DHKC informationbureau Amsterdam
dhkc at ozgurluk.xs4all.nl
Fri Sep 6 22:07:00 MDT 1996
REPORT FROM A PARTICIPANT FROM THE FIRST GROUP IN THE HUNGER STRIKE
After our victory on MayDay this year, the enemies of the people in
Anatolia panicked and they started the attack against our Party-Front
and the working people of all nationalities. We are saying: "The
prisons are a mirror image of the country" and we clearly are showing
what this country looks like.
After years of service as chief of police, as murderer and member of
the contra-guerrilla, moving with oppression and persecution against
the people and the workers, this man was appointed as minister of
Justice. Shortly after he took over, the repression in the prisons
increased in a manner, resembling the events of the junta of September
12, 1980. Besides the ideological-political attacks, there were now
physical and psychological attacks as well. The enemy, unable to force
the prisoners in Erzurum and Diyarbakir on their knees with their
fascist guards and their dogs, started an attack which was primarily
aimed at forcing down the Free Prisoners and all the revolutionary
prisoners. The enemy, until then unable to force us down with numerous
methods, now aimed his new attack at our annihilation.
During the annihilation attack in the Buca prison, in September 1995,
three of our comrades fell, and during the attack in Umraniye in
January 1996, four comrades died. The manner we behaved, our
resistance and struggle against the attacks by the enemy, made them
realise: "They die, but they don't loose. They will never surrender".
The efforts of the enemy to force down the "Free Prisoners" are aimed
at paving the way for mass murders. This time the prison of Bayrampasa
was their target, and everything was directed against it, like the May
6 Decree, signed by the fascist ANAYOL-government and its fascist
minister of Justice, the chief of the contra-guerrilla, Mehmet
Agar. This decree was aimed at subduing the Free Prisoners, if need be
they would be annihilated!
After the Decree of May 6, the decrees of May 8 and 10 followed,
increasing the attack by the enemy. The state reckoned they could this
silence the prisoners and force them to capitulate, and thus the
people could be oppressed further, its system of exploitation could be
continued. They were alarmed because of MayDay.
What kind of outfit was this, the guerrilla clothing, the soldiers
pace, their flags and banners, their unconceding anger, people of all
ages, 7 to 70 years old, women, men, youngsters, elderly, 30.000
people from the Party-Front, yelling with one voice: "We want the
revolution, we will build the people's front, we will seize power". As
if it was June 15, 16, every minute... Everybody, young and old, this
time in opposition to the state. Furthermore they marched in the
pouring rain, prepared to sacrifice, to gain the MayDay-victory.
"All this is caused by the terrorists who rule Turkey from the
prisons", Tansu Ciller said. They should have been shown their place
in the shortest time. They say the bourgeois does not have any
historical conscience, and that's true. They didn't grasp the manifest
of our hunger strike till death in 1984, and they forgot. Nowadays
most of them can't even remember and that's why they can not
comprehend the dimension of our will to self-sacrifice and our
determination against their attacks. How could they? They do not
possess any values they could fight and die for. In their vocabulary
their is no place for love, bond, honour, dignity, justice and they
don't know expressions like "Prepared to die for a life in
brotherhood, without hesitation".
While they arm the youngsters of these peoples, living in poverty on
the land, with tremendous weapons, make then to individual murderers
and twist their conscience so they shed the blood of the workers, the
patriots, the Kurdish and the Turkish peoples, their own sprouts guard
the villas of their neighbours and their own families during their
military service. And in this way they erect a wall around themselves,
a wall made of the bodies from the children of the people. But we will
show them. The true history of country is the one of the oppressed,
it's the history of those who resist, who will not bend for cruelties,
the fighters. Because we, the Free Prisoners who went into battle,
prepared to pay with our own life, we will not leave the arena of the
battle before we are the victorious ones, not before we have forced
the enemy to his knees... Regretfully we have to show it these
bloodless historians one again, by writing history ourselves.
