In Susurluk we met an alliance. The supporters of this alliance are known. They are the policemen, the fascist murderers, the delegates, the large landowners, the village guards and the Mafia, represented by the three from Susurluk. This alliance is the alliance of the state. It’s the alliance of the ruling classes. Despite the dogfights among the rulers, we very well know that they depend on co-operation if they want to maintain their rule. In the present crisis they therefore frequently use slogans like “National Unity” and “consensus”. We must not interpret the words of “unity and consensus” as mere demagogy. The ruling forces are using these words for special reasons. They call all exploiting and oppressing forces to unite to save their exploiting and oppressing order. Let’s look at the words of those who now raise the flag of the opposition: all of them try to free the state from this filth. They are prepared to sacrifice up to three or five people to strengthen the ruling alliance again. The same principle applies to the people which is at the opposite front of the class war. For them it is even of greater importance. The people which wants to get rid of the oppressive system must unite to gain power. Alliances have to be established and rooted.
For this reason, the DHKP-C has called for establishing People’s Councils on all levels. These councils consist of all segments of the population, regardless of nationality and religious creed, regardless of age and gender, whether they are workers or peasants, small merchants, housewives, pupils, craftsmen… The people will learn in these councils how to take matters into their own hand, how to solve their own problems. Through the People’s Councils, the people will get aware of its creativity and strength. Organising these forces and directing them against the system is the duty of the revolutionaries which will be represented in the People’s Councils. The revolutionaries have been leading the revolutionary struggle in our country for years and they have a lot of experience in the economical and political struggle of the workers, the civil servants and the people in the gececondus. However, the People’s Councils are an organisational form of their own and therefore not connected to a political organisation.
The People’s Councils are open to all segments of the population and all members have the right to speak and vote. The revolutionaries can, like anybody else, present their proposals and try to convince others with their arguments. However, decisions are taken by all members and delegates after discussing the different proposals. Another method would overshadow or even destroy the right organising of the people. Decisions are taken on the basis whether they are right or wrong, not dependent on where the proposals come from. The People’s Councils, established on all levels and in all areas, will constitute the people’s alliance against the alliance of Susurluk. The basic problem of the contra-revolutionary alliance is the question “how can we get away from this accident with minimal damage and how can we strengthen the alliance of exploitation?” The question of the people’s forces should be: “Can we strengthen the alliance of the People’s Councils and can we expand them to the whole country?”
A first step to the unity of the people was taken in Gazi. On March 12, 1995, Gazi – a neighbourhood in Istanbul – made the headlines of the papers in Turkey after a massacre by the contra-guerrilla and the following people’s uprising. One and a half year later, the first People’s Council – with 130 members – was established in Gazi. Gazi, what kind of a neighbourhood is it? The neighbourhood of Gazi was build in 1970 near the Alibeykoy dam as a “gececondu” (slum area). In the years of the big migration from Anatolia in which poor peasants escaped to the cities in order to survive, Gazi steadily grew. Kurds, Laz, Alevites and Sunni from provinces like Tokat, Dersim, Erzurum etc. moved to Gazi. With the increasing number of people, the problems for the working people increased as well. The state left the people to itself in stead of helping them with solving the problems. With the help from people of the revolutionary organisations, the Mafia – who raised the price of the land and sold it many times – was driven out of Gazi.
From then on, the trust grew between the revolutionaries and the people from Gazi. From 1970 till 1980, Gazi – situated next to a dam – had no electricity, and there was no running water till 1987. Until 1988, there were no busses in this neighbourhood. It were the people in Gazi who lost their children, tortured in the police stations. They were the target of the civic fascist gangs and police terror. The people in Gazi realised they had to get organised because of what they went through. Armed with this knowledge and its anger, the people took to the streets and threw up barricades after the attack by the contra-guerrilla on March 12, 1995. Fascism was held accountable. The state is still seeking revenge because of this. That’s why they try to terrorise the people in Gazi even more. Taking advantage of the disorganisation of the people, the state started daily operations. Custody, torture and imprisonment became daily events. And there were still the problems with the supply of electricity and water.
The people realised it could not solve it problems if they staid unorganised. That’s how the discussions about the People’s Councils started. There were calls for the old, young, Kurds, Turks, Alevites and Sunni to organise under one roof. Every phase, every article and the regulations were discussed in detail and the People’s Council for Gazi and the neighbouring area of Zubeyde Hanim was formed. The will and the initiative of the people were expressed in every detail. In general, the People’s Councils have to take care of the problems and worries of the people, whether they are of a political, social or economic nature. The People’s Council is the basic organisation for all the segments of life.
