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(en) YEARLY REPORT ON ANARCHISM IN TURKEY - 2001

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 3 Jan 2002 14:52:55 -0500 (EST)


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YEARLY REPORT ON ANARCHISM IN TURKEY - 2001*

In Turkey, year 2001 passed with the deep impacts of economic crisis that 
was declared to be the greatest since World War II. In the anarchist arena, 
unfortunately on the same days with the emerging of crisis in Turkish 
economy (on February) an attack to an anarchist comrade by a group of 
"so-called" anarchists caused a kind of "division" in the movement. But in 
general anarchism went on spreading all over the country and for the first 
time in their seventeen years of "official" history, a group of Turkish 
anarchists are arrested for the claim of "being members of an illegal 
organization".

GROUPS & ACTIONS

In 2001, Turkish anarchists organized in lots of different autonomous groups 
and around some campaigns.

Except the "isolated group" Anarchist Platform which organized few own
demonstrations in Istanbul, anarchists from Istanbul formed a new group 
named TSK-I "Initiative Against Domination and War-Istanbul". This group 
includes members from both IAMI (Istanbul Anti-Militarist Initiative) and 
kara MecmuA involvers with also individual participants from Istanbul. 
Mayday, Genova events etc. were among those demos that Istanbul anarchists 
participated. TSK-I also succeeded to organize a self-performance demo and 
few seminars against the war. Anti-MERNIS
campaign (a campaign against national identity card number system-MERNIS) 
was one of those initiatives started by the same group.

Ankara anarchists have their own place named Kara Kalem Sanat Atölyesi 
"Black Pencil Art Workshop" in downtown since August 2001. More than dealing 
only with so-called "art", it is also an active meeting place for organizing 
every kind of activity. Last year they would manage to organize an 
anti-militarist festival and a press
meeting for objectors. A number of fanzines published by various members of 
Ankara anarchist circle (including AN kara fanzin). They've appeared in lots 
of demos, in some carrying their own flags and placards. During Genova 
events, after the murdering of Carlo was heard, bank ATMs and walls of 
buildings in downtown met with anarchists.

In Izmir, which is the third biggest city of Turkey, there are two main 
groups. One of them is IAF (Izmir Anarchist Federation); in fact they are 
just an autonomous group of young anarchists-not a "federation" in the real 
meaning of the word. They have published their own fanzine and attended some 
local demos. This group has some relations with "isolated" Anarchist 
Platform. There are some other anarchists who
had worked with Genova initiative and appeared on Mayday; they used the name 
of Kara Gündem "Black Agenda". ISKD (Izmir War Resisters Association) must 
also be mentioned here as an important anti-militarist organization. This 
group organized an international meeting named "Anti-Militarism and Feminism 
in Turkey" on September. It does also include a women group named 
"Anti-Militarist Feminists".

This year various autonomous groups from different cities emerged. Anarchist 
Collective from Istanbul dissolved itself after succeeding in a few actions 
and publishing some materials. Some groups dared to declare themselves as 
"anarchist autonomous groups" (Ushak and Samsun) and some as local 
anarchists initiatives (in Antalya, Mersin etc.). This year on Mayday, 
Antalya met with anarchists carrying black fags. In other cities anarchists 
act either as "friend" groups or smaller
initiatives.

"ANARCHIST" PLATFORM AND ISOLATION POLICY

On 10 of February, a group of 5-6 people attacked a well-known anarchist and 
conscientious objector grotesquely during a meeting about non-violent 
methods of struggle in Istanbul. The attack against him was probably because 
of his critics about the attackers but as it would be expected the attackers 
claimed him in other "personal" means. The incident was immediately 
condemned by most of the anarchist, anti-militarist and libertarian groups 
all around the country including MecmuA, IAMI, ISKD, Kaos GL, and Ankara 
Anarchists etc. The related group Anarchist Platform including AGF 
(Anarchist Youth Federation), SED (Social Ecological Transformation) and 
their periodical Efendizler (Masterless) did not make any statement about 
the subject, instead they preferred to claim the "other" groups and 
individuals for their isolation policy. As it was not the first not the last 
violent incident
against anarchists organized by this group, "isolation" policy seems to 
continue until they have gave up their treatments and violent acts against 
anarchists.

