Monthly Archives: July 2016


July 30, 2016


by Sid Balatan

SBMKidapawan City, Cotabato— Therefore Go!

This is the new battle cry of the United Methodist Church all over the globe. It was issued during the General Conference last May 2016 in Portland, Oregon.

The beauty of this marching order–Therefore Go!–is the simplicity of the statement, directness of its meaning and compelling call to action. The 12.1 million members of our church were jolted from their slumber with the new quadrennial theme, covering the years 2016 to 2020.

Several Methodist faithfuls, after hearing their Pastors expound the call–Therefore Go!–stand from their seats and went out of the Church building, but suddenly stopped, realizing that he or she does not know exactly where to go.

Therefore Go! But the next question is: Where do we go?

The said question gave birth to the Kidapawan Outreach Mission, a collective initiative of three entities Wilshire UMC Multicultural English Ministry, Mission Ministries with Migrant Filipinos (MEA-Migrant Ministry) and Spottswood Methodist Mission Center based in Kidapawan.

The general purpose of the Kidapawan Outreach Mission is like an advance party, to scan the horizon and identify mission areas, so that the Methodist faithfuls who are moved by the Holy Spirit to respond to our quadrennial theme–Therefore Go!–will have an idea on the kind of people and places where the Lord wants us to Go!

So far the Kidapawan Outreach Mission had identified, initially, 5 mission areas located in the far-flung villages of Kidapawan.
Tungao Manobo Village UMC. They need help to transfer their small church near the newly built highway. Also, they need slippers for their children. They need $2,000 for the transfer and improvement of their church.

Blessed Redeemer UMC. They need help to cement the flooring of their church. The flooring of their church is muddy during rainy season and dusty during summer. They need $250 for cementing the church flooring.

Spring of Life UMC. The Pastor needs a horse and a cellphone. The horse is needed to visit members and also use to deliver help like medicines in emergency situations.

Living Water UMC. This church needed a clergy, a Pastor or even a student Pastor to help them read and explain the Bible.

New Galilee UMC. The church need to improve their rest room. Pastor maria Teresa Cagam also need a cellphone for communication wit the members and with the District Superintendent.

KCMThe Wilshire UMC Multicultural English Ministry, from the special offering that was collected last month for Kidapawan, shared its blessings.

We bought a horse and gave it to the Living Water UMC.

We bought 4 cellphones and give to the New Galilee and 3 more churches.

We bought 85 pairs of slippers for the children of Tungao UMC, and it will be si tributes this Sunday.

We opened a bank account to hold the incoming fund of the Kidapawan Outreach Misssion, and made an initial deposit of $50.00.

We donated $10 each to 10 Pastors who joined the clean-up drive and planting of trees and vegetables inside the Spottswood Methodist Mission Center.

The objectives of the Kidapawan Outreach Mission is two-fold:

FIRST. To show that the way to serve the Lord in the remote villages, particularly in Mindanao, the poorest region in the Philippines, is a matter of carrying a heavy Cross and sometimes navigating a life and death situation.

SECOND: The other fold of the Kidapawan Mission is to show to the members of the Wilshire UMC-Multicultural English Ministry, and other congregations in the first world countries, were so loved and taken cared of by the Lord. We are so blessed for having the life we have in the US and other rich countries, the environment that we have while we worship the Lord Jesus and the relative peace and freedom we enjoy on a daily basis.

Sometimes, we forgot that we are so much blessed, until we see in front of us, the struggles of our sisters and brothers in poor villages whom Jesus called the “least of your brethren.”

We are all blessed for sharing the blessings of the Wilshire UMC Multicultural English Ministry.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is time, Therefore Go!




MEDIA ADVISORY via Arturo Garcia
Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council (HFNC)
Contact Person: Cecille Ramos
Phone:(213) 413-3323
July 31, 2016


By Art Garcia

14HFTFLos Angeles- Let’s all come and celebrate!

A TASTE OF BICOL at the 14th Historic Filipinotown Festival at the Silver Lake Medical Center (SLMC) on Saturday, August 6, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 6;00 PM.

