İbrahim Kaypakkaya (1949 – May 18, 1973) was a Turkish communist revolutionary, who was an important leader of the communist movement in Turkey and the founder of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML). He is revered by many today as a symbol of resistance and as an aggregator of the ideas of other major leaders and thinkers in Marxism–Leninism–Maoism. Kaypakkaya was captured after being wounded in an engagement with the Turkish military in Tunceli Province in 1973, and executed in Diyarbakir Prison four months later.
Ibrahim Kaypakkaya was born in 1949 to a family deported from the Dersim region to the Çorum province in 1938. In his youth he delivered political magazines in the neighboring villages. Later he was exposed to revolutionary ideas as a student in the Physics Department of Istanbul University’s Faculty of Science. He became a member of the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey. In 1967 he was one of the founders of a local branch of the Federation of Idea Clubs (Turkish Fikir Kulüpleri Federasyonu, FKF). He joined the foundation of the Çapa Idea Club (Turkish: Çapa Fikir Kulubü) in March 1968 and became the President of the club. In November 1968, Kaypakkaya was expelled from the University for preparing a leaflet against the visiting 6th Fleet of the U.S. Navy.
Kaypakkaya, who adopted the view of National Democratic Revolution, worked for the newspaper İşçi Köylü ("Worker-Peasant"). He wrote articles in the magazines Aydınlık ("Enlightenment") and TÜRKSOLU ("Turkish Left"; not to be confused with the modern magazine Türksolu). Kaypakkaya then split from Doğu Perinçek and his group, as he considered Perinçek to be a revisionist and an opportunist. Kaypakkaya, who participated in the struggle of peasantry, formed TİKKO (Turkish: Türkiye İşci ve Köylü Kurtuluş Ordusu, "Workers' and Peasants' Liberation Army"), the armed wing of his Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist, and carried out activities in the cities of Tunceli, Malatya, and Gaziantep.
Kaypakkaya and his comrades interrogated and shot the informer village headman who caused the killing of THKO (Turkish: Türkiye Halk Kurtuluş Ordusu; "People's Liberation Army of Turkey") members Sinan Cemgil and his two other comrades by the state forces during a gunfight. Kaypakkaya became a symbol of revolutionary solidarity and camaraderie to his supporters during the period of martial law.
Capture and death
Following the military memorandum of 1971, the Turkish government cracked down on the Communist movement in Turkey. On 24 January 1973, Kaypakkaya and his allies were attacked by Turkish military forces in the mountains of Tunceli. He was wounded badly, and his comrade Ali Haydar Yıldız died. The military left Kaypakkaya for dead, allowing him to avoid capture. During that winter, severe weather conditions and snow forced him to take shelter in a cave for five days. Thereafter, he left for a village where he asked for assistance from a local teacher. Initially, the man allowed Kaypakkaya to take shelter in a room but then locked the door and reported him to the military.
The military officers tortured Kaypakkaya under custody in Diyarbakır Prison, infamous for its brutal treatment of inmates, for four months. In one instance, he was tortured for two weeks after which he was forced to walk barefoot over 50 km snow and icy rivers from city to city. The Turkish Government persecuted and the destroyed the leadership of the TKP/ML. Kaypakkaya, and several of his colleagues were arrested. Kaypakkaya was executed by shooting in prison in 1973 after being tortured for over 4 months. On 18 May 1973, he was tortured to the brink of death and then shot and killed by military officers at the age of twenty-four. His corpse was mutilated and cut up.
The National Intelligence Organization (Turkish: Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT) reported that Kaypakkaya was the most dangerous revolutionary in Turkey and a serious threat to the non-communist government.
After his death, Kaypakkaya became a martyr for the Turkish Communist revolutionary movement by "choosing to die rather than give information." Despite his young age, he was one of the most prominent Marxist theorists of Turkey. Kaypakkaya's most well known work is his critique of Kemalism, the state principles of Turkey, and his thesis on the national question, notably the Kurdish question.
Today, he is revered as a symbol of resistance in Turkey and in other countries.
His doctrinal views were based on splitting away from the neighboring Soviet Union's ideology and taking up Maoism and supporting the Cultural Revolution. As such, Kaypakkaya's life was heavily shaped by the Sino-Soviet split.
Kaypakkaya also took the position that there is a national question involved with the Kurdish people.
Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist re-organized between 1973 and 1978. The first party congress took place in 1978 (TKP/ML I. Kongresi in Turkish). In 1981 the second congress was organized (TKP/ML II. Kongresi). The party split following the second congress, the splinter taking up the name Bolshevik Party (North Kurdistan-Turkey).
However it was neither the first nor the last split in the party. The Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist - Hareketi had already split in (1976) during the re-organisation period. Other splits followed the second congress: Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist - Revolutionary Proletarian (1987), Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (Maoist Party Centre) (1987), and Maoist Communist Party (1994).
Today the organisation is listed among the 12 active terrorist organisation in Turkey as of 2007 according to Counter-Terrorism and Operations Department of Directorate General for Security (Turkish police).
- Grup Munzur - İsyan Ateşi
- Emekçi - İbrahime Ağıt
- Ozan Emekçi - Diyarbakır Zindanları
- İlkay Akkaya - Ibrahim yoldaş
- Kırmızı Gül Buz İçinde
- Sönmeyen Ateş - İbrahim Kaypakkaya
- ^ Törne, Annika (5 November 2019). Dersim – Geographie der Erinnerungen: Eine Untersuchung von Narrativen über Verfolgung und Gewalt (in German). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 117. ISBN 978-3-11-062771-8.
- ^ editor1. "Who we are | | TKP-ML Resmi Internet Sitesi" (in Turkish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- ^ a b Törne, Annika (5 November 2019). Dersim – Geographie der Erinnerungen: Eine Untersuchung von Narrativen über Verfolgung und Gewalt (in German). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 117. ISBN 978-3-11-062771-8.
- ^ Törne, Annika (5 November 2019). Dersim – Geographie der Erinnerungen: Eine Untersuchung von Narrativen über Verfolgung und Gewalt (in German). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 118. ISBN 978-3-11-062771-8.
- ^ TÜRKİYE'DE HALEN FAALİYETLERİNE DEVAM EDEN BAŞLICA TERÖR ÖRGÜTLERİ: http://www.egm.gov.tr/temuh/terorgrup1.html Archived 2013-01-14 at the Wayback Machine