By the Progressive Documentation and Information Centre of Turkey (PDICT).
January 2000.

As of January the 19th Turkish authorities have mounted an impressive (!) operation against the so-called Hizbullah (literally the "party of God"). Huseym Velioglu, the leader of this group has been killed during a police operation in Kavacik, Istanbul. Hundreds of its cadres and sympathizers are being rounded in different cities of Turkey. Turkish TV screens and the pages of newspapers are filled with the remains of dozens of people atrociously killed by this gang.

Turkish authorities have tried to present this operation as a successful attack against terrorism and the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, a move to defend the so-called secular and democratic republic. But what are the facts?

What is Hizbullah? And what is the real meaning of this operation?

The origins of Hizbullah (which has no relation to the Lebanese Hizbullah fighting against the Israeli invaders) can be traced back to the end of 1970s. To become really effective however, this marginal group had to wait until the beginning of 1990s, when the Kurdish national liberation movement led by the PKK, had built up a considerable mass base in Turkish Kurdistan and was successfully fighting against the Turkish army. Besides utilizing brute and unrestrained force in its campaign and waging a scorched earth policy to stamp out the just struggle of the Kurdish people, the Turkish army also employed some different means to this end, during the second half of 19805 and the beginning of 1990s:

Firstly: The Turkish army addressed itself to the religious feelings of Kurdish people and despite its own claims of secularism, it also tried to portray itself as "the defender of the faith", while vilifying the PKK as an atheist and anti-Muslim organization led by Armenians and supported by Greeks! It should be remembered that at that time, the Turkish army had prepared leaflets adorned with sayings from the Koran, and had been throwing them on Kurdish villages in an effort to exhort them to fight against PICK in the name of Islam! After all, during the first half of 1980s, these so-called secular Turkish generals, were propagating a reactionary ideology called the "Turkish-Islamic Synthesis", which they almost elevated to the status of an official ideology of Turkish state.

Secondly in addition to its own death squads, called Special Teams, it organized paramilitary forces composed mainly of people of Kurdish origin. In the countryside Turkish General Staff organized and utilized the so-called Village Guards. On the other hand in towns and cities, it successfully tried to harness Hizbullah and utilize it in its struggle against PKK. Of course, the Hizbullah had not been created and organized by the Turkish state, and due to its ideological and logistical connections with at least some circles in Iran, was not been totally subject to the Turkish state’s control.

These factors too have contributed, to the recent decision of Turkish ruling classes to dismantle the Hizbullah.

According to official sources Hizbullah was founded in Diyarbakir, the biggest city in Kurdistan in 1987 by Huseyin Velioglu. At the end of the 1980’s and the beginning of the 1990’s, PKK was at the height of its strength and influence. Its guerilla army was growing and holding its ground successfully against the vicious attacks of Turkish army. At the time a series of mostly spontaneous mass demonstrations were being held in a string of towns and even cities in Turkish Kurdistan, such as Sirnak, Cizre, Idil, Batman, Nusaybin, Mazidagi, Lice, Silvan, Ceylanpinar, Viransehir, Kiziltepe, Van, Mardin, Diyarbakir. These actions, some of whom led to clashes with the trigger happy Turkish "security" forces and called serhfldan (a Kurdish version of the Palestinian intifada) involved tens of thousands of people.
Among other things, the Turkish authorities responded to this growth in the political mobilization of Kurdish people. with the active encouragement and orientation given to Hizbullah. Some Turkish military intelligence officers including Major Cern Ersever from JITEM (=the Gendarme Intelligence) were directly involved in the process. This gang became active first in Batman and later in other towns in Kurdistan, under the direct and often undisguised protection of the Turkish military. Hizbullah murderers were being recruited from among the politically most backward sections of the people of the region and the renegades of the PKK; they were being organized in and around mosques, given military training and armed by the Turkish Gendarme and Special Teams This was an open secret known to everyone in Kurdistan and of course much better known by the Turkish state apparatus itself.

Hizbullah systematically abducted, imprisoned, tortured and killed thousands of PKK sympathizers and Kurdish progressive people, including hundreds of religious personnel and pious people who had not openly supported the state

in its fight against the Kurdish rebels. Its aim was simply to terrorize the whole population, in coordination with the Turkish "security" forces. Even the human rights activists and well-known progressive Kurds could not escape the wrath of Hizbullah. For instance, Mehmet Sincar, a DEP (--Democracy Party) deputy, who had come to Batman to investigate the extra-judicial killings that had been carried out in this city by Hizbullah and its masters, was himself killed by Hizbullah murderers On 4 September 1993. This act of murder was conducted under conditions of Martial Law and in the heart of a city, where hundreds of soldiers, policemen and members of Special Teams stalked the streets every hour of the day.

Moreover, the complicity of the Turkish army was further underlined, when soldiers forcibly evacuated peasants from Susa village in Silvan, which had been one of the main bases of the Hizbullah gang from 1992 on. When Hizbullah was forced to leave this village in 1997, after an armed clash with the peasants who themselves were serving Turkish army in the capacity of Village Guards, scores of dead bodies were recovered in underground chambers.