This year, the motif of the 14th Historic Filipintown Festival will be A TASTE OF BICOL in honor of the Bicol Region, its food and the Patroness of Bicolandia-Our lady of Penafrancia whose feast is celebrated every September of the year.

Featured Actress/Singer Carol Banawa

At Around 4;00 PM, as highlight of the festival, the featured special guest is the well known Filipina singer and artist, Ms.Carol Banawa.
The fashion show of the Ms. Phillipines –USA will also be held on the stage.

More than 40 booths that will display food, arts, and cultural exhibits will be around the ground and will provide the crowd with their crafts and wares ad freebies.

More than 45 Orgs Participates

More than 45 community organizations, business ,non-profit agencies, are slated to participate with their respective booths in the annual festival.

The festival started to commemorate the 14th year of the designation of the Historic FIlipinotown district by the Los Angeles City Council on August 02, 2002.

The festival will be held at the parking lot of the Silver Lake Medical Center (SLMC) at 1711 W.Temple St.Los Angeles, CA 90026 from 9;00 Am to 6:00 PM.

Procession and MassKOR-HFT

The day long event will commence with a procession around the SLMC ground by participating organizations. It will be led by the HFNC and the Image of our Lady of Penafrancia or Ang Ating Mahal Na Ina, the Patroness of Bicolandia.

A regular mass will follow the procession. The mass will be led by Fr. John Brannigan of the St, Columban Filipino Catholic Church. Presentation by Filipino Children will follow.

At around noon time, a Cookfest will be held by SaladMasters. Also a Children Fashion Show will follow and cultural numbers will regale the crowd at the main stage.

So come and join the fun at the 14th Historic Filipinotown Festival on Saturday, August 6, 2016 at the Silver Lake Medical Center compound and have a taste of Bicol.

For sponsorship opportunities email or .For Booth rental rates: (10×10 sq.ft. with table and 2 chairs included. Prime booth-$ 400.00 standard booth- $ 300.00 (first come first serve) For payment inquiries, call 213_413-3323 0r 626-786-3513.




July 30, 2016


By Al P. Garcia

joma-duterte-0510-1The “Game of Thrones”(GOT) ended last June but I feel obliged to write about the victory of the House Starks at the “Battle of the Bastards” and the investiture of Lord John Snow or John Stark as the “King of the North”.

In the Philippines, after the “GOT” presidential elections in May 2016, a warlord mayor from the south has been elected as President of the Philippines. He assumed office last June 30, 2016.

During his State of the Nation Address last July 25, he announced a “unilateral ceasefire” with the NDF and yet, even if the ink has not dried up, he cancelled the ceasefire.

Like the crazy king, Robert Barathaeon, he went ballistics when his will that the NDF announced a unilateral ceasefire was not granted. But I believed that was the instruction from his boss, US State Department Secretary John Kerry he is just carrying out. As Prof.Joma Sison said about King Digong , “ he is a bully and to volatile to negotiate with.”

Violations of human rights has been so common during the Marcos years of martial law, It has been proven by the list of human rights claims by the agency in charge of imdemnifying the human rights victim that reached almost 75,000 claims. Its more than that because there was no clear recording of the atrocities of the Marcos martial law years. So we have to contend with what was recorded then.

Just in the Eastern Forest Region of Isabela alone , more than 150 barrios were evacuated and more than 50,000 people were affected from 1972 to 1977. This was repeated in other parts of Northern Luzon Eastern Cagayan from 1980 to 1986, in Western Cagayan,Kalinga and Apayao,Abra, Mountain Province to the Ilocos Region from 1983-1986 and other parts of the the Philippines especially in Mindanao.

Thus the north suffered like in the :Game of Thrones” and they remembered.

As if insulting the victims of human rights violations during martial law, he told them bluntly, ”just collect your claims and forget what happened “ to that effect. And saying in deadpan fashion, ”what do you want to do with the body, burn it?’

Maybe Duterte made the promise to the Marcoses and he is now stubborn to stay true to his word. He personally said, his family a has along relationship to the Marcos. His father was a cabinet secretary of Marcos and he owed his first job to Marcos as a persecutor. Utang na loob mentality at its worst.