On May 20, we achieved agreement with the "Central Co-ordination
Committee of the Prisons". This is a committee for which existence we
have worked intensively, a committee to unite the strength of all
prisoners. The beginning of the hunger strike was announced while we
were in the innercourt of C-block. We made the announcement. Our
enemies were surprised. All prisons in the country were revolting, and
this time the prisoners were in agreement. It was, concerning the
timing, the topics, and participation the largest resistance ever
We were conscious of that too. We tried to take the smallest details
into consideration, so nothing - and I mean absolutely nothing - would
oppose our victory. This was primarily the task of us, the comrades of
the Party-Front, because we had organised the resistance, prepared it,
and so the responsibility was on our shoulders for the main part.
The attitude of the state towards our resistance was equal to that in
1984: ignorance, humiliation, alienating the meaning, threats. But in
practice they kept aloof, because we were at the centre of this
action. Because, when we, the Free Prisoners, enter a battlefield, the
state knows we will not leave it before we have won, before we have
forced the enemy to its knees, even if we would have to pay with our
When the unlimited hunger strike was already more than 33 days old,
the attacks by the bourgeois became more intense, and our action won
in quality. The hunger strike till death was on the agenda. The enemy
wanted to test our endurance and anger once again. The enemy demanded
sacrifices. And we were prepared to sacrifice, but we were also
determined to pay back the sacrifices we had to make in manifold. We
would shed the blood of those who shed our blood.
We discussed the hunger strike till death in our group. All were
ardent. I can not find the words to describe my own enthusiasm. During
the hunger strike till death of 1984, I was on the outside and with
every news of another death, it felt as if a part of my own body was
cut off. Life doesn't make sense anymore when you can not pay back
injustice, especially in the circumstances of those days, without
contacts and without the possibility to fight. To fall in the fight
against injustice, gives life a meaning.
Now, 12 years later, we enter a new process with our hunger strike,
and this time we hit the enemy in its weakest spot. And I am
participating in a historical action and I'm given the possibility to
be in the front row.
One does not live through a historical moment that much. When I was on
the outside, I proposed a hunger strike till death myself after the
march of the workers from Zonguldak to Ankara was beaten up in a
bloody manner. That way, so I believed, it was possible to prevent
further massacres against the workers and, simultaneously, lift them
to a higher level of the struggle. In those days the comrades said it
wasn't necessary, one should deal with the problem in another way. I
was ready! I was going into battle against this system, against the
murderers, the merchants in religion, with the aim of advancing the
process of participation by the people, so it could rise up. A
struggle to beat back attacks, to conquer positions. I would enter
this struggle to conquer, in the midst of this storm, and I was ready
to give my life for it. I as well was going to contribute at the
front. This was the least every Party-Front member should do.
Death here inside or on the outside - anywhere -, should be as easy
and uncomplicated for a fighter of the Party-Front as life itself,
like eating, drinking, throwing a bomb, firing a bullet of throwing a
The most important was that nobody would stop at such and such a day,
because that would strengthen the enemy. It was an action which was
aimed at the death from the outset and I had enough
self-confidence... As long as my consciousness would exist, nobody
could get me away from this or would be able to induce me to
stop. That would be another reason for my death. With this thought I
always put down the risk for me when I was taken in.
When the comrades first spoke to me, I was very proud. "Think it
over", they said. "That will not be necessary, I am ready." When they
asked me again the day after, I told them that I had nothing more to
add. Because I knew that this victory was necessary for us. No matter
whether through life of through our death, we will be immortal.
I must honestly confess, I was really happy when I learned that I was
allowed to be part of the first group. Some of my fellow prisoners
even told me that I had changed the way I walked: more proud!. Yes, it
was important to push back the enemy with such a honourable action, to
pave the way to victory. It was important for me personally as well to
be part of this struggle of will power.
The comrades who had not been chosen looked down and sad in a certain
way and this was partly painful for us. Together with Berdan, who
would fall later, we discussed this with them until we had solved the
conflict. And then there was the celebration where we received the red
ribbon. Under applause we went, one after one, to the rostrum where we
held our speeches. Then we went back to our seats, again under
applause. This celebration was the first concrete step which prepared
us for the hunger strike till death and we were very enthusiastic.
Room 144 had been prepared for the hunger strike till death, and
immediately after the celebration we moved in there. The first days we
spent with sending press statements and announcements by fax and
telegrams, and time passed very quick. The message of our hunger
strike till death had to reach everybody in our country and it had to
be spread everywhere. The first ten days were however no different
>from everyday life in prison, only our relations to each other
changed. We were more close, more sensible for each other, because in
the end we were in the hunger strike till death together and in a
short while we could loose each other.
