Tribute to Ibrahim Kaypakkaya

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya died 44 years ago, assassinated by the armed forces of the Turkish reactionary state. Ibrahim Kaypakkaya was the founder of the TKP/ML (Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist-Leninist) and it’s armed wing TIKKO (Liberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey). In Turkey he represented the red line of the communist movement having broken with the revisionists, and initiated the Protracted People’s War in Turkey. Ibrahim Kaypakkaya left immortal contributions to the people of Turkey to advance towards the Revolution of New Democracy and then Socialism. The Turkish intelligence services themselves saw Kaypakkaya as the biggest revolutionary threat, so in an official report of the MIT (National Intelligence Organization) of 1973 it is noted:

“Within the communist movement in Turkey, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya’s idea’s are the most dangerous. The views he presents in his writings and the methods of struggle he advocates are, as we can safely say, the application of revolutionary communism to Turkey. ”

A life in the service of the people

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya was born in 1949 in the village of Karakaya. He was the son of a peasant family. He became familiar with progressive ideas while being a student in the 1960s. He was a very good student and successfully enrolled at the IUFM in Capa and the University of Physics in Istanbul in 1965, a year when the Turkish student resistance was in full swing.

Quickly after becoming a student, he joined the FKF (Federation of Clubs of Idea) founded in 1965. The FKF was a progressive anti-imperialist organization composed of several trends. He openned a section of the FKF in Capa with his comrades in 1967. At the heart of the FKF, he fought against the revisionism of the leadership and opposed their reformism, supporting a line of national democratic revolution.

In 1969, he moved away from the university to struggle with the workers and peasants and to make them familiar with Marxist-Leninist ideas. In 1970 Turkey experienced major worker’s struggles , the most important of which was on the 15th and 16th of June 1970 and was suppressed by tanks and cannons. This struggle is an important lesson about the objective conditions of the revolution in Turkey for Kaypakkaya, and he says about this struggle that it is the “proof that the objective conditions of the revolution have become mature in Turkey”.

In 1970, he became a member of the TIIKP (Workers’ Revolutionary Party and Peasant Party of Turkey), which was a party claiming to be Marxist-Leninist and a follower of Mao-Tse Tung Thought, but it had important right-wing deviations.

In March 1971 martial law was declared with the military takeover of the government. This martial law was the result of the development of people’s struggles in Turkey. It was in this context that Ibrahim Kaypakkaya affirmed the need to start the Protracted People’s War in Turkey. On international level, this took place during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, at the most intense moment of the national liberation struggle in Vietnam and after the mass movements in the major imperialist countries in 1968 and 1969 (France, Germany, United States, Japan …).

Kaypakkaya wrote: “The ever-increasing struggle of our courageous working class, our altruistic peasants and our valiant young people, the increasingly widespread Marxist-Leninist books, the effects of the global shake-up of the Great Cultural Proletarian Revolution which took place in China under the command of Mao, prepared the augurs of an environment in which a young communist movement was to emerge in our country to lead the struggle of the masses. ”

The TIIKP claimed to be following Marxism-Leninism and the contributions of Mao Zedong, but in practice they where not. These fundamental theses led to pacifism. Kaypakkaya led the line struggle within the organization to its maximum before separating from this organization to found a Communist Party on a just basis, revolutionary bases opposed to revisionism, reformism and chauvinism. That was the foundation of the TKP/ML (Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist-Leninist) on April 24, 1972 under the leadership of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya. To break with the revisionists of the TIIKP and its bourgeois leadership was essential. It made it possible to affirm the main character of activity in the peasant regions in relation to their activities in the large cities, it also made it possible to affirm the armed struggle and the illegal activities as principal in relation to the non-military and legal activities.

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya followed Mao’s theses on the three instruments of the revolution: the Party, as the general staff of the proletariat, the people’s army and the united front. So, a few months after the founding of the TKP/ML, the TIKKO (Turkish Workers ‘and Peasants’ Liberation Army) was founded to lead the Protracted People’s War in Turkey.

In 1973, when Ibrahim Kaypakkaya and his comrades were engaged in activities in the Dersim area, they were hunted down and forced to take refuge. Because of a denunciation, their refuge was discovered and attacked by gendarmes on 24 January 1973. Kaypakkaya was wounded but managed to escape, after which he spent five consecutive nights hiding in a cave but was denounced by a villager after asking for help.

