Imperialist installations and institutions were always targets of actions by Devrimci Sol, in support of national movements, wars for liberation by oppressed peoples and revolutionary movements and in opposition to imperialist attacks. Campaigns were started to reveal the existence of imperialist institutions and enterprises in our land and expose their activities directed against our people, and also to awaken anti-imperialist consciousness. As an expression of the struggle of Devrimci Sol against the loss of anti-imperialist consciousness among the people, and as a contribution towards the people accepting the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples as their own struggle, Devrimci Sol stepped up its international solidarity and never missed an opportunity to organise action involving revolutionary violence as well as meetings expressing protest and solidarity.
In the period before 1980, these were some of the anti-imperialist actions carried out on the basis of international solidarity:
In April 1977, a meeting was organised in protest at the presence of the Chilean ship Esmeralda in the harbour of Istanbul. The Esmeralda had been used as a torture centre in the bloody coup by Pinochet fascism. The Chilean consulate was partially destroyed.
In July 1977, a protest meeting against the Dutch state was organised outside the Dutch consulate in Istanbul, as a reaction to the cruel massacre of Moluccan guerrillas.
In July 1977, the people of West Sahara were bombarded by the French imperialists. A demonstration took place outside the French consulate to protest the behaviour of the French. The demonstration showed that the people of West Sahara and their leadership in the Polisario Front had friends on their side.
In August 1977, the fascist Shah’s regime was accused of oppression and terror against the people of Iran. An effigy of the Shah was burned outside the Iranian consulate. The Iranian airline office in Harbiye was destroyed.
In September 1977, a campaign against NATO manoeuvres and US warships in the Bosphorus was started. Various meetings and events took place with the help of methods such as leafleting and putting up posters and stickers. US servicemen who made an excursion on land were beaten up and thrown back into the sea. Also in
September 1977, the Macka Mining faculty was occupied by Devrimci Genclik (Revolutionary Youth), who used the occasion to curse US imperialism.
After the storming of the Lufthansa jet in Mogadishu in November 1977 by German imperialists who killed two Palestinian hijackers, the German culture centre in Istanbul was destroyed.
In November 1978, Belgium attacked the guerrillas of Katanga. A protest took place outside the Belgian consulate in Istanbul which resulted in damage to the building.
In November 1978 there was a protest against the Camp David agreement, which was an attack on the Palestinian people by the imperialists and Zionists. In this way we expressed our solidarity with the Palestinian people. On the same day there were protests outside the consulates of the USA, Israel and Egypt, and the flags of these countries were burned. An attempt was made to storm the US consulate
In December 1978, the USA increased the activity of its bases, which had for a time been limited in scope. Turkey withdrew its troops from these bases and the USA installed its technical equipment and servicemen in these bases. So there were protests outside the US airline office, the streets were blocked with burning tyres, the office was pelted with stones and finally it was bombed. The cultural attaché’s car was stopped and destroyed with bombs. A protest took place outside the Pan Am office in Izmir, as a result of which the office was destroyed.
In August 1979 the most significant anti-imperialist actions took place under a banner which said, “For a completely independent Turkey which is not ruled by the IMF”. Through slogans on the walls, banners with or without bombs attached and illegal meetings, the IMF and the oligarchy’s true nature was exposed. In many cities and districts in which Devrimci Sol was organised, thousands of people took part in the actions. The produce of Unilever and Migros was collectivised, to show the people who was responsible for the black market, which was created by the IMF and the monopoly capitalists. These products were brought to shantytown areas and distributed among the people. In Istanbul alone, 10 businesses belonging to the monopoly capitalists were raided. Many militants of Devrimci Sol raided these businesses and destroyed them without injuring the employees, and they hung banners from the windows and bombed the buildings.A few days before the military coup of September 12, 1980, Devrimci Sol in Thrace started a campaign against NATO manoeuvres (Anvil Express-80) Tens of thousands of leaflets were distributed and meetings organised. On September 11, the streets were full of banners, with or without bombs attached, attacking NATO.
ATTITUDE TO PREDATORY IMPERIALISM
On August 16, Devrimci Sol Gücler (Revolutionary Left Forces) assembled in Ankara’s Ulus Cankiri Street. They blocked off both sides of the street with burning barricades and began to demonstrate, clutching banners in their hands. In the action, an American flag and an effigy of President Bush were burned.
On August 17, there was a demonstration outside the British consulate in Istanbul, in which 500 people took part.
On September 16 a demonstration was organised in Eminonü/Istanbul along with other left-wing forces, in which a mourning wreath was laid outside the US consulate.
Students of IYÖ-DER (Istanbul Student Association) carried out an action on board public transport. Instead of tickets, they put pieces of paper on which the words “No the war and inflation” were printed into the ticket cancelling machines . They also glued posters with anti-imperialist slogans onto the windows of public transport.
In September, 2,000 workers led by civil servants from BEM-DER and KAMSER held a rally outside the town hall in Istanbul, in which an American flag was burned. Moreover, revolutionary workers organised a demonstration in Merter under the motto “No to imperialist war”.
On September 23, Devrimci Sol Gücler held a rally against the imperialist war, attended by 1,500 people.
On October 8, the Committee against the Imperialist War was officially founded at a press conference. This committee organised many anti-imperialist actions.
On October 11, fires were started in 21 city districts as a protest against the imperialist war.
On October 15, 500 people protested the arrival of the US warship Saratoga in Turkish waters by going on hunger strike. Members of the revolutionary workers’ movement Isci Hareketi9Workers Movement) issued statements in their workplaces, and US flags were burned.
On October 16, members of the committee “No to Imperialist War” went into the areas where US soldiers could be found. They punished American soldiers by beating them up.