In this action I really learned for the first time what will power
means. Some comrades began to vomit after the 47. day already. It must
have been mutual influence upon each other, because the comrades who
joined us for support after the 55. day told us they hadn't been
sick. Then I told myself I wouldn't vomit anymore. I had so on the
48. day, but then I didn't anymore till the 57. or 58. day. I could
overcome and prevent it with my own will! For me this was the first
step in strengthening my will.
Another decision I took was to stay upright till victory, or fall. I
wanted to get up without help until death, walk and control my
muscles, keeping my head up against the enemy, showing them the
strength of the DHKP-personalities. I wanted to keep oversight about
all the comrades were doing, how they were doing, what their spirit
was, their health, motivation and their consciousness. I tried to take
care of them all individually.
I must have overdone a bit, because one comrade, the speaker of the
group, chided me. Apparently I had been too loud somehow, I was the
speaker of the group, and in moments of excitement I didn't quite
control my voice. After this I tried to speak more softly, and I
always stepped close to my comrades to talk with them. Sometimes we
joked, sometimes we had very intensive talks. With comrades who showed
problems with their consciousness, I talked about mutual memories or
mutual friends. That felt good.
I followed the news on television and radio, and again and again I saw
how fascism exposed itself in Turkey, smeared itself, because of the
misleading attitude towards the hunger strike till death, and the
contradictory statements they made.
In total contrast to this was the attitude of our families and
relatives, the determined stand of our people. They engaged in a
unrelenting struggle and thus honoured our resistance. In this
struggle we saw what our slogan "The people will win!" means in
practice, and this has given us enormous strength.
Our resistance spread to all corners of the country. We often watched
the television news to follow how it spread, to hear about the results
of our resistance. Through the television news I heard that even in my
home town Kastamonu, where normally nothing happens, a solidarity
action had taken place for the Free Prisoners and that there had been
a confrontation with the police. I was very impressed.
The comrades of the groups who participated in the unlimited hunger
strike, who were in other blocks of the prison, came to visit us at
certain times. Every time they said they regretted they were not among
us. And with every visit they came with a flood of emotions to us. We
then tried to calm the situation by discussing our resistance, its
effects and the solidarity of our people.
It happened that some worried about the lies and denunciations which
were spread by television, what effect this would have. In long
discussions we had to explain to the comrades that we were fully aware
that we had to bring sacrifices in such an action, that it wasn't
about giving as few deaths as possible, all that matters is pushing
through our demands, victory. The enemy demanded sacrifices, and we
will not be scared to give them. This is a matter of honour to us.
And just in the moment when Sevket Kazan stated to the world on
television, "They will not die, they have cleared out the canteen
before and they took all the food to their cells", in that moment the
first prisoner fell in Umraniye, Aygun Ugur. It was like a explosion
in the midst of their lies and denunciations.
The situation of Berdan had become worse. Day after day he spoke,
until exhaustion. His efforts to pass on his knowledge and experience
to his comrades before he would die, which could be helpful to them in
the future, impressed me very much. I saw how he tried to oppress his
pains and how he kept going on. Then I started to write, I wanted to
keep a diary. And I wanted to write besides the diary as well. I shook
off the fatigue and I started to write.
In that night, when Berdan was very ill, I was constantly sweating,
breathing was difficult. As long as Berdan was talking, I was
suffering. I felt such a burden... Around him were the comrades, and I
was just opposite form him... Every second he was fading away more and
more in front of my eyes, his consciousness was fading. I was thinking
about how I could possibly help him, keep him alive, conscious a
little bit longer. He was suffering, he was biting his teeth. The
grinding of his teeth gave the impression that they were
breaking... Then his breathing relaxed and became lighter... He was
not breathing regularly, but I noticed it didn't hurt him anymore.
I was with him for two days without sleeping. When he relaxed, I
did. At night the comrades-nurses changed his bed. At a certain moment
I didn't feel well, breathing was becoming difficult again, and I laid
down in the bed of Ali Ekber and I immediately fell asleep. When I
woke up in the morning, there was a unusual silence in the ward. The
spokesperson must have noticed my asking looks, because he came to me
and he said: "At 8.32 o'clock we lost comrade Berdan, you know we
expected this any moment." "Yes", I said, "I know."
