Issue 19 – Capital in Turkey: Fundamental Tendencies and Strategies

Editors: Ebru Deniz Ozan, İbrahim Gündoğdu, Nuray Ergüneş, Fuat Ercan, Metin Altıok, Pınar Bedirhanoğlu

Mapping Capital: Towards An Alternative Conceptual Apparatus
Fuat Ercan

This article attempts to build a new conceptual apparatus for the mapping of capital. It criticizes both liberal-individualist and mechanic-fractionalist approaches that dominate the literature on this issue. As an alternative, the article explores the inner relationships between capital, capitalist and capitalism through a conceptual differentiation between the functions, forms and fractions of capital. Functions of capital (such as productive, money and commodity capital) are necessary circuits of “capital in general”, whereas forms of capital show us the concrete social forms “many capitals” might take in terms of size, markets, sectors and date of entry into the accumulation process. Finally, fractions of capital refer to the organized groups of capitalists with common objective demands from the State in a specific social and historical context. İn that sense, the concept of fractions of capital not only involves the material reproduction process but also concrete power relationships and symbolic meaning worlds. This implies that both neo-Gramscian and Poulantzian fractionalist analyses have confused fractions of capital with the functions of capital, two concepts which belong to different levels of abstraction.The article ends with an analysis of different fractions of capital in Turkey from this perspective.

Keywords: Turkey, Capital, Functions of Capital, Fractions of Capital, Poulantzas.

From 1979 Crisis to 2001: Crisis Capital Accumulation Process and Transformations in Turkey
Melda Yaman-Öztürk – Fuat Ercan

In this study, the capital accumulation process is analysed with an examination of the two big crises in Turkey. The first examination comprises the 1979 crisis, which Turkey, as a late developed capitalist country, faced in the earlier stages of its capitalist development, and the transformations after 1980. The crisis of 2001 is treated as a result of the transformations and restructuring which started in 1980’s and continued in 1990’s. We will try to differentiate the continuing/changing aspects of the accumulation process and intra-class and inter-class relations, and to present the relation of the local accumulation process with the capitalist accumulation process worldwide, via an analysis of these two crises. However, this study does not deal with the recent global crisis and its reflections to Turkey.

Keywords: Turkey, Capital Accumulation, Crisis, Intra-Class Relations, Inter-Class Relations.

Turkish Bank Reform the Restucturing of Finance Capital in the Coise of International Nation of Capital
Derya Gültekin -Karakaş

The Turkish banking sector has undergone a dramatic reform process since the late 1990s. More than 20 banks have been taken över by State rescue programs and the surviving banks needed to transform themselves for global financial markets through comprehensive legal and institutional changes. This paper argues that banking sector reform can be seen as a State (and IMF-) led restructuring of Capital within Turkey. But there is no single path of restructuring being pursued by Capital. Hence, this paper is concerned to develop an analysis of banking reform via a framework that emphasises the divisions within banking capital within Turkey and the way the state (and IMF) have sought to mediate these divisions while at the same time transforming the process of capital accumulation away from state dependence and towards global integration. On this basis, this paper concentrates on the fractional divisions within Finance Capital as the driving logic of banking reform. It provides a methodological consideration in identifying a coherent pattern to the determination of which banking conglomerates survived which went into liquidation during banking reform. It will be seen that the fractional divisions accompanying the reform are rooted in different patterns of accumulation (including various forms of global integration) by two groups of conglomerates. These are the conglomerates that ‘won’ in the reform and these that ‘lost’. This paper argues that the difference between these two is to be explained by their patterns of accumulation and, in particular, their mode of acquisition of surplus value.

Keywords: Turkish Banks, Finance Capital, IMF, Accumulation, Surplus Value.

Understanding Intra-Class Conflicts Through Banking Capital
Nuray Ergüneş

This study examines the struggle of capital groups to get under the control of money-capital since end of the 1970s.The one of the main strategies of the capital groups had been to capture banking capital. This strategy can only be understandable in the context of capital accumulation level.The capital groups had been bank owner by using different mechanisms. Establishing new
bank, to be partner to a foreign bank, privatisation had been some of these mechanisms. This process had deepened intra-class conflicts. The struggle of inner-class’ components to acquire money-capital and accelerated competition between them have caused to extent of financial operations’ volume and speed. Its result has been the centralisation and concentration of the money-capital.

