Haki Karer, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, was killed on May 18, 1977 in Turkey’s southeastern city of Antep.
As Kurdish, Turkish and internationalist revolutionaries all around the world commemorated Haki Karer on the 44th anniversary of his death, Haki Karer’s life story tells only a part of this unique personality, who was known for his dedication to the freedom struggle, his high-level of organisational skills and his modesty.
Born in the northern province of Ordu on the Black Sea coast, Karer met with revolutionary ideas back in his high school years and focused more on his research of Marxism and Leninism during his college years at Ankara University, where the effects of the military coup of March 12, 1971 was still being felt in terms of repression and the rising revolutionary youth movement against it.
In 1973, he met with a leading Kurdish revolutionary student, who was to change his life. That student was Abdullah Öcalan.
As he got to know the Kurdish people, he increasingly became more of a central part of the emerging Kurdish freedom movement.
“The path to freedom and revolution in Turkey starts with the national liberation struggle of Kurdistan,” said Karer and he took to the road to eastern Turkey.
During his years in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey, Karer became a much loved revolutionary figure, embraced not only by the Kurdish people generally, but also by Abdullah Öcalan and the leading cadre of the PKK. Öcalan defined him as his “twin soul”.
“He was my twin soul. […] There were many days when he had no money in his pocket, he worked as a porter and continued his struggle. […] Even though he was an alien to the culture and language, he conducted meaningful works as if he had been a child of this region for centuries. In the person of Haki Karer, the unity of Turkish-Kurdish people in the freedom struggle of the PKK found a meaning,” says Abdullah Öcalan in a former speech where he shared his thoughts on his fellow comrade.
“Haki’s attitude was similar to the attitude of those leaders of some religions and philosophical thoughts. In a sense, he was like the dervish of our movement. He conducted his work as a dedicated personality, who dedicated himself to the cause with great spirituality. […] He used to wear the oldest of clothes, he would walk everywhere he went no matter how far and he barely ate. When someone speaks the name of Haki Karer, I always think of a dervish,” says Mustafa Karasu, a member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Communities Union in a former speech regarding Karer.
Haki Karer was killed by a contra-organisation on May 18, 1977, reportedly sponsored by Turkish intelligence MIT, but Haki Karer’s name has never been forgotten or deleted from the social memory of the peoples and revolutionaries after 44 years.