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(en) Turkey, More information about prisons and about the problems of anarchist prisoners in Turkey

From worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 4 Jan 2001 12:59:33 -0500 (EST)


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With the bloddy intervention of Turkish state against hunger-striker
and death-faster socialist prisoners, the problems of anarchist
prisoners in Turkish jails is now on the agenda of (international)
anarchist circles with the affect of a letter coming from a Turkish 
anarchist prisoner published on A-infos. Firstly, I wanna give some general 
info about hunger-strikers and F-type prison project. (By the way the number 
of prisoners killed by state is -for today- known as 30! and the death-fast 
is GOING ON with 395 prisoners; during state intervention it was cancelled 
for a few days)

HUNGER STRIKES AND F-TYPE PRISON PROJECT

The hunger-strike and death-fasting is leaded by DHKP-C and TKP/ML
TIKKO. DHKP-C (Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front; former
Revolutionary Left) is some kind of a stalinist organization, aims a
kind of "public revolution" leaded by a leader party (for them their
"own" party of course). It's mostly organized in some squatter areas
of Istanbul and in some rural areas of Anatolia where generally
Alevit people live. It's leaded by Dursun Karataş living abroad (in
Europe, probably somewhere in Belgium or France etc.). and TKP/ML
TIKKO (Turkish Communist Party - Marxist Leninist - Turkish Labor
Farmer Liberation Army) is a kind of maoist organization; mostly
active in Dersim (Tunceli) and in some squatter areas. It's also supported 
by most of the leftist legal-illegal parties (socialist and communist 
parties and groups).

Hunger-stike actions are basicly aiming to stop F type prison project (cell 
type prisons) which were planned for mainly socialist prisoners from 
"illegal" groups and parties. It has been put on the agenda by Turkish 
government for pacification of the individual in prison by the way of 
atomization, elimination of the prisoner from social relationships which is 
a basic right of a human-being and by this way taking the right of rioting. 
But a few weeks ago Turkish state organized a violent operation and put most 
of the political prisoners in F-type prisons although they've announced that 
F-type project was postponed! It costed 32 death (30 prisoner + 2 guardian); 
some of the prisoners died because they've burned themselves to protest the 
operation, some killed during the operation (others tortured and injured), 
according to the prisoners even one of the guardians was killed by the other 
guardians. The resistance is now continuing in F-type prisons.

ANARCHISTS AND ANARCHIST PRISONERS

Turkish anarchists are also in the struggle against F-type prison from the 
beginning (since summer 2000). In Ankara anarchists are actively attending 
protests against F-type project, distributing leaflets in various places 
(5000 in just 10 days), fighting against police in demonstrations, going 
symbolical hunger-stikes. In Istanbul Anarchist Platform had its own 
declaration against F-type project etc. These are all being done to support 
the hunger-strikers and to stop F-type project; not because anarchists 
"think" similiarly with leftist (socialist and communists Marxists), it's 
done because what the state is doing means MORE repression against its 
citizens, against every kind of "state enemies".

On the other hand, how about anarchist prisoners in prisons?
There are some people who call themselves "anarchists" in Turkish prisons 
but most of them are former socialists (Marxists) who are in jail because of 
their existence (some may even not be a "member") in struggle as member of 
"illegal" socialist groups. Most of them changed their ideas (ideological 
views) in prison and later defined themselves as "anarchists". Some come 
from PKK, MLKP, MLSPB, TIKKO, DHKP-C, Ala-Rızgari etc. They have different 
reasons for changing their views; most of them think that their group (and 
it's ideology) is quite authotarian or even dictatorial, some (this is less 
but also a reality) even MAY call insincerely themselves "anarchists" to 
liberate themselves from their groups authority. I donot mean that they are 
not "anarchists" I rather mean we usually did not them before they were in 
jail. They reach us either by writing to anarchist/libertarian papers, 
periodicals or by friends in jails etc. Their common problem is 
"loneliness"; they donot have any friends or comrades, or groups to "defend" 
and take care of them. Besides they are exposed to repression coming not 
only from the state (prison authority) but also from socialist prisoners. 
The best thing to do must be collecting some of them in one place (same 
dormitory) but this is quite impossible because of some other problems which 
can not be solved easily; they are from different prisons and have to travel 
quite long to attend their trials or have ideological or some personal 
problems among themselves etc. BUT I think they need help from anarchists 
not only they ARE anarchists but also for humanitarian reasons. The number 
of them? I really do not know; but for today there are about 11,000 
political prisoners in Turkish prisons (most of them from PKK) and perhaps a 
little of them may define themselves as anarchists, anti-authotarian (or 
anti-militarist). As I remember, in 1997 we had a list of 13-14 prisoners 
with addresses from different jails (some 2-3 of them were staying 
together). Their attitude about hunger-strike and death-fasting? As I know 
none of them is in death-fasting but some may be in hunger-strike for 
support.

They are exposed to repression coming from (their former or some other) 
socialist groups. The reasons are sometimes quite grotesque; listening rock 
music, having long hair, making fun of "people's believes" and some more 
"politic" like talking negatively about socialist groups etc. (I've read 
these in a letter sent by an anarchist prisoner about 3-4 years ago) They 
are punished by socialists (punishments like being not allowed to leave 
their bed etc.). If they donot obey; they may even meet with violence; I 
heard 2 of them were beaten in one event, and one other was killed in 1998 
September. There must be lots of such events we did never hear. In 1998 
September, TIKKO killed Mehmet Cakar in Eskisehir Prison with the claim that 
he was an "informer". He was in connection with a comrade (an anarchist) 
from an independent periodical (Arkabahçe) from Ankara, and he was 
supporting "anti-militarist" struggle, sending anti-militarist cartoons etc. 
But we didnot know him before he were in jail; he had told his wife that he 
knew they'll kill him (a month before his death). He was in jail because of 
being Izmir representative of "legal" Partizan periodical (supports TIKKO). 
At that period TIKKO was in an act of "cleaning" (!) and in a year killed 
about 10-12 former militants with the claim of either being a spy or an 
informer.

CONCLUSION

I wrote all these not for preventing anarchists from the struggle against 
F-type prison project or even not for preventing them to go solidarity with 
some leftists (socialist or communist groups). I feel really sorry (like my 
other Turkish comrades) that the problems of anarchist prisoners in Turkish 
jails would be stated more clearly, generally and widely at this period; at 
a period while anti F-type struggle is still on the agenda, at a period 
state kills tens of rioting prisoners whatever they fight for. This must not 
"divide" the struggle; as Nikos Maziotis says "Solidarity is...is 
unconditional for all those who fight anywhere and with any means against 
the existent social and political order." I think that's why we as 
anarchists support anti F-type struggle not because we are in "political 
cooperation" with them. I donot call them "comrades" as Nikos does but 
support their struggle for humanitarian and anti-statist reasons. 
Unfortunately I never saw any article or news about Nikos' trial in any 
socialist or communist periodical in Turkey at anytime but greek anarchists 
are really sincere while they are supporting the resistance of socialist 
prisoners in here. Anyway, I would prefer to talk about all these in a more 
"silent" period but the realities do sometimes appear in times you may never 
guess before.

For a life without prisons!

For "solidarity without borders"!


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