“Onur Gencer, who entered a Peoples’ Democratic Party building and murdered Deniz Poyraz, a woman working there, enjoyed his court hearing, behaving as if he had just come back from fighting heroically for the state, joking with the guards and the soldiers,” writes Ahmet Kahraman for Yeni Özgür Politika.
During Ottoman times, civilians who joined the army as volunteers during periods of war were given the name Başıbozuk [meaning untrained, undisciplined].
The Turkish state has consistently benefited from volunteers of this nature since its foundation in 1923. It has used them as hitmen, to blow a wind of terror through the country. The first Başıbozuk volunteers used by the Kemalists [followers of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic] were the Topal Osman gang, who were sent in against the Pontic Greeks of the Black Sea region. Topal Osman, who was the leader of the gang, later became part of the Ankara elite as Atatürk’s chief of security. But he had to be removed from the public eye after the last murder he committed for the state (in effect, for Atatürk), and in response to this he made a failed attempt to take Atatürk’s head. Later his body was hung at the gate of the parliament building.
After this there started an era of Başıbozuk volunteers, “exemplary” Independence courts [unlawfully constituted courts making up and applying their own laws], special superintendents appointed to Kurdistan, and military commanders. The rise of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Hizbullah groups used against the Kurds and the terrorism of the Gendarme Intelligence Anti-Terrorist (JİTEM) units, in which civilians were also involved, came later.
It is no surprise that all these Başıbozuk (terrorist) movements which emerged after the 1960s were approved by Süleyman Demirel, who was Prime Minister for most of this time. They were all effectively part of the state. State leaders who came along later found them all prepared and ready, and themselves made use of them.
Hidden beneath the outer shell of the MHP, its pawns, the Grey Wolves (a name given to the paramilitary organisation of the MHP who refer to themselves as “Idealists”) were a response to the relative “freedom” that began to emerge with the new Constitution of 1961.
The Worker’s Party of Turkey (TİP), under the leadership of Mehmet Ali Aybar, was a new voice which rocked a country unaccustomed to such things. The articles of TİP MP Çetin Altan, who was also a writer for the Akşam newspaper, were read each morning as if they were “lessons in freedom”. On the eve of the elections a villager from Antep by the name of Hamdoş made a radio broadcast (there was as yet no TV broadcasting in Turkey) on behalf of TİP, and said, “Hello to all you workers, peasants and sharecroppers”.
A concept dangerous to the ears of Turks, “social justice”, echoed around the streets and squares. In Ankara’s main Kızılay square, student members of TİP, exercising their Constitutional rights, were selling the Dönüşüm magazine, which explained what “social justice” was.
And Demirel, in response to this scene, was going from city to city pouring out invective, crying, “the country cannot be run with this Constitution”. But his hands were tied by the permissions granted by the Constitution, and he could not use the police.
The head office of the Justice Party (AP – Demirel’s party) resorted to organising unemployed youths with sticks and clubs and setting them against the Dönüşüm magazine sellers. But they would not be intimidated. Labourers, teachers and civil servants were organising and going out onto the streets.
Just at this point, Alparslan Türkeş, an immigrant from Cyprus who had announced the 1960 military coup, had received contra-guerrilla training from NATO and was the leader of the allegedly racist MHP, found a particularly suitable role. He set up the “Idealist Hearths”, clubs for the aforementioned “Idealists” or Grey Wolves, bringing together unemployed youths and what students he could gather, together under one roof.
Some time later, they started to attack TİP members with sticks and stones, and interfering in the student movements.
In 1969, to improve their effectiveness, these youths were taken to a camp in Gümüldür in İzmir where they were given armed commando training.
After making a show of a goose-step march in Ankara, the MHP commandos fired their guns for the first time against students of Ankara’s Languages, History and Geography Faculty.
In Istanbul, İsmail Kahraman, who was later to become the Minister of Culture under the ultra-religious prime minister Erbakan, and the speaker of parliament under the current president Erdoğan, planned Turkey’s “bloody Sunday” together with other ultra-religious groups he had organised. They committed two murders on that day before the very eyes of the police. However, these murders remain “unsolved” to this day.
By now wherever there was street action, the MHP’s Grey Wolves were also present. When the left armed themselves too, a time of clashes and conflicts started, very much with the appearance of a civil war.
In the run-up to the military coup of 12 September 1980, around 6,000 people were killed on both sides. On the left, these included academics, writers, teachers, trade unionists and politicians. In this war, Colonel Alparslan Türkeş was the “commandant” of the MHP. The politician Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu was the leader of the Grey Wolves’ murder squad. Both were arrested during the 1980 coup. Later, along with the hitmen of numerous murders, they were released, and exempted from having to answer for any of the murders.
Türkeş was carried to the Grand National Assembly by the ultra-religious Welfare Party RP (of which President Erdoğan was then a member). Yazıcıoğlu set up his own party, and also became an MP. When they each died, they were buried in special memorial graves where their supporters still visit and remember them as being among the “greatest of the great Turks”.
After the 1980 military coup, the MHP Grey Wolves became consolidated with the cheques and bonds mafia, and Yazıcıoğlu’s assistant Abdullah Çatlı and his team with the international drugs mafia.
After Türkeş’s death, imprisoned mafia bosses (eg. Alaettin Çakıcı, Kürşat Yılmaz) were pronounced “partners to the cause” by his replacement Devlet Bahçeli. They were given amnesties relieving them of decades of imprisonment, and released.
Bahçeli’s MHP was an unofficial coalition partner, and the police and military organisations were a source of employment for the Grey Wolves, who were completely free to commit crimes.
Serial massacres of Kurds were covered up. Murders in which the murderers were caught red-handed were whitewashed by Turkish “justice”. Rapists and murderers who had undergone JİTEM training and worshipped dogs and wolves and stood to attention for them, were absolved of all wrongdoing.
People who “got their fun” out of laying ambushes for Kurds and lynching them were kept out of the confines of Turkish justice.
Onur Gencer, who entered a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) building and murdered Deniz Poyraz, a woman working there, enjoyed his court hearing, behaving as if he had just come back from fighting heroically for the state, joking with the guards and the soldiers.
Another murderer, who lined up a Kurdish family of seven in Meram in Konya, was treated like nobility by soldiers and police.
Muhammed Eren Sütçü, who raided the HDP’s building in Bahçelievler, Istanbul, in a futile murder attempt, was affectionately sent back home.
And the Kurds somehow forget the institutionalised mafia state. They somehow forget that the MHP was years ago, way back in the 60s, a wheel of terror that needed a lock put on its door. They are in denial that it is protected at the highest level and carefully preserved, and they maintain their demands for trials of the bandits in an expectation of justice.
But this is a bed of murderers, rapists, thieves and robbers. Go up on high and call out, “Oh murderers, thieves, rapists!”, and innumerable people, including the elites, will turn round and say, “Did you call me?”
The MHP are the unpunishable of this realm. Named after dogs, their opportunities for crime are wide open…