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya on armed struggle

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya and his critique of the TIIKP (“The Roots and the Development of our Differences with the Revisionism of Safak: A General Criticism of the TIIKP”, June 1972) criticized Safak’s revisionist theses on the issue of armed struggle with precision and accuracy. These theses are, without astonishment, theses that are still very widely understood today by our contemporary revisionists, by all those who oppose the strategy of the Protracted People’s War. Thus, the analysis and refutation of these theses by Ibrahim Kaypakkaya deserve to be studied by every communist throughout the world.

The theses of the revisionists of Safak at the time condemned the revolutionary movement to pacifism, legalism and wait-and-see. It is for all these reasons that Kaypakkaya broke with the TIIKP to found a truly Marxist-Leninist Party, a Party that acquired Mao Zedong’s contributions to Marxism-Leninism, a Party capable of leading the revolution.

Let us look at some of the revisionist theses on the armed struggle that Kaypakkaya has endeavored to reject:

First, the Safak revisionists followed the organizational policy of organizing peasants and workers in study groups. The groups were gathering around the newspaper’s study sessions and increasingly removing the masses from the issue of armed struggle in addition to being a very vulnerable structure to repression. The revisionists had thus made a prerequisite for participation in the armed struggle to first of all study Marxism-Leninism in groups of study, thus preventing many peasants full of class hatred for the enemy to join the armed struggle. In the same way it started from the absurd idea that someone who would be good at the theoretical study of Marxism-Leninism would naturally be good at conducting the armed struggle. These erroneous considerations were nothing but the expression of a pacifist petty-bourgeois revisionist line.

In opposition to this erroneous line which claims to represent a “revolutionary mass work,” Kaypakkaya develops what the correct practice of Marxist-Leninists should be in mass revolutionary work:

“The policy of the Marxist-Leninists on how to organize among peasants is clear: Organize a party committee in each village. In each village, organize armed contingents, namely the peasant militia, from the ranks of the revolutionary poor peasants, be they connected or not to the party, who continue to engage in production. Organize from the ranks of those connected to the Party special task units and cells related to the Party village committee. In addition to this, organize professional guerrilla units connected to the regional committee of the Party regardless of the village structure. The purpose of all this organizational work is to build the Party and the armed people’s forces among the agricultural workers and poor peasants. The construction of the Party will not take place peacefully but in the course of the armed struggle. And the key to organizing the Party to understand how to organize the peasants is to organize guerrilla units and village militias. ” (“The Roots and the Development of our Differences with the Revisionism of Safak: A General Criticism of the TIIKP”, June 1972. Likewise for all the quotes of this part)

Secondly, the Safak revisionists put forward as a prerequisite for the armed struggle the condition that the Party must be developed on a national scale and capable of leading the masses. The revisionists Safak claim that the armed struggle can only be triggered over the whole territory starting from a peasant movement supported by the cities. The revisionists claim that a red power can only arise if a peasant movement of national scale is first united behind a Party that is also developed throughout the country.

This conception of armed struggle is the manifestation of right-wing and revisionist theses that are incapable of understanding the dialectical development of the Party and the People’s War.

Here is what Kaypakkaya answers to the revisionists of Safak:

“For the emergence of a red base zone, the revisionists do not consider it necessary to have a protracted guerrilla activity developing from the small to the broad, from the weak to the strong, from the simple to the complex; Within this activity to build a popular army step by step, develop guerrilla units to regular army units; And to transform the guerrilla war into a war of movement. In fact, they do not even think about it. They demand a generalized peasant revolt for the emergence of a red base in this region. […] Therefore, be careful – the peasants should not try to revolt and we should not try to organize such a revolt either, etc. ”

“Organizing on the basis of peaceful struggle is a hollow organization. Even if an organization of this kind came to embrace the whole country, it would not be able to lead the people’s struggle, lead the armed struggle, and in a period of climbing white terror it would collapse like a card castle… ”

Thirdly, the revisionists assert that armed struggle can not be launched without the entire masses being prepared for it. Incapable of understanding the unequal development of the revolution, the revisionists shut themselves up in idealistic theories that Kaypakkaya sums up: “In order to launch the armed struggle, the Safak revisionists demand that the whole prairie be dry. “. Kaypakkaya goes on to show that such an erroneous line leads in mass work to fall behind and concentrate only on the most remote sections of the peasants rather than direct the struggles of the most advanced peasants.

