Yürüyüş, 71st issue, June 17, 2018
Everywhere where there is fascism, there is repression, exploitation, massacres, corruption, bribery, favouritism, injustice, lynching and torture.
At the same time as relations of dependency on imperialism developed, torture became systematic. When talking of torture, the first thought that comes to mind in our country is the Ziverbey Palace and Sansaryan House.
Starting in the 1950s and 1960s, CIA experts directly resorted to torture which in later years was directed in a more centralised, widespread and institutional way at revolutionaries and people’s liberation fighters.
Together with the development of neo-colonialism, torturers like Hiram Abbas were trained by the CIA. As the revolutionary struggle developed, and revolutionary organisations attracted the masses, repression and torture also escalated.
What is torture?
The Turkish Language Association defines it like this: torture is extreme material or moral wearing down of a person.
Another definition of torture: “Every kind of behaviour that aims to intimidate, deter, seek revenge, punish or collect information by consciously causing severe pain, physically or psychologically.
The most frequent use of it is as a tactic during questioning in an attempt to get a confession. Governments also use torture as a means of repression or a threat aimed at controlling society.”
If we use the broadest definition, it means intense physical and psychological pressure to make people do things contrary to their will and wishes.
In different periods of history, on different continents, different torture methods have been practised so rulers could impose their will. Here are some torture methods practised in the past and in our days:
- a – Severe beating, falaka (beating of the soles of the feet), fracture arms, legs or the skull.
- b – Psychological torture. Using intense mental, emotional or psychological pressure, threats as a means of intimidation, arbitrary behaviour. Threatening with a gun, abducting people with their eyes covered, mock executions, burying them in the ground.
- c – Attacks on values as a mean of torture. Political, religious or threats to families, those you love most. Attacking beliefs and values.
- d – If these don’t work, they wear down people by pretending they are insane.
- e – Sexual assault, rape, forcing objects into the anus, or harassment and rape directed at your spouse or children.
- f – Handcuffing, suspending people by the arms, tying both arms and feet, electric shocks, putting people in icy water.
- g – Sleep deprivation, not allowing people to use the toilet.
- h – Leaving people in an unventilated area for a long time, solitary confinement.
- i – Urinating on people or smearing excrement on them, forcing them to eat excrement.
- j – The galleys, forced labour.
Such a list could be lengthened.
George Ryley Scott wrote: “’The History Of Torture’ could be described in this way. We read that it was considered reasonable and inevitable for prisoners taken in war to be tortured… In the earliest times war prisoners were sacrificed to the gods. It was considered inevitable to inflict death and torture on enemy tribes and so rather than be taken alive, many put an end to themselves… The Mexican Aztec sacrificed all their prisoners to the god Tezcatpoca and the forms of death were horrifying.
In the history of Greece, torture was not used on free citizens to obtain testimony or a confession but it was used as a punishment…
In Rome, in many situations the best and often only way to get slaves to tell the truth was considered to be the use of torture; the master of the slave had absolute power over them and they were always punished ın the most cruel and brutish ways.
Pope Innocent III developed a plan to counter those who dared to rebel against the church. In the first half of the 13th century St Dominic established the first General Inquisition. The first was held in 1233 in Toulouse. Five years later another was held in Aragon. They rapidly spread to Germany, Holland, Spain Portugal and France. Pope Innocent issued an official letter in 1252, authorising torture to obtain confessions. To obtain confessions, torture was used, ending in death and those who failed to confess were burned at the stake or impaled, with others given life-long imprisonment.
In England in 1571, Queen Elizabeth issued a document to authorise torture on a state-wide scale in response to a rebellion by the “Duke of Norfolk and his servants”.
In Nazi Germany, hundreds of thousands of Communists, workers, intellectuals and Jews were killed in concentration camps, passed through torture centres and burned in crematoria.
The American bourgeoisie continued a policy of torture against blacks in particular in its own country, while against the world’s peoples, exploitation, massacre and tortures continued.
