SENZA CENSURA n.7
Italy, february 2002
Some days after the assault against Instanbul’s quarter called Armutlu, on 13th november, “Senza Censura” met some comrades belonging to DHKC in the role of delegation of the TAYAD, on the occasion of a pu blic initiative organized by the Committee against Repression in Tuscany on 21st november. During last months TAYAD made an international appeal to go at Armutlu, where some prisoners and their relatives were collecting around resistance houses, symbolizing the struggle against turkish fascist state’s re pression. The quarter ,which saw young, artist and intellectual people’s mobilization,has been first threatened, and after italian delegation’s departure, it has been assaulted by the army during the funeral procession of a resi stant, dead after three hundred days of Death Fast.
Resistance houses have been destroyed, and it has been established a commissariat surrounded by two thousands special force policemen; they put also a turkish flag in the quarter’s centre as strong provocation.
Which are organizations engaged with hunger strike, and how they place into marxist-leninist thought ?
DHKC, TKP(M-L), and TKIP are fully engaged with hunger strike.
The first two organizations still have a guerrilla activity inside the country. They think that armed struggle has got a strategic utility from a revolutionary and power conquest point of view, so this kind of struggle hasgot to be continued.
There are organizations coming from maoist movement, but they are very divided, and today they are not re presentative.There was Turkey Popular Liberation Army born after 1968 movement; then it became a pro-al banian organization (Popular Liberation), but first they hadn’t a party, that they formed afterwards; after they have been in prison and they have been fought in their internal struggles after the 80’s council, they begun to think an operaist and clandestine party to be necessary. They have not an alternative project, they don’t propose radical changes.
When middle class at power is in a very advanced putrefaction state, and when crisis’conditions are extreme ly deep with good conditions (from a revolutionary point of view), that kind of politic line is almost criminal. There is another organization,Freedom and Solidarity Party, which is very enlarged by mass media, and it is formed by various enviromentalist, trotskijst, feminist, and pacifist organizations; they make colour, but for turkish society they are not representative.There are many tendences which have left off revolutionary class struggle as, for example, some guevarist organizations called Revolutionary Path and the revisionist Communist Party, now united with Freedom and Solidarity Party.On the one hand this is negative, because many re volutionary forces turned for the worse in a moment of hard social tension; on the other hand there is a positive element which has produced a “natural selection”, because on class struggle’s ground the most sincere for ces remained, as DHKC, TKP (M-L), while the TKIP shares in the struggle, even if it is a very small organi zation.
What kind of meaning turkish comrades give to the concept of internationalism, and what solidarity do they think to be the most important for them?
Death Fast is directed to turkish and all western countries’ left because through it they think to be possible to show that, fighting and sacrificing one’s own life, something is obtainable, even if in hard conditions like fa scism.
This is an absolute truth for many revolutionaries in the world, but we can show it to all the people. Their or ganization’s first feature is to be born after Berlin Wall’s falling , so in a period of great demoralization from the point of view of a revolutionary transformation; during that period in their country the most of organiza tions left armed struggle and begun to hold a dialogue with imperialism and to put themselves under its wings, so they started with actions like the hunger strike to break this period of “agreement”, showing that there is a difficult condition because of fascism revival , and that it is possible to fight even sacrificing one’s own life for revolutionary reasons. In the past through this kind of struggle they obtained some achievements; in particular the first was in 1984, when revolutionary prisoners carried out a strong struggle, not consenting to uniforms introduction inside prisons or to hair cutting. The hunger strike went on 65 days (during which four comrades died), and it brought to these measures cancellation, even in the strongest situation caused by the coup d’etat in 1980.
Even in 1996 there was a hunger strike like this to block the transfer into the first F-type cell built in that pe riod; after 69 days of strike and twelve people’s death, that prison was closed. Instead this last struggle is very long because it started thirteen months ago, but it is still resisting despite many ways the state tried to crush it: massacres, comrades now disabled because of the forced feed torture, as saults to prisons, the dead of hunger strike ( at the beginning they were 99 and today there are more than 170 prisoners engaged in this kind of struggle).
