Situation in Turkey

October 1997
In Turkey anarchists has not yet much organized.

In fact, there are lots of anarchists (A few years ago an ordinary magazine was saying 5000) but the connections are weak. That's why anarchists here could not start a campaign. There are some kind of campaigns which are organized by some reformist (but somehow liberterian ) socialist groups and parties(ODP etc). These are generally supported by HADEP(the legal representative of PKK) and depend on some protests or giving signatures declaring `to give an end to the war`.

And also the campaign of OSSI (war=rejecting) could not be so successful and was understood as a mediatic one(in anarchist circles in Turkey). Most of the anarchists here reject to name himself/herself as a pacifist, that was the main problem. I personally dealt with OSSI, i attended some trials but generally i was lonely ( as i said most of anarchists rejected this kind of struggle).

As you may know the war in Kurdistan started in 1984 with PKK's (Kurdistan Labor Party-Partiya Karekeren Kurdistan) attacks. PKK was founded in 1978 and declared itself as being Marxist-Leninist. It's in fact a Stalinist one and uses every way for diplomatic and other ways. Unfortunately in (if I remember correctly) 1995 Apo(PKK leader) decleared that PKK is no more a pure socialist party and told about his suspicious on socialism. Today it appeares as (even) less socialist and more nationalist one. And from the beginning it was dictotarian, there exists a very deep 'leader' cult which is represented on the personality of Apo. I'll able to give more info about OSSI in a week.


Turkey can be defined as a fascist country...

If the government forces decide that you and your thoughts are a danger for them, they use everyway of repression against you. For most of Kurdish people, radical left groups and (I can say) anarchists it's quite hard to live in here. Of course anarchist activities has a big potential of danger for government. But police and other government forces do not -too much- deal with anarchists "specificly" (perhaps they are quite busy with Kurds, some radical left groups and -nowadays- with Islamic opposition). Some of my (anarchist) friends had been arrested in some demonstrations (anarchists here were used to attend lots of demonstrations which were organized by radical left groups). We have also witnessed that police had specificly arrested some anarchists and wanted to learn what do they do! (yet anarchism is a quite new idea and police is not so much informed about that)

We have been lots of times chased by civil police and (perhaps) most of our meetings has been watched by them. Beyond that the bureaus of anarchist periodicals (Apolitika in Istanbul and in Izmir) were a few times "controlled" by government forces and some people were arrested. Some of those magazines were decided as forbidden by the decisions of Turkish courts and being collected from the press. But yet there is no anarchist prisoner in Turkey (who is in jail for anarchist activities I mean). There is only OSSI who is a pacifist and behaving as an anti-militarist.

Shortly it's hard to live in here as an "anarchist."

Anarchism in Turkey has two roots: One is that I can call through the way of "punk" culture. In 1980s the younger people listening rock and heavy-metal music met with anarchist and libertarian ideas by that way and in the 1990s you were able to see lots of younger people (perhaps in bars) wearing t-shirts with a circled A on them and calling themselves "anarchists." The other way is through the way of re-questioning socialist (Marxist-Leninist) ideas. After the military dictatorship of (12 Eyl|l-12 September) 1980 some of classical Marxist-Leninists started to question their ideas. Most of them were then ready to define themselves as "libertarian socialists."

By the time they defined them as "anarchist" (this refers to the emergence of first anarchist magazine in Turkey "Kara" (Black) in 1986). Most of the anarchists are students or younger people but there are also some older entellectuals and fewer (older) workers those of which deal with syndicate activities today (before 1980 these workers were active militants for radical left groups).