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Turkey and the Tyranny of Business


In the US and elsewhere, the government is often the “tyrant” of business. That’s why business so bitterly opposes government regulation when it cannot control the system itself (as it sometimes but by no means always does). And there are many clear examples of the government simply ordering even the most powerful corporations to do its bidding. To take one, after the overthrow of the Mossadegh regime in Iran, the US ordered the energy corporations to take over 40% of the former British concession, which they did not want to do for very good reasons of short term profit and advantage, but had to agree under threat. There are many other cases.

As for the Turkish state that developed out of the former Ottoman Empire after World War I, it has been extremely brutal towards “the people.” The biggest ethnic minority (the Kurds), for example, denied even existence after the earliest days (they were “mountain Turks”), and subjected to extreme repression to the present. Some of the worst human rights violations anywhere in the 1990s were the (US-backed) Turkish counterinsurgency operations against the Kurds. And Turks have suffered terribly too under regime repression. It’s also very misleading, to put it mildly, to say, for example, that horrendous torture of dissidents and denial of even the most elementary rights to Kurds (let alone what happened mainly in the 90s: destroying 3500 villages, devastating the countryside, killing tens of thousands, and creating probably millions of refugees) was following the orders of big business.

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