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They burnt them alive

3. August 2001

Report of the DHKC on the Summer Camp 2001

The main issue for the delegation of the Revolutionary People`s Front (DHKC) from Turkey at the Antiimperialist Camp has been the heroic struggle of the political prisoners in Turkish prisons. On October 20, 2000 they started their death fast to protest against their transfer to the new F-type prisons, which actually mean solitary confinement. On Dec 19, the police stormed three prisons and within the next three days tortured and murdered prisoners most brutally. 28 prisoners lost their lives in the murderous attack cynically called “Operation `Back to Life`”. The police used hundreds of teargas and nerve gas grenades as well as innumerable fire bombs and guns. Their words were: “We came to kill you”. The plan behind this action was to end the hungerstrike and to transfer the prisoners to the inhuman prisons. In the media fights among the prisoners and incidents of prisoners burning themselves were reported. But these were all lies. The police was not able to put an end to the struggle. The state has tried in various ways to end the death fast. They have put intense pressure on the families and they are force-feeding the prisoners in cruel attempts to break their resistance. Force feeding not only causes physical pain but also the so-called Korsakov syndrome, this means loss of memory up to the actual day.

The duration and of the death fast and the determination of the prisoners not to give up has already had an impact on the legal system. The minister of justice had to confirm that the movement could not be broken by the means that were used. He even paid respect to the fighters in a cynical way by stating that this kind of people could be used well in building a strong Turkey. However legitimisation for the inhuman behaviour of the police forces came from the European Union, which described the F-type prisons as accordant to human rights. The German minister for justice gave support to his Turkish counterpart by comparing the struggle against the political prisoners to the fight against the Red Army Faction in Germany.

Today is day 286 of the death fast in which up to now 61 people have lost their lives. There are actions of solidarity all over Turkey, while in Europe support for the prisoners has been on a low scale so far. The prisoners will not put an end to the death fast until all of their demands, which were stated at the beginning, are met. These demands not only include the closure of the F-type prisons but attack the military courts. The Turkish government is not willing to fulfill the demands. That is why this struggle needs the solidarity and firm support from the left in “democratic Europe”.

Quote from a recent leaflet of the DHKC:

Carlo Giuliani who was murdered in Genoa by the bodyguards of the G-8, will live as the flag of the united anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples of the world. (…) We are continuing our anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchic struggle in blood baths and deaths. During the resistance against the isolation cells, which are being enforced by the IMF, the US and European imperialism and are being applied by a collaborationist government, which so far has lasted 10 months, 60 of our comrades have fallen. 60 deaths in 10 months.