But he should know better that the north suffered like his brothers Moros in Mindanao. It is the height of arrogance and wrong expenditure of political capital for Digong Duterte to force the NDF to follow his lead and make it appear that he truly wanted peace.His action speaks louder and displays what values he holds dear. And human rights and freedom is not one of them on this case. By saying “ human rights is not an excuse to destroy this nation” during the SONA.

The question that should be asked is “who is destroying this nation by not upholding human rights in the first place.? Remember
Mr.Duterte, your actions speaks louder than your words.

Mr.Duterte, You are no different from other Philippine Presidents of the past who will bulldoze their ways among the people. You pretend to be of the people but you are no different from past President who are against the people.

To Digong Duterte, be warned; “THE NORTH REMEMBERS!



July 30, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia

Los Angeles--News reports says more than 600 drug addicts, drug pushers and drug lords have been killed by the police and some vigilante groups.13770342_10153859917897734_7440132913465371467_n

More than 65,000 involved in the trade trade have surrendered en masse all over the Philippines .

What worries different human rights groups in the Philippines and abroad is that scenario is what happened during the 14 years of Marcos’ martial law. Just replace the drug lords and drug pushers and addicts with “ communist terrorists.”

Even the London’s Guardian newspaper and the BBC calls the Philippines, “land of the murderers.”

Same Modus Operandi 

This is the same modus operandi that the police and the AFP has been doing during martial law to impress the ten Dictator Marcos.
The newspaper will be filled with thousands of NPA surrenderees, NPA supporters and mass base surrendering in masse in different provinces.

Surrendered or captured Communist and NPA leaders awere paraded for photo opportunity for Generals and Regional Commanders for their promotions.

Counting all those who have surrendered or captured NPA’s or MNLF all through the years, you will wonder why there are still NPA and MNLF and why they grew stronger during the Marcos years?

Duterte’s Death Squads (DDS)?



During the years of martial law, If there is a spike of criminality in the urban areas, the President will at once unleash his “secret marshals” and what we see now are the death tolls left and right.

Actually more than 1/3 of the 600 killed were perpetrated by the civilian or police controlled vigilante groups or the death squads.

Then and now, the vigilantes groups proliferated like the “Dagupan Pangasinan Death Squad” or DPSS, the Bulacan Death Squads (BDS), Pampanga Death Squads (PDS) etc…

The only difference is the new President made this call in public and even made the PNP bolder by saying,” Sagot ko kayo.” Hence, the rise in killings.

De Facto martial Law without Declaring It

As if Duterte has find a way to impose martial law without even declaring. And as if the public is enjoying it.

Noynoy Aquino made an example of corrupt officials starting from the top, in the judiciary, the Supreme Court and the Senate. But it stopped at this friends.

Duterte started on the top and ask the bottom echelon to help him. He even sought the help of the armed and the underground left. And they are responding.

As if de facto martial law is in effect. And Duterte did not even bothered to declared it.

Meanwhile killings goes on everyday. Blood flows endlessly.




July 29, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia13620168_1267189539973023_1546217399480246871_n

China’s global economic offensive is on the roll and the Philippines is one country that China is looking at to export its world renowned railways system.

President Rodrigo Duterte is looking at China’s investments in railways to solve the Philippines’ recurrent traffic problem. During his first SONA speech last July 25, , he promised the “Manila –Clark railways, Sangley to Manila,  Panay and  the Mindanao Railways “ before his end terms in 2022.

He is surely excited for this projects because he is warming up relations with China after the The Hague July 12 ruling favoring the Philippines claim to the South China Seas disputed islands.

According to William T. Wilson of The National Interest Internet magazine, “South America will receive Chinese funding.    PRC’s  President Xi has pledged  $250 billion over the next decade. This includes an HSR system spanning the Brazilian rain forest and traversing the Andean mountains.