After our first martyr Aygun exploded like a ball of fire in the
enemy's face, our beloved Berdan died as he had lived. At many
commemorations and wakes he read poems. "A bullet from me, comrades, a
bullet from me in the consciousness of the enemy, in the consciousness
of fascism!" I must confess that we experienced the same ease when he
died, this ease which lies in this knowledge. Yes, comrade Berdan! We
can tell you we didn't allow sorrow into our cell when you fell!
Berdan was a comrade to me with whom I worked very closely in prison,
form whose writings I learned very much, whit whom I shared many of my
concerns and needs, with whom I dreamt together of a liberated
country, of a free future. Often we have admired the willingness to
sacrifice of our fighters, often we discussed the future course of the
struggle. Every co-operation with him was like a kind of education to
me. And at the same time there was always the possibility to discuss
concerns and problems, and I enjoyed to sit with him in the night,
The older prisoners began to prepare Berdan for the funeral
ceremony. His chin was lifted wit a ribbon and he was washed. They
were experienced and the prepared our beloved Berdan for the ceremony
in the tradition of our people.
Toward noon we were called down by the comrades. It was a
extraordinary sight: Berdan was on a red deathbed, covered with our
Red Front flag, covered with red flowers. With his red ribbon around
his head he lay there like a victor, a hero. Before I went down for
the ceremony, a comrade who couldn't walk anymore told me "Please kiss
Berdan one time for me, and one time for the other comrade who can no
longer see." I promised.
Before the ceremony began, I fulfilled his wish which delayed the
beginning a little bit. Then we all took our place and the ceremony
began. It was opened by our spokesperson. He stood up and went towards
Berdan, bent over respectfully and he kissed him on the forehead,
decorated with the red ribbon. He lifted his left fist and staid there
for a minute in honouring silence. Then he stepped towards Berdan
again and held a speech about his life. After this speech we all went
to him, one after one, kissed him on the head and we all stood there
for a minute as a guard of honour, the spokesperson at first, then us
form the first group, from the second and the third.
One month ago Berdan participated in a theatre play in commemoration
of the hunger strike till death of 1984, and he said:
"O, history, take him
take him and keep him well
such a death, you will not experience often
take good care of him."
Comrade Berdan, we will keep you, we will keep you in our hearth and
our mind - we will not forget you, we will not allow that you are
I continued the custom of writing. Because I had learned something
since the beginning of the action, which I regard as a turning point
in my life, and which has become an indispensable custom to
me. Controlling the will! Use it! Telling myself I almost play with my
will, my will power. I tell myself "I have to write, and then I really
write. "I will not lay down, I will get up myself", I tell myself, and
I get up myself. "I will not be sick, I will take care of my
comrades", I tell myself, and indeed, that's what I do. I will give
them strength, and take strength from them. I will be humorous and
determined as well. I will maintain this state, will not let my mind
fade until I fall. We have lively discussions, we tell jokes. A
spokesperson of a group once said: "Your brain should not be confused,
until you fall," and I will not allow my brain to be confused.
At the same day the third group went into the hunger strike till
death. We wish them success and we kissed the comrades.
The mourning march of Berdan through the long corridor was huge. All
the 600 penal prisoners came out of their cells and together with us
and the other allies they participated in the one minute of
silence. Then we loudly yelled our slogans. It was a moment of total
unity. I thought: "O, you enemies, just wait, we will tear down your
prisons as well. Our action, which is shaking up the world outside, is
unifying the prisoners inside as well. Just wait, you who have
incarcerated people like Bedrettin, the Pir Sultan, Seyd Riza, Nazim,
Mahir, Deniz, Ibo, Apo, Haydar..."
The 65. day came to an end, but it was the quiet before the storm.
After Berdan fell, comrade Ilginc lay down quietly in his bed, without
letting anybody know, closing his eyes, determined to fulfil his
task. One of the responsible comrades must have noticed something
anyway. He went towards him and asked: "How are you doing, Ilginc?" As
if he had just waited for that, he opened his eyes and said smiling:
"I'm well, there's nothing wrong", and he lay down again.
