1384) Taner Akcam's Prison Sentencing

The Revolutionary Youth Magazine recorded the terms of Taner Akcam's sentencing with outrage. What follows is as friendly a source to detail the imprisonment goings-on as Akcam could possibly have, and certainly makes Akcam out to be a hero. It's being made available for those of us who would like to look into Akcam's own claims as to why he was sent into the hoosegow.

For example, in a radio interview, here is how Akcam explained the reason for his arrest and sentencing:

"...I was arrested in 1976 because of the article I wrote in a students’ newspaper. The reason why I was arrested is that I wrote that there are Kurds living in Turkey. In fact, the Turkish state claimed at that time that there were only Turks in Turkey. In the 1970s, this was a founding myth of the modern Turkish state. It was a criminal offense. It was against the law to acknowledge the existence of Kurds in Turkey. Because of that reason, I was put in jail and sentenced to ten years."

Akcam provided the same excuse during his PBS debate (host Scott Simon, in ignorance, hoped to gear the reason more toward speaking about the "Armenian genocide"):

"It is not only related to Armenian genocide. It was not easy to talk about the past, about the Kurdish issue, this was the reason why I was arrested 1976..."

Well, looks like there was a lot more to his running into trouble with the law than simply the Kurds, according to this extremely friendly source.

Thanks to Fatma S. for having translated the piece, and to Umut (who operates or helps operate armenianquestion.org) for providing it.

The article translated below was published in the Revolutionary Youth Magazine dated January 24, 1977, edition number 16. Its original can be found in the archives of their web site devrimcigenclik.org/


How the Lawsuit Developed:

Our (Revolutionary Youth’s) friend Taner Akcam was taken under surveillance on March 10, 1976 and arrested with six consecutive verdicts by the Government Security Court of Ankara in the days proceeding. He was also accused with the slaying of Zuhtu Pehlivanli, an ex-deputy of the Justice Party during the eventful riots of October 1975 which took place in the Maltepe district of Ankara, while the crowd was dispersing from the People’s Republican Party’s election demonstrations which took place one block away in the Tandogan district. Taner, however was not convicted as a consequence of the face to face meeting with the eye witnesses. Additionally, a few more indictments were prepared in civilian courts. Five of the detentions about Taner Akcam were about articles published in our Revolutionary Youth Magazine, and five in pamphlets, and yet another detention for establishing underground communist organizations such as; the one called “ODTU-DER” of the Middle East Technical University. All of the suspects of the ODTU-DER case, including Taner Akcam were set clear of charges following the court hearing of July 9, 1976, however, our friend Taner was not set free out of jail. The court declared its verdict on the case related to the Revolutionary Youth Magazine on January 17, 1977. Our friend is sentenced to 8 years 9 months of penal servitude and 3 years of exile in Bilecik (a city in Central Anatolia, south of Ankara).

Attilla Ulku, the prosecutor of the Government Security Court (DGM in Turkish) prepared 5 separate indictments against our friend in the court case of the Revolutionary Youth. In the meantime they collected from shelves the 1, 2, 4, 5, 6th editions of our magazine and the pamphlet titled “About Struggle and Organization of Youth Groups”. The prosecutor of the oligarchy, gnawed on wooden tables out of his rage during the court hearings, while repeating accusations like “Among all the leftist groups, yours is the most dangerous one, because you are trying to unite them all”. He asked for a total of 670 years of detention for our friend Taner, for violating 14 times the penal code no: 142 and 149 times number: 159 and uncountable times many other codes of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK in Turkish).

The following quotations excerpted from the DGM prosecutor’s speech make it obvious that he faced difficulty to find suitable excuses to condemn our friend Taner Akcam within the framework of ‘justice”:

“The Republic of Turkey is undermined (by Taner Akcam) with phrases like; ‘.. as well in our country, the oligarchic dictatorship, which is dependent on imperialism, and voted by only a few’. The Republic of Turkey is neither dependent on imperialism, nor under the dictatorship of the oligarchy.”


“Turkish Republic is undermined (by Taner Akcam) with leftist slogans like; ‘colonialist government policy’. The Republic of Turkey is not colonialist. Such allegations belittle our republic.”


“(Taner Akcam’s) expressions like; ‘…with the increasing assaults of the police’, the security forces of the country is put down and police is labeled as the aggressor. In fact, the police forces are providing security for the common folk within their rightful jurisdictional obligations.”


“(Taner Akcam’s) slogans such as; ‘They are opposing us with their paid dogs and police’, insults the government’s security and guard protectorate. He is alleging that the police forces are collaborating with paid dogs and alluding that they are as low as paid dogs.”


“With words like; ‘our country is dependent on imperialism, it is a colonized country where archaic production principals are still in effect’ (Taner Akcam) vilifies our country. The Republic of Turkey is neither dependent on imperialism, nor is it a colony. Claiming the opposite is making a mockery of our republican system.”


“(Taner Akcam’s) phrases like; ‘The patched up government, MC of the ruling classes’ vilifies the current government which is formed by a coalition of different political parties united under the name Republican Front (MC in Turkish).”


“In the editorial titled ‘For the unification of the revolutionary actions of the youth’ in the first edition of the Revolutionary Youth Magazine, (Taner Akcam) propagandizes communism. In summary, in this article, Taner defends that several small youth organizations should unite under one banner and complains of the lack of existence of a communist political party in Turkey.”


