Articles by Foti Benlisoy

A Brief History of the Turkish Left, Part 2: from the 1980 Coup to the Present

This is the second part of our interview with Foti Benlisoy on the history of the Turkish Left from its late-Ottoman beginnings to the present day. As Benlisoy explained in Part I, the era between the coup of 1960 and that of 1980 was something of a high point for the labor movement and socialist political parties in Turkey, marked by high union density and a professional class heavily committed to left-wing, anti-imperialist and developmental-nationalist ideologies. As in many other countries, the 1980’s were a decade of bourgeois retrenchment under the banner of a neoliberal turn backed by the forces of a ..

A Brief History of the Turkish Left, Part I: from the Origins to the 1980 Coup

We have interviewed prolific Turkish leftist commentator Foti Benlisoy on the history of the Turkish left, from its Ottoman beginnings on to the present day. In what follows, Benlisoy provides a historically grounded perspective on the background and prospects of today’s movements to counter the now regnant authoritarian conservatism. He also outlines the left’s recurrent tensions between advocacy for national and religious minorities and the defense of a unitary, sovereign Turkish nation-state. In an upcoming second part, Benlisoy will examine the situation since the 1980 military coup, attending par ..

‘Pure’ democracy against the extreme right?: Erdoğan’s ‘Clinton’ and ‘Trump’ moments

The marriage between capitalism and democracy was one of convenience or interest, the product of a very specific period. A temporary reconciliation between capitalism and democracy seemed possible under conditions created by a capital accumulation regime that rested on the specific balance of power between social classes following the two world wars. The “logical contradiction” between capitalism and democracy that Lenin famously underscored appeared suppressed for a while, in a very specific time period. However, the bliss did not last long. This marriage, which was qualified as “the end of his ..