Fourthly, the revisionists artificially oppose political struggle and armed struggle. The revisionists of Safak accuse Kaypakkaya of having a purely military point of view because he places the guerrilla unit at the center of the political struggle. Incapable of understanding the armed form of political struggle and armed struggle as the main form of struggle, the revisionists in fact completely reject the very idea of ??armed struggle that they always sweep under the rug. The purely military point of view engage in the activity of fighting to fight, which is totally different than using the armed struggle to accomplish political tasks.

Kaypakkaya is very clear that the armed struggle is not opposed to agitation and propaganda:

“In our country too, the guerrilla units that will form the embryo of the popular army will not be satisfied with just fighting. At the same time they will have important tasks such as driving agitation and propaganda among the masses, organizing and arming them. As these gentlemen regard the political struggle as the opposite of armed struggle and political struggle as simply a publishing activity, they accuse us of rejecting political work, rejecting agitation and propaganda and mass work. In reality, they themselves recognize only the peaceful forms of agitation and propaganda and the political struggle. They reject the armed forms of political struggle and agitation and propaganda. ”

“Kemalism is fascism”

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya was the first to scientifically define the class character of Kemalist ideology correctly. It has swept away all the erroneous and opportunistic analyses that see Kemalism as a partly progressive movement and as the manifestation of the nationalist petty bourgeoisie or the national bourgeoisie. It has clearly shown that Kemalism is an ideology of the comprador bourgeoisie and that if it opposes direct colonial rule, it also contributes to maintaining the semi-colonial and semi-feudal structure of the country. In this sense Ibrahim Kaypakkaya showed the absurdity of those who make Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), a Turkish Sun Yat-Sen, and clearly demonstrates that Kemal would be rather the equivalent of Chiang Kai-shek.

Let us see what Kaypakkaya says about kemalism:

“The realities of Turkey tell us that:

Kemalism means fanatical anti-communism. The Kemalists brutally drowned Mustafa Suphi [Note: the first president of the Communist Party of Turkey] and 14 of his comrades. They mercilessly crushed the Turkish Communist Party (TKP) after the death of Suphi, although the party did not deserve that name. What the pro-American fascist courts of martial law do today, Kemalists have done so many times. Every two years, quite often at least once a year, there are general tours, with hundreds of tortured and left to rot in the police stations and prisons. When it suited their interests they flattered the Soviet Union, the rest of the time they fed a ferocious and insidious animosity against it.

Kemalism means the violent and bloody repression of the class struggle of the working and peasant masses, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the surveillance of public servants. Kemalism means for workers only bayonets and shots, batons and the hit of rifle butts, the courts and the jail, the prohibition of strikes and trade unions. For the peasants, this means the tyranny of the landowners, the beatings by the gendarmes, the courts, the prison and the banning of any organization. All comrades should remember the examples given by Comrade Schnurov on how the workers of the Adana-Nusaybin train line were shot.

Kemalism is a chain attached to all forms of progressive and democratic ideas. Any publication activity that does not praise Kemalism is banned. In the future, the mere possibility that an article may emerge against the Kemalist government will be sufficient reason for any publication to be closed. An endless “martial law” terrorizes the country with every proclamation lasting for years. The parliament is a toy in the countries of a small clique of administrators heading the CHP (Republican People’s Party) and their unchanged president Mr. Kemal. The Constitution and all the laws are the same, although in reality it is the army that runs the country.

Kemalism means the incitement of Turkish chauvinism in all spheres, the establishment of a merciless national oppression against national minorities, forced turquism and massacres.

The principle of “complete independence” of Kemalism means a willingness to accept semi-colonial conditions.