“Communism propaganda is obvious also in his (Taner Akcam’s) editorial titled ‘Let us correctly understand Dev-Genc’s struggle’. He defends foundation of similar student organizations in this day and age, suggesting that they should orchestrate dynamic student protests instead of remaining passive.”


“Besides propagandizing communism, (Taner Akcam) suggests that militant communist activities should be carried out among students of the middle school level and discusses some methods in his editorial titled; ‘Forward with our democratic struggle in the middle school level’. It is no wonder why such events are on the rise among the middle school students and obvious who organizes them.”


“In the article (title not given in the magazine), (Taner Akcam) aims to weaken and eliminate national feelings towards the unity of the Republic. He claims that the Kurdish people of Eastern Turkey are oppressed, tries to justify the existence of a Kurdish race distinct from Turkish and writes as if they have a unique history other than that of the Turks. Everyone living within the borders of Turkey is a Turkish citizen (with the exception of foreigners who came on their own will). Aside from this, different nationalities such as; Kurdish, Armenian, Berber, Gypsy, Laz, Rum, or Arab are inexistent (in Turkey). (Taner Akcam’s) propaganda towards the Turkish citizens living in Eastern Anatolia as if they are of a different nationality aims at eventually reducing their Turkish national feelings and replacing Kurdish nationality in place of it, and eventually encourage them to revolt against their own government. This is a result of the ‘divide and conquer’ method of expansion for Communism.”

We (the Revolutionary Youth Organization) collected the above excerpts from only one of the indictments of the government’s prosecutor. But, in the person of the prosecutor of the oligarchy we see how they focus their assaults in certain directions, and the strict style they take when forced to defend their interests…

After the prosecutor finished reading his indictment, the court continued its hearings with our friend’s and his lawyers’ defense cases and requests like dismissal, expert examinations, etc. The court cases were carried out in the quiet atmosphere that the media and the public opinion submerged themselves in. After the cancellation of the DGM’s the case continued to be heard under the authority of Ankara’s Second Penal Court.

Second Penal Court of Ankara continued hearing the case. Aykut Kutlay was appointed as the prosecutor for this case to Ankara’s 2nd Penal Court by the DGM’s prosecutor. He reorganized the indictment. In the person of oligarchy’s prosecutor, Aykut Kutlay, the Revolutionary Youth Organization found a ‘smarter’ co-defender. This time our friend was indicted with an argument that was communicated in a smart way. The lawyers defended our friend with the argument that the crimes were not established due to the fact that there was no relation between the cited legal articles and the claimed offences, eventually asking Taner’s acquittal and release. Taner Akcam in his defense declared that his fight was against imperialism and Fascism and as such was a necessity of patriotism. In the end, our friend was placed under arrest for 8 years 9 months and 3 years exile to be served in Bilecik… The “patriotic media’s” deadly stillness and turning a deaf ear to the outcome is still continuing…

Why is the Oligarchy Assaulting the Revolutionary Youth in the Person of Taner Akcam?

Is the indictment request to serve up to 670 years in the case of the Revolutionary Youth due because the DGM are actually against the essence of the Constitution, or is it due to the DGM prosecutor’s political views or his sadism? Do the prosecutors not know how to count? Did he get only 8 years 9 months in the end, because the judges were having a bad day with their wives when they passed the verdict? Let’s say this was the case with the judges, how will we explain the quiet attitude of our “patriotic” media? Could it be that this court case is an evidence of a healthy working democracy? Probably so, because if you look at it our magazine is still printing edition …

Masses who are not aware how mercilessly the class system works, who have no responsibility in the way it was forced upon them, who do not have a revolutionary understanding based upon correct evaluation of imperialism and our country’s problems with the enlightenment of the teachings of Marxism – Leninism, and who are in a state of complete mind chaos in terms of Fascism all share the burden of the above mentioned court result.

They are closing their eyes to the exploitation with blood, oppression and terror of the existing colonialist system; and are sticking their heads in the ground like ostriches because they are not aware of the just policies defended by the Revolutionary Youth and the practical stances its strategies have gained. They are mistakenly awarding the bourgeois with the “gains”.

But the oligarchy makes its calculations well. It also knows where to hit hard. They are trying to weed out the threatening activities while still in the bud. Expansion and collaboration of the revolutionary forces from the Revolutionary Youth is scaring IT (the Olligarchy). They think the revolutionary action will slow down when one of their defenders, Taner Akcam is put behind bars. This is where IT is mistaken. “United Activism of Revolutionary Youth” is fastly becoming a slogan that the young masses rally around. Gathering of the young people is contributing to rising of the revolutionary ideas around just values… Oligarchy knows how to calculate, but the revolutionary forces are far better!... Their jail cells don’t scare us…

The Last Word

Another brave soul is behind bars today. He is following the footsteps of those who wrote their war slogans ‘to fight until freedom is achieved with blood’ in the path of revolution… He is determined to continue fighting. He will stand tall as if he will take back his rank in the revolutionary fight’s most active phase. He is acquitted for 8 years plus, but he remains hand in hand with the revolutionary activity. He is an unbreakable piece of IT. He is responsible towards IT’s judgement. He is determined to continue fighting. He said in his last words: Damn the Fascism, fight until freedom!

© Holdwater

The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows:



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