These prisoner comrades’ role has got an inestimable value for the international revolutionary movement, and it has been shown by many delegations which have gone to pay tribute to them, also for the moral exam ple of great resolution. To our comrades it is of interest a political solidarity and the comprehension of what is going on, even by other situations like the italian one, making an international pression; the achievement on F-type prisons is important for all class struggle ‘s development in Turkey and not only, because today around this problem they are playing an important game, and because F-type prisons ‘ closing is considered by union struggles as a must (many trade unionists are imprisoned into these cells). Politic prisoners are more than 10,000, a highest number than Colombia or Philippines; maybe only in Palestine there is a similar quantity of prisoners.
Is Tayad also engaged with kurdish prisoners? And these last are engaged with hunger strike?
PKK has never given support to this action, the only time it took part it was to sabotage the struggle clearly.
There was never a common experience of resistance. During military junta in 1980 there were resistance actions by parts of PKK, but they never developed the idea, as organization, that, when we are imprisoned, the most important thing is what happens outside and not what happens inside, so they developed this line for which they wait passively for freedom or for some change. When hunger strike started there were great social tensions, so it was clear that police and army were ready to answer. PKK made the hunger strike for fifteen days, and after they stopped it and the turkish Justice Minister used this thing saying :”these are really reasonable prisoners”.
They never took part nor to the hunger strike neither to any action of phisical resistance against prisons buil ding barricades, in particular even in 1996 some islamic prisoners gave them solidarity and took part to these barricades against the assault, and they celebrated those who were victims. Instead sometimes some PKK’s prisoners spoke about food or what they ate; this shows how there have been moments of no solidarity between the two parts in prison.
In september 1999 inside Ankara prison there was a great tension because into some sleeping-cells foreseen for fifty or sixty people, there were 120 people, so some DHKC comrades decided to break the prison’s wall and to take possession of the near sleeping-cell, opening negotiations with prison institutions to use the other space and to live better.
When the army was going to intervene, PKK’s spokesman told to the general:” we don’t have to do anything with this action”; so the army evacuated PKK’s militants while other organizations sustained repression and massacre with many prisoners’ killing. There are images of the last assault in december 2000 during which some PKK’s prisoners, inside other prisons not involved in the massacre, have given solidarity to policemen and army. This is a path they chose to be more pleasant to Turkey ,to open a possible negotiation about some elements for their claims (for example Ocalan). They never gave solidarity to turkish political prisoners, while these are carrying out the hunger strike without any difference of the belonging organization, so even to wards kurdish prisoners.
There is the fraction called PKK- Fighters for the Revolutionary line, which did not agree to this behaviour.
Two of them took part to resistance and died during the assault on december 2000. The PKK does not acknowledge them as its members. In december 1996 a declaration between PKK and DHKC has been signed, and it proposed a common line; but this seems to be opposite with what told since now. The aim was to unite the struggle at the base. The PKK accepted, but when it was the moment to be concrete, it refused any kind of proposal and they also made alliances with some reformist unions to leave out some comrades of them belonging to unions; for juvenile movements, for trade unions and for guerrilla groups it meant to do common actions and to have common aims. For example there was an agreement between PKK and DHKC concerning unions’ actions to support each other candidacy without distinction, but there is an example of a trade unionist of them who was made disappear by guerrilla group. Some trade unionists took a union’s truck to find him,but they have been expelled. A member of Death Squadrons declared that they abducted and killed this comrade, and threw him away in a dump; after some facts like this, at the end of 1997 the DHKC closed this common protocol, which was only formal but it had not a practical consequence.
For example in Germany it is simple to be controlled and tailed because we are outlaw, with reference to the law 129/A (inspired by the fascist code “Rocco”), which regards directly our organization too; the article 129/B is being planned, to make this repressive law more severe. This kind of laws’ reinforcement is in progress even elsewhere, especially after the atmosphere they created after 11th september. Control systems have doubled, for example a female comrade of us imprisoned in Belgium because clandestine, has been accused without evidence, of being part of the command which attacked one of Turkey’s magnates.
She has been threatened to be extradited in Turkey where it is provided the death sentence, that is not possible to do in an european country. After the hunger strike in prison, she obtained the house arrest, but it seems that on 13th september Belgium has expressed the opinion to have the power to judge her for what she did in Turkey; so it has been put on Nato’s article number 5 and she is going to be judged in Belgium. This is not a realistic fact and it also seems that Belgian magistracy wants to acquire as proof of her supposed guilt the dossier provided by Turkey, by a fascist state and thanks to interrogations extorted under torture, with false elements .
Before 11th september we could not think about something like this. On this ground even turkish diplomacy is moving to the highest level.
