elements. In this article, the elements of ideology during classical fascist periods, the manifestation of social formation at stake, and the ways of motivation of masses will be discussed from a Marxist point of view. Consequently, it is argued that fascist ideology is not only a combination of abstract phenomena or “only the violent act of a single individual” as Marx
has stated, but also shaped by material relations and contradictions.
Keywords: Fascism, fascist ideology, bourgeoisie, Italian and Germany fascisms, state crisis.

Security as a Technique of Political Administration and National Security State during the AKP Period
Çzlem Kaygusuz

Security, more than being an immanent feature of power relations, is by itself a form of establishing power. In liberal-democratic orders, the political rationality, which historically shaped the security imagery, practices and institutions of the modern states, has had three basic elements. They are the raison d’état, the rule of law and the myth of security/liberty balance. The neoliberal transformation at the global level however, has brought forward new security practices, discourses and institutions that are corroding and/or transforming these elements. This study, first of all, aims to set up a framework of analysis to understand the transformation of security state under the neoliberal political rationality in the contemporary period. The theoretical framework of the study is based on the question that ‘‘to what extent and in what respects, these three pillars continue to sustain and legitimize the security practices of today’s neoliberal states?’’ Then, this conceptual framework is used to analyze the security practices and discourses of the AKP government, which is the central actor of Turkey’s transition to neoliberalism. The politics of security under the AKP rule will be discussed through the analysis of three particular security issues. First, as became clear after the Gezi events, the AKP has perceived a serious threat from every kind of oppositional social movements. Secondly, the government’s efforts to transcend and surmount the Kurdish political movement and the continuing securitization of the issue throughout the recent ‘‘Solution Process’’ constitutes another line of argument in the discussion. Finally, the ongoing political struggle against the so-called ‘‘Parallel Organization’’, which has been labelled as a national security threat by the government will be discussed. The study addresses the following questions: To what extent the AKP government in Turkey has rested its security discourses and practices in each of these security issues on the liberal pillars of security that is the reason of the state, the rule of law and the myth of the balance between security and liberty? How the politics of security as a technique of political administration has been working as the main mechanism of legitimization and power consolidation in neoliberal Turkey? In the process, what are the changes in the architecture and mentality of national security state in Turkey?
Keywords: security, security state, neoliberal security, AKP.

The “Security State”, Surveillance-Policing Net works and their Effects on University Campuses in Turkey throughout the 2000s: An Evaluation based on the Kurdish Liberation Movement
Biriz Berksoy

Throughout the 2000s, university campuses in Turkey have been re-configured by means of new “security measures” that incorporate the employment of private security guards on campuses, deployment of CCTV cameras and uniformed/undercover police officers, establishment of close cooperation mechanisms between the police organization/governors, private security guards and university administrations and the efforts to make families and fellow students part of this configuration. Throughout this process, besides the re-arrangement of campuses with what can be called surveillance-policing networks, there has been a sharp increase in the number of disciplinary investigations and cases filed against oppositional students in heavy penal courts which have been frequently activated via “anti-terrorism regulations”. The aim of this paper is to examine the surveillance-policing networks that are established at university campuses in Turkey and the new technologies of power employed for the pacification of student opposition as part of the restructuring process of the state under the Justice and Development Party governments (2002- ) which have arguably taken place in accordance with a new governmental rationality. Within the paper, it is argued that throughout the 2000s while public institutions are re-organized in Turkey around a neoliberal governmental rationality and a new order of governance based on the elimination of “risks” are established under the hegemony of financial capital, a new state form which is designated as the “security state” has also emerged in a way similar to the experiences of advanced capitalist countries such as the US, Canada. Within this new state form, a newly devised security dispositif steered by a logic of “preemptive security” has acquired dominance. In the paper, the workings of these networks, which are arguably an important part of this dispositif, are examined as they operate against the students who engage in the Kurdish Liberation Movement within the spaces of higher education and have become their primary targets. It is argued that these surveillance-policing networks have been functioning to extensively monitor the campuses, inflict psychological violence for repressive and disciplinary purposes and to implement preemptive “risk” elimination techniques by means of the disciplinary investigations and the frequent activation of heavy penal courts. In the paper, this process is analyzed by relying on the semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with 7 students who engage in the Kurdish Liberation Movement
and have gone through several penal processes, 7 private security guards and 2 former students who had been politically active in the 1990s as well as the secondary sources.
Keywords: Turkey, Security State, Neoliberal Governmental Rationalities, Preemptive Security, Student Opposition, Kurdish Liberation Movement.

Global Lineages of the Police Violence against Kurdish
Population in the 2000s in Turkey
Funda Hülagü

The police violence displayed in the Kurdistani Region of Turkey has been aggravating ever since the June 2015 General Elections. Many associate the reasons of this brutality with the President Erdoğan’s political ambitions and related reel politik phenomena. However it appears that, although dissmilar in its degree and mechanisms, similar patterns of police violence have been present
during the last decade in Turkey. This study aims at deciphering the underlying determinants of this police violence through a study of Turkish National Police’s conceptualization of the Kurdish Issue and the organisation’s doctrine develoment regarding the “fight against terrorism”. The article maintains that the police violence in Turkey is closely associated with the ever expanding liberal geoculture in the aftermath of the 9/11. This new liberal geoculture is built on two axes, one is religiosity and the other is the local turn. These two, which are respectively built upon a non-secular
cnaperception of human nature and anti-universalist conception of societies, create the new rationale behind state-led violence both at home and abroad and result in the expansion of police power.
Keywords: Liberalism, Security, Turkish National Police, Kurdish Question, Ancien Régime.

The Problems of the Official Ideology Criticism in Turkey
Cangül Örnek

This study aims to examine the criticism of official ideology that has become dominant over the research and debates on ideology in Turkey. It is argued that despite the popular usage of the concept of official ideology, there is almost no attempt to give a substantive definition of the concept or to elucidate its relation with other concepts such as dominant ideology. Beyond that, it is suggested that too much emphasis on official ideology has some disruptive impact on our understanding and analysis of the realm of ideologies in Turkey. This study tries to discuss those negative impacts through developing a certain categorization adopted to clearly point out the problems of the literature on official ideology.
Keywords: ideology, state, official ideology, class, Kemalism,