Turkey: Victims of Kizildere Massacre commemorated

Turkey: Victims of Kizildere Massacre commemorated
A+ A-
Mahir Cayan and other revolutionaries killed in a military operation on 30 March 1972 have been commemorated on the 51st anniversary of the incident.

The victims of a military operation in 1972, among them one of the most influential revolutionary leaders of the 1960s, were commemorated on the 51st anniversary of the incident in three cities of Turkey.

A commemoration was held in Ankara's Karsiyaka Cemetery, with representatives of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) among participants.

In another event, a group gathered at a village cemetery in the eastern Black Sea district of Ardesen, where the remains of one of the victims, Cihan Alptekin, are buried.

Stressing in his address that they were always aware that they had the same ideals with Alptekin, the mayor of the town of Findikli Ercument Sahin Cervatoglu said that they were faced with a crucial political situation before the coming elections:

"We have a serious mission ahead of us. We will make a choice in the elections between a fascist dictatorship and democracy and freedom."

The Kizildere Massacre

Mahir Cayan, Hudai Arikan, Cihan Alptekin, Nihat Yilmaz, Ertan Saruhan, Ahmet Atasoy, Sinan Kazim Ozudogru, Sabahattin Kurt, Omer Ayna, Saffet Alp, all members of the People’s Liberation Party-Front of Turkey (THKP-C) and People’s Liberation Army of Turkey (THKO), were killed on 30 March 1972 in the village of Kizildere in the province of Tokat, where they were encircled by Turkish troops.

The hostages held by the group, Gordon Banner, Charles Turner and John Law, were also killed during the clashes.

About Mahir Cayan

Mahir Cayan, one of the most influential revolutionary leaders of his time, had great impact on later generations, both as a determined and courageous revolutionary, and through his written work which he had managed to put together in a brief lifetime in hard circumstances.

He was married to Gulten Savasci between 1970 up to the time of his death.

Sole survivor

The only survivor of the massacre was Ertugrul Kurkcu, incarcerated for 14 years and released on a general amnesty, who later started working as a journalist, then went on to become one of the most outstanding figures in the alliance between the pro-Kurdish opposition and socialist groups.

He served as deputy in the Turkish Grand National Assembly for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) between 2011 and 2018, and is currently the Honorary President of HDP.