Keywords: Banking Capital, Money-Capital, Inta-Class Conflicts, Capital Accumulation, Foreign Banks.

Internationalisation of Capital in the Construction Industry and Relations Among Capitals
Elvan Gülöksüz

The construction industry is one of the main areas of capital accumulation in Turkey where a vast process of urban development has layed down the physical infrastructure of rapid capitalist growth in the last sixty years. Capital which grew in construction throughout these years has been going through a process of internationalisation since the second half of the 1970s. This article analyzes inter-capital relations in the process of internationalisation by reference to a case study on the transformations of big construction companies in Turkey in the 2000s. The analysis focuses on the conflicts, struggles and alliances among different types of capital in the process of internationalisation, i.e. capitals at different scales and capitals based on different countries. These relations are demonstrated first in the constitution of the international market by structural reforms, second in competition in the international market whereby the hierarchical positions of capitals are reconfigured. The case study gives clues about questions such as the parameters around which conflicts among capitals are solved, the nature of relations among capitals of advanced capitalist and late capitalist nations in the current era, and the role of the state in the internationalisation of Capital. The case study is based on interviews with executives of big construction companies, parliamentary discussions and commision reports on the legal reforms concerning the construction industry, periodials of Capital organisations in Turkey and EU, and strategy documents of the European Commision.

Keywords: Turkey, EU, European Commision, Internationalisation of Capital, Construction Industry.

Transnational Capitalism: Transnationalisation of Capital and State and the Formation of a Transnational Historic Bloc in Turkey
Mehmet Gürsan Şenalp and Örsan Şenalp

In this article we put forward the idea that the capitalist System today is more transnational comparing it to one hundred years ago -when the classical debate between Lenin and Kautsky took place.Therefore we assume that the objectivity of the head actor of the System, that is the bourgeoisie, needs to be re-considered and re-studied (with its relations to the capitalist State) by taking its increasingly transnational nature and dynamics in to account. Departing from this point the article first tries to establish empirically that through some concrete developments, which we prefer to cali capitalist restructuring and neoliberal globalization, character of capitalism evolved into more of a transnational one. Following this discussion, some key contributions that are based on Gramscian analyses are introduced to reader, as ‘transnational class formation’, ‘transnationalisation of the State’ and ‘transnational historic bloc’ theses. Finally, an introductory analysis is drawn over the practical and political implications of these theses in Turkish case.

Keywords: Transnationalisation, Capital, State, Historic Bloc, Globalization.

Local Capital in Turkey in the Process of Neoliberal Globalisation: Reflections from Gaziantep, Denizli and Eskişehir
P. Bedirhanoğlu / G. L. Yalman

Departing from Walter Benjamin’s prominent work Theses on History, this article evaluates making sense of the social transformations taking place within the context of the neoliberal globalisation cum localisation processes has been among the most intensively debated issues in the last decades. This article aims to contribute to these debates on the basis of observations
made during a field research in Gaziantep, Denizli and Eskişehir from June 2003 to March 2005 with a particular focus on capital-labour relations in these localities. The research conducted in the latter, the former two of which are known as Anatolian Tigers, has shown that intermittent financial crises experienced in Turkey during the 1990s and early 2000s have had a decisive impact on the changes in capital-labour relations as well as the perceptions of State on the part of the local capitalists. These changes have to be also associated with the local enterprises’ constant search for export opportunities as survival strategies in the face of crises. Hence, there is a need to ground their attempts to establish subcontracting relations at different scales and find access to new export markets abroad as part of a process of restructuring of capital. Such a relativisation of scales has been forcing local capitals to develop various strategies to enhance their competitiveness vis-a vis their rivals in domestic as well as in export markets with severe implications for labour. These strategies include cutting their labour costs and/or seeking to produce higher value-added goods and/or ‘becoming a brand name’. Some important assessments to be elaborated in the paper within this context are as follows; changes in the mode of integration to the world markets have led not only a sharp competition but also different forms of cooperation among enterprises; the same process has also created an atmosphere in which survival strategies for the firms as well as for the employees have been perceived as being mutually reinforcing; and lastly, modern and traditional forms of business and labour relations seems to be articulated to each other within this atmosphere. While these strategies have differentially affected local enterprises’ capabilities for competitiveness, in overall this has led to the emergence of different manifestations of uneven and combined development of capitalism. Moreover, it can observed that the whole process leads to contradictory perceptions on state as well, where the state is conceived both as a problem and a solution.