If that was not ambitious enough, Chinese business tycoon Wang Jing has announced his intent (though plans are currently stalled) to challenge the Panama Canal by building a $50 billion, 170-mile canal crossing Nicaragua. “ This will break the American monopoly over the Panama Canal for the last hundred years.

Last year, the Chinese news agency Xinhua announced that Beijing had already completed over one thousand projects in Africa, including 2,233 kilometers of rail construction and 3,350 kilometers of highway paving. In January of this year, China announced that it would help build a series of transportation grids (railroad, bridges and roads) linking fifty-four African countries.”

Wilson added, “ To penetrate the struggling but affluent European market (China’s largest trading partner), China is financing the upgrade of the Greek port of Piraeus and a $3 billion bullet train from Belgrade to Budapest.


Another network of rails, roads and pipelines, starting in the Chinese central city of Xian, will stretch westward as far as Belgium.

Beijing has already started building an eight-thousand-mile cargo rail route between the Chinese city of Yiwu and Madrid. China is also in the lead for building a proposed HSR in California. A project that did not materialize. “

The railway was supposed to be built between Los Angeles to the “sin city” of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Equally important, are the other financial institutions, either Chinese-based or initiated by China.

According to Wilson, “ The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (to finance infrastructure construction throughout Asia) has fifty-seven member countries. China plans to provide much of the $100 billion in initial capital.

Then there is the Export-Import Bank of China, which lent more than $80 billion in 2015. This dwarfs the Asia Development Bank, which lent $27 billion over the same period.

China also plans to build a $46 billion economic corridor—pipeline, rail, roads, bridges and more—through Pakistan. The goal is to establish a trade route connecting Gwadar, a port on the Arabian Sea, to northwest China. This enormous project is driven in part by Beijing’s desire to build additional routes for its energy imports from the Middle East—to lessen its dependence on sea routes.

Tehran has been most receptive to Chinese infrastructure projects, hoping it will help make Iran a key trading hub between Europe and China.

Earlier this year, the first freight train from eastern China—traveling through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan—completed the journey in just fourteen days, compared to forty-five days by sea. Sino-Iranian trade increased from $4 billion in 2003 to $52 billion in 2014, and Tehran hopes to boost that figure to $600 billion over the next decade.

Naturally, the global infusion of Chinese capital has fostered some geopolitical tension as well. Moscow, for one, is far from pleased about losing preeminence in Central Asia, a region it had dominated for two centuries.

China has built an oil pipeline from Kazakhstan and a gas pipeline that has allowed Turkmenistan to break its dependence on Russia.”

But no worries. China itself is dependent on Russia and Middle East oil exports especially from Saudi Arabia and Iran. China’s an industrialized state has sweet oil, meaning crudely refined oil. Thus it is dependent on outside sources.

That’s present a problem for China itself. That is why it is claiming the whole of the China Seas for oil. They need it much as other national needs it too.




July 29, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia


I criticized former President Fidel Ramos on his habit of folding his Barong Pilipino, the national costume for men during his term as President from 1992 to 1998.

Actually, President Ramon Magsaysay started this national tradition when he took his oath of office as President of the Philippines in December 30, 1953. His Barong Tagalog then was ripped when he waded with the crowd who all wanted to shake his hands.

I find it in bad taste, because Barong Pilipino is a formal wear. It is our national custume for men and woman. To treat it like a long sleeve or an informal wear is a disgrace. It is like being informal after a party or an event, when you fold it up ¾ style.

Americans or Europeans do not roll up the sleeves of their buiness suits.

Maybe President Duterte loved General Ramos so much that he is copying his style. But I find it still in bad taste because he is the president.

But no protocol can stop Duterte because unlike us, Manilans who take pride in wearing our Barongs on special occasions, he is not used to wearing Barongs. He is used to wearing long sleeves and folds it.

In fact, he finds it’s itchy and he is not fond or used to wear it as a formal wear. Thus he is used to folding it ¾ style, like a Troubinise long sleeved polo shirt.

But he must be used to wear it as a formal wear of a President. If not he will be copycatting General Ramos, who loved to show that he is working “ because he rolled up his sleeves.”

