An Overview of the Secretary Generals of TKP/ML

Tribune of the People is proud to share documents provided to us by Turkish comrades that were previously unavailable in English on the biographies of the Secretary Generals of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist.

İbrahim Kaypakkaya

İbrahim Kaypakkaya

Much has already been written about Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, the founder and first leader of the TKP/ML, who will never be forgotten by the people of Turkey. Today, he continues to be a beacon of light for those fighting the People’s War for New Democratic Revolution. Tribune encourages our readers to study the attached PDF below as well as the other statements on him from the TKP/ML and various other international communist groups.

Süleyman Cihan

Süleyman Cihan

After Süleyman Cihan became a teacher, his active political struggle continued. He founded the Tunceli Culture and Solidarity Association in Istanbul in 1974 and became the president of it. In the same year, he served on the Western Anatolia Regional Committee of TKP/ML. He was at the forefront of the Communists who opened the flag of struggle against the right-wing opportunists’ attempts to liquidate the Party after the defeat of TKP/ML in 1972-1973. As a result of his determined, patient and indomitable struggle, the Temporary Coordination Committee faction that tried to liquidate the Party line organizationally, politically and ideologically was expelled from the Party. He did not hesitate to shoulder the biggest of tasks from then on. He established a nationwide connection network. The Conference Organizing Committee was organized thanks to him. While Süleyman Cihan attended the committee on behalf of the Regional Committee he was in, the 1st Conference was held as a result of his intense activities. At the Conference, the Central Committee brought him to Political Bureau membership and to the Organizing Committee. Süleyman Cihan took on the task of organizing in the General Council of the People’s Army.

He was wanted by the reactionary state during a time period when persecution, oppression, and torture peaked in the country. Süleyman Cihan took an active role in defeating the attacks of the revisionist front by defending Mao and the Chinese revolution against Enver Hoxha’s modern revisionism following the “three world theories” that emerged internationally between the period of ’77 and ’80. The impact of Enver Hoxha’s revisionism in the international arena was reflected in the Party as well, and some leading cadres came under the influence of this right-wing trend. Upon this development, the preparation of the Congress was converted to the preparation of a Conference. At that time, the Central Committee’s “preparation for armed struggle” determination still continued. Some efforts to prepare for armed struggle and certain determinations were under the influence of Enver Hoxha during the 7th meeting of the Central Committee, and Süleyman Cihan had a significant and serious contribution to the fight against this deviation to the right and he helped the organization to take a step back from this deviation with the 8th meeting.

Süleyman Cihan in his university years.

In the next meeting that followed, Süleyman Cihan played a decisive role in taking concrete steps for guerrilla warfare.

During the September 12 Fascist Military Junta, quitting the struggle, exhaustion, pessimism, dissolving organizations, fleeing abroad, becoming refugees, etc. was followed by betrayal in the Communist movement, and these “tactics” were put forward by other organizations. TKP/ML showed its determination in class struggle against the enemy by taking the decision to launch the armed struggle with persistence by holding its 2nd Conference under Military Junta conditions in February 1981. At this Conference, Süleyman Cihan was elected as a member of the Central Committee and Secretary General by the Central Committee.

He never stopped his activities even for a moment while the Junta conditions continued to worsen at full speed. Süleyman Cihan fell into the hands of the enemy in Istanbul on July 28, 1981. However, the immense joy fascism had on overtaking such an indomitable Communist turned to “disappointment” with the determined, valiant resistance that Süleyman Cihan presented, which he took from İbrahim Kaypakkaya. The enemy, who could not even obtain his true identity, decided that the solution was to kill him. He was murdered on September 15, 1981, after months of torture.

Süleyman Cihan took his honorable place in history as the 2nd Secretary General of TKP/ML.

Kazım Çelik

Kazım Çelik

“To honor and respect comrade İbrahim Kaypakkaya is to defend, develop, adhere to the line established by the science of the working class against all kinds of deviations of Marxism-Leninism and to protect it. Protect and sustain the defender of this line, TKP/ML, Marx and Engels. It means walking on the shining red path of comrades Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong.”

– Kazım Çelik

 “Our Party’s 2nd Secretary General, Süleyman Cihan, the great comrade, a master teacher, stands with us in our struggle for the golden age as consciousness, determination and guiding figure at all times in our fight. He was not just a belief and consciousness that spread light into the darkness, he refreshed our hearts with hope, helped us to recover, reinforced our strength, and restored us with glory, restored our faith in revolution. We will always have him integrated within our consciousness.”

-Kazım Çelik

Kazım Çelik was the 3rd Secretary General of TKP/ML. He was introduced to the class struggle with the rising revolutionary wave after 1974 and he took an active part in it.  According to the statements of his comrades who knew him, this period coincides with the period when he went to Istanbul from Dersim during his student years in university.