A Kemalist Turkey is a semi-colonial Turkey. The Kemalist government means a collaborative government that was initially a lackey of British and French imperialism and subsequently of German imperialism. As Schnurov demonstrated, the class brotherhood of the Kemalists with the imperialists was stronger than their national animosities. ”

“All these realities clearly illustrate the class character of Kemalism, the ideology of which class it is: Kemalism is the ideology of the right wing of the Turkish comprador big bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie. “The Kemalist dictatorship was a fascist military dictatorship. ”

(“Safak’s Revisionist Theses on the Kemalist Movement, Kemalist Government Period, World War II, Post-War Period and May 27”, January 1972)

Support for the Kurdish national liberation struggle

In his text The National Question in Turkey (December 1971), Ibrahim Kaypakkaya demonstrated the democratic content of the Kurdish national movement. He showed the absolute necessity for the Communists to support the right of self-determination of the Kurdish nation. He showed the necessary fight against Turkish chauvinism propagated by the ruling class and which also affects the Turkish proletariat.

Here is Kaypakkay’s brilliant conclusion on the Kurdish national liberation struggle:

The Marxist-Leninist movement is today the most implacable and determined enemy of the national oppression inflicted on the Kurdish nation and minority nationalities by the Turkish ruling classes and is at the forefront of the struggles against the national oppression, the persecution of other languages ??and national prejudices. The Marxist-Leninist movement unconditionally supports, and has always maintained, the right to self-determination of the Kurdish nation, oppressed by the bourgeoisie and the Turkish landowners, that is, its right to secede and to create a state independent. With regard to the right to found a state, the Marxist-Leninist movement is also opposed to privileges. The most fundamental principles of popular democracy make this absolutely necessary. The unprecedented national oppression inflicted on the minority nationalities in Turkey by the bourgeoisie and the Turkish owners also makes this imperative. This is at the same time made it absolutely necessary for the struggle for freedom of Turkish workers and laborers, for if they do not demolish Turkish nationalism, liberation will be impossible for them.


The Marxist-Leninist movement supports the struggle of oppressed nationalities in general and the Kurdish nation in particular against national oppression, persecution and privilege, and fully supports the general democratic content of the national movement of the oppressed nation.

The Marxist-Leninist movement directs and administers the class struggle of the proletariat and the Kurdish workers against the bourgeois and small landowners who make up the leadership of the Kurdish national movement as well. It warns the Kurdish workers and laborers against the actions of the bourgeoisie and Kurdish owners who seeks to consolidate nationalism. The Marxist-Leninist movement remains indifferent about the struggle for the supremacy of the bourgeoisie and the landowners of classes of different nationalities.

The Marxist-Leninist movement is fighting against the efforts of the landowners, the mullah’s, the sheikhs and so on to reconcile the struggle against national oppression with their attempts to strengthen their own positions. (The National Question in Turkey, December 1971)

Accomplish the Revolution of New Democracy with the Protracted People’s War

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya thus armed the Turkish proletariat with its most powerful weapon: the TKP/ML, the Communist Party based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism capable of leading the Revolution of New Democracy to the end because it is armed with the strategy of the Protracted People’s War adapted to the conditions of Turkey.

The teachings of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya are a precious and immortal legacy for the people of Turkey in the struggle for liberation. These are the teachings that all communists in Turkey must assimilate in order to pursue the revolutionary path.

The character of Turkey has not changed today, it remains a semi-colonial semi-feudal state. Kaypakkaya’s theses thus represent the more developed form of class consciousness in Turkey.

Today, the TKP/ML and the TIKKO live and fight, continuously advancing on the road of the People’s War. They show the example of the struggle to bring down imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and feudalism to the oppressed peoples of the world.

Last year, 12 TIKKO fighters where martyred. We want to pay the highest possible homage to those revolutionary heroes who have shown the highest form of commitment, that is the armed struggle. The heroes of the revolution are immortal. Their example sheds light on the path each communist must follow, the commitment and the sacrifice for the revolution.

Today we salute the Party of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, the TKP/ML and it’s armed branch the TIKKO. We salute all revolutionaries who have fallen on the path of the Revolution of New Democracy in the struggle against imperialism and the Turkish fascist state.

The teachings of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya are immortal!

Long live the TKP/ML! Long live the TIKKO!

Long live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

Long live the Protracted People’s War!

Long live the World Proletarian Revolution!

Source :

C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.