(Yürüyüş magazine No.61, April 8, 2018)
Our sons and daughters inside and we are on the outside: We resist! We will win!
They are beating on the doors of tyranny of AKP fascism
Yet again, they are the ones raising the flag of solidarity
THE VOICE OF FREE PRISONERS THAT CANNOT BE SILENCED
In the darkest period of the junta years they took their place alongside their sons and daughters.
First they were their sons and daughters, later their comrades.
Previously they only wanted to make their voices heard, later they understood the rightfulness of their struggle, and later still they became part of it.
TAYAD (Solidarity Association of Prisoners’ Families) is another name for courage, continuity and decisiveness.
AKP fascism is preparing a prison uniform attack in the prisons. A number of sectors have stated that they are against prison uniforms. But there is only one force resisting the attacks at present and which will resist them in the future – the Free Prisoners and those close to them in TAYAD.
On March 14 the TAYAD families wanted to start a march from Galatasaray High School to Silivri Prison.
They were six mothers and fathers. They had banners with “We are not criminals, we are revolutionaries – we will not put on prison uniforms – TAYAD families.” Courageously they sat down in the middle of the square.
Opposing them were a lot of TOMAs, armoured cars and police, all to confront six people.
They were so afraid that when they took their first step, they stopped them and began to threaten the TAYAD families:
“We warn you, you cannot march, if you march we will detain you.”
But aware of their rightness and legitimacy, Mother Naime did not take a step back but said, “No, we will march. IT IS WE WHO ARE WARNING YOU. We are mothers, our sons and daughters are in prison. Do you think you will change anything by arresting a couple of mothers?”
Another mother continued to challenge the police: “We came here in the conviction that this march is legitimate…”
But they could not continue, the police savagely attacked and Naime Emlik, Fatma Yayla, Nurdan Ayna and Mulla Zincir were detained. In the police vehicle ant at the police station there was so much torture that Mulla Zincir’s lower back was broken in two places.
The repression against TAYAD continued on March 23 with the raid on the houses of Kemal Gun, who had resisted for 70 days to get back the remains of his murdered son, and TAYAD’s Feridun Osmanaoğlu – they were both detained.
FASCISM’S FEAR OF TAYAD
Why is the fascist AKP government afraid of six elderly mothers and fathers in such a way? Why can they not even tolerate a march opposing prison uniforms?
It was not hundreds of people who joined the TAYAD march to Silivri, but six. Mass participation was perhaps on the low side but police participation was very high.
They are afraid of TAYAD because as in the past, today it is only the Free Prisoners and TAYAD which is close to them which is able to frustrate the fascist policies of the state.
They are very afraid: because only the revolutionary prisoners and those close to them are the bearers of a history of resistance with roots, and the creators of new traditions.
Prisons and prisoners are like mirrors of a country. The oligarchy’s policy of making people surrender started from the prisons. Get the revolutionary prisoners to surrender and you get the people to surrender.
For this reason in 2000, we able to find the following words by the then prime minister Ecevit BEFORE and AFTER the December 19 prison massacre:
Before the massacre Ecevit said:
“To implement IMF policies it is necessary to solve the prison problem.”
And after the massacre the same Ecevit said:
“Henceforth they must understand that they cannot overcome the state.”
All the policies, practices, torture, repression, detention, confiscation of rights were about implementing imperialist policies. This is all about protecting the interests of their imperialist masters and their collaborators.
Revolutionaries are a very serious obstacle to exploitation and plunder by imperialists and their collaborators, so all their policies are about eliminating the revolutionaries.
The junta of September 12, 1980 wanted to suppress the revolutionary struggle. For this hundreds of thousands of progressives, revolutionaries and democrats were imprisoned and tortured and gallows set up.
While the September 12 fascist junta practised every kind of terror outside, to bring about the definitive surrender of the people, policies to make the prisoners surrender were brought onto the agenda. The junta selected three prisons in particular – the targets were PKK prisoners in Diyarbakir, Devrimci Yol prisoners in Mamak and Devrimci Sol prisoners in Metris Prison.