In the USA’s torture planes and ships, in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons, nearly all the tortures we have listed have been practised. In particular, dragging people through excrement and rape have been practised. As US capitalism’s crisis worsens, its tortures grow more savage.
Jews have been targeted the most by the torture politics of fascism but today the state of Israel, imperialism’s gendarme in the Middle East, does not hesitate to use all torture methods to destroy the Palestinian people.
In our country torture has continued in all its violence, from the period of the Ottoman Empire to today. The Ottomans issued instructions authorising torture against those who did not pay taxes. Thousands of peasants who did not have the money to pay taxes were subjected to severe torture. Villagers who could not pay taxes were flogged by the tax officials.
In our day, anyone who comes up against the government from every section of the people, is tortured, put in isolation prisons and deprived of even the most basic rights.
To continue their own system, unimaginable torture methods of repression and torture are practised by rulers as an inescapable necessity and an expression of their fear.
It is known that these policies of repression, terror and exploitation on the part of exploiting classes are not a new thing. In neo-colonial countries like ours, exploitation and class contradictions mean torture is practised extensively.
Because the oligarchy does not give rights to the people, it tries to suppress reactions against it with repression and terror. There are specially trained units of police, soldiers, prison guards, village guards and special security units whose only duty is that of torture.
The AKP’s fear of the people grows greater with every passing day, and it has started organising armed units, some whose names are known, some unknown, some semi-legal, others illegal, some operating in the country, some abroad, as is deemed necessary.
In the streets, in the official offices, in the prisons, in the mountains, uniformed or plainclothes, thousands of enemies of the people are being trained. Every year their contingents are boosted. The number of police is boosted with “Dolphins”, motorised teams and so on.
The torture by the fascist state’s security forces is not simply designed to inflict pain on revolutionaries and force confessions, it also aims to undermine respect for their values, ideology, leaders and comrades. They try to trample on their honour, personality and values.
This is why, besides the known physical and psychological tortures, they try to persuade you that your ideological beliefs and values are wrong. The form may change but the aim is the same, they seek to get the revolutionaries to give in to take away the hope of the people, so they use severe torture of revolutionaries and massacres to intimidate the people.
This is why they torture even the dead bodies of guerrillas, strip them naked and drag them on the ground, sexually abuse them, cut off ears and noses, burn them, put the bodies in mass graves or throw them in acid baths.
In our country, gendarmes began to be used against revolutionaries in the second half of the last century, since the 1960s.
Political offices were established to carry out operations, torture, force confessions and massacres aimed at bringing about surrender, these were later called TEM (Struggle Against Terror offices). MIT (security service of Turkey) offices also set up torture centres.
In the period of the March 12 and September 12 juntas, electric shocks, beating on the buttocks, suspension, pulling out nails, soaking people and then exposing them to cold, beating until blood flows and so on, every kind of physical and psychological torture were practised.
After the 1980 fascist junta, people detained were subjected to severe torture.
During the time Hasan Fehmi Gunes was at the Interior Ministry, Ankara police department established the Deep Research Laboratory (DAL) and as a result of its systematic torture dozens were murdered and hundreds left handicapped.
In the 1990s, as the revolutionary struggle rose, the oligarchy experienced deep crisis. This is why this was a period of state of emergency declarations, the burning of villages, large-scale massacres, and disappearances practised on an extensive scale.
Birtan Altinbas was detained at the exit of Beytepe campus in Hacettepe University on January 9, 1991. He was subjected to severe torture in Ankara DAL and on January 16 he was martyred in Gulhane military forensic faculty after torture.
Aysenur Simsek was abducted by contra-guerrillas on January 24, 1995. She was found murdered on April 13 in Kirikkale.
The prisons that were designed to grind revolutionaries down turned into a resistance position and a school since the 1980s. Every attack met resistance. This was why fascism showed savagery in the prisons too.
On September 21, 1995 in Buca Prison, the state carried out a massacre to break the resistance of revolutionary prisoners and to take revenge for escapes. Turan Kilic, Yusuf Bag and Ugur Sariaslan were killed by gunfire and sever torture.