But “rolling up sleeves” does not mean you are working. Duterte is the President but if that’s how he would like to wear it, its better not to wear the Barong then roll up his sleeve.

Mr.President, please respect our national costume.

That is my unsolicited advice to him.



July 28, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia



After four years in “hospital arrest”, the Philippine Supreme Court has freed former President Gloria M. Arroyo and had overruled the Sandiganbayan decisions for “lack of evidence.

It came for many political analyst like me as no surprise. During the campaign, now President Duterte had promised to free her. GMA even shunned Duterte’s offer to pardon her and said, ” she relies on the favorable decision of the Supreme Court.” After that, she thanked President Duterte for his efforts for her.

The Supreme Court decision was not unanimous. At best, it was 11-4 with both sides of GMA appointed justices and Aquino appointees voted for and against it.

But the questioned remain: was it a political decision and not a just one?

Former Solicitor General and lawyer for fee, Estelito Mendoza gloated on his another legal victory not answering if that SC decision was political. He just gave his opinion that “ the case was made complicated with politics.”

News reports said she vowed revenge to those who cause her for four years of detention while on trial. She did not even greeted former President Aquino III, snubbing him during the National Security Council (NSC) Meeting in Malacanang.


Everyrbody knows that seven of the justices were appointed by GMA and they have the numbers to decide for her. But even the two of the five Aquino appointed justice voted for GMA. These same justices freed Juan Ponce Enrile for “humanitarian reasons”.

Some people still looked up to the Supreme Court as the last bastion of democracy and their redress of grievances. But the sad truth and fore me, the Supreme Court has been a political tool of the ruling class and the foreign interests to impose itself and their interests for a long time

The sad experience of the 14 years of martial law eroded our faith in the Supreme Court. The Marcos Supreme Court validated all the dictator laws and was a rubber-stamp of the dictator for all of its 14 years of martial rule.

True, at times there are gems in its decisions that favors justice and truth but the fact remains it is still majority of its decision is political and only favored a selected few. “Lutong Makaw” sabi nga ng masang Pilipino at its best. Lutong Korte Suprema at its worst.

Also at times, there were “ voices in the wilderness” in the court like Justice Claudio Teehankee and Roberto Concepcion, both became Chief Justice of the PH Supreme Court They were the exceptions and were the brave and far so few in between.

Let us face the fact that the law is blind that it cannot see. It only relies on technicalities or the so-called evidences. Thus the “ lack of evidence” is a common phrase or a trash word that sums up the travesty of the law. All courts are like that in varying degrees.

Even the SCOTUS or the Supreme Court of the United States functions like that. Remember for more than 70 years they implemented the “separate but equal” penned by Justice Brown in 1896 that perpetrated segregation of Blacks and the Caucasian White. And the same SCOTUS struck it down 70 years later after the decision on Brown vs The Board of Education in the 1950’s.

As they say “ dura lex, sed lex” and yet it is in contradiction with “salus populi est suprema lex.”

There you go, laws at their best are contradictions. Lawyers and justices knows when to use them.



July 28, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia


A Indian Freedom fighter, Chief Cochise of the New Mexico-Arizona Apaches said, “To speak of peace is hard, to work for peace is harder.”

Thus when President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the National Democratic Front (NDF) before a comprehensive agreement could be signed ahead of the peace negotiations in August, 2016 in Oslo, Norway., he talk about peace. And that was not easy. It was hard.

Now, President Duterte is threatening to end the unilateral ceasefire he announced during his SONA last July 25. He was visibly angered about a reported NPA ambush in Davao Del Norte and is asking the NDF for a 24 hour explanation about this. If not, he threatened that “fighting will continue.”

For many political analyst who have been following the peace talks between the NDF and the government of the Philippines for the last 30 years, there has been many ways why ceasefires and agreement failed in the past.

One reason is how the both sides interpret what happened after more than 10 agreements between the two sides and why the peace talks always fall apart for the last 30 years of peace talks.

For so many the government negotiators they point out to the intransigence of the NDF and their vehemence in accepting the constitution as a framework to fall in line on the peace talks. They say that the NDF is not sincere about peace talks and they just use it for their advantage.

