The Troubles of Turkey Edit
The nation of Turkey had always been rent by conflict, though those conflicts were not often open. By the time the twenty-first century began, those conflicts were slowly but surely coming to the fore. They began as national conflicts, when in 2006 the Kurdish minority in the east stepped up their long-dormant campaign for national autonomy. These campaigns were attacked with violent repression by the central government in Ankara, but these attacks only served to align more and more Kurds on the side of the autonomists. By 2008, the conflict had grown military, with the government and the Workers Party of Kurdistan exchanging blows in both Turkish and Iraqi Kurdistan.
The method other than violence that the Turkish elite tried in order to end the separatist movement involved an appeal to Islamic identity. Beginning in 2007, there began a long trend away from traditional laicism and towards an establishment of Islam as the official religion. The Justice and Development Party (the vehicle for this shift) was seldom able to gain a majority vote, but always managed to assemble a coalition of religious and far-right nationalist parties in order to maintain its government.
The third conflict to develop at about this time was the class conflict. The Communist Party of Turkey was re-formed in 2001, while the pre-existing Freedom and Solidarity Party continued to represent the far left in Parliament during the period between 2000 and 2007. However, the major crisis in the class conflict would not develop fully until 2010. The industrial towns of the Marmara region (Istanbul, Bursa, Corlu, and others) suffered because the Ankara government raised taxes and intensified conscription in order to meet the escalating needs of war against the Kurdish separatists. A series of wildcat strikes in Istanbul, protesting the conversion of several auto plants to tank-producing plants, and the sacking of many workers in the process, contributed to a depression that began in November of that year.
That depression spread to Turkey's customers in the Balkans, and initiated a round of EU tariffs against Turkish products and Turkey's expulsion from the EEC. During the years leading up to 2012, the organized Left began to see its opportunity and organized to meet the need. The Communist Party of Turkey, the Labor Party, and the Freedom and Solidarity Party merged to form the Communist Union of Turkey under the leadership of Yusuf Kemal. The more moderate parties, including the Democratic Left Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Social Democratic People's Party, and the Social Democracy Party formed the Turkish Social Democracy, and the Popular Front that the two groups forged won twenty percent of the seats in Parliament in the 2011 Special Elections, mostly on the votes of discontented western urbanites.
The Breakup of Turkey Edit
On January 4, 2012, the Republic of Kurdistan declared itself independent, uniting the Kurdish regions of Turkey and Iraq and precipitating the Oil Wars. Kurdistan had declared its intentions to nationalize its oil resources and use them for the benefit of its own people rather than export them. This angered countries like the United States and China, who depended on that oil, but pleased most of OPEC as well as Russia, who would benefit from the higher prices accruing to an already scarce commodity. The new Republic was invaded by the USA, who called upon Turkey to escalate its years-long war with the Kurds. Iran moved to counter the threat from the east, while Russia launched a pre-emptive nuclear attack on China and the United States, invading Manchuria in the process and ferrying troops into Turkey through its ally Azerbaijan.
While nuclear war enveloped the three main powers and the States of Europe began ruinous conflicts with each other, a few areas around the world erupted in revolt. One of these was western Turkey. Turkey was forced to strip its western areas bare and moved troops east to counter the Russians, giving the Communists and Socialists the opportunity to rise in revolt. The revolution began in the small Cannackle town of Gelibolu and spread into Thracia and down the Agean coast, through Izmir to Antalya. The new country, calling itself the Sovyet Cumhyriet Gelibolu (Soviet Republic of Gelibolu) after the birthplace of the revolution, followed Kurdistan's lead in May 2012.
