The oligarchy strove with all its strength to ensure our annihilation. But the Front could not be annihilated, it could not be extinguished.
They could not destroy it. Our struggle continues. The development of the Front goes on.
We experienced July 12, then April 16 and 17 and the betrayal by the putsch. But our decisiveness and our conviction were stronger than the enemy’s massacres.
In the midst of the enemy’s war of annihilation, we became a party. As the DHKP-C, we have continued our march towards revolution.
After July 12, we said, “For us there is no death.”
“For us there is no death”, because the Front is the hope for liberation of all the peoples of Turkey. They could not kill hope.
“For us there is no death”, because the Front is the people. They could not kill the people.
“For us there is no death”, because the Front is connected to the people and the revolution, it is firm in its aim of taking power and persistent in seeking revolution.
We did not die. We became hope itself. We are fighting.
July 12, 1991 is a highly important and significant story, not just from the viewpoint of the Party-Front, but from the viewpoint of the class struggle in Turkey, the people and the entire left. While July 12 was being experienced, the left could not see this and did not want to understand it. Only some of them could grasp this significance much later, at least in part.
July 12 was a turning point which clearly showed that the war against the people would be continued in an even more unscrupulous and effective way. The policy was continued since that time without changes, give or take a few minor adjustments to form and a few deviations from its course.
Neither the strength of the oligarchy’s terror at this time, nor the moves against Devrimci Sol were the consequences of transitory policies. It was an error of the left to assume that this terror would not be stepped up and was merely the result of a war between Devrimci Sol and the oligarchy.
This “observation” is a mixture of error and truth. Whoever thought that the attacks are merely directed against Devrimci Sol, that executions and disappearances would simply have Devrimci Sol as a target were in error. Sooner or later all the opposition would be targetted by this terror from the oligarchy. But without a doubt Devrimci Sol was the first target. The actual target of the policy of annihilation was those who developed the liberation struggle of the people.
The oligarchy continued its policy persistently and still pursues it. But it could not achieve its desired aim. It could not wipe out the organisation physically nor create a second Kizildere (On March 30, 1972 at Kizildere in Turkey’s Black Sea Region, the leading cadres of the THKP-C, still a new organisation at the time, were killed in an operation by the state. Devrimci Sol continued the tradition of the THKP-C). Nevertheless, that was precisely the aim of the operations on July 12, 1991 and the follow-up operations on April 16-17, 1992. But from the organisational point of view the Party-Front had transcended the state it was in at the time of Kizildere, had put down broader and deeper roots and created traditions. The oligarchy could not make a new dent in our struggle and our organisation.
The attacks against Devrimci Sol and the DHKP-C were of a kind made against no other revolutionary movement in Turkey. These attacks were so heavy that even sympathisers were targetted by the policy of annihilation. This policy is still continuing with undiminished intensity. The latest four people to disappear are a clear and most recent example of that. Nevertheless, the stability of the struggle has been maintained. This stability is produced by the ideological strength of the Party-Front and the courage and decisiveness of its fighters.
Why is the oligarchy targetting us in particular?
If we look back, the reasons for the mission undertaken on July 12 become clearer.
All over the world, the 1990s have been marked by a wave of counterrevolution and the bourgeoisie’s shouts of triumph. Everything was turned into its opposite. The counterrevolutions experienced in the socialist countries, above all the Soviet Union, made imperialism’s greed develop at an exponential rate. This could be perceived in imperialism’s attacks on both the material and the ideological plane. While the demagogy of “socialism is dead” was being propagated, imperialism dreamed of creating a rose garden of the “New World Order” and “globalisation” in which no thorns would mar its pleasures.
The way was clear for imperialism to wheel and deal to its heart’s content after the socialist system collapsed. US imperialism succeeded in whipping into line anything that opposed its “New World Order”. To secure its own interests, it engaged in various forms of intervention, either military or covert. All its operations embarked on in the name of peace and human rights ended in bloodshed and massacre.