The PKK and Devrimci Yol prisoners surrendered by accepting fascist pressure and sanctions and not putting up an organised resistance. The state brought them into line with its desires.
While continuing tyranny in the prisons, outside democratic mass organisations were closed and organisations broken up. A number of political movements claiming to be the vanguard either surrendered or escaped abroad as refugees. Total silence reigned among the social opposition.
But in this environment there was one voice outside the prisons. The voice of TAYAD.
TAYAD, in a Turkey in which a large section of the left had surrendered, was the owner of a resistance line of the mothers, fathers, spouses, engaged and close friends of those who belonged to Devrimci Sol.
From the start their first concern was to be the voice of their sons and daughters. Later when they learned from their own experiences of the prisons and the reality of fascism, they became the comrades of their sons and daughters, making their beliefs their own.
While Devrimci Sol inmates were resisting in the prisons, their families became step by step a force in the resistance outside. The junta’s tortures grew worse as it sought to bring prison uniforms on the agenda. In the face of this repression a great many political movements created theories legitimising surrender while Devrimci Sol Trial prisoners and in 1984 TIKB Trial prisoners began Death Fast resistance.
The prisoners broke through the darkness of tyranny with the death fasts while TAYAD took on the same mission outside. They went out to Taksim Square and laid a black wreath. It had the words “Change the prisons – end the Death Fasts”.
This was the first action in the city squares after the junta. Ten people: in an environment where organisations and trade unions were intimidated, they had the courage to go out into the squares. The source of their courage was the determination to show solidarity.
Today once again TAYAD do not even think of refraining from the actions that others do not have the courage to do perform. In conditions in which political movements and trade unions developed surrender theories maintaining that “nothing can be done in state of emergency conditions”, the supporters of TAYAD open banners in the squares, carry out sit-down actions with slogans, and go in front of prisons to show solidarity with prisoners. And they decided to march from Istanbul to Silivri.
From DİSK to KESK, from the TMMOB to the TTB (translator’s note: trade union federations and civil society groups in Turkey) unions, and chambers with hundreds of thousands of members have not taken even a step onto the street in support of their members’ rights, while TAYAD had the courage for a long march. This means that “the number of members” is not what determines the people’s struggle. It is not how “crowded” it is that is important – what is important is that it is able to do what must be done!
And to be able to do this takes courage, determination and will!
And this is written into TAYAD’s history.
Under conditions of OHAL (the state of emergency) the AKP has sought to silence all opposition forces with the KHK legal decrees and appointing governors to take away the powers of municipalities. Fascism has imprisoned dozens of the HDP’s parliamentary deputies. Governors are appointed to municipalities and take them over using force. But the HDP has not put up even the slightest resistance to this. Quite to the contrary, they do not give up their hopes within the system and in municipalities that have been seized, they continue to work under AKP administration. They have been subjected to every sort of humiliation in parliament. Several days earlier their newspaper and publishing house were seized. Again they were capable of no sustained or consistent resistance.
AKP fascism has gained courage from these aggressive policies which have yielded results, and now seeks to get the revolutionary movement and Free Prisoners it sees as the actual obstacle to surrender.
In these conditions of repression, which surpass even Turkey’s junta years, TAYAD supporters have been one of the forces that have been able to show militant resistance to the fascist policies of the state and develop policies.
The reason for this is quite clear: as was made clear in the statement when TAYAD’s Kemal Gun and Feridun Osmanaoğlu were detained, “We will continue to resist under every condition. No force in the world can prevent us from resisting AKP fascism and defeating it. Our strength comes from us being right and being the people!”
The Aggressive Policy In The Prisons
Fascism somehow could not and cannot get revolutionary prisoners, DHKP-C Trial prisoners in the jails of Turkey to surrender. Both inside and outside resistance goes on uninterrupted.
