Coffee and light bulbs have disappeared from Turkish shops, but Soviet-made Kalashnikov rifles are readily available in the bazaars, and the cycle of violence that marks life in this country today already has produced several "liberated" towns in the hands of terrorist armies.
The police in many areas are openly split along political lines -- "right-wing" police forces and "left-wing" police forces.
If the frequent ideological violence were not enough, there are regular reports in eastern Turkey of armed clashes involving Kurdish secessionists. About 7 million Kurds live in eastern Turkey along the border with Iran, Iraq and Syria.
All this is taking place while the Turkish Army is enforcing martial law, another sign of Turkey's potential slide toward anarchy.
This strategically placed country, an important member of NATO, is lurching toward chaos. Its social fabric is in desperate need of repair, if repair is even possible.
Fiercely independent and a secular state since the revolution of Kemal Ataturk in 1923, Turkey today is on the verge of collapse, undermined by economic fragility and torn by political violence.
Official said that armed leftist groups are in control of the eastern town of Tunceli while rightist paramilitary forces are in charge of the city of Erzurum, a strategic provincial captial of 105,000 in Turkish Armenia.
Lawlessness and banditry also are reported on the rise throughout Turkey as factories stand idle because of oil shortages and one out of four workers is without a job.
The absence of any type of unemployment insurance or even temporary support for the jobless has put an enormous strain on the society.
Those who hold jobs and have seen their income steadily shrinking because of 70 percent inflation were dealt a devastating blow 10 days ago when Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel's government announced stringent belt-tightening measures, including price increases of from 50 to 300 percent on virtually all basic commodities.
So far, there have been few mass acts of civil disobedience. Friday, thousands of Istanbul residents who use ferry boats to reach work across the Bosporus refused to pay their fares.
But Turkish and Western officials say the situation is potentially explosive since widespread dissatisfaction could easily turn into riots and provoke a reluctant military to take over the government.
Demirel said he urgently needs Western finanical assistance to buy oil and get the economy moving. After two months in office, he has vowed to eliminate anarchy and restore government control in "liberated areas." His entire "time and energy" is devoted to the issues of economy and terrorism, he said, with the latter getting "70 percent" of his attention.
Although the government arrested more than a thousand suspected terrorists in January, the crackdown has yet to make an appreciable impact on the political violence.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been an average of six assassinations daily. In the 22 months before Demirel took power last November, 2,444 persons were killed and more than 10,000 others were injured in terrorist attacks.
Korkut Ozal, who served as interior minister in the previous Demirel government and who is intimately familiar with Turkey's security forces, said that "police have been divided into leftist and rightist groups, which makes it almost impossible to enforce the law."
Takeovers of cities and town, he said, became possible "because most policemen are taking sides with the anarchists."
He said that weapons made in the Soviet Bloc are coming to Turkey mainly from Bulgaria, but also from Syria and Lebanon. Other officials said the Palestine Liberation Organization is also involved in shipment of arms to Turkey.
While armed confrontations between urban underground Marxist groups and extreme right-wing nationalists have been gradually escalating over the past three years, the imposition of martial law came after violent clashes between members of the Alewi sect, the Turkish designation for the Shiite Moslem minority, and majority Sunni Molsems.
The immediate cause was the killing of 115 Alewis at Karamanmaras in December 1978. The Alewis were known to sympathize with leftist groups.
The sectarian tension coincided with the last days of the Iranian monarchy.
Watching the shah's fall, Turkish authorities feared that Iran's Shiite drive against secular authorities would spread across the border into Turkey.
But while there has been no evidence of Shiite agitation in Turkey for an Islamic republic, Iranian developments produced a more serious threat to Turkey in the form of Kurdish nationalism.
Both Turkish and Western sources report a vigorous revival of Kurdish nationalism in eastern Turkey and frequent armed clashes between Turkish forces and underground Kurdish rebel groups.
Western sources say it is impossible to assess the scope of these battles. However, the long-term danger is real. While there has been no discrimination against the Kurds, their language is not allowed official status in a country Ataturk created as one "in which Turks live and Turkish is spoken." Even the term Kurd is not allowed. The Kurds are called "mountain Turks."
The Turks, said a senior NATO diplomat, "look with horror at the prospect of Iran falling apart and an independent or autonomous Kurdistan coming into existence. If the Iranian Kurds obtained such status, Turkey's Kurds would be tempted to follow suit."
Turkish sources said that the Kurdish secessionists are divided into several groups and that pro-Moscow factions are the best organized and most numerous. They said the number of underground Marxist militants operating in urban centers is in the thousands or tens of thousands.
At least nine leftist groups are known to operate in Istanbul and Ankara, ranging from the Marxist-Leninist Propaganda Union to the Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union. Officials fear that these groups are in cooperation with the Moscow-oriented Kurdish groups.
Rightist armed groups are known to maintain close association with the ultra-right Nationalist Action Party.
Both sides carry out terrorist attacks against prominent figures ranging from businessmen and judges to newspaper editors, uncooperative police officials and the Americans in Turkey.
Both sides would like to provoke a military takeover, but for different reasons.
The rightists would like to see an authoritarian government in Ankara that would stamp out the left and the Kurdish problem. The leftists believe a military takeover would be a prelude to a Marxist revolution.
"This could lead to a terrible end," said columnist Hasan Camal, pointing out that the numbers of unemployed are swelling with young people who have no prospects of employment. This year 435,000 high school graduates have applied to universities but only 40,000 were accepted.
An Istanbul industrialist, Mehmet Mermerci, said "The middle class is being crushed by inflation, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and that's why I fear we are going to have a revolution in Turkey."