His most prominent feature from these years until his martyrdom was that he followed a steady line and his commitment to his Party did not suffer even for a moment. He adopted this as a lifestyle of a revolutionary. It was this eternal belief that, separated him from the others during the 1980 Fascist Military Junta, where many of the revolutionaries fled to Europe while Kazım Çelik was dragging his heart to the Mountains of Anatolia.

Kazım Çelik, crouched down on the right.

For Kazım Çelik, it was not the difficulty of the circumstances that mattered, but how successful his work would be. With his personality that would never complain about the intensity of his work, he was able to think about two different problems at the same time and offer practical suggestions.

He was also very sensitive in dealing with the problems of the Party, finding solutions and applying them. He has left a deep mark on people who were around him with his quiet and modest personality. He was never angry with people, especially with his comrades. He never made a “big or small” distinction between his duties, and when he performed any task, he was the happiest person on the planet.

An example of this happened when he showed his joy after participating in an act of punishing fascists. After the action, he told his comrade in joy, “I participated in the action with the others as well and I plan to continue doing so.”  He always remained joyful when even the slightest practice that served the class struggle took place.

Kazım Çelik was caught by state forces with a false identity after a Sub-Conference within the 2nd Conference of TKP/ML. But he did not reveal the slightest secret about the Party, as he hid his real identity by taking the stance of a Communist in custody. The reactionary state realized that they could not get anything from him after the torture, so they were forced to release him.

The reactionary state went crazy when they found out that the person they had released was Kazım Çelik. He was elected to the 2nd Central Committee at the Conference which ended in that period. After the heavy losses TKP/ML suffered in the summer of 1981, he was brought to the Political Bureau and to the Military Commission as Secretariat in the spring of 1982.  After another series of heavy losses in 1983, he became the Party Secretary General.

Kazım Çelik was carrying out an incredibly important task in the difficult period that was the September 12th Fascist Military Junta period and while its terror was continuing at full speed against the revolutionary situation. By the end of 1983, the right-line within the Party gained full sovereignty, they implemented the false understanding that the cadres could be protected by pulling them out of rural areas and putting them into the cities and worst of all, taking them abroad for a “peaceful evolutionary process.” Despite these outrageous developments grasping the Party, Kazım Çelik did not act according to this dominant understanding.

He never abandoned the rural areas and guerrilla activity. He was aware that the leadership should be at the head of the Party and its army, TIKKO, especially in the most difficult period, so he continued to take place at the very front of the struggle, with the guerrilla forces. He insisted that the leadership of the Party could be preserved and developed within the armed struggle in the rural areas, especially in those difficult conditions. In this process, he was doing his best to restore the organization.

For this purpose, on a day he left with his guerrilla unit to inspect another guerrilla unit positioned somewhere else, he was spotted by informers working with state forces and he was reported to the military.

The guerrilla unit, which included Kazım Çelik, was encircled by the state forces. The guerrilla unit was divided into two groups to break free from the encirclement. The first group distracted the enemy so the second group could escape the encirclement. The second group managed to break free from the encirclement and escape. State forces were continuously trying to narrow down the encirclement while reinforcing their numbers. Despite the gradual narrowing of the encirclement, the valiant soldiers of the Proletariat Party (TKP/ML) continued to clash with the enemy until the last bullet.

As a result of the conflict that lasted for hours, Kazım Çelik was immortalized on May 20, 1987 in Palu district of Elazig with his comrades Hıdır Aykır, Cihan Taş, Müslüm Emre and Ali Kayadoğan who were also among the most important leaders of the Party.

Translation: Those who dedicated a limited life to a limitless cause are immortal

Mehmet Demirdağ

Translation: The 4th Secretary General of our Party, Communist Leader
Mehmet Demirdağ is Immortal!.. TKP/ML
Mehmet Demirdağ

“Our situation is fine, because; we are dealing with reality and not dreams. We are dealing with our real problems and not pointless conflicts. 

 Our situation is fine, because; we know that we will overcome our failures and problems with our ideological strength and determination. 

 Our situation is fine, because; no matter how problematic and difficult our struggle is, there is an organizational power we will rise on. A power open to development and not to be underestimated. 

 Our situation is fine, because; the development of the class struggle in the land in which we live is in a direction that will contribute back to us in every step we take forward in the light of our theory and strategy. 

 Our situation is fine, because; we are on the path of hope and not pessimism, to unite and not separate, finally to resist and not surrender.” 

-Mehmet Demirdağ

“Protracted People’s War strategy has a series of basic principles. Only when these principles are realized in practice can we say this is the strategy that we have implemented. Only then we can truly aim for political power. Otherwise it cannot be said that this is what we defend, what we have implemented and nor can it be said that we aim for political power. Without realizing it in practice, we cannot lead the people on the path towards socialism.