To get prisoners to surrender, fascism attempts diverse aggressive policies. Against revolutionary prisoners the state has never dispensed with a policy of aggression.
The policy of aggression is lessened in some periods, while in others it is stepped up but the essence of policies aimed at bringing about surrender never changes.
For about a year and a half fascism has been stepping up its attacks. And for the one and a half years revolutionary prisoners have been resisting.
They resist through every type of action, with hunger strikes, pounding on the doors, sending faxes, refusing roll call.
As the attacks are not new, the history of resistance by Free Prisoners is not new either. The attack aimed at imposing prison uniforms is not new. As we mentioned above, these attacks started with the junta of September 12, 1980. They were repeated in various forms with the 1984 attempt to impose prison uniforms which was beaten off in 1984, and the cell attacks of 1991, 1996 and 2000. The prisoners inside and TAYAD outside paid a heavy price.
Exile To Remote Prisons, Ill Prisoners, Physical Torture… AKP Prisons Are No Different From Those Of September 12
One of the policies of fascism today aimed at making prisoners surrender and intimidate their families is exile to remote prisons. The prisoner is not told beforehand he or she will be moved. There is a sudden raid and the prisoners are removed from their cells and put into very narrow compartments in the prison vehicles. When prisoners are brought to the new prison they are stripped naked and strip-searched. The aim is to cut prisoners off from any form of organisation, and intimidate them with the thought that they can be sent elsewhere at any moment and repeatedly tortured. Any collective life of prisoners is to be disrupted.
This kind of transport into exile of prisoners has been particularly used by Spanish fascism against Basque ETA Trial prisoners and Spanish GRAPO prisoners.
The AKP has another policy to get prisoners to surrender and to deprive them of their right to a court appearance or a defence. Prisoners are not brought to court, instead they are made to give a statement via what is called SEGBIS, an electronic system. (Translator’s note: this is a TV screen in a room in the prison linking an inmate to a courtroom outside. There is no provision for a defence lawyer to be present, either in the prison or even in the courtroom.)
Grup Yorum member Dilan Ekin was brought to Caglayan Palace of Justice on March 19 but was not taken to the courtroom. It was a game that both denied her a right to a defence and also prevented her from being released.
In the prisons at the moment there are reports that people “cannot stay in prison”; but there are more than 950 ill prisoners who are not released. Fascism does not release them and denies them a right to treatment.
As a case in point, the right to medical treatment for Grup Yorum members Dilan Poyraz and Dilan Ekin is being obstructed.
Dilan Ekin is at risk of a stroke. Doctors of the Mengele type say, “In the worst case you should perform the namaz prayer five times a day”, and in this way they show that they are practising tyranny in the service of fascism.
The TAYAD families have struggled in the past for the rights of ill prisoners to receive treatment and will also do this in future.
For decades TAYAD has struggled for the release of ill prisoners. TAYAD is the only force that persistently supports sick prisoners. The campaign for the release of Güler Zere, a Free Prisoner who was ill with cancer in 2009, went into history as a role model for the world in this type of campaign.
When her cancer was in its early stages, her treatment was obstructed and it spread to the point of being mortal.
Later she could no longer be treated in prison but they did not want to release her, even to die. At that point Güler Zere was not just dealing with CANCER, but she was condemned to struggle against it in ISOLATION CONDITIONS. However a determined struggle united with all democratic forces finally succeeded in winning her release.
There were three important reasons for our ability to free Güler Zere from the hands of fascism:
First, our line of rightfulness and legitimacy. Second, our persistence and determination in the democratic struggle. Third, our ability to unite.
TAYAD Is The Creator Of New Resistance Traditions
In many countries of the world, there are prisoner support organisations like TAYAD. For decades these organisations have struggled for prisoners in countries like Spain, Ireland and Argentina. However, their struggles could not remain lasting despite all self-sacrifice and despite their martyrs. The reason for this is being connected to political lines or being affected by them that openly seek conciliation. The result of such lines is that with the passage of time these prisoners’ organisations become ineffective.
