From military to civil means of pacification: A class-based view to securitization in post-1980 Turkey

Güven E.

Brunel University London Politics and History Annual Ph.D Conference, London, England, 25 April 2017 - 27 April 2021, pp.7-8

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: London
  • Country: England
  • Page Numbers: pp.7-8


The intellectual explanations of the changing state-society relations in post-1980 Turkey are overwhelmed by liberal and institutionalist accounts that commonly confine the problem of security to the “political autonomy of the military”, the socio-historical meaning and impacts of whose political interventions are considered solely in terms of its aim to maximize its own interests and power. By grasping the process in terms of its dialectical relation with the changing shifts in capital accumulation and class power, this paper offers an alternative framework that problematizes security post-1980 as part of a ‘pacification’ project. It simply suggests that by the 1980 military coup onwards pacification emerges as the comprehensive foundation of the new hegemonic set of strategies that accompanies the restructuring of the state and the whole social formation. In this light, it makes two further claims departing from the 1980s through to the 2000s. First, in contrast to the liberal and institutionalist accounts, a division of labour could be observed between the military and civil means of leading the neoliberalization project. As liberal parliamentary politics lacked the institutional ability to produce hegemonic consent for wider segments of social classes and groups, the military filled the gap of political leadership by increasing its weight in politics. It follows from this that, insofar as class relations have been successfully administered by parliamentary politics, the leverage of the military has been restricted. Second, once they were implemented as part of the neoliberal institutionalization of the state, policies of civilianization have been followed by the draconian reinforcement of police powers. Ultimately, through the lens of pacification the changing shifts in the administrative apparatus, particularly those pertaining to police and security, could be seen as indicative of the form of the state intervention in economic and political crises of neoliberal capitalism.