Thu Feb 22, 2024
February 22, 2024

Türkiye: The murderers tell us that they’re here

By Kırmızı Gazete

Hrant Dink (Armenian socialist writer) was taken from us 17 years ago in a political murder perpetrated by Ogün Samast, and the forces who ordered the murder have not been revealed. On November 15, 2023, the state and its judiciary decided to release the murderer Samast for good behavior.

Parallel to the economic and political crises, regional wars and rising nationalism in the world, the political regime in Turkey is becoming more nationalist and authoritarian. The fact that the ruling power (and/or its partner forces), which cannot even tolerate following the bourgeois constitution, released Samast after releasing other criminal organization leaders with nationalist ties or linked to state security units, indicates that they are preparing for a more repressive period. By protecting their murderers, their “good boys”, they want to intimidate and frighten the forces in favor of labor and democracy and drive them into despair, because they know well that fascist forces grow out of despair.

Özgür Özel, the new CHP (Republican Party) leader, said, “A deep power is putting us all in our place. They are saying to all the opposition in Turkey: ‘We are here,’ they are saying, ‘When the day comes, we will exonerate our assassins.'” His statement shows that the bourgeois opposition is also taking this message seriously.

Country of the Unsolved Political Murder

Political murders and repression are certainly not new in Turkey. In the past, we know that periods of increased political assassination usually opened the door to bloodier times. In this sense, Turkey is a “lost highway” where political murders, conspiracy trials, memorandums and coups keep dissidents in a constant state of deja vu. It is important to commemorate some of these murders in order to understand the tradition of political murders in the Turkish state and, of course, to understand why a right-wing killer like Ogün Samast was released.

We begin, as the Republic celebrates its centennial, with the murder of 15 revolutionaries from the Communist Party of Turkey, including Mustafa Suphi, off the coast of Trabzon on January 28, 1921, was one of the first political murders on the “lost highway.”

Writer, poet and intellectual Sabahattin Ali was murdered on April 2, 1948 by Ali Ertekin, a former military officer who was thought to be a member of the National Intelligence Organization.

Turan Emeksiz was killed by an unknown police bullet in the garden of Istanbul University on April 28, 1960.

Youth leader Mustafa Tayan Özgür was killed by an unknown assailant on September 23, 1969 in Istanbul.

On May 1, 1977, 34 people were killed in an attack on a rally in Taksim Square. The perpetrators of the CIA-organized massacre were not revealed.

On March 16, 1978, Istanbul University students were attacked with bombs and guns. Seven leftist students lost their lives. 

On March 24, 1978, prosecutor Doğan Oz was murdered in front of his house.  Oz was preparing a report on CIA-linked fascist organizations within the state.

Journalist Abdi İpekçi was shot by Mehmet Ali Ağca in front of his house on February 1, 1979. Oral Celik was with him. Abdullah Catlı was among the instigators of the incident.  Ağca, who was caught, escaped from the military prison unharmed. Although Abdullah Catlı was caught twice, he was released within two days. He continued to commit political murders on the “lost highway” until his death in the Susurluk accident.

Kemal Türkler, the struggling trade unionist and founding president of DİSK (Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Trade Union), was murdered in front of his home on July 22, 1980.

In the period leading up to the September 12, 1980 military coup, thousands of political murders were committed. Many people lost their lives in unsolved murders. There were massacres against Alevis and socialists in Maras and Corum.

After September 12, Political Murders Continue

After the coup, especially in the 90s, there were over a thousand unsolved murders of socialists and Kurds.

Academician and MP Muammer Aksoy was murdered in front of his house on January 31, 1990.

On March 7, 1990, journalist Çetin Emeç was murdered in front of his home.

Writer and theologian Turan Dursun was murdered on September 4, 1990.

Professor Bahriye Ucok was attacked with a bomb at her home on October 6, 1990.

On July 5, 1991, HEP Diyarbakır Provincial Chairman Vedat Aydin was kidnapped.  His body was found two days later.

Writer and intellectual Musa Anter was executed on September 20, 1992. The perpetrator, Mahmut Uslu, nicknamed Yeşil, stayed in the area but was never found.

Journalist Uğur Mumcu was murdered in front of his home in a bomb attack on January 24, 1993 while working on the “police-mafia-politics” triangle.

Gendarmerie General Commander Esref Bitlis died in a suspicious helicopter crash on February 17, 1993. On November 4, 1993, the body of Cem Ersever, the officer who made confessions after the death of General Esref Bitlis, was found in Ankara with his hands tied.

On July 2, 1993, 33 intellectuals, writers, and artists were burned to death in Sivas in a planned provocation.

On March 2, 1995, a café belonging to Alevis in the Gazi neighborhood was attacked. As a result of the clashes, 22 people lost their lives. On March 21, revolutionary trade unionist Hasan Ocak was detained and disappeared. His family and comrades could not retrieve Hasan Ocak’s body despite their intensive efforts.

Academic and writer Ahmet Taner Kışlalı was killed in a bomb attack on October 21, 1999.

On December 18, 2002, writer Necip Hablemetlioğlu was murdered in front of his home.

Armenian, socialist journalist and human rights defender Hrant Dink was murdered by Ogün Samast in front of the newspaper office on January 19, 2007.

On June 5, 2015, four people were killed in a bomb attack on an HDP rally. Bomb attacks against Kurdish and socialist rallies started with this attack.

On July 20, 2015, a bomb attack on socialist youth took place in Suruç. 33 socialist revolutionary youth lost their lives.

On July 22, 2015, 2 police officers were suspiciously killed in Ceylanpınar police housing.

On October 10, 2015, the Ankara Train Station massacre took place. 109 revolutionaries, socialists and patriots lost their lives in the bomb attack.

On November 28, 2015, lawyer, human right defender and intellectual Tahir Elci was killed in Diyarbakır.

This dark process continued until the failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The Working Class Can Change This Darkness

We should not forget this political tradition that has suppressed its opponents with blood and violence since its foundation. We must know that those who would have condemned us to this “lost highway” were not defeated even after September 12. And those forces are releasing their “good boys” one by one as they prepare for new bloody plans. The enemy and its destructive plans must be taken seriously.

Although objections are raised from time to time, the Turkish bourgeoisie has neither the power nor the intention to challenge these dark forces… They are not even able to defend the laws they have made. A permanent change in the regime is not possible without the action and mobilization of the working class.

A revolution led by the working class is needed to defeat the dark regime and to win even just political democracy. A united working class front, organized and fighting against democratic and economic problems, can stop these destructive fascist forces and reopen the way for a new revolutionary upsurge.

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