Karasu: Effects of 12 September 1980 military coup still very big

Mustafa Karasu spoke about the lasting effects of the 1980 military coup and the dropping of the case on the Madimak massacre.

Mustafa Karasu, member of the KCK Executive Council spoke about the effects of the 1980 military coup and the dropping of the case on the Madimak massacre.

The first part of this interview can be read here and the second here

43 years have passed since the fascist military coup of September 12, 1980. What are the effects of the coup in Turkey and Kurdistan until today?

The effects of the military coup were very big. A very strong democratic accumulation, a left-socialist accumulation has emerged in Turkey. When we look at it today, socialists and democrats in the Black Sea region have been rendered unable to work, whereas it was an important area of revolutionary struggle. The youth of the Black Sea region were very effective in their revolutionary struggle. We also had comrades from this region in our group, Haki [Karer] and Kemal [Pir]. Then September 12 came. They wanted to create a new Turkey by crushing the left and the democratic forces, crushing the Kurdish people, and they wanted to get rid of the ‘Kurdish question’ by executing a genocide on the Kurds. One of the methods they used for this, was to develop so-called ‘political Islam’. In the early periods, the Republic of Turkey followed a policy that kept the Islamists out of the system and went after them. But from September 12 onwards, they saw that the Kurdish people could not be suppressed and that the left could not be neutralized by the existing policies. For this, they saw it as necessary to bring political Islam as a new-old method into the system.

At the moment, the ‘Justice and Development Party’ (AKP) is a product of September 12. The coup paved the way for Fethullah Gülen and his followers, as well as for the political Islamists. They wanted to integrate them into the system and unite with them to execute the genocide of the Kurdish people and crush the leftists as well as socialists. Because until then, the Islamic section was not a partner in the genocidal policy of the Turkish state. There were some who supported it, but in general, those with Islamic values stayed away from the genocidal policy of the Turkish state. The 12 September coup made both the Islamists section and the Muslim people accomplices in this genocidal policy. This is perhaps the greatest evil done to the Muslim people and to the Islamic section in Turkey. It was September 12 that created this. They also pressured the socialists to stay away from the Kurds.

That’s why, before 12 September, the most fundamental agenda of the leftists, of all revolutionaries, was the Kurdish question. They didn’t call it an independent Kurdistan, they didn’t consider it appropriate, but they all had in their programs the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination. They said federation, autonomy. If you have a look at it now, some people who call themselves left-socialists are distancing themselves from the Kurdish question, saying that the state shouldn’t mess with them. This was also a result of September 12. Therefore, the coup did a great disservice to the peoples of Turkey; it liquidated the democratic accumulation, narrowed and limited the power of thought, created enemies of art, and enemies of intellectuals. Turkey was going through a kind of ‘renaissance’ before 12 September. There had been problems for sure, but it was a period of enlightenment. But then, as 12 September came, Turkey was dried up. Now Turkey has become the center of Middle Eastern reactionism. That is why it is attacking the Kurdish Freedom Movement, which plays a central role in the democratization of the Middle East.

When talking about the military coup of September 12, the prison of Amed [Turkish name Diyarbakir] comes to one's mind. Today, the responsible of the fascist ruling AKP-MHP want to turn the prison of Amed into a museum to cover up the attack it is carrying out there. However, at the same time, we see that the AKP-MHP has turned all Turkish prisons into prisons like Amed. How do you evaluate the plans to turn the famous prison of Amed into a museum and to showcase the attacks against prisoners?

By looking at the current situation, we can see that the attacks on Kurdish prisoners have surpassed the ones from 12 September. In the context of 12 September, there was crude physical torture every day, but now the attacks on prisoners have increased in a multidimensional way. For example, when they were in Amed, all their families used to come and see their children, but now prisoners are sent far away from Kurdistan so that they cannot see their families. This is a conscious policy. There was torture in the prison of Amed. People resisted it and lost their lives. Now they are creating such an environment that everyone gets sick and people are dying of illness. On September 12, there were not so many prisoners, there were around three thousand in all prisons. But now it has increased a lot. They are imprisoning not only militants and cadres but also all patriots.

In this respect, the AKP’s claim that Amed will become a museum is a mockery of the Kurdish people. Kurds want it to be a museum of human rights, but that is not what the AKP thinks to do. It will make it part of the Kurdish genocide. There is a great resistance against the attacks in the prisons. Because the enemy wants to destroy the PKK completely, political prisoners are being attacked the most. The enemy is thereby focusing the most on Rêber Apo, because he created consciousness and awareness within the people and organized them. It is a situation that needs to be well evaluated and people should support the prison resistance in every possible way.