Whereas TAYAD has waged an active struggle since 1983 and been able to ensure its continuity and permanence.
Because TAYAD defends a particular world view and believes in the rightfulness and legitimacy of their sons’ and daughters’ struggle against imperialism and fascism.
While the struggle in Turkey continues, there are Free Prisoners: and for the Free Prisoners there is TAYAD. And there will continue to be TAYAD.
TAYAD started its organised work in 1983. On February 3, 1986 TAYAD was officially established.
In 32 years it has created FIRSTS of a kind not seen elsewhere in the world.
Between the years 2000 and 2007, in the Great Resistance, they put their lives on the line, themselves took part in the Death Fast, creating another first in world history.
Those on the outside close to prisoners started the Death Fast together with the prisoners inside. For the first time in a Death Fast in the world, prisoners’ relatives outside went on the Death Fast together with prisoners in jail.
After fascism sought to break the Death Fast resistance with the December 19 prison massacre, Küçükarmutlu became a location of the Death Fast on the outside.
In the first year of the resistance, when the censorship was at its heaviest, Küçükarmutlu became a door opening the martyrs’ resistance to the world outside.
Here, together with Front prisoners, the TAYAD resistance position made them into actual fighters.
TAYAD’s Şenay Hanoğlu turned her house into a resistance house.
From the TAYAD families, the Canans, Şenays, Gülsümans, Zehras and Hulyas were martyred in the resistance houses.
Here are the names of TAYAD members who were martyred in the resistance outside:
Gülsüman Dönmez, Canan Kulaksız, Şenay Hanoğlu, Erdoğan Güler, Zehra Kulaksız, Hulya Şimsek, Abdulbari Yusufoğlu, Özlem Durakçan, Arzu Güler and Sultan Yıldız.
A History In Hand
TAYAD maintained resistance in Ankara for 1,230 days and was a monument to TAYAD’s history, showing how much determination it had crafted.
This resistance received the name of the Abdi Ipekçi Park Resistance and started with a 10-day sit-down action. The TAYAD members for those 10 days were a voice in the park announcing the Death Fast of their sons and daughters. But fascism attacked this action, starting on September 16, 2003. The police attack on the sit-down action turned it into a war of wills. And certainly the winner of this war would be TAYAD.
TAYAD members added another first to world history. What started as a 10-day action went on for 1,230 days. Not only was it day and night, but every day for 24 hours there was every kind of terror from the police, provocations by civilian fascists, the difficult natural conditions of Ankara in summer and winter, they had to resist heat and cold. And despite 17 members of TAYAD being jailed, the resistance ended in victory after 1,230 days. They never gave up the fight against isolation.
A resistance epic was established in Abdi Ipekçi Park, of patience, belief, determination and solidarity.
Sevgi Erdoğan’s House Of Farewell
Sevgi Erdoğan was a martyr in the Death Fast of 2000-2007. Today there is a House Of Farewell named after her that was opened in Küçükarmutlu. The House Of Farewell was a place that became necessary for TAYAD to give support to the families of our martyrs and prisoners in particular.
Our mothers and fathers, who showed every kind of self-sacrifice for us, paying a heavy price being detained, tortured and not begrudging any sort or moral or material support, are now aged and it is our turn to look after them. The system puts them in “retirement homes, whereas we regard our mothers and fathers as the jewel in the crown.
The “Sevgi Erdoğan House Of Farewell” was opened with this understanding. This house is a unique example in the world created by TAYAD of a house of farewell.
Once Again, TAYAD Were Present In The Nuriye-Semih Resistance
The latest like in the TAYAD chain of resistance was the Nuriye-Semih Resistance. Two TAYAD supporters, Mehmet Güvel and Feridun Osmanaoğlu also went on hunger strike with Nuriye and Semih.