On the other hand, the NDF says, the government will not honor the past 10 agreements they have signed with their agreement and always work on “bad faith”. In fact the NDF point out to the fact that they have released a lot of captured PNP and AFP troops.

On the other hand, the government have continually detained more than 30 NDF consultants and more than 530 political detainees. Political killings, arbitrary arrest continues.

The truth is that the Philippine government is the primary and major factor in the peace talks. Careful in giving the NDF the status of belligerency, the GPH has always treated the NDF as “lawless elements” and “criminal groups” in its propaganda with or without the peace talks.

That is why confidence building like the a declaration of unilateral ceasefire on the part of the Duterte administration as well as the release of political detainees are very important. The lack of these goodwill measures will render the peace talks inutile.

For some warmongers and militarists, peace talks are just preparation for war. Its their time to gather intelligence, build up and train their forces and prepare for general offensive once these peace talks failed or stopped.

We can tell how the AFP or the PNP are doing. Their press releases, formal announcements from their spokesmen and actions in the field says more than the peace declarations of President Duterte.

They made it sure that there will no change in their actions. Military operations are not suspended .There were be no troops pull-out.

They will still conduct “defensive operations against lawless elements.”

That’s what peace talks under the Duterte regime looks like.

As they say, “Talk, talk, fight, fight,



July 19, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia


AlDub or Alden Richards and Dub for Divina UrsulaBokbokova Smash or Maine Mendoza is a “love team” or supercouple in the Philippines that appears in the Kalyeserye portion of the variety show Eat Bulaga!.

The good news is that they celebrated their fist anniversary last July 16, 2016

The ALDUB first year celebration’s highlighted their second movie, “Imagine”. Their first movie was ” My Bebe Love:‪#‎Kilig‬ pa More” last year. This won for Maine Mendoza the best supporting actress award for the Metro Manila Film Festival, 2015.

They are also called as the “phenomenal love team” namely Filipino actor Alden, who portrays a fictionalized version of himself, and Yaya Dub, portrayed by Dubsmashpersonality for the You Tube fame, who is actress Maine Mendoza.

Many asked why the ALDUB KALYESERYE succeed? Why did it become a phenomenon in the Philippines serious but complicated showbiz?

For me the answer is simple. The ALDUB partnership highlighted the Filipino cultural values of traditional courtship. It was new in the sense that for the new generation does not know it .And they welcomed it as a relief from the so passé showbiz gimmicks of teenyboppers and the American style of “slam bang thank you gal/boy” quickie courtships.

And as the Eat Bulaga creative group introduced the Lola’s influence in the old type courtship that even featured a “lawanit/plywood ” divider when the two lovers met.

It kept on the crowd excited and guessing, on their toes on what will happen next with the powerful Lolas were around.

But in the end, they became certified lovers after measuring up to the Lola’s expectations and tests. The crowd loved it and was able to integrate old cultural norms to their daily grind. Thus it became a hit and was followed by a captured TV audience.

It was another kind of reality show that is actually a throwback to the old times plus the reality of the present situation with both Maine Mendoza alias YAYA DUB and Alden Richards as her suitor who has both to please her and the Lola’s.

In that sense the ABS-CBN tried to mimic some portions and even to deride the ALDUB KalyeSerye to no avail. They tried “Pastillas Girl” but it came as bland as a poor copycat.

The Filipina actress from Sana Maria, Bulacan, Maine Mendoza, was so humble to describe herself: “Hindi naman ako maganda, Masyadong malaki ang bibig ko at magaling lang ako magdubmash. Pero pasalamat ako dahil tinangkilik ako ng tao.”

Alden Richard who tried several breakout roles, got his at this KalyeSerye. But as humble as Maine Mendoza, he is now on the top of his popularity. And he remained humble and good to their fans up to this day.