The influence of the winds of counterrevolution also affected many countries and revolutionary organisations. While concepts like “armed struggle” and “revolution” were pilloried, peacemongering, compromise and the laying down of arms grew apace. Many organisations parted with their arms and sat down at the “negotiating table” with imperialism and its collaborators. “Solutions” began to be sought from imperialism. On the other hand, in Turkey the struggle continued even at the height of imperialism’s ideological and material attacks, and this struggle made use of guns and bullets. Anger, oppression and injustice all exploded in the face of the enemy. Those who said “We will shake the world once again from Turkey” continued the struggle for power. They flung down a challenge to imperialism and its collaborators.
While imperialism was at its most triumphalist, we did not hesitate in declaring our own upsurge and spreading the struggle. We laid claim to revolution and the drive to take power. Wherever the imperialist bandits made a move, we confronted them. In the days when everything was collapsing and nobody could tell good from bad any more, we bound ourselves more firmly to Marxism-Leninism and socialism. We were alone but we based ourselves on no force other than our people. On the side of the enemy, the spokesmen of the oligarchy like Özal (a prime minister in Turkey following the military coup) lamented that “in Turkey, the world is starting to collapse”. This was the truth, for when the world was upside down, we called for revolution, marched along our independent road and when everybody talked of the death of socialism we held its banner high.
It was not the case at this point in our upsurge that we had innumerable possibilities and mountains of weaponry. The power of our upsurge came far more from belief in revolution, courage and a refusal to be daunted, decisiveness, readiness to sacrifice oneself and the will to take power, and loyalty to socialism. Our upsurge was not a matter of armed struggle before everything else. What gave our upsurge its real content was our adherence to socialism and persistent attachment to revolution. This made our blows to imperialism and our claim that “we will shake the world once again from Turkey” into more than mere words. In this claim there lay, on the one hand, the continuation of the armed struggle with the aim of taking power, and on the other hand the courage and self-sacrifice of the people’s liberation fighters. In this claim lay our martyrs who did not hesitate to look death in the face.
Our growing struggle, our actions aimed at implementing people’s justice caused fear among the enemy and stirred up great sympathy among the masses of people. The oligarchy’s spokesmen said, “Forget about the East (ie. Kurdistan), watch out for Istanbul” and spoke of the “problems in the East and Istanbul”.
In the upsurge period, while we were fighting toe to toe with the oligarchy and punishing those who for years had been committing crimes, we also took a position against the banditry and brutality of imperialism. At a point when the world was silent and inactive against the tonnes of bombs imperialism rained on the people of Iraq to safeguard its own interests, we gave US imperialism an answer fired from our own gun barrels. Many organisations of national and class struggle orientation did nothing about imperialism’s attacks. While the left in our country developed theories about “a plague on both their houses” and failed to take a serious position, we took our place in the struggle alongside the peoples of the Middle East. We threw down a challenge to imperialism. Those who fell on July 12 played an active role in this. They showed both friend and foe that one cannot be a revolutionary and cannot implement a revolution at all if one is not fighting against imperialism. So we were constantly exposed to blows from imperialism. To smash us and wipe us out, plans dreamt up by the CIA and Pentagon were set in motion. Before Bush came to Turkey after the Gulf War to collect the harvest won from the massacre of the peoples of the Middle East, we experienced July 12. The struggle was experienced in every aspect. On the one side was imperialism and the oligarchy, and on the other side us…
All the overt and covert methods of the Susurluk state came out into the open. Those who took no position at the time against the executions saw the real intentions of the state only after Susurluk happened. Already back then, Mehmet Agar stood at the head of the operations and executions. But the left and the democratic circles were very far from being able to understand this. They continued to see the executions as only being a problem for Devrimci Sol and did not see the Susurluk state for what it was. There were even those who secretly applauded the executions. Because they did not want their own status quo to be disturbed by the armed struggle. Years later they were to talk of Susurluk and discover Agar, but at the time they said nothing. Because at the time they all maintained a guilty silence. Those who did not take sides later tried to ascribe a positive role to Özal and the ANAP (Motherland Party) of Mesut Yilmaz. Their names also appeared in the state’s show of strength on July 12, 1991. Those who try to present Özal as an angel no longer remember anything – it is as if they were not in Turkey at the time.