On January 4, 1996 in Umraniye Prison, Abdulmecit Seckin, Orhan Ozen, Riza Boybas and Gultekin Beyhan were murdered.
On September 26, 1999, beams were used to crush prisoners’ skulls and their throats were also cut. Ten prisoners were murdered, among them Ismet Kavaklioglu, Ahmet Savran and Aziz Donmez.
In the massacre of December 19-22, 2000, the biggest prison massacre in our country happened, and it was also the biggest military operation in our country since the Cyprus operation. Bulldozers tore holes in walls and holes in roofs were used to throw gas canisters that resulted in prisoners being burned alive. In the course of four days of massacres and resistance 28 revolutionaries were murdered.
To implement IMF policies, Sikorsky helicopters, battalions of soldiers, police and prison guards approached prison doors early in the morning. For a year they had made plans using scale models because of the resistance, and the resistance played down the casualties saying they were “less than we expected”.
After the year 2000, these were years in which it was claimed that the hope of socialism was finished and the world was a “global village”, and with such sophistry they sought to encourage disbelief and denial on the left and end any hope for socialism.
But on the soil of Anatolia Front revolutionaries frustrated such imperialist calculations. The Front opposed the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Prisoners in the jails set themselves on fire as imperialism calculated on achieving regime change in 22 countries of the Middle East. They proved that ideology had not died and there were values to die for. And fascism was once again defeated by revolutionary will.
TORTURE IS A POLICY THAT HAS NO LEGITIMACY IN THE EYES OF THE PEOPLES AND IS DESIGNED TO INTIMIDATE THE PEOPLE AND KEEP THEM UNDER PRESSURE
In our country fascism is constant. And in a country of constant fascism, resistance is also constant. If on the one hand fascism succeeds in getting organisations and individuals to surrender, it has come unstuck against the willpower of Front revolutionaries. In the mountains, cities, interrogation centres, prisons, young or old, man or woman, they could not get Front supporters to surrender.
On September 28, 2008, Engin Ceber, Cihan Gun Aysu Baykal and Ozgur Karakaya were detained while selling Yuruyus magazine in Istinye and they were tortured in both the Istinye police station and in Sariyer security department. They were jailed and sent to Metris Prison and the torture continued.
In Metris they were put in isolation cells. Towards morning they were soaked with water and then beating with clubs. Engin Ceber refused to get up for the roll call and after days of torture he was martyred on October 10 when the guards fractured his skull by beating his head against an iron door.
The People’s Front was tireless in exposing the torture from the first moment, and as a result of the resolute work of lawyers torturer guards were punished. Moreover for the first time in the country’s history a justice minister said “sorry” about the torture and accepted that it had happened. Admittedly our comrades and friends did not want “sorry”, but justice. We wanted justice and practised it.
Torture has continued in our country since it was established and is a state practice. In order to continue their exploitation of the masses of people, the ruling classes use various methods to extend their life, such as TV, the press, football, the education system and so on. Torture is just one of these methods. They use violence to silence human beings who rebel against their exploitation and thus seek to prevent the truth reaching the people.
So in the conditions of our country, there is no other way the system of exploitation can continue in being. In every period they have tried to leave the people’s opposition leaderless by using torture to get revolutionaries to give up their beliefs and surrender. The essential aim of torture is to silence the people as well as the revolutionaries and ensure that the system of tyranny and exploitation can continue without problems.
State Terror And Torture Continue
In our country they play a democracy game. On the one hand they shout about human rights and democracy, on the other they trample human rights and honour underfoot. Every day the torturers commit one crime against the people after another.
Using the July 15 coup attempt as a pretext, OHAL (state of emergency) was declared, but the resistance to this and the people’s struggle is proof that it will win and fascism will not be able to achieve a result.
As a result of the KHK (emergency decrees) hundreds of thousands have been thrown out of work. But only the civil servants from the Public Sector Workers’ Front (KEC) have resisted. For over two years the KC have resisted on Ankara Yuksel Avenue and just for wanting their jobs back have been exposed to two attacks a day during that period.