The fascists of AKP-MHP want to make their own constitution using the argument that the September 12 constitution is a coup constitution. Why does this fascist government, which has not even enforced the coup constitution until today, feel the need to make a new constitution?

One has to laugh at the AKP’s claim that they will make a civilian constitution and get rid of the military constitution. The constitution they will make will be more backward than the current constitution, that’s for sure. They will make a constitution of genocide against the Kurds. They will make a constitution of intimidation on revolutionaries. After the ‘Ararat Rebellion’ [1926], there was a cartoon in the Milliyet newspaper, “The imaginary Kurdistan is buried here”. This constitution is a kind of imaginary Kurdistan, imaginary socialism, imaginary democracy. That is why, as we have stated before, no one should participate in these constitutional debates, no one should take them seriously. None of the opposition should take it seriously, the Kurdish democratic movement should not take it seriously. We have stated before that the Turkish state has a one-article constitution, the constitution for the genocide of the Kurds. Now they will make it more systematic. A constitution that does not recognize the existence of the Kurds cannot be a democratic constitution, a civil constitution. It would be a constitution of genocide. It cannot be a democratic constitution, because democracy is being opposed, so that the Kurds cannot benefit. In this respect, a democratic constitution can only be a constitution that recognizes the existence of Kurds.

No one should get involved in constitutional debates. It should be said that you are making fun of the people, you are demagoguing, you will make a constitution worse than the military constitution, you will make a constitution resembling the one of Hitler. In this respect, the approach to the constitution should be measured and approaches such as those can be discussed and debated should be avoided.

In 1993, the case of the massacre in Madimak [33 Alevi intellectuals were burned alive in a hotel in Sivas] was dropped on the grounds of the statute of limitations. Alevi institutions and organizations reacted against this. What message does the dismissal of this case carry for Alevis?

First of all, I would like to respectfully commemorate those who were martyred in Madimak. The Madimak massacre is an issue that needs to be evaluated very comprehensively. It is said that IS [Islamic State] first emerged there. IS in mentality, method and practice. The Madimak massacre was an attack by IS. The state watched this and even directed it. That is also why Erdoğan established such close relations with IS. Why Hakan Fidan became the boss of IS and is the one who manages Turkey’s relations with IS. In fact, it was Fidan who ensured that IS leaders were sheltering in the places occupied by Turkey. He is actually a man with an IS mentality. The Sêwas [Turkish name Sivas] massacre is the most concrete example. I know Sêwas very well, since I grew up there, I have even passed by the Madimak building almost every day. That is the neighborhood I know best in Sêwas. I sold a lot of stamps at the post office there in my childhood.

There is indeed religious bigotry in Sêwas. It is a society that believes in religion, but it is political Islam, the political mentality that makes them attack Alevis like this. Otherwise, only a religious society would not attack, but there has always been Sunni-Alevi tensions in Turkey. Whoever wants to create a problem or stage a coup, immediately provokes such incidents. One of the most important things in the realization of 12 September coup was the massacre of Mereş [Turkish name Kahramanmaraş). The statute of limitations on the Madimak massacre case clearly tells Alevis that they can kill you. Or reactionaries are being told that you can kill and destroy Alevis. Not just a few people were killed there, all Alevis were killed, all Alevis were burned, all Alevis were attacked. The dismissal of the case reveals how reactionary and inhuman the Turkish state is. It is an approach to a society of at least 20 million people. It is the same approach as to the Kurds. It is said that Alevis can be killed and nobody will be held accountable, Kurds can be killed and nobody will be held accountable.

This is why Alevis is easily attacked. They were attacked in Mereş, Meletî (Turkish name Malatya), Sêwas, and tomorrow they may be attacked elsewhere. Because these attacks always go unpunished. This issue needs to raise awareness among Alevis. As long as Turkey is not democratized, these incidents will continue. In this respect, Alevis need to take an active part in the democratization of Turkey. Alevis’ freedom of belief also comes with democracy. Whoever keeps Alevis away from the struggle for democratization is an enemy of Alevis. He is the one who does not want to remove the grounds for Alevis to be subjected to such attacks. The statute of limitations on the Madimak massacre case should also be evaluated correctly by Alevis.