ANTI-MILITARISM

Anti-militarist activities were mostly located in three big cities Istanbul, 
Ankara and Izmir. For the day of Conscientious Objection on 15th May various 
activities were organized; mainly in Ankara and also two other cities. In 
Ankara, three day long anti-militarist festival included a seminar, an inner 
discussion, film exhibitions, and a
concert (although it did not last long because of the rain). This was 
organized by mostly anarchists from Ankara and few anti-militarists.

On 27th of October, two people from Ankara declared their conscientious 
objection against the military service. For some people their declarations 
were more than conscientious, "total" objection as they rejected any 
possible corporation with the state and the army. One of the objectors was a 
gay from Kaos GL group. For the first time as a gay "objector" he and his 
group stated the oppression of the state and
army on gays. On the same day Ankara Anarchists organized an illegal demo 
against the ongoing war and in order to support the objectors. Similar 
demonstrations and actions were organized by anarchists in various cities 
and universities in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir mostly against the war in 
Afghanistan.

On 27-30 September in Izmir-Sıgacik, with the initiative of ISKD group an 
international meeting on anti-militarism, feminism and libertarian 
activities was organized. About 80 people attended; 30 of whom came from 
abroad. The issues were based on anti-militarism, pacifist methods of 
struggle, feminism, ecologism and anarchism. Although some disagreements 
among anarchists and some anti-militarists appeared, it must be regarded as 
a successful meeting.

PRISONS AND ANARCHISTS

On 1st of December, two anarchists were taken by the police in Ushak (a city 
in Mid-West Anatolia) with the claim of distributing "illegal" leaflets in a 
meeting organized by trade-unions. Later on, 3 other were taken, and all (5) 
of them were arrested with the claim of "being members of an illegal 
organization" namely Ushak Anarchist Autonom. In fact they had nothing to do 
except distributing their own materials/leaflets. But for this terrorist 
state, it may be enough to judge them with the claim of organizing in such a 
way "to destroy or to divide" it, although they did not even find any (in 
their own "words") "violent" or "terrorist" clues related with the group. 
Their trail will be held in Izmir DGM (SSC-State Security Court) and 
probably they'll be sent to Nazilli Prison. At the moment they are in Ushak 
Prison; each of them was put into different cells, which is not "usual". As 
it was heard they were badly beaten and tortured by Ushak police and refused 
the lawyer offered by the state. This is the first time that Turkish 
anarchists will be judged by Turkish State as
an "illegal organization" and this trail will show the attitude of the state 
against anarchists and anarchist organizations.

The last months of 2000 and the most of 2001 passed with the hunger strikes' 
of revolutionary leftist prisoners against F type prisons and the terror of 
Turkish state against them. Some anarchist groups and individuals supported 
the riots of political prisoners without being a tool for the leftist 
groups' policies.

Yet, among the prisoners there are only five people who were arrested 
because of anarchist activities; most of the others naming themselves 
"anarchists" are former members of leftist organizations. Among these people 
there are some who are suffering from not only the oppression of the state 
and prison authorities but also the oppression of the leftists. This may 
even sometimes end up with death just like it
happened three years ago in Bursa jail in suspicious murder of an anti-
authoritarian/anti-militarist prisoner Mehmet Cakar by his former group 
TIKKO (Turkish Liberation Army of Peasants and Workers).