We know the Susurluk state since that time. We were at war with it. Because we knew the enemy we were confronting, we neither practiced a wrong policy nor caved in to the terror practiced by the enemy. In a phase in which revolutionary values were starting to degenerate, July 12 showed the conviction and willingness to die in the name of the revolution and the organisation’s ties to the people. At a time when the cry was ringing out that “no ideology is worth dying for”, in Balmucu, Dikiltas, Nisantasi and Yeni Levent in the heart of Istanbul the calls “Long live an independent Turkey”, “Long live socialism” and “Long live Devrimci Sol” were heard. On this honourable page in the history of revolution was written the struggle against imperialism, the refusal to surrender and the allegiance to socialism and people’s liberation. And July 12 was a battle cry summoning all peoples to fight imperialism and its collaborators. The events of July 12 were not only felt in our own land but influenced the whole world.
“We don’t doubt that our struggle is one in which the struggles of the oppressed peoples of the world against imperialism and its collaborators have become a hearth for revolution, that each of our comrades who waved the banner of Marxism-Leninism in this fight will always be honoured in the memory of the oppressed peoples and the proletariat… It is our mission, consciously or unconsciously, with every bullet, slogan or thought to strengthen the hope for liberation in the hearts of people living in misery in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The fighters on July 12 acted with this awareness, for this reason when they were surrounded, they did not hesitate to challenge death and its bullets and bombs with revolutionary slogans and marches, and they became immortal. While in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe the statues of Lenin and Stalin were destroyed and the flags of socialism torn down, its institutions destroyed and the gains it made erased one after the other, the Marxist-Leninist conduct of the fighters on July 12 had the significance of a revolutionary barricade erected against this wave of treason…”
The high price we paid on July 12 neither lessened nor dulled our desire and determination to fight. Our urge to fight for power has only grown. With a tradition of dying but not surrendering, furthering the development of our struggle, the rulers’ fear has continued. Despite all losses the struggle went forward without interruption. The places of our martyrs on July 12 were not left empty. Because we were successful in that, we were able to turn July 12 into a political victory because they did not surrender, held their heads high and resisted, remaining loyal to the cause.
Seven years have passed since then. Imperialism’s triumph has passed. The balloons of the “New World Order”, “neoliberalism” and “globalisation” burst rather quickly. The cries of victory have given way to fear of “crisis” and “rebellions”. On the other hand, in all corners of the world growing liberation struggles of the peoples cannot be extinguished despite rightist pressures, the founding of “new left” parties and the laying down of weapons. Today, from the Middle East to Latin America, from the Far East to Africa, wars of liberation are going on. Imperialism sees itself confronted by what it itself has called the “age of uprisings” in the 21st century.
What has been shown to be true is the line of the Front. It is the legends of the resistance wagd by fighters of the Front who wrote dignified pages in the book of history.
From then until today we go along our path with the traditions we have created, embracing our strategy for struggle and also the weapon of the Party. Imperialism and its collaborators who thought they could annihilate us with massacres, can no longer conceal their fear. From the beginning, the DHKP-C has been on the list of “dangerous organisations” published every year by the USA. Before every July 12, the USA issues a warning to its citizens in Turkey. Security measures are stepped up, circulars sent round. Our particular revolutionary claim to July 12 forces the USA and the oligarchy to take special precautions.
The inheritance passed on from July 12 shows us the way. Our claim to “shake the world once again from Turkey” is continued with the strength we derive from our ideology, our people and July 12. There are many winds blowing over the world and our country, but not one has diverted us from our path of seizing power.
Once, after July 12, we promised that “the banner of socialism they carried will be held even higher by those who take their places and our struggle against imperialism and the oligarchy will be continued.” Today, as promised, we are continuing the struggle, with our feet on the soil of our country, our eyes directed to the goal of power. Again we are challenging imperialism and the oligarchy. Shaking the world with our revolution, we are carrying the tradition of invincibility of July 12 to victory. The struggle by the Front’s fighters will shake the peoples of the entire world, strengthen the hope for liberation of the peoples and be a source of the coming dawn for them.
All the policies of annihilation and extermination of imperialism and its collaborators are doomed to failure. No force, no obstacle will stop the stream carrying our people’s liberation fighters towards revolution.
Source: Halk icin Kurtulus(Liberation for the People) magazine, No 89, July 11, 1998.