By Halis Yıldırım, a philosopher whose fields of research are the conception of history in Hegel, Gramsci and Benjamin, and the Armenian genocide.
Followed by an article published on the information website bianet.org (link below) on January 11, 2021
Bonapartism means that the institutions of bourgeois democracy are maintained, while the content changes through restrictive steps and that one rises above the state apparatus to make the hard decisions. It does not happen important in Turkey, where Erdogan does not interfere. He has collected all the decisions in his hand. He should decide everything because he knows better!! The grotesque is already there.
1) The Turkish bourgeoisie historically has three strategies to become stronger. One is the Pan-Turkish strategy, which is a political and military strategy to expand towards Azerbaijan and Central Asian countries, with the ideology that this region is to be united by a Turkish model. The second strategy is the pan-Islamic one, that Turkey should expand its influence on the pattern of Ottoman borders towards Arab countries. While the Pan-Turkish one envisages rather a fusion of borders, the Pan-Islamic line promotes an Islamic community under the Turkish leadership. The last one is the pan-European line, that Turkey will closely cooperate with European countries, even become a member state of the EU. Erdogan's Bonapartism is the pragmatic way to achieve the strategies by either preferring one of these three or even advocating it simultaneously. These strategies have never been mutually exclusive, but no one has advocated these strategies with such aggressiveness in the last period.
2) Turkish education should be the guarantee that no critical thinking is possible. The conservative Turkish education at low level the possibility ensures a generation to be educated in the difficult times of Turkey without protests and opposition. Turkish universities until a few years ago were completely subject to a Council of Higher Education (YÖK), which was established after the military coup in 1980. Thus, the state-controlled the universities, some of which had become strongholds of the leftist student movement in the 1970s. As a result, many critical lecturers and students were banned from the universities. Most recently, in 2017, many academics were kicked out of universities by Erdogan himself, and their work and travel rights were revoked. The reason is that they had publicly spoken out against Turkey's attacks on Kurdish cities.
A logical conclusion from the point of view of Bonaparte Erdoğan, is that the elections of the rector: inside and thus the control of the universities by the YÖK is not enough. Therefore, he then declared them superfluous. The HDP's elected municipal administrators were deposed by this method and bureaucrats in Erdoğan's favor were appointed instead. Erdoğan practically rules the country by decrees - last year he appointed 22 rectors himself. At the beginning of this year, Erdogan single-handedly appointed a new rector for Bogazici University. Which has sparked resistance from students and faculty.
3) If Erdogan appears very grotesque in many situations, the real reason is the attempt of the Turkish bourgeoisie not to give up its strategies. Turkey cannot abandon these strategies because its economy cannot reach a higher level by its own drive. The grotesque nature of Turkish education is that it eventually educates people who know something about engineering or architecture, but can never excel in their work. For example, these people would not get the idea that they need to develop a new kind of machinery because otherwise pollution could make life on this planet difficult, even impossible. Or that they have to develop a better architecture to compensate the urban life with the cultural and social demands of the population. Any such thought is nipped in the bud. So "the beautiful" is missing in Turkish Bonapartism. "The beautiful" arises only in the resistance against this Bonapartism.
Having claimed that "terrorists were involved" in the protests against the appointment of Prof. Bulu as the university president of Boğaziçi, President and AKP Chair Erdoğan has once again targeted the protests: "We have seen this film so many times in 18 years."
"We don't want a trustee university president"
President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the opening ceremony of Diyarbakır-Ergani-Elazığ Road Devegeçidi Bridge and Link Roads on January 9.
In his speech, Erdoğan once again targeted the students who have been protesting against the appointment of Prof. Melih Bulu, a former candidate for nomination from the AKP in the general elections in 2015, as the new president of Boğaziçi University from outside its community.
Addressing the issue on Friday as well (January 8), President Erdoğan said, "Unfortunately, there are terrorists involved in this business and those who don't have any relation with being a student."
While the students of the university have responded to these remarks by making brief videos, Erdoğan said on Saturday, "We have seen this film hundreds of times in 18 years. We have seen the actors of this dirty scenario buttressing the impositions of the tutelage."
