News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following article – Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa’dan Esedullah Timi’ne devlet aklı: Kontrgerilla – was written by Cihan Başakçıoğlu for DİHA and was carried in Özgür Gündem. It has been translated into English below.
As part of state’s war strategy that has been put back into action following the defeat of the AKP and President Tayyip Erdoğan in the June 7th elections we are now facing massacres on a level that makes one long for the kind of state policies pursued in Kurdistan in the 1990’s. Indeed arguments and practices can be seen in the state’s most recent activities in Kurdistan which resemble the murderous policies pursued by the State in the 1990’s through the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terrorism (JİTEM) . In particular in areas where curfews have been imposed and clashes are intensifying and elements of the security services are writing graffiti on walls such as – “The wolf has tasted blood: be afraid’ and ‘the green is here where are the PKK?’ – the state’s most recent ‘deep’ formation, the ‘Esedullah team’ has come to public attention. It remains unknown who organized this new group – whose name means ‘the lions of Allah’ – who serves in its ranks or who directs its actions. As for the history of the state’s ‘secret formations’ and its rationale for committing such massacres we need to go back to the first years of the 20th Century.
The activities of the Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa were also denied
In every period that the mentality and tradition of a state has existed one can see how it endeavours to destroy all forces which are opposed to it and this fact can be seen in its active shape between 1911 and today. The Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa – or ‘Special Organization’ – first emerged in 1991 during the rule of the Committee of Union and Progress under the presidency of Enver Paşa and its activities were part of the larger Turkish-Islamic synthesis which developed at that time.
According to Galip Vardar, who served in the organization, the general organization framework was directed toward eliminating non-muslims and others deemed ‘internal enemies’ and to establish and supply gangs and their members for this end. Later various gang members were recruited from prison or from those known as ‘irregulars’ in the mountains and drafted into ‘national’ service in the ranks of the Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa. This practice was first implemented in Trabzon through a common decision taken by Rıza Bey, Nail Bey and Cemal Azmi Bey.Then official ordinances were drawn up around the use of convicts in such gangs.
The organization was run by senior persons within the state
The Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa – which was active in domestic and foreign counterintelligence operations, propaganda, political-military organization, and assassinations – was transformed into an official organization attached to the War Ministry on August 5th, 1914 and within this new counterinsurgency grouping many figures who occupied important positions within the state structure – such as Enver Paşa, Binbaşı Süleyman Askeri, Eşref Sencer Kuşçubaşı, Zenci Musa, Yakub Cemil, Dr. Bahattin Şakir, Mithat Şükrü Bleda, Ohrili Eyüb Sabri, Fuat Balkan, “Kel Ali” lakaplı Ali Çetinkaya, Çerkes Reşit Bey, Ahmet Fuat Bulca, Nuri Conker and Rauf Orbay – played an active role. Many of these figures were later take part in directing the organization’s major massacres and other actions.
It is notable that the massacres undertaken in the 90’s by JİTEM with the goal of ‘Turkification’ resemble in many ways those undertaken under the Committee of Union and Progress through the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa. According to data provided by the Interior Ministry in the period of disappearance, assassinations, and village evacuations 1,912 were killed in areas under police control, while the Human Rights Association of Turkey (TIHV) claims that 1,165 were killed as a result of extrajudicial executions. Moreover the TIHV reports that 403 people died while in custody, 3,541 villages were forcibly evacuated. Once more the activities of Jitem were denied by the state just as were the activities of the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa. It was such that those various personalities who saw service inside JİTEM and signed their name to various massacres and other crimes would when they came before a judge say ‘I don’t know about JİTEM only JÖTEM, and that means I love you.’ (i.e “je t’aime”).
From The Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa To JİTEM
In those years, during the period in the 1990’s that became known as the ‘Twilight years’ among the public, one could see that the role of these historical actors had not changed. At a time when politicians, intelligence agents, soldiers police and counter-guerrillas were all playing a major role in the dirty war in the South-east some of the major names involved in such policies were President Tansu Çiller, who it was claimed had formed her own ‘private army’; as well as police officer Mehmet Ağar, who was later convicted of membership in a ‘criminal organization’ following the Susurluk scandal;Turkish Intelligence (MİT) operative Mehmet Eymür, who was taken into custody and later released during investigations over the murder of political dissidents; Korkut Eken; Veli Küçük, one of the founders of JİTEM; and Mahmut Yıldırım, co-name ‘green,’ whose very existence is still debated; and Abdullah Çatlı, who died in the Susurluk accident. It is also known that Ayhan Çarkın, Ayhan Akça, Oğuz Yorulmaz, Enver Ulu, Mustafa Altunok, Ercan Ersoy and Ziya Bandırmalıoğlu – former special police commanders convicted in the aftermath of the Susurluk trials – also took part in these extrajudicial executions and disappearances.
In the massacres it has directed in the Kurdish provinces since this past July the AKP government, which has been principally behind the ideology of ‘Neo-Ottomanism’ that has been so debated from when it first came to power until today, has also ignited debates around a ‘Kurdish genocide.’ These new massacres have exceed in their dimensions even the massacres of the 1990’s and since July dozens of civilians have been killed and curfews declared in Silvan, Cizre, Nusaybin and many other areas. Many sectors of society are now becoming increasingly nervous as debates rage within public opinion around how the very same special forces and the leaders of those criminal organizations who were responsible for the massacres in the region in the 1990’s are now being put back into service. And now people are talking about the Ford Ranger taking the place of the ‘Beyas Toros’ [the Turkish-made car formerly used by security services in undercover operations in Kurdistan] as extrajudicial executions are once again increasing. Moreover as campaigns of lynching and intimidation against Kurds are increasing in major urban centers, and arrests and detentions of Kurdish politicians and activists continue unabated, the ‘Esedullah team’ – the new name for JİTEM – is now carrying out bloodthirsty massacres
Will the existence of ‘Esedullah team’ also be denied?
AKP power, confronted with all of these forces demanding self-government, is now fanning the flames of ‘terror’ through its many massacres in the region in places such as Nisêbîn (Nusaybin) and Farqîn (Silvan). The assassination of Diyarbakir Bar Association President Tahir Elçi has once again put debates around counter-guerrillas back on the agenda. On the other hand public opinion is once more debating whether or not the activities of the Esedullah team, the state’s latest Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, will continue to be ignored.