For example recently there has been a meeting in Belgium of european justice ministers (Eurojust)at which even the turkish minister has taken part, even if not being part of E.U.; the theme of the meeting was the traf fic in organs, but beyond this, the minister brought a dossier to ask the closing of Bruxelles informations office of DHKC because he thinks that from this office starts the direction of the hunger strike and the claim of armed actions and of some kamikaze actions against some commissariats.
The last example is when recently we have gone with our delegation of comrades in Belgium to bring solida rity to the trial started on 1st october, we have been stopped at Bruxelles’ airport and we have been kept by police for many hours, it has been called the group of Antiterrorism Interforces and the Italian seat of DIGOS ( in Italy a branch of the normal police force) and when we arrived in Italy we have been kept at Pisa for all the night. This is an international criminalization action because our european offices make try only to sensitize and we think that revolutionary actions have to be done inside our country, so in other countries we try to be le gal. The DHKC is not into the new list of organizations to put outlaw.
Turkey’s role into present international situation.
Turkey has got an essential role for the control of contradictions in middle-east. Italy gave Turkey many founds, because it is facing a great economic crisis since time; and after 11th september they have been givenalso 10 thousands of dollars because Turkey undertook to have an active role in the war in Afghanistan. Certainly that money cannot stop the crisis, which is so deep because of a very high monetary depreciation, so there is not any foreigner investment which can change the situation.
Turkey’s role was ever strong into Caucasian area’s conflicts with its army directly involved; Turkey was also the base of leaving for the airforce which bombed Irak in 1991; and the great role that Turkey has got for international diplomacy, to mediate with Central Asia countries, enemies of imperialism. On 29th october, the anniversary of Turkish Republic, George Bush acknowledged this role saying:”We never had so much help by Turkey as in these hard moments”. USA are inspired by what themselves wanted to create in Turkey, that is special military courts actually acti ve since time. Turkey’s role of pinchbeck has been clear even when Bush made a blunder talking about the starting of a new crusade, and he has been defended everywhere.
Another example is that turkish economy minister is the number 2 of the World Bank.
Is there inside prison a solidarity relationship between common and politic prisoners?
There was a great solidarity, but since when there are F-type cells, this is prevented physically.
In 1996 during the revolt against the first prison with F-type cells, many common prisoners united with hunger strike, that is an unusual thing for this kind of struggle; even five died during this action killed by Mafia, which controlled those temporary prisons instituted before F-type. In Turkey because of the extreme crisis, there is a great increasing of criminality, in particular of microcriminality.
There are about 60 thousands common prisoners in this moment,because many must find different ways to eat. This is nothing in comparison with the criminality of banks which closed and went abroad leaving on the rocks thousands of people, but this is an aspect with what they ever played.
As the prisonal system is full of social contradictions, fascists organize , where are not revolutionary organi zations, hierarchist relationships, an institution of corporals who manage life in prisons, torture to extort money; so in this sense for them it is a great ground of intervention. There are boys who had 7 years for stealing some tipical turkish cakes. People is very hungry against institutions. Some youngs which became politicized in prison have been arre sted again by police.
The first thing we want to do is to break silence, we want that turkish authorities hear you and that your voice arrives even to prisoners. And the choice what to do is yours. For example on 19th december it will be passed one year since the massacre after the starting of hunger strike, and if there are mobilizations, this would be an important element of extension of this struggle, and they would arrive also to prisonersinto F-type (about 6000 people); communist people are able to find the way to communicate inside these prisons, for example Morse alphabet through walls.
In other countries there have been different forms of solidarity, as murals in Belfast with the image of a tur kish female comrade belonging to the old guard, who was in jail yet for ten years, before the hunger strike. There have been also actions of solidarity by Basques and by GRAPO’s spanish militants, which have started the hunger strike recently.In Greece many anarchist people in have done the same thing. But the greatest solidarity has come from Ireland, which delegations have gone to visit prisoners doing the hunger strike.
The front is divided into two branches which one is totally clandestine and it practises the armed struggle, while the other unites mass organizations (juvenile, of lawyers, cultural...) and some levels of half-clandesti ne structures inside trade unions. Instead the party supervises everything.
There are different groups with diversified sectors, as for example the organization working to european im migration or to prisoners’ conditions, so it is called Class and Nationalities Front; of class because it unites all elements of work, of class sector in Turkey; but also of nationalities because there are some specific sectors (Turkey is multiethnical: Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Caucasian,...).