"Anarchist" prisoners in jail did not "fully" support the hunger strikes as 
it was initiated by leftists -mostly led by DHKP-C (Revolutionary People's 
Liberation Army-Front)- but some of them partially went a few days symbolic 
hunger strike. Only one among all "anarchists" in jail, Dervish Orhan 
personally -although his former
organization PKK (Kurdistan Labor Party) did not support hunger strikes- 
went on a hunger strike for over 150 days including a few weeks of break. 
His "requests" were mostly personal; against the prison administration that 
had taken his personal notes, books, clothes and furniture. But this was not 
a hunger strike just for "requests", in
fact more than that it was to protest the administration and on their behalf 
the State itself. In a few months time anarchists all around Turkey 
organized a campaign for the release of him, afterwards the needed money was 
collected to transfer him to hospital for medical control from Mersin (where 
he was imprisoned) to Istanbul. At last, after following some legal 
procedures with the initiative of his new lawyer, he was released on 31st of 
October for 6 months because of health problems.

ANTI-SEXISM

Kaos GL, which is the unique libertarian anti-heterosexual gay & lesbian 
group in Turkey managed to open the first homosexual culture center of 
Turkey (Kaos Kültür Merkezi-Chaos Culture Center) in Ankara on September 
2000. Kaos GL is released periodically on every three months but fifteen 
days newspaper project Parmak (Finger) had failed after a number of issues. 
Unwillingly they have become very "popular" in the mainstream media with 
their participation in Mayday demonstration.

Some women groups mostly from Istanbul and Izmir were active during this 
year; Sigacik meeting was a good organization in this means.

ANARCHO-SYNDICALISM

Yet Turkish anarcho-syndicalists and other anarchists that are members of 
trade unions did not manage to organize. This is more or less because of the 
fact that anarcho-syndicalism does not have any tradition or historical 
background in Turkish syndicalism history. In addition, Turkish legal 
infrastructure is quite problematic about establishing syndicates. That's 
why, anarchists usually choose to work in recent syndicates as just members 
or even sometimes they are taking some responsibilities. Although they are 
very few in number for now, increasing day by day -most of them are former 
Marxists- in some syndicates like KESK (Confederation of Public Workers' 
Syndicates-office workers syndicate for government sector). In the riots 
against the new trade-union law -which gave "legality" to syndicates such as
KESK- anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists were among those people who has 
fought against the security forces.

PRESS & PERIODICALS

First issue of kara MecmuA (black Periodical) came on February and five 
issues were printed until January 2002. "MecmuA involvers" include different 
writers from -nearly- all of the previous anarchist periodicals; Kara 
(Black-first appeared on 1984), Efendisiz, Amargi, Atesh Hirsizi, Apolitika, 
Efendisizler etc. Each issue -but not the
whole magazine- has a different subject to discuss and has a two months 
period to be released again. Published in Istanbul, it is distributed in 
most of the country and as an average more than 1000 are sold.

Kaos Yayinlari (Chaos Publications) uses the same address with MecmuA and 
still the unique anarchist bookstore in Turkey. In addition some leftist 
bookstores publish -mostly translated- books on anarchist theory and history 
but yet "anarchism in Turkish" is not so rich.

This year so called "Anarchist" Platform circle's periodicals like 
Efendisizler, Anarsi, and Kara Toprak (Black Land) did not appear so much 
(only a few issues).

On the other hand zines are still active and lots of new anarchist and 
anarcho-punk zines born. Among them "AN kara fanzin" is different, as it 
looks like a "formal" periodical more than a zine-with both by number of the 
participants and with its page-format. The staff contains some anarchists 
from Ankara and the zine is distributed to many cities. Starting from May, 
three issues were published. Except this one, lots of zines Oldsletter, 
KatrAn, Veganarshi, Kontra Atak, Twillight Zine,
Ictepi, Afanzin etc. were published in 2001 and as a counter culture they 
have signed the development of anarchist theory and practice in Turkey.

As a historical and effective a well-known Turkish periodical on culture and 
literature, Varlik appeared to be an arena for spreading anarchist ideas. 
Süreyyya Evren, Rahmi Ögdül, Yasar Cubuklu and Isik Ergüden are among the 
writers whose articles on anarchist and libertarian thought are good sources 
for intellectual ground.

* Written by B. Ö. from AN kara fanzin - January 2002



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