Protracted People’s War, which is a revolutionary strategy, is decisive in determining and responding to every phenomenon and development that occurs in the class struggle and it is crucial for the proletariat, for it to ensure victory and overcome all obstacles on the path towards the democratic people’s revolution.”

-Mehmet Demirdağ

A Life Purely Dedicated to Revolution and Communism! Great Marxist-Leninist-Maoist!

Mehmet Demirdağ is the 4th Secretary General of TKP/ML. He was born in 1970 in the city of Dersim. He started his education in Istanbul after his family migrated there due to livelihood difficulties. He took boarding school exams in order to not be a burden to his family and in the face of his father, whom he always praised because his father tried to support his family by doing porter work. Mehmet Demirdag succeeded in achieving a high grade in the exam for the boarding section of Kabataş High School, whose doors were open mostly to rich families.

His determination to succeed, which left its mark on many areas of his life, also showed itself during his school years. He finished Kabataş High School in third place and got into the Istanbul Technical University Electrical and Electronics Engineering. The transition to an organizational relationship with the Proletariat Party (TKP/ML) began during his university life. After the Third Conference held in 1987, Mehmet Demirdağ’s brother Ali Demirdağ had an important role in the organization of the Marxist-Leninist Youth Organization of Turkey (TMLGB). Ali Demirdağ took his honorable place in history as one of the Martyrs of Mount Yel. Ali Demirdağ had an important influence over Mehmet Demirdağ learning the ideas of TKP/ML. Mehmet Demirdağ also made important contributions in organizing the ranks of TMLGB, following the footsteps of his martyred brother.

A guerrilla unit from the Black Sea Region. Mehmet Demirdağ is among them in this picture.

Mehmet Demirdağ was at the forefront of the 1991 May First resistance. In this resistance, he was detained and arrested. He stayed in Bayrampaşa Special Type Prison for a while. Mehmet Demirdağ, who was appointed to the youth leadership by TKP/ML in 1991, became a Party Candidate Member the same year.

At the beginning of 1992, he was one of the leading forces to fight against the right-wing, careerist, opportunist faction (which was the TKP/ML Eastern Anatolia Regional Committee). He played an important role in reversing the damage done by this faction. As evidenced by the principles and functioning of the organization.

He served as a Member of the Provisional United Youth Committee after the 1992 union that came to the agendas of TKP/ML and TKP/ML Eastern Anatolia Regional Committee. At the TMLGB Foundation Congress held in November 1992, he played a leading role in revealing the “left” mask worn by the rightists in the Party. He was elected to the TMLGB Central Committee at the congress. Taking into account of his organizationalism, he was given the responsibility of the TMLGB Provincial Committee of Istanbul, where the organization of TMLGB was concentrated.

Mehmet Demirdağ was elected as a Reserve Member of TKP/ML Central Committee at the 1st Extraordinary Party Conference held by TKP/ML in 1993, and he was appointed as the Secretary General of TMLGB in the first meeting of TKP/ML Central Committee. He embodied the ideological-political and organizational leadership both in the systematization of the youth policies of the Proletariat Party and in the institutionalization of TMLGB throughout the country.

At the end of 1993, Mehmet Demirdağ became a full member of the TKP/ML Central Committee after a series of TKP/ML cadres were captured by the enemy. In this process, he took an active attitude towards the coupist-liquidationists within the Party.

In his 1st Conference Organizing Committee meeting, which he attended as a member of the Conference Organizing Committee, he was elected as the Committee Secretary for his ideological-political and organizational leadership qualities, which he clearly demonstrated in the recovery of the Party. In this process, his duties and responsibilities increased even more after the martyrdom of Halil Çakıroğlu.

At the 2nd Extraordinary Party Conference held by TKP/ML in June-July 1995, he was among the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, who were the leaders of ideological struggle, against those who demonstrated defeatism, opportunism, liquidationism and factionalism.

He was elected as a member of the Central Committee of TKP/ML at the 2nd Extraordinary Party Conference, which resulted in the victory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and he was elected as the Secretary General of TKP/ML at the Central Committee meeting.

He took part in the creation of a warrior Communist Party, despite all the limitations, in the process of standing up on the principles of TKP/ML until the moment he was immortalized with his four comrades in a conflict with state forces on November 23, 1997, in a rural district of Tokat.

He lived the last moments of his life appropriate to his life full of struggle, by fighting with his rifle until death took him away. “Long Live Our Party TKP/ML, Our People’s Army TIKKO” became his last words before he was immortalized.

Mehmet Demirdağ took his honorable place in history as the 4th Secretary General of TKP/ML.

Mehmet Demirdağ

Tribune of the People is also pleased to share several videos produced by the TKP/ML, TIKKO, and their supporters, including footage from the funerals for martyred comrades, songs of the Party, and footage of guerrilla training.


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