Anarchism in Turkey

Anarchism in Turkey only began to emerge in 1986 with publication of the magazine Kara.[1]

Marxism was the most influential ideology in the Turkish revolutionary movements, until its disintegration due to the military coup d'etat of Kenan Evren in the 1980s. Almost the entire Marxist movement was crushed by military repression. Many militants faced the dilemma of advocating for the ultimate goal of Marxism in reaching a society without a State and without social classes, and the real politics of statism and authoritarianism that Marxist parties actually practiced. From this debate, a trend emerged that embraced the anarchist ideology, differing from the rest of the Turkish left wing, which maintained the traditional Leninist position.

Historical background

Ottoman Period

The first signs of anarchism in the Ottoman period emerged around Armenian intellectuals. Hamanykh magazine, published in 1895 by Aleksandr Atabekyan, one of the pioneers of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, has a rich content regarding both anarchist philosophy and the Armenian revolutionary movement. In the same period, Turkish Cypriot Osman Bey's French work Socialisme et Anarchisme (1895) became the first anarchist book published in the Ottoman Empire.[2]

Baha Tevfik, who is often regarded as the first Turkish anarchist, states in his Philosophy-i Ferd (1913) that from wage slavery to socialism and from socialism to anarchism, a new age will be achieved.[3]

Republican Period

The first written source of Turkish anarchism is Kropotkin's Ethics, translated by Ahmet Ağaoğlu and published in 1935. [3] Although there is an ongoing debate on why anarchism has not gained visibility as an alternative leftist policy in the first half of the Republican period, until the 1980s, anarchism was widely seen as equivalent to terror and chaos.

After the coup of 12 September 1980, Anarchism began to take its place in Turkey's political scene. In particular, anarchism gained a lot of traction in the Turkish diaspora in germany.[3]

Launched in 1986, Kara magazine, was taken as a turning point in terms of the anarchist movement in Turkey. The magazine, which was published at a time when the mainstream Turkish left could not overcome the shock of the military coup, defined itself as "libertarian" instead of "anarchist", due to the general perception of anarchy as chaos. In addition to broader social movements, anarchist groups and publications formed in the early 1990s, including ones following platformist, anarcho-syndicalist and synthesist traditions. [3] In 1998, the Anarchist Youth Federation (AGF) was established, followed by the Anarchist-Communist Initiative (AKI) and Revolutionary Anarchist Activity (DAF) in the early 2000s.

By the 2000s, the word anarchy was no longer synonymous with chaos and terror, and began to be seen as a political philosophy. Today, anti-authoritarian and horizontalist tendencies in many Turkish political organizations can be observed sprinkled with heritage from the anarchism of the 80s, including in the Kurdish and women's liberation movements.

See also


  2. -dayanan-anarsists-italian-isci-unity / Anarchism in the Ottoman Empire - Anarchists at the Gate of the Palace: Italian Workers Union, Meydan Newspaper, 23.
  3. Day & Zileli sure Özkaya, "Anarchism in Turkey", Modern Turkey: Series of Political Thought in Turkey, Volume VIII: Sol, Istanbul: Communication, 2007, ss. 1153-1168. ISBN 978-975-05-0507-2

Further reading

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