The People’s Council for Gazi and Zubeyde Hanim was announced after three months of discussions at a circumcision festivity. At this ceremony, 70 children – from Alevi and Sunni origin – were circumcised. The children’s families and other families prepared the festivity together. More than 1.000 guests were present at the founding ceremony, and many who could not come themselves sent greetings of solidarity. Many musicians and bands participated, delighting the people with their songs. The ceremony was visited by representatives from several parties like the CHP (Republican People’s Party), the HADEP (Democratic People’s Party), the ODP (Freedom and Democracy Party), leading members of several organisations in Gaziosmanpasa and many other associations and unions. Besides the chairman of the neighbourhood administration and many other personalities from Gazi, there were participants like the general chairman of the Genel-Is union, Erol Ekici, the second regional chairman of Genel-Is in Istanbul, Mehmet Karagoz, the 3. chairman of Genel-Is, Mersim Guvenlik, the regional chairman in Trakya, Arif Kutan, the 6. chairman, Hasan Kaya, the CHP-delegate Ercan Karakas, the chairman of the CHD (Contemporary Lawyers Association), Murat Inceoglu, the chairman of the Cemevleri (Alevite community centres) in Gazi and Alibeykoy, the chairman of the Migrants Association, Sabahettin Celik, lawyers from the People’s Lawyers Office and the spokeswoman of the Platform for Rights and Freedom, Oya Gokbayrak.
There were also solidarity messages from several organisations and association and from the socialist papers Kurtulus, Atilim, Ozgur Gelecek, Isci Hareketi, Kervan and Partizan Sesi. Ali Ekber Emre, who held the opening speech in the name of the People’s Council of Gazi and Zubeyde Hanim, explained the reason for founding the People’s Council. He pointed at the fact that the state had not cared for Gazi for a long time, leaving the people alone with their infrastructure problems. “We learned a lesson from it all. We saw that we couldn’t change anything as individuals. We realised we could only move things with joined forces and solidarity. The answer to those who want to divide and rule is solidarity”, A.E. Emre continued. He also stated that they had already started work before founding the People’s Council and that actions had been carried out.
As an example he mentioned the health investigation of the people in Gazi by physicians in which people were checked three times and in which medicaments, worth 300 million TL, were given to the population for free. After this, the electricity problem was tackled. After looking for the causes, a committee of merchants was formed. This committee already started its work. At the same time a petition was started and already more than one thousand signatures were gathered. Al this, emphasised Emre, will encourage us to go on and it will give us even more courage. A.E. Emre ended his speech by saying: “We announce that from now on the people in Gazi can not be divided according to political, religious and ethical views. The people in Gazi formed its People’s Council out of unity and a feeling of belonging together. This People’s Council represents the common will of our neighbourhood.”
In its first statement, the reasons for founding the People’s Council and its aims were made public:
“On March 12, 1995, civic fascists opened fire upon some cafe’s to sow conflicts and animosity among the people of Gazi which belong to different nationalities and religious creeds. While the people waited for justice, they let the murderers escape. Thereupon the people expressed its growing anger in protests which lasted for days. The people who hoped for justice were shot by the police, many were killed and hundreds of them were wounded, arrested and tortured. After this attack there arose no conflict between Alevites and Sunni, respectively between Turks and Kurds. The joint anger was directed against those who were responsible. But since then a certain distance and tensions can be felt among the people. In this situation the government acted with continuous oppression, arrests, torture and other means of terror against the people of Gazi. Gazi needs unity, keeping together and solidarity because the majority, economically spoken, consists of poor people. The infrastructure here is not sufficient. The education possibilities are insufficient as well, there is no precautionary health care, no social security. We, the people in Gazi, have come to the conclusion that founding a People’s Council is unavoidable to create a culture of solidarity and solve the problems here.
- It is our aim to create solidarity among the people without making national or religious divisions. Our people will be enlightened so attacks, like the one on March 12, 1995, will not occur again.
- It is our aim to form a coalition against the police, the police presence and the continuous arbitrariness and the arrests, a coalition which applies the principles of a state of law.
- Another aim is to reach lasting solutions for problems in the field of infrastructure, education, social security, unemployment, housing and food, caused by the unequal division of income.
- We will confront the social and cultural problems of the people like drug abuse, gambling, alcoholism and other diseases, caused by the influence of the system. The positive values of the people will be taken as a basis.
- The women’s question will be tackled. A women’s committee will be formed which will confront the problems of the housewives, the working women, the mothers and the women which are seen as objects of lust, keeping in mind the social conditions.
- In the context of production and consume, organisations will be set up which will develop a culture of solidarity. These organisations are: co-operations or associations which are not profit orientated, they will decrease unemployment in stead. This system will pose a culture of solidarity against the greed for profit, caused by the system.
- All problems like recreation parks, market places, state hospitals etc., caused by an unequally divided income, will be tackled and serious steps will be taken to solve these problems.
- Within the framework of the limits of our neighbourhood, sporting activities will be encouraged and the people will be mobilised to participate in health encouraging sports. Sports will not serve to watch, they will become activities in which children, as well as women, can participate.
- Families and associations will become active to improve education in the primary and secondary schools. The quantity, as well as quality, of the teaches will improve and steps will be taken against high school fees.
- Within our financial possibilities, the health care question will be solved for the time being by checking the people for free. This will be carried out on a permanent basis later.
