Turkish Police Fail to Stop Funerals of Revolutionary Martyrs

By Mike Talavera

Earlier this week the fascist Turkish state on two separate occasions deployed contingents of police in an attempt to disrupt the funerals of revolutionary martyrs in Istanbul, Turkey.

The night of August 5th in the Munzur Mountains, Maoist guerrillas from the Liberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey (TIKKO) clashed with Turkish soldiers, resulting in the deaths of six TIKKO fighters.

The battle was one in a long line of skirmishes in the region between TIKKO and the Turkish state. In 2013, Maoist militants blew up the control building for a hydroelectric power plant, and in 2014 Maoist fighters attacked a police station in the area.

According to a statement published online by the Community Party of Turkey Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML), the faces and hands of some of the Munzur martyrs were purposefully disfigured.

Nevertheless, the fallen revolutionaries were eventually identified as Tanju Er (Samet) from Tokat, Mehmet Keleş (Mahir) from Samsun, Tarık Akın (Yetiş) from Erzincan, Zeynel Çakıl (Haydar) from Dersim, İlker Tezer (Yusuf) from Dersim, and Mustafa Sarıca (Taylan) from Ankara.

On August 10, a Turkish funeral was held for comrade Yetiş, where his casket, draped in a red flag, was taken to the cemetery by car. On the way, Turkish riot police intercepted the procession, attempting to block the mourners with armored vehicles.

Police confront the funeral procession (led by green carriage) of comrade Yetiş

When the family questioned officers as to why they were interfering with the funeral, they responded that the slogans being shouted during the march were illegal, such as “Guerrillas never die! Long Live the People’s War!”, and they accused Yetiş of being a terrorist.

Despite some small skirmishes with the police, the procession was able to make it to the burial site, where the family of Yetiş gave eulogies. “I brought you to your comrades,” his mother said, according to newspaper Yeni Demokrasi. “You are now in the arms of your comrades.”

A few days later on August 14, the loved ones of comrade Samet held a funeral for him, which was also harassed by droves of police. The procession ignored the police cameras and circumvented the barricades, successfully making their way to the cemetery.

At the grave, a partisan delivered a speech, preaching to the mourning crowd that there was no place for defeatism in the People’s War.

“Blood must be shed in the class struggle against imperialism, feudalism, fascism, and all kinds of reaction,” the partisan said. “The struggle for New Democracy will continue until the workers, poor laborers, and our people are liberated!”

Solidarity rallies for the martyrs have been called in several European countries for this coming weekend.

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