Hegel, Marx, Gramsci and Turkey’s AKP

Turkey’s ruling party AKP’s Vice Chairman Ömer Çelik, who is also responsible for Foreign Relations and İbrahim Kalın, senior adviser to Turkish Prime Minister were at King’s College on 29th of November to discuss Turkish foreign policy.

Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci

The most intriguing part of the conference was probably Ömer Çelik’s words, drawing a triangle of Turkish policy through the eyes of Gramsci, Hegel and Marx…

He defines the birth of Turkish Republic as ‘social democrat leftist process’ and says that this ‘leftist tradition’ aimed at ‘accomplishing everything through the state’.

Thus, he says that this tradition pursued rather a ‘Hegelian ideology’…

He makes reference to the multi party system that Turkey has shifted to after the 1960 coup and adds that ‘the central right tradition of Turkey was Marxist because they tended to solve the state problems through the economic lenses’…

So, “The right and the left of Europe have exchanged the roles in Turkey” according to him…

Below is his analysis:

“The left tradition believed to achieve economic progress through the state and the right tradition believed into democratisation through the economic progress…”

Then, enters Gramsci… And that’s where the concepts are likely to be misinterpreted in translation…

He says that AKP era in Turkey is a new era that the relationship between ‘hegemony and sovereignty is redefined’…

Actually the words he uses in Turkish may also be put in different forms… Using ‘dominance’ instead of hegemony in this context is perhaps a way of better interpreting the concept.

To read more about Gramsci, you may click on the links below:




So Ömer Çelik, considers ‘sovereignty’ as political power and ‘hegemony (or dominance)’ as cultural power.

Ömer Çelik

Ömer Çelik

And he continues: “Before the AKP, those who accepted or assumed the political rule and rejected the cultural understanding of people… So, whilst trying to achieve political power through that cultural, you may like to face a lot of new challenges and may have a lot of implications…”

“For that reason, the parties that represented the cultural power remained as periphery parties, but those representing the political power emerged as centre parties…”

“And as a matter of fact, because of all those tensions the whole political system has collapsed.”

“And the AKP has reshaped the political power by representing the cultural power.”

He argues that in ‘Gramsci’s words, AKP is praxis point between the cultural power and the political power.’

He adds that in this context, ‘the AKP does not necessarily create a new area of political power nor an area of sovereignty but on the contrary, ‘rebuilds’ the sovereignty over the values ‘represented’ shared by the people.’

Friedrich Hegel

Friedrich Hegel

To sum up ‘the roots where AKP derived its power from’, he then asserts that this whole theoretical framework is also applicable for the Turkish foreign policy…

He identifies ‘The Arab Spring’ as “a process of transformation of cultural power represented by the people into political power…” and adds “We fully support this process…”

He concludes his analysis with these words:

“Even if AKP may not be as strong as it is not in the political scene from 10 or 20 years from now, because the people will still be existing and because this new political system will be based upon the cultural power derived from the people, this system will remain as it is.”

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

So that’s his analysis on the rising of the AKP, with particular links to the ‘Arab Spring’ and the Turkish Foreign policy…

The Arab uprisings have witnessed the rise of several powers including the Muslim Brotherhood, so one may think of the similarities and differences of the Muslim Brotherhood and the AKP in this context…

There are many concepts in his speech that may be discussed upon this perspective I suppose…

Though, he did not address to some of Gramsci’s concepts, like historical bloc, civil society, consent and passive revolution etc…

Perhaps there will be another opportunity for him to express himself on these missing points.

So as a reader of this post now, I wonder what you think of his conceptualisation of three thinkers and their adaptation of Turkish policy…


1 Comment

Filed under Turkey

One response to “Hegel, Marx, Gramsci and Turkey’s AKP

  1. Gülmekten altıma kaçırdığım bir konuşmaydı. Ayaküstü o kadar derin bilgiler verdi ki hiç birimiz değerini anlayamayız, hiç birimiz çözümleyemeyiz.

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