- Our neighbourhood will determine weeks and months for the people to have their circumcision and wedding ceremonies together. We will try to solve these problems with few financial means. We decided to found a People’s Council to solve these problems and the many others we did not even mention. Our aim is to solve these problems together, creating a collective culture of solidarity. One of the most important principles of our People’s Council is the participationof the people in the leadership. Participation is based on voluntariness.
1. It will be tried to pick up all the problems which concern the people in our neighbourhood and solutions will be developed. 2. A culture of solidarity and unity among the people in our neighbourhood should be developed. 3. Incidents which are not really cases for the courts, for example conflicts between families, should be solved in peace by the people in Gazi themselves.
These are the criteria for friendship and solidarity. The People’s Council was established on the basis of these criteria. The regulations for the People’s Council were adopted with the approval of all participants.”
Meanwhile other neighbourhoods and regions followed the example of Gazi and started to set up People’s Councils. People’s Councils were established in several villages in the region of Bergama and committees were set up in the neighbourhoods of Sarigazi, Samandra and Yeni Dogan in Istanbul to prepare the founding of People’s Councils.
The alliance of the People’s Councils against the alliance of Susurluk.
The oligarchy, violating justice, formed an alliance against the people. An alliance of the people against it is completely legitimate. Their are no judicial limits which could be a hindrance for this alliance. It is a struggle between illegitimacy and legitimacy. The alliance of Susurluk is illegitimate, the alliance of the People’s Councils is legitimate. The illegitimacy of the alliance of the rulers is clearly visible, compared to the historical justification and legitimacy of the People’s Councils. The legitimacy of the alliance, the strength and the actions of the people’s forces in every field are clear and can be felt. The alternative to the Susurluk alliance is the unity of the people. Nobody should believe that the people’s unity can be achieved at a negotiating table. The people’s unity is achieved by actions and organisations of the people themselves. Keeping away form the actions and the people’s organisations means keeping away from the people’s unity. The people wants results. It needs victory. We call for unity in order to win. We call for actions in order to win.
What do we want? We want:
JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND FREEDOM
THE SELF-DETERMINATION OF NATIONS
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ORGANISATION
FREEDOM OF RELIGION
INDEPENDENCE AND DEMOCRACY
ALL THESE DEMANDS ARE JUSTIFIED AND LEGITIMATE
WE ARE RIGHT
WE NEED COURAGE TO WIN
WE HAVE TO DEFEND OUR HONOUR
WE NEED THE PEOPLE’S UNITY
WE HAVE TO TAKE TO THE STREETS
WE HAVE TO OCCUPY THE SQUARES
WE CAN DO IT, WE CAN ACHIEVE ALL OF THIS
WE ARE THE PEOPLE AND WE ARE RIGHT
WE ARE RIGHT AND WE WILL WIN
Nevzal Altun, neighbourhood mayor of Gazi:“The People’s Councils were set up on the initiative of the people in Gazi. There is nothing more beautiful than when the people want to take their affairs into their own hands. I will support these splendid developments as much as I can.”
Haydas Kirmizigul, worker:“The People’s Council should also take care of the police terror. The People’s Council is open to all, no matter what nationality or religion they have, except for those who committed crimes against the people.”
Huseyin Gulen, chairman of the Alevi Association:“Everybody should see that the people are organising. The People’s Council is the best example for the efforts to unify the Turks, Kurds, Laz, Tcherkessians, the unification of the people’s forces in Turkey. All worked together for the festivity. Every family prepared something. Some made the clothes, others bought something or decorated the hall. Seventy children were circumcised at the ceremony.”
Huseyin Kartal, driver: “First we want to solve the problems of education. In the evening there is virtually a curfew in Gazi, those who are on the street after a certain time, are arrested by the police. I think the People’s Council will solve these problems. It has all kinds of members. Even an Imam participates.”
Nazan Askeran, pharmacist: “The People’s Council especially wants the women to participate. All will learn to speak about their problems and develop solutions for them”
Gulten Bilgili, laboratory assistant:“A general medical examination was carried out in Gazi. 700 sick people were treated. Of course, this did not solve the health problems, but the People’s Council wants to make sure that there are physicians available for health prevention.”
Hulya Elmas, housewife:“They make our children disappear in custody. There is no work for our children. My husband has been working for years, but it is in no way enough. The state does not give anything, but we have to pay taxes. May Allah damn them, is such a state possible? The people work, and they take everything. We will solve our problems ourselves.”
Zeynep Erturk, secretary:“Although we are living in the 20th. century, our women can neither read nor write. This problem should be tackled first. We as committee members want to offer reading and writing courses to our women. We have to take care of the women who can neither read, nor write. When we started as a committee, there were only few members. But when we realised we could achieve something, the committee became bigger. The electricity supply was a constant problem in our neighbourhood. We feel better since this electricity problem was partly solved. Problems like a lack of water, no electricity, no pavement, especially concern women.”