In Memory of the Martyrs of Socialism

The freedom and democracy struggle led by the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is part of the tradition and struggle of Mustafa Suphi, Hikmet Kivilcimli, Mihri Belli, Deniz, Ibrahim and Mahir.

Cemil Bayik

Deniz Gezmis and friends, Mahir Cayan and friends and Ibrahim Kaypakkaya and friends are the symbols of the struggle for freedom, democracy and socialism in Turkey. Socialist revolutionaries such as Mustafa Suphi, Mihri Belli and Hikmet Kivilcimli are also symbolic figures in this struggle. Each and every one of these symbolic figures is inseparable from the values created by their sacrifices and struggles.

If today we are able to talk of a struggle for democracy in Turkey, then one must acknowledge the pivotal role played by these revolutionary martyrs. If it was not for these radical democrats, the forces for democracy in Turkey would not be as strong as they are today. If we do not acknowledge the sacrifices made by these courageous young socialists then any step taken today for democracy and freedom will eventually fall short. Even people like Prime Minister Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu’s ability to make use of the term ‘democracy’ has come about as a result of the struggle of these martyrs. It is very clear that none of the efforts of these great revolutionaries has been in vein. They have created the basis for the radical democratisation of Turkey.

The freedom and democracy struggle led by the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is part of the tradition and struggle of Mustafa Suphi, Hikmet Kivilcimli, Mihri Belli, Deniz, Ibrahim and Mahir. In a meeting with BDP parliamentarians just before Newroz 2013, the PKK leader stated that “we are the inheritors of Mahir’s, Deniz’s and Ibrahim’s ideals”. In this sense the tradition set by these revolutionaries is being continued by the Kurdish freedom movement. The Kurdish freedom movement possesses a pivotal significance in the democratisation of Turkey. This struggle has played a key role in the breaking of all backward and antidemocratic mentalities. If it was not for the legendary resistance shown by this movement during the military coup of 1980, Turkey would still be weltering about in the darkness of a military junta. If today we have come to a stage where this junta has lost all legitimacy and is now being publicly questioned, then the efforts of the freedom struggle cannot be doubted.

However, while classic Kemalist hegemony is being overturned, a new hegemonic system is trying to establish itself. Political Islam has until now been unable to establish its hegemony; to this end, the role played by the resistance of our movement has again been pivotal. The PKK leader has clearly stated that “we will not allow for one hegemony to be replaced by another”. This is because from Mustafa Suphi to Deniz Gezmis, from Mahir Cayan to Kemal Pir and from Ibrahim Kaypakkaya to Haki Karer all socialist revolutionaries sacrificed their lives for a free and democratic Turkey. When we take a look at history, alongside socialists and Kurds, Muslims have also been targeted. However, the struggle for freedom and democracy has mostly been taken up by socialists and the Kurdish people. Therefore, it is illogical for these forces to accept the establishment of a new hegemony. Rather, the Kurdish people and the socialists of Turkey will no doubt continue their struggle for freedom, democracy and extensive rights for all the people of Turkey. It is our belief that Islamic forces should also occupy a leading role in this struggle.

True socialism cannot be established without a strong democracy. This has become clearer than ever before. The leaders of socialism such as Marx, Engels and Lenin have often stated this. It is well known that this was also the belief of Mao. However, an insufficient analysis of the state and a lack of a realisation of the state as being a tool for the eradication of democracy have ensured that the followers of these symbolic leaders have often fallen short in the struggle for socialism. The comprehension of the impossibility of socialism without democracy has been an important victory for socialist theory. Through history we can see that to be communal is to be democratic and to be democratic is to be communal. In fact, this is a fundamental law of sociality.

The Kurdish freedom movement has always defined the month of May, as the month of martyrs. In this respect we once again reiterate our devotion and commitment to the memories of Deniz Gezmis, Mahir Cayan, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, Haki Karer, Kemal Pir, Mehmet Karasungur, Ferhat Kurtay, Halil Cavgun and all martyrs of freedom, democracy and socialism, and we renew our promise to them that their ideals will be crowned with a democratic Turkey and a free Kurdistan.