At the end of August, the Turkish People’s Front announced the start of a new campaign to combat drug addiction and degeneration in the neighborhoods. Drugs distributed by mafia gangs, protected by the fascist oligarchy, forced prostitution, gambling, alcoholism and, in general, degeneration and social degradation in Turkey are a serious problem that the country faces. While most left-wing and progressive organisations in Turkey do not have adequate policies in this area, and prefer to join the struggle for supremacy between the different factions of the Turkish oligarchy, the Marxist-Leninists of the Turkish People’s Front have once and for all launched a new campaign to combat drug addiction, prostitution, gambling and alcohol.
The main drivers of this campaign, along with members of the movement, are the residents of Istanbul’s working-class neighbourhoods and other major cities in Turkey. For the purposes of the campaign, the cadres and supporters of the People’s Front have started the creation of Committees for the fight against drugs (in Turkish Uyuşturucu ile Mücadele Komiteleri). They will include members, supporters of the movement and residents of the settlements in which the committee will operate. These committees have different tasks: to combat the spread of drugs, to deal with the most vulnerable groups (children and boys and girls, as well as all other groups in society that may fall under the influence of drugs), to rehabilitate people who are already addicted and to assist their families to return to a normal lifestyle.
In order to promote the campaign the People’s Front has published a book of 464 pages entitled “Combating Drugs”, a channel has been created on YouTube, which will regularly upload videos on topics such as drug addiction, help to parents and relatives of drug addicts to combat addiction, etc.. The channel is called “Combating drug addiction” (in the Turkish TV channel “Uyuşturucu ile Savaş TV”) and its launch was announced at the beginning of September, with the first programs broadcast in the following weeks.
In addition to being active on social networks and the Internet, the movement also organizes events related to its new campaign.
On September 7th (Sunday) a popular assembly was held in the Gazi district of Istanbul with the participation of the local inhabitants. The fascist police tried to prevent the event from happening by constantly patrolling the streets near the place of the assembly. According to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, the police threatened the people who were taking part, doing everything possible to prevent them from reaching the place.
Despite the threats, the assembly took place successfully, with great interest, but because of the small space in the room, not everyone managed to get in. At the end of the event, a member of the People’s Front and a young revolutionary of the Youth Federation were kidnapped by the police, forced into an armoured car and taken to the local police station. During their detention in the police station, the two revolutionaries were tortured, insulted and threatened by the officers. The next day, the two were taken to court, which released them on security, and were required to sign three days a week at the local police station.
On Sunday 15 September, the inhabitants of Istanbul’s Ikiitelli district, along with members of the People’s Front, marched against drugs and mafia gangs. The demonstration began in front of the local prayer house, repeatedly blocked by two armoured police vehicles, with the police threatening and insulting the participants in the march. Despite attempts at provocation by the police, the demonstration continued along the previously planned path, the participants sang slogans against the mafia gangs and drug trafficking.
Other events are planned for the coming weeks as the campaign progresses.
This is not the first campaign organised by the Turkish People’s Front against criminal gangs, drug addiction and degeneration. Already in the mid-2000’s, when the problem began to intensify, the movement organised a campaign to mobilise the people to combat drug addiction and the mafia, widely supported by the country’s fascist oligarchy. The government responded with repression, raids and detained many members of the movement. Mafia gangs killed the member of the People’s Front Birol Karasu in Istanbul in November 2006.
In the fall of 2013 and in 2014 and 2015, the People’s Front once again mobilized its forces and people to combat drug addiction, which at that time had already become a pressing problem for society, which the state not only did not want to solve, but on the contrary further encouraged, with the protection of the mafia gangs in working-class districts, thus aiming to fight against revolutionaries. At the end of September 2013, People’s Front member Hasan Ferit Gedik was shot to death by members of a mafia gang and died in a hospital in Istanbul from the injuries he had suffered. In response, revolutionaries announced full mobilization, creating a relatively good network of popular militia teams, which now continue to operate in slums. It is they who protect people from gang attacks and, depending on the forces at their disposal, organize counter-attacks against the mafia, and in 2014, 2015 and mid-2016 they managed to completely reject gangs in many of Istanbul’s slums. In 2016, two members of the People’s Front martyred in the fight against the mafia gangs: in April, Kemal Delen, member of the local people’s council of Ikiitelli, and a month later Recep Hasar, member of the people’s militia team, killed in a firefight during a raid organized by the people’s militia against the hiding place of the mafia gangs.
In 2018, the fight against the gangs continued, and in May in Istanbul, the People’s Militia shot a drug dealer who was also involved in prostitution. In September of the same year, Ibrahim Devrim, a senior member of the People’s Militia team, was killed in a shooting with SWAT teams from the fascist police.
With its new campaign, the People’s Front is trying to prove that it can still mobilize the masses to fight the fascist state and its gangs of servants, as well as try to solve this problem so important to society, which unfortunately in many nations around the world is becoming increasingly threatening because of its size.
archive of Yürüyüş magazine (March)