Turkish authorities have implicitly and reluctantly admitted the connection between the state and Hizbullah on several occasions. In a 71-page report prepared by the General Directorate of Security in 1992 by an intelligence officer called Halil Tug and prefaced by the then General Director Yilmaz Ergun it was said:

Again in 1992, Teoman Koman, former MIT (=National Security Organization) chief and top commander of Gendarme said: "Which Hizbullah? There is a Hizbullah in Iran- And there are pious citizens defending themselves from the attacks of the PKK". After the high profile murder of Ugur Mumcu in a car bomb explosion on 24 January 1993, the Turkish National Assembly had authorized the formation of a commission. This commission, which was headed by Sadik Avundukluoglu, was to investigate the question of the unsolved and extra-judicial murder cases (numbering thousands) and prepare a report on this subject. In his report, which the Assembly would not even deign to discuss, Mr. Avundukluoglu, among other things had mentioned the existence of Hizbullah's scores of underground detention, interrogation, and torture chambers and specifically pointed out that the military were well aware of at least of those chambers in three villages of a town called Gercus.

Nafiz Kayali. the former governor of Diyarbakir too, had admitted the connection between the Turkish army and Hizbullah in an interview given to a Turkish newspaper. He had shown, in his descriptons, how the ruling class itself viewed Hizbullah:

'At first' the birth of Hizbullah had proved to be a counter-balancing factor. Therefore, it was tolerated to a certain extent. The PKK was marginalized. Hizbullah maintains its organizational activity. If proper measures are not taken, it may pose a danger in the future."
(Radikat, 6 April 1999)
After the start of the present operation against Hizbullah, Mesut Yilmaz, a former prime minister and the chairman of ANAP, one the three parties forming the present coalition government revealed the following thoughts on January 25th: "It is not possible for an organization, that is not in collaboration with some traitors inside the state - and not enjoying the logistical support of foreign states - to do the things that were done by Hizbullah. There cannot exist an organization killing, torturing, interrogating and burying 34 people in a number of provinces of Turkey, without exposing itself .. it could not have successfully hidden all these acts from the state and security forces for months."
(Hurriyet, 26 January 2OOO)
Therefore it is not at all surprising, that no one can find any actions, on the part of the authorities, against Hizbullah Until 1997. At that time, it is clear that the PKK did not any longer pose an insurmountable threat to the Turkish state - both due to the now tactical military superiority of the state army; and to the defeatist policy followed by Abdullah Ocalan.

That is the secret behind the fact that, very few Hizbullah murderers were apprehended between 1990 and 1996 in Turkish Kurdistan. Those who were apprehended by the authorities were members of Menzil, a breakaway faction of Hizbullah, who opposed the use of violence against the PKK and Kurdish people. In 1993 and 1994 Menzil was attacked and a great many of its members were killed by Hizbullah, most probably with the active incitement and support of Turkish army and intelligence. And all these events happened under conditions of Martial Law, imposed through the presence of more than 300.000 soldiers, police, Special Teams and Village Guards positioned in this region. This is enough to show the force behind

the scenes, the force that has been manipulating this bunch of blood-thirsty torturers and murderers.

Turkish authorities had already started to conduct some comparatively minor operations against Hizbullah in 1997, 1998 and 1999; in direct proportion to the decrease in the threat posed by PKK. This resulted in the gang's migration to West of Turkey, that is to the major cities where they posed a potential danger for the state, though not an immediate one. The Turkish ruling classes could not tolerate the existence of a 20,000 strong and semi-legal and heavily armed organization of mainly Kurdish origin in its nerve centers, whose services are not needed any more. Despite its reactionary nature and its strong ties to the Turkish intelligence, that same State intelligence knew that Hizbullah could still play the role of a political detonator in an already explosive social environment and contribute albeit indirectly and involuntarily to the further growth of discontent of the masses. Therefore it had to be dismantled.

Today Hizbullah is being dismantled. It is mainly PKK's political defeat, or more correctly - the predominance of the capitulationist policy of the leadership of PKK, that has provided the Turkish ruling classes with the opportunity to conduct this operation. In the meantime the Turkish state fascists are trying to achieve some other goals as well.

Firstly, they are trying to improve their own dirty, militaristic and barbarous image in the eyes of the masses and enlist their support for their endless "democratization" maneuvers.

Secondly, they are trying to divert the attention of the masses away from the latest IMF inspired economic "reforms" which, inevitably is making matters worse for them.

Thirdly, they are trying to legitimize their bid for banning the Virtue Party and thus to curtail the role of political Islam. That is the reason why the majority of bourgeois media have grossly exaggerated Hizbullah's ties to the Virtue Party and its predecessors, while almost completely overlooking its ties to the Turkish state military General Staff.

Fourthly, in line with the US they are trying to expose Iran as one of the centers of conspiracy against Turkey and create a chauvinistic reaction against the Mullahs, who have "dared to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, through Hizbullah!" The coincidence of this last operation with the visit of Kemal Harrazi, the Iranian Foreign Minister cannot be considered "normal'.

And finally, they are trying to woo the support of the West by presenting themselves as "the border guards of the civilized world against Islamic barbarism." The Turkish ruling classes and generals are well aware of the Western world's exaggerated concern, and even paranoia, over "Islamic fundamentalism" and are intent on using this bogey to force their way into the European Union.