On October 17 and 18, “pirate demonstrations” were carried out in many districts of Istanbul. Fires were started and an American flag and effigy of President Bush were burnt. This was a protest against the arrival of the Saratoga, imperialist war and price rises. On the same day, the DEMKAD women’s movement held a protest against imperialism, war and price rises while holding empty saucepans in their hands. Thousands of women took part in this action. This was one of the biggest mass actions in
Istanbul. In order to protest against imperialism and war, revolutionary workers in the IETT transport services held a two-day hunger strike.
On February 3, at 19:00 lights were turned off for 15 minutes as a protest against the imperialist war. In many working-class areas, the level of participation in this action was very high. These mass actions were accompanied by actions involving revolutionary violence. The targets of our armed actions were: In Istanbul: the MTMC outpost in Istanbul/Maslak, a logistical connection to the US base at Incirlik; the Turkish-American Board office in Istanbul/ Tahtakale; the American shipping firm ABS in Kabatas; the Euro-Asiatic listening post at Tesvikiye (linked to the CIA); the insurance firm Commercial Union in Mecidiyekoy; the Italian consulate in Beyoglu.
In Adana: the American consulate and the Turkish-American Association.
In Ankara: the building containing the French, Saudi Arabian, Japanese, Canadian and Austrian airline companies.
In Izmir: the American TUSLOG enterprise and the US-French culture centre.
Devrimci Sol in February 1991 punished the CIA agent Bobbie Eugene Mozelle with death in the base at Incirlik, considering him to be an accomplice in the US imperialist massacres of the Iraqi peoples. The NATO buildings in the Izmir districts of Sirinyer and Bayrakli were bombed.
In Izmir, Lt-Col Alvin Macke, responsible for setting up bases in Turkey from which the peoples of the Middle East were massacred was attacked but escaped with serious injuries
Before Özal’s trip to the USA, the US businessman for VINNEL-BROWN ROOT(VBR) and TUSLOG, John Gandy, who was also a NATO courier, was punished with death. After that, VBR stopped doing business with Turkey. Further blows by Devrimci Sol against imperialist targets were organised. As a protest against the arrival of US Secretary of State James Baker in Turkey, various US enterprises in Ankara, Adana, Izmir and Istanbul were bombed by Devrimci Sol. 300,000 leaflets were distributed throughout the country. The Interbank and the American IMB in Ankara, the Turkish-American culture centre and the American Life insurance firm in Adana, the American Autocare service and General Motors in Izmir, the Bank of Boston, SKY International-INT-BSS, the Voice of America, the Pepsi Cola administration building, the Cinga-SA insurance firm and General Motors in Istanbul were all bombed. In the protest actions against James Baker’s visit to Turkey, Kahraman Altun, a member of the armed units of Devrimci Sol, fell. As a protest against the setting up of Cekic Guc (Rapid Reaction Troops), the deputy chairman of Commercial Union, a henchman of the imperialist monopolies named André Blake was punished.
LESSONS OF THE ACTIONS
There is an intense anti-imperialist mood among the left in Turkey as a reaction to the latest developments in northern Iraq. This is a positive development. There is a second variation on this theme which should not be neglected. Everyone endorses criticisms of Talabani and Barzani, saying that the liberation of the Kurdish people is only possible by opposing imperialism. Now, aren’t
suggestions made to other people valid for ourselves as well? And if they are, what is our own practice
like? Is it enough to be against imperialism and imperialist approaches in theory? All this was not adequately discussed. Some had discovered their “small deficiencies”. This matter could not be passed over in a hasty manner, though. Anti-imperialism is not so much flawed among the left in Turkey as completely absent. Our series “Action teaches us lessons” contains several actions. These were chosen out of hundreds. From the many lessons that can be drawn from the actions, we will only talk about one here. This is the anti-imperialist side of our revolution and the anti-imperialist tradition of struggle which is not independent from it.
From the point of view of the developments and discussions mentioned here, it is a history of actions which is rich in lessons for us. It does not matter in which part of the world. Yes, that was said. Because that is our feeling. Wherever it happened, every imperialist attack received an appropriate response from us. This was how we conceived of the situation. From the USA to the French imperialists, from the Belgian, Dutch and British imperialists right up to German imperialism, all the imperialists of the world have felt their share of the anger of the people of Turkey, under the leadership of Devrimci Sol and the DHKP-C. This anti-imperialist attitude was not just solidarity with the peoples and nations of the world. It did not just have an internationalist dimension. An anti-imperialist attitude was directly connected with our revolution and a matter of liberating our peoples. Since our appearance in the arena of political struggle, this uninterrupted and intensive work is aresult of this approach. It is naturally no coincidence that the imperialists in their “terror” reports have classified Devrimci Sol and, since March 30, 1994 the DHKP-C as “one of the most dangerous organisations”. The actions we have listed here are concerned with two periods: between 1977 and 1980 and the Gulf Crisis of 1990 and 1991. The first represented our international dimension in a selective manner, and the second showed the unity of the anti-imperialist struggle with the struggle in our land. The essential points of these anti-imperialist actions are the following:
To adopt an attitude irrespective of where one is in the world;
To react immediately;
To target the imperialists in the form of campaigns;
To expose the concealed occupation by the imperialists and their allies;
To understand actions as a part of our military line and the organising of our cadres, and to connect them with our current aims and targets to form a coherent whole;
To move against the imperialists, whether with our fighters or with the masses we mobilise;
In the struggle against imperialism, these actions are a deeply rooted inheritance and a tradition. Both in a technical sense and in their political dimensions they are a history full of lessons for us. And they are not simply a matter of history, today…