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Maoist Insurgency in Turkey
Dateearly 1980s-present
LocationEastern Turkey mainly Tunceli region
Result ongoing low level insurgency
 Turkey TKP/ML
Maoist Party Centre
Commanders and leaders
İbrahim Kaypakkaya
Süleyman Cihan†
Cafer Cangöz†

Maoist Insurgency in Turkey also known as People's War in Turkey (Turkish: Halk savaşı), is a low level insurgency occurring in eastern Turkey between the Turkish government and Maoist rebels that appears to have begun in the 1980s. The insurgency declined in the late 80s and 1990s and has been sidelined by the larger Kurdish separatist conflict. Low level armed attacks continue to be carried out by insurgent groups. The most significant of which are Liberation Army of the Worker's and Peasant's of Turkey (TİKKO) - armed wing of Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist and People's Liberation Army (HKO) and People's Guerrilla Forces (PHG), both armed wings of the Maoist Communist Party


On April 4, 1972, the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (sometimes TKP/ML is incorrectly referred to as "Partizan" after the name of one of its publications) was formed by a radical group led by Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, it crafted 11 point program and intended to wage a People's War. However a year later Kaypakkaya was captured, tortured and killed. In 1978 the first conference was carried out affirming the TKP/ML's direction towards People's War and guerrilla warfare, however little progress was made in this direction.[1] TKP/ML was involved in political violence between left and right wing groups in the 70s.

TKP/ML's military wing, the Liberation Army of the Worker's and Peasant's of Turkey (TiKKO), carried out militant and guerrilla actions in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, mainly in the Tunceli region, who's inhabitants saw the Maoist guerrilla war as revenge for the 1938 Dersim massacre.[2] TiKKO reached its height during this period carrying out guerrilla warfare in the mountainous areas of the Tunceli region.[3]

In the late 1980s the TKP/ML suffered from a series of splits following the party's second congress. 1993 TKP/ML attempted to reunifiy with the DABK group which ultimately proved unsuccessful. The rise of the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the internal strife and ideological problems within the TKP/ML led to a sharp decline, TiKKO organisation outside of the Tunceli region practically disappeared.[4]

On May 17, 1985, TKP/ML broadcast propaganda message to millions of television viewers in Istanbul, replacing the soundtrack for the evening news.[5]

Today, Post 2000

In 2000, Turkish security forces launched operations against TiKKO insugents in the provinces of Tokat and Sivas. Discovering 12 hideouts, they recovered 9 machine guns, 4 rocket launchers, grenades and explosives as well as 10 tonnes of food and medicine.[6]

December 11, 2000, TiKKO insurgents open fire on a Police Special Task Force killing 2 and wounding 12.[7]

In 2001, police captured 5 insurgents and weapons including two 9K111 Fagot Anti-Tank Missiles[8]

On 16 June 2005 Turkish armed forces killed 17 members of MKP.[citation needed]

In March 2009, Tamer Bilici, a doctor in service during 2000 Hunger Strike in Kandıra F-type prison was punished by MKP-HKO for being a public enemy because he was blamed for deaths, and permanent disabilites of inmates.[9] In September 2009 MKP-HKO claimed responsibility for the death of a retired colonel, Aytekin İçmez.[10]

On 29 June 2010, two guerillas of the TIKKO were killed in the mountains of Tunceli by the Turkish state forces.

On 2 February 2011, five guerillas of TIKKO in Tunceli died as a result of an avalanche.[11][12]

On 15 November 2012, 24 guerillas of HKO were surrounded and captured in Tunceli[13][14]

On 26 July 2013, the control building of a hydroelectric power plant regulator was bombed in the countryside of Tunceli Province by TIKKO militants.[15]

On 14 March 2014 TİKKO guerrillas attacked a police station in Tunceli. TKP/ML declared that the attack was revenge for death of Berkin Elvan.[16][17]

On 8 July 2014 TİKKO guerrillas stopped a truck carrying five workers to a base station at Altınyüzük and set the vehicle on fire.[18][19]

See also


  1. [1][dead link]
  2. Construction of a Nation: The Early Years of the Turkish Republic and Dersim Events
  3. Turkey and the War on Terror: "For Fortey Years we Fought Alone", page 27
  4. Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East: Collected Papers of the Symposium, page15
  5. A World to Win Magazine, 1985, "TKP/ML seizes the airwaves 8PM News Break"
  6. [2][dead link]
  7. "RAND - NSRD - Projects - RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  8. [3][dead link]
  9. "MKP: F Tipi katillerinden biri cezalandırıldı". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  10. Hüseyin TÜCCAR- Erdoğan PAÇİN (2009-09-30). "MKP-HKO emekli albayı öldürdü". Sabah. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  11. "To the Press and the Public: 5 martyrs of TKP/ML-TIKKO died in Tunceli" (PDF). Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  12. Mike Ely. "Turkey: Five Communist Fighters Killed in Avalanche". Kasama Project. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  13. "24 MKP/HKO Militanı Teslim Oldu İddiası". Dersim News, Dersim Haber, Dersim, Tunceli Haber, Dersim Haber Sitesi, Dersim Haberleri, Tunceli Haberleri,Dersim 38, Kırmancki, Zazaca, Dersimce, Alevi Haberleri, Pülümür, Hozat, Ovacık, Mazgirt, Nazımiye, Çemişgezek, Erzincan, Erzincan Haber, Varto, Varto Haber, Kiğı, Kiğı Haber, Bingöl, Bingöl Haber, Gündem, Haber, Haberler, Avrupa Haber, Alevi Haber, Alevi Haberleri,. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  14. "Arkadaşlar, siz de teslim olun askerler bize çok iyi davranıyor". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  15. "Hydroelectric Plant Regulator Bombed in Tunceli". Bianet - Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  16. "TİKKO’dan Berkin Elvan için misilleme eylemi". BestaNûçe Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  17. Özgür Gelecek. "Gerilladan Berkin Elvan için misilleme eylemi". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  18. Özgür Gelecek. "Dersim'de gerilladan baz istasyonu eylemi". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  19. "Communist terrorist group sets truck ablaze in eastern Turkey". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 

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