On June 8, that is, the 577th day of the resistance, the resisters were again outdoors to demand their jobs back. They were surrounded by police, were forced into vehicles and one of the torturers punched Nazan Bozkurt. As a result of being hit Nazan’s cheekbone was broken.
Nazan was operated on as there was a risk of losing sight in the left eye, and her older sister Gulnaz Bozkurt, resisting like Nazan, said the following the next day:
“We want our jobs. Yesterday, the security police brought a woman wanting her job back to the state that her cheekbone was broken, her face was covered in blood and she needed an operation. AKP fascism thinks that people wanting their jobs back deserve this treatment. The same police in Istanbul use torture and fracture the skulls of young people.
You will drown in the blood you spill with torture, no elections, no ballot boxes, no sultanates you establish will save you. You will give a reckoning for all this. You will give a reckoning for Nazan Bozkurt. You will give a reckoning for Nuriye and Semih. You will give a reckoning for Mehmet Dersulu’s leg. You will give a reckoning for Esra.
No crime will remain unpunished. The people will demand a reckoning from you. This will not wait until the Last Judgment. We want our jobs back and we will get them back. Do as you wish, even if you remove our eyes, our friends have eyes. If you break our ribs and arms we will still come out onto YUKSEL.
We have sent a file to the governor of Ankara, saying “Stop the torture in Yuksel”. We have handed over 110 photographs of torture. Who gave the order the same evening to do this to Nazan? Who gave you this order? Where are the police, where are the police kept? The people who punched aunt Perihan’s face into fragments, who pulled out beards, pulled out eyes, what do you think the people believe? Do you think you can hide what you did to Nazan? Do you think the reckoning for a woman wanting her job back can be delayed to the Last Judgment? Justice will demand a reckoning, on way or another.
We will not give up. Did you think you could intimidate willpower that can keep going for 578 days? Did you think we would withdraw?
BREAK US, BEAT US, WE DO NOT DIE SO EASILY. We know our love for this homeland, we know our love for this people. We are not going anywhere.”
People’s resistance architect Alev Sahin says, “I am in the arena of resistance because of Nazan’s anger and the absolute hope that we will win. After investigation, today or tomorrow she will undergo an operation. A young woman who is the apple of our eyes; if they are heroes let them try to make us well-behaved.”
After being tortured, Nazan made a statement: “THE TORTURERS KNOW THAT THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO INTIMIDATE US, I AM JUST SAD I WILL HAVE TO STAY AWAY FROM YUKSEL FOR A FEW DAYS. WE KNOW THEM AND A RECKONING WILL BE DEMANDED FROM ALL OF THEM!”
On the day following the torture, the KEC people were again in the square and this time the resistance was about Nazan’s eye. They flicked the blood on their hands at the police and demanded a reckoning from them even at the cost of experiencing the same torture. Fascism is helpless against even one resister. This is why they are in a frenzy to attack, torture, organise lynch attacks and create provocations.
People’s architect Alev Sahin started her resistance in Duzce and it is in its 303rd day in front of the AKP building, she talks to the people of her demand to get her job back and a woman interrupts her speech. Alev continues to expose them, the concern of the AKP woman increases and she tries to engage in a provocation. Previously Alev frustrated an attempt to lynch her and she frustrates this provocation as well.
Nothing works against revolutionary willpower. This is why the hope and the united force of the people spread by our resistance one by one will be the end of the torturers, the fascist system and the murderous AKP government…
The AKP’s repression and provocations are not limited to this country. The 46-year-old Cahit Zorel, who has lived in Belgium for 17 years, is resisting for the sake of his “right to remain”… While resisting in the middle of Europe in front of a court in Brussels, a supposed centre of democracy, an AKP supporter attacked him with a knife.
The AKP fascist tore the banner but did not harm Cahit, but he threatened to come back. Why is the AKP worried by this protest action directed at the Belgian state?
Because Cahit clearly defends revolutionary beliefs. Revolutionism is not a crime, it is a duty, for this reason his right to remain was taken away and he is showing determination in demanding it back.