The Lola’s, Filipino comedians Wally Bayola (Lola Nidora, sometimes Duhrizz, Rihanna, and Doktora the Explorer), Jose Manalo (Lola Tinidora, and sometimes Frankie), and Paolo Ballesteros(Lola Tidora, and sometimes, Lola Isadora) as various characters added to the luster of the KalyeSerye and made the kalyeserye more interesting.

As of late, different media outlets had hailed AlDub as a “social media phenomenon” following its success in trending everyday on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Wikipedia says, ” on September 26, 2015, they first reached record-breaking tweets on Twitter for ‪#‎ALDubEBforLOVE‬ with 25.6 million tweets in just a day, breaking their own record of 12.1 million tweets within 24 hours for‪#‎ALDUBMostAwaitedDate‬ on September 19, 2015.

Congratulations to ALDUB. The Suave and debonair Alden Richards and his screen love-Maine Mendoza alias Yaya Dub.

More power to you two !



July 18, 2016


( The Alliance News reprinted this article from the LIBERATION NEWS of the Party For Socialism and Liberation (PSL) regarding the prevailing situation in Turkey after the failed coup -Editors)


Los Angeles— A group composed primarily of mid-level officers of the Turkish Armed Forces attempted to carry out a coup the night of July 15 and early in the morning of July 16.

They were able to capture several strategic locations before being driven back by police and other forces loyal to the reactionary regime of President Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The Coup

Fighting primarily took place in Istanbul and Ankara, the most important big cities in the country. Tanks and troops fanned out, momentarily capturing key motorways, government offices and media outlets. The coup forces were able to lay siege to the parliament building and carry out airstrikes against police headquarters.

The rebelling officers failed, however, to capture top government leaders. In a surreal moment, President Erdogan, who was on vacation, appeared on live TV via Facetime and assured that the AKP remained in control. He called on his supporters to take to the streets to protest – but staying true to the cowardly nature of tyrants, some reports indicate that he was simultaneously exploring the possibility of securing safe haven in Greece or Germany.

Large numbers of the AKP followers did in fact take to the streets and confronted tanks and soldiers following this message. The country’s clergy quickly responded and issued a special call to prayer to mobilize supporters of the Erdogan regime. It is important to distinguish the class and political character of the crowds that came into the streets on July 15 and the hundreds of thousands of progressive and working class people who have taken part in various movements to resist the AKP’s reactionary project, including the heroic June 2013 “Gezi Park” movement.

The crowds on the streets of Turkey Friday night were of a purely reactionary, lynch-mob character, some of them armed and acting in close coordination with the police. It is important to remember that the AKP and Erdogan have played a critical in the rise of the so-called Islamic State by supporting, arming and funding IS. The character of the crowds dominating the streets last night is also a grim exposure of how the AKP could equally unleash these reactionary gangs on progressive and left forces if there were a similar Gezi-like uprising.

13709853_1219396161444903_5673639909833269346_nErdogan returned to Istanbul late Friday night, and the pro-coup forces began surrendering. It is important to note that the Turkish military is composed primarily of conscripts, who have no choice but to join. Many enlisted soldiers were told by their commanders that they were simply participating in drills, and only later realized that they were being used in a coup attempt. One of the soldiers in Istanbul was beheaded by the AKP supporters, reminiscent of the style of Islamic State terror in Iraq and Syria.

The Obama administration issued a statement after it became clear that the coup would likely fail, urging respect for the “democratically-elected government of Turkey.” It would be a cruel irony to allow the AKP regime – or their opponents who attempted the coup – to claim the mantle of defenders of democracy.

Who are the Gulenists?

It appears that the coup attempt was led by officers aligned with the Fethullah Gulen movement. This is a reactionary Islamist movement whose leader Fethullah Gulen is in exile in the United States. The Gulen movement has an extensive history of working with the CIA.

The Gulen movement had been an important ally of the ruling AKP government between the time it came to power in 2002 until 2013. They have colluded with the AKP, held important positions in the state apparatus and exercised influence through a vast network of media and educational institutions.

The basis of their unity with their former partners in the AKP was a shared desire to destroy the 1923 secular republic and replace it with a religiously-oriented state that rolls back democratic rights.