Keywords: Local Capital, Neoliberalism, Globalization, State, Uneven and Combined Development of Capitalism.

Capital’s Tendencles to the Regional Development: A Historical-Geographical Materialist Investigation on the Law of Regional Development Agencies
İbrahim Gündoğdu

Regional development has evidently become a crucial notion in contemporary capitalism at various countries, giving rise to new institutions with considerable state power called Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). After a long-term silence on regional policy, Turkey, with a centralized state power, has recently celebrated this notion by setting up the RDAs at newly defined 7.6 regions within her accession process to the EU membership, Both mainstream and critical arguments in Turkish literature tend to explain the RDAs as a sort of policy transfer from developed countries, while the latter consider them serving mostly to international capital and imperialist aims. This article suggests that the RDAs (including regional developmentalism) should be explained in terms of the Capital accumulation process and socio spatial tensions in Turkey and the attempts of social actors to rescale in such a way as to manage those tensions. The paper does pursue this in two stages: First, an alternative conceptual framework is provided through a particular engagement with David Harvey, Kevin Cox and Dick Bryan’s different formulations on the relations between Capital accumulation, space and Capital fractions. Second, the current law of the RDAs is investigated within a broader span in regional policy, extending from historical process to conjunctural relations among social actors. In this framework, changes in the I aw are regarded as formed by class struggle on state power among fractions of capital revealed on different scalar division of labor within their circuits of Capital. This paper concludes by raising some arguments on prospects of regional policy in Turkey: since the emergent RDAs have been behind organizing productive capital into regional spaces, they are more likely to lead to disciplinary policies than cooperative ones. Connectedly, regional inequalities seem to be much more integral issue within the process of further internationalization of Turkish economy, producing difficulties as well as some opportunities for capital as a whole. Differentiating (indeed, reducing) existing minimum wages across regions is likely to appear as a foremost capitalist strategy to use regional inequalities, in this regard. Finally, it is possible to see that such strategies are specifically directed to, and shaped by, the Kurdish-populated poor region where national state project has long faced with ethnic-cultural questions. It is due to, inter alia, this mixture of disciplinary logic of capital with ethnic-cultural problem s in possible regional policy in Turkey, this paper suggests, there is an urgent need on the part of working class movement to develop counter-strategies that would go beyond fetishistic dichotomies among scales while seeking the liberation of labour.

Keywords: Capital, Historical-Geographical Materialism, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), David Harvey, Kevin Cox.

The Historical Development of TOBB in the Accumulation Process
Ş. Gürçağ Tuna

It can be argued that, in Turkey, many studies which focus on the intra capitalist class struggle are in the line of state-centered or ‘strong State tradition’ approach. Criticizing the analysis of TOBB (Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry) from such perspective, this article tries to develop an alternative, relational, class-based approach. In the article, the role\ position of TOBB in the accumulation process in Turkey is discussed by focusing on the internal relation between intra and inter class struggles. In that sense, some important aspects of this organization’s history are pointed out and discussed in the light of the alternative perspective.

Keywords: Turkey, TOBB (Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry), Capital Accumulation, International Relations, Strong State Tradition.

Trade Union Struggle’s, Capital Accumulation, MESS and Koç Holding in Turkey
Özgür Öztürk

In this study, the position of MESS (Turkish Metal Industrialists Association) within the trade union struggle between labour and Capital, and within intra-capital struggles, is examined in the general framework of Capital accumulation. As the organization of industrialists producing durable goods, MESS has gained importance in the inward oriented Capital accumulation process which lasted around 1980 in Turkey, and it has been in the front of the struggle between the working class and bourgeoisie.The activities of MESS has been relatively less after the 1980 coup, however it has began to gain prominence again in recent years with the increasing internationalization of Capital. It is observed that Koç Holding, one of the largest finance capital groups in Turkey, is very effective in MESS.

Keywords: MESS (Turkish Metal Industrialists Association), The 1980 Coup, Koç Holding, Finance Capital in Turkey, Internationalization of Capital.