'We saw it in Gezi as well
According to Erdoğan, "a routine appointment was used as an opportunity to stir up universities" in Turkey. He claimed that "such protests where people with links to the terrorist organization were at the very forefront had nothing to do with seeking rights or freedom of expression."
"We have seen this film hundreds of times in 18 years. We have seen the actors of this dirty scenario buttressing the impositions of the tutelage. "We saw it while calls were made for a coup in Republic rallies. We saw it while the heart-wrenching murders were abused." said Erdoğan further.
He also referred back to Gezi in 2013, in the context of the allegations that the protesters, back then, entered a mosque in Beşiktaş with beer cans: "We saw it while they were plundering the property of shop owners during Gezi incidents. We saw it when they occupied Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan Mosque and how they acted like occupiers with bear cans there."
'October 6-8, December 17-25..
Further in his speech, Erdoğan also drew a parallel between the protests against the appointment and the Kobani incidents of October 6-8, 2014 as well as the incidents associated with the "Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)," which is held accountable for the coup attempt in 2016.
"We saw it while they were supporting the separatist terrorist organizations," argued Erdoğan and added, "We saw it while they were applauding the murderers while our people were being massacred on the streets during October 6-8 incidents. We saw it while they were speaking out for the FETÖ during the December 17-25 security-judiciary coup attempt."
Students have responded in a video
On the other side, the students of Boğaziçi University have responded to these accusations and claims in a video.
Consisting of short videos of students, the video has been shared on social media with the title "I am declared a terrorist because..."
Some of the students' answers are as follows:
"I am declared a terrorist because I wanted freedom in my university.
"I am declared a terrorist because I wanted the 150-year culture of my institution to be respected.
"I am declared a terrorist because I defend multivocality, not univocality.
"I am declared a terrorist because I used my legitimit right of protest without overstepping the constitutional boundaries.
"I am declared a terrorist because I want an elected university president, not an appointed university president.
"I am declared a terrorist because I wanted to protect the autonomy of my university.
"I am declared a terrorist because I think differently than the political power holders."
Prof. Melih Bulu has been appointed as the President of Boğaziçi University in a Presidential Decree issued on January 1. The appointment of Bulu has sparked harsh criticisms among both the students and academics of the university as well as in the academic community.
Appointed to Boğaziçi, one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey, from outside its community, Bulu was a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections in 2015 for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The students and several students' clubs of the university have been campaigning on social media under the hashtag #kayyımrektöristemiyoruz (We don't want a trustee university president).
The call of the students was also supported by the faculty members of the university, who released a joint statement on January 3.
"An academic outside Bogazici University community was appointed as rector (university president), which is a practice introduced for the first time after the 1980s military tutelage," read their statement.
Amid harsh criticisms of students and faculty members, Prof. Bulu has shared a message on his Twitter account, welcoming his appointment to the position, saying, "We are all in the same boat."
The students protested the appointment of Bulu in front of the South Campus of the university in İstanbul on January 4. However, the police intervened into the protest with pepper gas and plastic bullets.
Next day, it was reported that there were detention warrants against 28 people for "violating the law on meetings and demonstrations" and "resisting the officer on duty." Later in the day, 22 of them were detained.
40 people in total were detained over the protests. All of the detained were released on January 7 and 8, 2021.
About Melih Bulu
Prof. Melih Bulu was appointed as the President of Haliç University on January 17, 2020. In office in this foundation university for less than a year, he has been appointed as the President of Boğaziçi University.
He was a Dean and University President at the İstinye University from 2016 to 2019. Between the years of 2010 and 2016, he was the Head of the Business Management Department of İstanbul Şehir University's Business Management and Management Science Faculty.
He was the General Coordinator of International Competitiveness Research Institute (URAK), an NGO working on economic competitiveness of cities and countries, from the year 2017 to 2019. Since 2011, he has been the Executive Board member of the İstanbul Electric-Electronic Machinery and Informatics Exporters R&D Market.
In 2002, he founded the Sarıyer District Organization of the ruling AKP in İstanbul. In 2015, he was a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections from the AKP in the first election district in İstanbul.
He studied Industrial Engineering at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara in 1992. He did his MBA and PhD at Boğaziçi University's Department of Management.