The Early Years Edit
The new Soviet Republic was, surprisingly, overlooked for the most part, the capitalist world being fully engaged in struggle with itself. Greece made a few landings on the Aegean coast, but these were subject to constant partisan activity and were soon withdrawn due to the pressures of war with Bulgaria and Macedonia. The remnant of the Republic of Turkey was too fully engaged with Russia and Kurdistan to be much of a threat, and neither Israel nor Egypt possessed the naval strength to mount an invasion. As the year wore on and the ravages of nuclear war took their toll on the big powers, the Soviet Republic concentrated on rebuilding the military that had been withdrawn to the east. The infrastructure to support two Armies existed in Istanbul and Izmir, and they were organized from the workers enthusiastic to support the revolution. In Izmir these were mainly partisans who had resisted the Greek landings.
All over the Republic, workers began to run their plants themselves, electing and recalling managers from among their ranks whenever it seemed necessary. However, behind the scenes tensions remained high between the Communists (who had renamed themselves the Communist Party of Gelibolu) and the Socialists (the Gelibolu Social Democracy). The Socialists were more concerned, paradoxically, with preserving the gains that had already been won by the revolution by isolating the Soviet Republic from the rest of the world, and with minimizing those gains. The Communists wanted to maximize those gains and to export the revolution to nearby countries that seemed ripe for it. Since Parliament no longer existed, and since no Constitution had been drawn up, the two parties took to fighting one another in the streets. The Communists had, when the organization of the Army first began, moved to control the organization, and it served them well in defeating the Socialists, whose own militias were less well organized.
On October 20, 2012, the Constitution of the Soviet Republic was promulgated, forever enshrining workers' direct ownership of their workplaces, while at the same time allowing for a coherent national administration. Yusuf Kemal took the title "Yoldas" or "Comrade" and was elected the first Chairman of the Council of State. So far he has not been recalled.
Marmara Region Edit
The Marmara Region, as its name suggests, is dominated by the Sea of Marmara, as well as the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus which link it to the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The beaches along the Sea of Marmara, though clean and popular tourist destinations, are narrow and backed by cliffs and escarpments. Thrace, which lies entirely in this region, is well suited to agriculture. The region is the most densely populated in the Soviet Republic, containing as it does the cities of Istanbul and Bursa, as well as smaller towns such as Edirne and Corlu.
Aegean Region Edit
Though both regions combine industrial and agricultural production, the Aegean Region is more agricultural than is the Marmara Region. The climate is more Mediterranean; it is warmer and wetter, and the soil is much more fertile. Though mountains rise on the eastern border, for the most part the region is hilly or flat, the ancient mountains long ago eroded by the frequent rains.
For the most part, Sovyet Gelibolu consists of provinces in the old Turkish Marmara and Aegean Regions, though a few inland provinces from the Aegean Region are excepted and remain part of the Islamic Republic of Turkey. In addition, a few provinces from the Mediterranean Region are part of the Soviet Republic. A full list appears below:
Demographics & Religion Edit
Unsurprisingly, given its origins, most of Gelibolu's citizens are Turkish. The legacy of the Armenian Genocide and the expulsion of the Greeks following World War I is still visible, as hardly any of these are seen even in cosmopolitan Istanbul. What Western Europeans there were mostly fled back to their homelands in the early days of the revolution, as they were almost all businesspeople and would have suffered had they stayed.
Gelibolu has, however, been making efforts to diversify its population. The failed socialist revolutions in Haifa and Jerusalem sent Arabs and the descendents of Ashkinazes into southern Gelibolu, mostly by raft. These settled mainly in Antalya and other southeastern provinces, though a few have migrated farther north in search of work. All in all, about 95% of the population is still Turkish, with perhaps 2% being Bulgarian, 1% being Arab, 1% being Ashkinaze, and smaller populations representing the remaining 1%.
Gelibolu has built upon Turkey's long tradition of laicism, but has gone beyond it, actively encouraging agnosticism in the schools. This process is very slow to take effect, with perhaps only 30% of those under 19 actually taking lack of religion to heart. Islam remains popular, especially among older generations. It is the religion of 87% of the total population, with agnosticism representing 9%, Christianity of one form or another representing 2%, and Judaism representing 1%.