“Having my right to remain taken away is not just an injustice to me. I felt that this attack must be publicised and announced. It is possible to resist such injustices,” Cahit said…
The Belgian state gives no explanation for not giving the right to remain. After all the necessary procedures have been practised, they are showing their true faces. The Belgian government said, “We cannot give right to remain because of your revolutionary beliefs. It creates a danger to nation and stability to give this man right to remain.” Cahit Zorel resists with the legitimacy of socialism the arbitrariness of the Belgian state not giving right to remain after 17 years.
“In the end, I am in the right and I am certain my resistance is also a resistance for everyone to be able to support as it is a matter of concern to them. I took the decision to resist with these thoughts in mind and indeed the support I have received shows that those who resist do not go without support. If we resist, not only do we win but we put up a barricade in front of other injustices.
What are revolutionary beliefs? To want a just system without exploitation, torture and repression. These are the thoughts that (they say) create a danger to nation and stability,” he said.
Cahit Zorel is resisting torture and torturers who say, do not think of the people, let the children die, stop questioning this system of exploitation and fighting… He experienced a knife attack but again does not give up resisting and what is right… There is no difference between those who attack Cahit and those in Duzce or Yuksel who drag 70-year old women along the ground and practise torture…
Wherever they are in the world, the supporters of the Front continue to act on the principle “Wherever there is repression you will resist, wherever there is an enemy you will fight”. This is why the imperialists and the collaborationist oligarchy cannot get a result.
- – Torture is a state policy. If governments change this wheel always turns. Torture starts on the street and continues at every step.
You are detained and as a formality you are brought to a doctor’s treatment room and then it is the turn of the prosecutor. Questions are asked like, “Did you do that?” and “Do you know this one?” Whether or not torture is used, they have no problem learning something and doing what they need to do.How easily they can jail people who act against their interests. This is why they do not ask anything and do not learn about torture. There are even some who persistently defend torture on the grounds of “They will do as little of it as they have to”. Yes, there is a wheel. The teeth on the wheel turn. Prosecutors, police, courts – all are a part of this system. And they serve this system.
- – Torture is systematic and constant. It is not “done by a few police who do not know better” or a “special” event. And lies like torture is an “excuse” or the “lack of police training” are devoid of credibility.Because torture is not “the work of a few cops” nor is it a “special” event and it is not able to be solved by “police training” (and police are in any case trained in how torture is necessary). Torture is state policy. And there will be torture in a society based on exploitation and tyranny.
- – Since torture is a state policy, struggle against torture must contain struggle against the system.As torture is a crime against humanity, resisting torture for the honour of our people, our comrades, those close to us and ourselves is necessary to be a human being.
- – It is important to see that torture has a “class” content. Torture is used to maintain an obvious system of exploitation. For this reason the names may change – padisah, sadrazam, kolagasi (Ottoman official titles) or prime minister, president, security director, gendarmerie commander… but this policy does not change.
- – Torture is a crime against humanity directed at human honour. But it can be directed by the organised struggle of the people.Torture is a part of the state’s war declared on the people. It is a weapon that will be used more and more as the war becomes more intense. In response to this, to frustrate the aims of the state, it is our duty to be angrier against it and not to bear it.
- – To resist the torture we encounter face to face, and to struggle against the torture done to others and not remain silent – this is a necessity for an honourable human being. Because torture as has always been said, is a crime against humanity. Repression and torture will not succeed in obstructing the revolutionary struggle.In torture centres, concentration camps, gallows, the bottom of walls, swear to our comrades and revolutionary fighters that you will create legends that break chains! And that those who fall will not be forgotten! And that the blood that is shed will not remain there! And that the flag in our hands will not fall!
- – Torture is a state policy. If governments change this wheel always turns. Torture starts on the street and continues at every step.
As yesterday, we will continue to demand a reckoning for every arm that is broken, every bullet that is fired, all the blood that is spilled, every thread of hair on the road.
We will drown fascism in the blood it has spilled. And we will win!