Özlem Türk

She weighed only 15 kg; she had no flesh left on her bones. All she had left was pure conviction. And that was why they could not defeat her willpower.

Our comrade Ozlem Turk, whose unbreakable will symbolised the last flag, was 27 years old. She spent seven years of her life in prison.

She was well to the fore in the struggle forthe freedom of her people and against hunger. Ozlem, who was born on April 15, 1975 in Gumushacikoy/Amasya and was of Turkish Alevi origin, was the child of a poor peasant family. She could only make a living from tobacco. As with all tobacco cultivators, she grew poorer as she became older. She got to know revolutionary beliefs in high school. After high school she took up various activities and took part in the struggle.

The martyrdom of very young people moved her. She took part in a three-day hunger strike in protest against the murder of two students, Ugur Yasar Kilic and Sengul Yildiran in 1993 (they were killed by police while preparing banners for May Day). This was the first action in which she took part. She worked in the offices of the magazines”Ozgur Karadeniz” (“The Free Black Sea”) and “Samsun Mucadele” (“Samsun Struggle” – Samsun is a town on the Black Sea coast). She was arrested a number of times. In 1993, the office of the newspaper “Ozgur Ulke” (“Free Country”, a pro-Kurdish publication) was bombed by the contra-guerrillas. She went there to pay a solidarity visit and was detained. Because she issued a special edition opposing the Ciller government’s April 5 austerity and plunder programme, she was detained. She demanded justice, was detained, she spoke out against IMF pillaging and was detained – this is a commonplace occurrence for all the revolutionaries and democrats of this country. This is the source of willpower that makes it possible to endure hundreds of days of hunger.

On February 23, 1995 she was arrested and put in Samsun Prison, then removed to Ulucanlar Prison (Ankara). In the 1996 Death Fast she took part in the Second Team.

In the year 2000, when the F-Type Prisons came on the agenda, and after the December 19 massacre, she wanted to be well to the fore. This is what she wrote in a letter:

“It is a great honour and source of pride to be a Death Fast Fighter. I am quite sincere in wanting to experience this honour and pride again. It is very difficult to define all my feelings. It is a great source of pain to see my comrades melting away day by day, being martyred and us being parted from them. What weighs heavily in particular, however, is, not just with my feelings but with my consciousness and my entire heart, confronting death with, or rather, before my comrades.”


We will answer those who want to intimidate us with death by using the words of our comrade who triumphed over death. Ozlem, whose words were in total harmony with her martyrdom, said:

“I do not say that I am ready for death. Because I would not like to repeat such readiness on an ongoing basis. This preparation, this reckoning was something I completed years ago. At this point I am fully aware. Why? Because I know that the fact of the Party-Front and the fact of living under the flag of the Party-Front always means that one may encounter death. That is not just the case for me, all the followers of the Party-Front think in this way.”