It was almost midnight, and the comrades-nurses wanted to change
Ilginc' bed. They carefully lifted him form his bed, which was in a
corner, a bit lower than the others, and they put him in a bed near
the window. He was just in his new bed, when it looked like he was
going to be sick. In a reflex he covered his mouth with his hand, he
didn't want to get dirty, sparing the comrades the trouble of cleaning
him. He was already in a state where he could no longer speak. But he
still understood what was being said. The spokesperson bent over and
said: "When you can hear me, squeeze my hand", and he reached his. And
how astonishing! He squeezed his hand.
We talked a lot to him, asked a lot. But he didn't answer
anymore. From the sounds which came from him made, we knew he wanted
to say something, but he couldn't say a word anymore. I especially
tried intensively to talk with him about events and persons, only the
two of us knew, but he couldn't speak a word anymore. Ilgins was a
doctor and he always had tried to pass on his professional knowledge
and his experiences, to make it comprehensible to others. He didn't
think about his own health, he cared about the health of his friends,
his comrades, his people, instead and he was always helpful whenever
it was possible. Everybody who knows him, know this side of him as
well. Even in the underground he managed to help his friends and solve
their health problems.
Ilginc, with his childlike-glistering eyes, his never ending smile,
was a comrade who felt strongly bound to our smiles, our Party virtues
and characteristics. He was prepared to die for the values we created
in the struggle. He was determined and calm, he lay down to die,
silent and proud, and he marched to follow Berdan into
immortality. Ilginc marched, and he marched and marched.
His ceremony was as proud and as marvellous as Berdan's. On that day
it was visiting day and all families and relatives just talked about
those who fell. Some of the families tried with sentimental advice:
"Do not lie down to die, you should live on and fight." But the
majority of the relatives asked us not to give up, asked us to carry
on to victory. This encouraged us, of course.
After we had said good-bye to Ilginc, we went back to our cells. We
again experienced this strong feeling of unity. All our martyrs have
the effect of unifying the people.
Later we witnessed the last desperate attempts of the government to
oppress our victory. Those, which we oppose with our determination,
will get caught. We are absolutely sure.
Even in the years of the military junta, where the generals with their
decorated shoulders over and over again guaranteed they were never
going to compromise with the prisoners, they were forced on their
knees by our comrades. Even then our comrades proved that a strong
revolutionary will is much stronger than those generals and their
tanks. Why shouldn't we be able to beat the bourgeois now? We will
deliver them such a blow, the whole world will hear the echo! We will
cause such a storm, the world will be shaken up.
He delivered this blow, our Yemo, the comrade of our Party-Front
Yemliha Kaya. He took care of the paper "Poor People's Power" (Yoksul
Halkin Gucu) after Riza Guneser fell, and he continued the paper. He
awakened hope among the people in the poor neighbourhoods, the hope of
liberation. He was the one who showed the people in the slums the
possibility for a liberated and free future. Every neighbourhood he
worked in, bears his marks. With his quiet, calm, modest and very
mature personality, and with his determination to always protect and
represent our culture and our moral values, he was a bearer of the
revolution and a representative of the people. Our comrade Yemo was
always quiet towards his friends, and mild, but for the enemy he was
hard and without compromise. No matter where: in a meeting, during a
manifestation, in the resistance, everywhere the voice of the "Poor
People's Power" could be heard.
In short, Yemo was an ardent enemy of the contra-guerrilla state. When
he had the red ribbon around his head, he got up, his left fist shot
up, and he showed his determination to fight. What else could have
given him this joy, this smile until death, if not the conviction of
the revolution, the firm belief in socialism and the bond with the
party and the people?
This fist, raised with such an enthusiasm, was the call itself. "Come,
come with me. I will take you to the land of honour, to the land of
brotherhood, to the land of freedom". Who would not go with him? Who
wouldn't follow this call?
