Here we present a short article about Revolutionary Youth(Dev-Genç) the youth organisation of People`s Front-Turkey.
The youth is in boycott
They wanted to create a apolitical youth, sitting in front of their computers, playing with their smartphones, not being aware of what happens in the world surrounding them. This system doesn’t need and doesn’t want a “political” youth. It wants to channel the energy and dynamic of young people into the system of exploitation. In Turkey this didn’t work out. Young persons remai- ned faithful to the 44-year long tradition of Dev-Genc (revolutionary youth) and gained public attention mainly by boycotts and occupations.
Boycott of the high school students of Dev-Genc for Berkin Elvan
The death of 15-year old Berkin Elvan put in motion all students and above all those of high schools. To protest Berkin’s death they boycotted their lessons. The Dev-Genc students started their struggle for justice with a boycott at Abay Konanbay High School in the Gazi district of Istanbul. This spread like a wildfire into all parts of Turkey. There have been boycotts and occupations at renowned universities like the ODTÜ (Technical University of the Middle East) in Ankara, the University of September 9th in Izmir, ITÜ (Technical University of Istanbul) and many high schools throughout the country like the economical high school in Istanbul, high schools in Sariga-zi, in Dersim (Kurdish territory), many high schools in Hatay (town at the border to Syria).
After the death of Berkin the lessons were BOYCOTTED
The boycott that was started by Dev-Genc students found many supporters. Many schools, lawyers in courtrooms and retailers in the districts followed their example.
On May 22nd 2014 the students of the high school of Okmeydani boycotted their lessons. They demanded justice for Berkin Elvan. The police reacted by shooting with live ammunition. They cynically shot at the students. They protested the killing of a student in their age and the police tried to kill them for it. Mistakenly Ugur Kurt, who was at the CemEvi due to a death in his family, was shot in the head and died on scene. Due to this tragic inscident the Okmeydani boycott is the most famous one. But boycotts took place all over Turkey.
Since the military coup on September 12th 1980 nothing like this has happened in Turkey. For the first time, students and young people have boycotted their lessons together for a political cause.
Boycott for the anniversary of the June Resistance
1st of May-District:
On the evening of May 30th there has been a demonstration with the motto “From Berkin to Soma we stand for justice in boycott” a transparent was opened in front of the Emek bakery to stop the traffic. There was a call for actions for the anniversary of the June-resistance. Afterward all students gathered and demonstrated through the district. Also at the cram school of Sarigazi the students hung transparents out of the school windows and boycotted class.
For the anniversary of the Gezi-resistance the people demanded justice for those fallen during the June-resistance and the Soma mining massacre with the motto “neither work nor class, the resistance is growing”. The retailers of Armutlu closed their stores and put up signs that read “We are in boycott for justice”
Merchants followed the call of People’s Front to “halt live” and declared the 30th of May as anniversary of the June-resistance and shut down their stores. At 9 p.m. many housholds started an action by switching their lights on and off and making noise with pots and pans.
Also in Gülsuyu the retailers followed the 30th of May boycott call of People’s Front with the motto “neither work nor class, the resistance is growing”. For 15 minutes all roads were blocked and a demonst- ration started. In the evening there has been a torch march which was attacked by water cannons and armored vehicles close to the E-5 highway.
In Sarigazi retailers boycotted between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.using the motto “Justice for Berkin, justice for the fallen of the June resistance and Soma”. The students of Dev-Genc boycotted class at 12.30. This boycott was ended by a big exertion of police forces. The students responded to the attacks by throwing stones at the police vehicles. They locked the schooldoors and ensured that nobody stood inside.
Students of the Demo-and Mehmetcik High School and the Economical High School of Sarigazi boycotted their classes. The school management was forced to announce “va-
cation”. The Dev-Genc students hung up transparents explaining the boycott and danced Halay (a traditional Anatolian dance).
Afterward all students gathered and demonstrated through the district. Also at the cram school of Sarigazi the students hung transparents out of the school windows and boycotted class.
Aktions for the anniversary of YÖK
To protest the foundation of YÖK (Higher Education Commitee) on November 6th 2013 students of Dev-Genc occupied the Faculty of History and Geography in Ankara.
What is YÖK?
On September 12th 1980 there was a military coup in Turkey. The commitee was formed to keep controle over the youth. It controles every activity and all the contents of all university students. Professors have to stick to the framework dictated by YÖK or they face disciplinary penalties. Also students who act against YÖK face disciplinary penalties or even exmatriculation.
YÖK is a product of the fascist constitution and makes an independent, scientific teaching impossible. It rather supports the politicians of the incumbent government.
Right now Erdogan aims to raise a “religious youth”. At every single university places of worship were established. Obviously not for christians, jews or alevis. They are places of worship for the official religion of Sunni Islam. YÖK provides space for religion but suffocates all activities of progressive and revolutionary students. This is why every year on November 6th revolutionary and progressive students plan actions against YÖK. This year Dev-Genc squatted a university.
Ten members of Dev-Genc squatted the deanery of the Faculty of History and Geography in Ankara. They protested the fascist repression against the students by YÖK and the deanery. The occupation lasted from 1p.m. to 4p.m. The occupation couldn’t last any longer because special forces of the police and firefighters stormed the building and arrested all ten students. Seven of them were taken into custody. They were freed after one month due to a powerfull campaign of Dev-Genc.
Students in Okmeydani showed their solidarity with the students in Ankara by raising transparents. There have been more actions against YÖK in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Tekirdag.
Freedom to 2776 Pupils and Students
At the moment 2776 students and pupils are imprisoned because they demanded “free education”. There have been and still are campaigns for their freedom.
Dev-Genc marches to Ankara
With the demand “Justice for Berkin and freedom to all detained pupils and students” activists of Dev-Genc started a march from Istanbul to Ankara at June 4th 2014. They marched from one town to another and explained to everyone that there are 2776 students imprisoned in Turkey and are deprived of the time they need for their studdies. Also they explained that Dev-Genc is not going to remain silent until the murderers of Berkin Elvan have got their just punishment. The spirit and euphoria and the determination of the young people was vividly noticable in every city they stopped.
Source: This translation was prepared by Anadolu News Blog in 2015