Certainly there were thousands, tens of thousands, who supported the resistance. But theirs was a special sort of resistance. Two TAYAD supporters stated that they would support Nuriye and Semih TO THE END and that if they died, they would die with them.
There is no doubt that this support went well beyond ordinary solidarity and was a product of TAYAD’S 32 years of history.
Two TAYAD supporters were partners of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Ozakça in their hunger strike. Two TAYAD supporters gave the loftiest example of solidarity and self-sacrifice by maintaining a hunger strike, one for 209 days, the other for 166 days, by saying “If they die, I will de too”.
Again TAYAD Supporters Are There To Oppose Fascism’s Torture In The Prisons And The Attempt To Impose Prison Uniforms
Despite the oligarchy’s use of terror through imprisonment against the People’s Front, it cannot silence the supporters of the Front. They cannot get a result in the prisons, despite all their repression and terror directed at revolutionary prisoners.
So they resort to other forms of arbitrary behaviour. They use executions, and ban books and magazines.
They do not put into practice the right to conversation achieved at a high price by prisoners.
There are bans on communication as a punishment, lasting for years. One Free Prisoner has had 272 years of such a punishment, another 45 years of a ban on using the telephone. Every day reports come of prisoners having their hair pulled out or their arms broken. Every day there is another torture operation.
But the oligarchy still cannot get what it wants. Just like it could not get the result it wanted on December 19, 2000 with the savagery of its attack aimed at opening the F-Type prisons.
Fascism cannot prevent organised and collective life in the prisons; nor can it get revolutionaries to give up the struggle. As soon as revolutionary prisoners are released, they pick up the struggle where they left off. Against this the latest policy of AKP fascism is to re-arrest people at the doors of prisons on their release.
And the AKP, still unable to get a result from all this tyranny, now wants to impose prison uniforms.
But they will not succeed.
Because they are up against great determination.
The determination of the Free Prisoners of the Front and of TAYAD.
After the latest attacks TAYAD made the following declaration:
“Even if they pour concrete on us, or chain us up, we will not let them impose prison uniforms on our sons and daughters. We will always continue to resist alongside our sons and daughters.”
And this is the essential matter. This can be said.
The supporters of TAYAD said this when they went out to Taksim Square in 1984. Whatever the tyranny, this has been their attitude for 32 years.
The AKP cannot rule the country. It cannot even profit from the system of repression called OHAL. The people are not pleased, the country is in a deep political and economic crisis. Even if the AKP looks very strong, it knows very well that the people could explode at any moment. So the AKP knows that it has to resort to stepping up and spreading fascist terror.
Revolutionary prisoners gave four martyrs in the junta period, and were a barricade against the politics of surrender and prison uniforms. Today there is no doubt they will resist whatever the price.
Because PRISON UNIFORMS are not a simple matter of clothing. Prison uniforms are an ideological attack.
AKP fascism wants to make the people surrender by getting the prisoners to surrender, give up revolutionism and break up organisational life.
Because of the historical experience of revolutionary prisoners and TAYAD families and their class consciousness, they have no vain expectations as regards fascism. The only way to beat off attacks is resistance.
The Free Prisoners and those close to them are ready.
The TAYAD Families will do today what is necessary, just as in the past.
Perhaps they will be detained, perhaps tortured and imprisoned. Fascism is tyranny and devoid of values. They practise every kind of repression, it doesn’t matter if people are old or are mothers or fathers. But just as this is certain, so is resistance also certain.
TAYAD FOLK SONG
The soil was dry, the sky dark
One by one we were silent, we were mothers and fathers
The shout from the September dungeons woke us up
We awoke from the dream of fear
Resistance walked tall in the dungeons
We put real pressure on tyranny
We gave a real voice to sons and daughters
Until we have broken captivity’s chains
We are shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart
Our honour with our carnations
While the squares resound with our march