As the AKP reoriented the nature of the state, it eliminated most of the followers of the progressive secular “Kemalist” tradition – named after the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – from the judiciary, state security, public education and even sections of military. This vacuum was filled in many cases by Gulenist cadre.

The Gulenists were a key force in the 2010 constitutional referendum that essentially expanded Ergodan’s judicial powers in the name of democracy and cleaning up the remnants of the deep state. It was in fact a pretext for Erdogan to charge a wide range of opposition forces and put them in jail.

As has been the case throughout his career, Erdogan has been unable to share power even with his most like-minded allies. The exact circumstances that sparked the rift are still unclear, but for the last several years the AKP-Gulenist alliance has turned into a bitter rivalry. Where they were once close partners in the past in pushing forward reactionary policies that destroyed the secular nature of the republic coupled with a systematic ideological drive to Islamicize all aspects of social life, the AKP has now focused its attention on expelling the Gulenists.

A wave of repressionkp_7


Thousands have been arrested so far in a massive sweep carried out by security forces after the coup was put down. The judiciary, military and other key state institutions are being purged of remaining opponents of Erdogan and the AKP. This reportedly includes dozens of generals.

Many of these people likely were involved in the coup to one extent or another, but others are undoubtedly targets of opportunity who have been in the AKP regime’s crosshairs for some time. There is a possibility that the death penalty could now be reinstituted in the country. It may not be far-fetched to say that Erdogan will use the failed coup attempt as the pretext to push forward his own reactionary coup in the name of defending democracy.

Erdogan has long held ambitions of an “executive presidency.” This means fundamentally reforming Turkey’s constitution so that near-dictatorial powers are vested in the presidency. Under the current arrangement, the presidency is technically a ceremonial role with power primarily held by the Prime Minister – a position Erdogan occupied until 2014.

It is unclear how extensive the campaign of repression will be in the wake of the coup. The bourgeois political and business establishment in the country has unanimously condemned the attempted coup.

While the AKP currently lacks the votes in parliament to force through the constitutional changes it desires, that equation could change soon given that the whole bourgeois political establishment including the three main opposition parties, Kemalist CHP (Republican People’s Party), the right-wing MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) and Kurdish opposition party HDP have all expressed support for the AKP’s so-called democracy.

Anti-Kurdish Repression

Prior to the coup, the AKP was already whipping up popular sentiment against the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). Following his defeat in the June 7, 2015 general elections, to regain the AKP’s parliamentary majority Erdogan reignited the government’s brutal war against the oppressed Kurdish people concentrated in the country’s southeast.

The abrupt end of the peace process with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) was consistent with Erdogan’s record of reckless adventurism. The AKP government is a principal sponsor of the right-wing religious terrorist organizations that are leading the fight to overthrow the Ba’athist government led by President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. For years, it allowed IS and its predecessor organizations to operate supply lines into Syria from Turkey and recruit on Turkish territory in an almost open manner.

Last November, the Turkish military shot down a Russian plane that had at most violated Turkish air space for a few seconds while it was participating in the country’s mission to support the Syrian government. This provoked a profound diplomatic crisis that raised the specter of a catastrophic escalation. Now that Erdogan appears to be softening his position on Syria – making moves to normalize relations with Russia, for instance – the Turkish people are suffering from the inevitable blowback from his incredibly dangerous and foolhardy maneuvers for regional dominance.

It is crucially important to reject all U.S. attempts at intervention in Turkey – the “eastern flank” of NATO – where a succession of murderous CIA-backed coups have repressed the people’s aspirations for democracy and liberation for decades. Difficult days are ahead for all progressive people in Turkey. AKP will surely use the resulting conditions of the failed coup to its benefit to the fullest extent and will tighten its dictatorial grip on the whole country, escalating its already brutal repression of all progressive and leftist movements to a new level.

As tensions are inflamed and the situation becomes even more dangerous, the Party for Socialism and Liberation stands in solidarity with our comrades in Turkey fighting for an end to the domination of their country by right-wing, pro-imperialist forces – whether that is Erdogan and the AKP or another variant.