The ceremony for Yemo was apparently exactly like the ones for Berdan
and Ilginc. That day the delegations of artists and writers were in
the prison. Zaoar Kemal, Zulfu Livaneli, Esber Zagmurdereli, lawyers
>from the Contemporary Lawyers Association CHD and from the IHD, the
human rights association, and the negotiating representative from the
RP, sent by the government. Some of them apparently stood silent for a
minute at Yemo's death bed, albeit because they had no other
choice. Tears were running from Esber Zagmurdereli's blind eyes, and
Zaoar Kemal suddenly lets his revolutionary feelings, suppressed for
40 years, go free. It looks like he wants to criticise himself in
front of these people who fought with all their power against the
bourgeois, without any self-interest, for the liberation of their
comrades and their people. for the victory of the revolution and
socialism. And he made promises as well, which he possibly can't keep
up to in the future. Apparently he was very impressed by the whole
situation and he felt inclined to make these promises: "From now on I
will only live for you, for the revolution." Apparently it were our
Yemo and our other martyrs who made him say such words. Our martyrs
and their determination.
Nevertheless, now I feel as if my heart is broken. I'm not in a very
good condition today, honestly, my situation is quite bad. I reproach
myself because I didn't participate in Yemo's ceremony. "Why? Why?, I
ask over and over again. I'm angry about my weakening will. I'm
spitting blood, I'm feeling sick, and I'm very weak. I tried to get
up, but it felt like I was going to fall when I tried. It will surely
be over in four or five hours. But I should have tried anyway, I
should have forced myself to take part in the ceremony. Yemo was one
of my dearest comrades. I could have kissed him on his head for a last
time, could have stood at his death bed for in minute in silence. He
would surely have come if it would have been the other way around. I'm
reproaching myself heavily while I write these sentences. The first
hours I spent reproaching myself and I cried, without showing the
others. How could I justify myself for Huseyin, Yemo's brother, when I
couldn't even justify it for myself? The visit of my mother, the next
day, relieved my pain a bit. We sent my mother, who had done almost
nothing for us until now, and two other families to Yemo's family to
support them. Sent' is too much , because my mother had somehow
changed. She immediately agreed to go and she tried to convince the
other family, who didn't want to go, to come with them. This changed
attitude of my family partly relieved my pain. But I will never forget
Yemo. Before he fell, he had two prayer strings, gliding through his
fingers. One of them is now kept in the museum, and he gave the second
one to Ozkan. Ozkan told me, when Yemo fell: "It's better you keep the
string." I took it and now I will take care of it... Our films,
pictures, our determined march into death, our natural way, our
beliefs, our first and last words, our Berdan, Ilginc, Yemo, Idil,
Mujdat, they must reach our people. They must intrude into their
homes, when they are having tea, into the factories, to the people at
the machines, into the villages and the fields, into the schools and
college rooms. Our martyrs must wave over the land. They will wait for
the day when they, hand in hand with all the fallen comrades, will
celebrate victory, together with the living, singing and dancing. Our
belief in this is as firm as our belief in victory. And we will not
shame them... We wait for this day, just as we have waited for the
69. day, for the night when we experienced the excitement of having
forced the "powerful", "uncompromising" state on his knees, for the
eyes of the whole world. We heard the clear, excited, happy voice:
"Comrades, we have won!". and we thought about the martyrs who
achieved this victory. We tried to hold back our tears and we yelled:
"Honour to our prisoners, congratulations to all for our victory!"
Like we shared this happiness, they will wait... On this great day
we'll be together, comrades, whether we fall or not!
And then Berdan will come to us, surprised, form the main square,
raising his weapon with joy, he will fire his bullets into the air,
shouting with excitement:
"And a bullet from me, comrade, a bullet for victory!
O, saving fire!
Let spring come.
Let those be happy, who have been crying until now.
And a bullet from me, comrade, a bullet from me..."
His voice will reach all peoples who will experience victory... And at
the same time we will hear the joyful laughing of Ilginc, accompanying
the bullets... And Yemo will raise his fist, his face will be lit with
his smile, the smile of the victors. His clenched fist will be up,
until Berdan has fired all his bullets... While Ayce Idil prepares a
speech for all those on the main square, our Mujdat, always silent,
will take care of the last preparations to announce this fabulous,
immaculate victory to all the people in the world. They will be with
us with their joy and excitement, their determination and will power,
which they proofed when they fell. We will all be together again.
We greet and honour our martyrs!
Congratulations for our victory!
>From Turkey we shook the world, and we will shake it up again!
Long live our chairman Dursun Karatas!
Long live the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front!
Mehmet Akdemir - participant in the first group of the hunger strike
For news and information
about the classwar in Turkey and Kurdistan
email: dhkc at ozgurluk.xs4all.nl
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