Deniz Gezmiş (born February 28, 1947, Ankara – died May 6, 1972, Ankara) is a Turkish Marxist-Leninist student leader and militant. He became a member of the Workers Party of Turkey in 1965. He participated in the 1968th Fleet protests in 6. In the same year, he led the occupation of Istanbul University. In 1969, he went to the guerrilla camp of the People's Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Palestine to receive armed training and to fight with the FDHK members. He was captured on December 20, 1969, and held in custody until September 18, 1970. After getting out of prison, he escaped from the army while he was about to be drafted. The armed Marxist-Leninist organization established the People's Liberation Army of Turkey. He carried out the robbery of Türkiye İş Bankası Emek Branch on January 11, 1971. On March 4, 1971, he kidnapped four Americans, issued a statement demanding a $400.000 ransom and "the release of all revolutionaries." Security forces besieged METU, the headquarters of THKO, on March 5 to find him and the Americans. Clashes broke out between students and security forces. In the conflict that lasted for 9 hours, 1 people, including a soldier, were killed and 3 people were injured. The university was closed indefinitely. On March 26, he freed the Americans. After the 9 March 12 Memorandum, he was caught, tried and sentenced to death. His sentence was executed on the same day as Yusuf Aslan and Hüseyin Inan the following year.
Family and early years
Deniz Gezmiş was born on February 28, 1947 in Ayas, Ankara. His grandfathers are from Cimil (Basköy) village of İkizdere district of Rize. His father, Cemil Gezmiş, is a primary education inspector registered to the population of Ilıca (Aziziye)/Erzurum; His mother is Mukaddes Gezmiş, a primary school teacher from Tortum district of Erzurum. She was the second of three sons in the family. His older brother, Bora Gezmiş (b. 1944), left the law school and started banking. His brother Hamdi Gezmiş (1952-2020) was a financial advisor.
Deniz Gezmis; He attended primary school in Yıldızeli district of Sivas, then in Selçuk Primary School located in the place of the iwan of Çifte Minareli Madrasah in the center of Sivas, and secondary school in Atatürk Secondary School in this city. Contrary to what is written in many sources, he did not study in Sarkisla, but there is information that he stayed in this district until he was 6 years old. She attended high school in Haydarpaşa High School in Istanbul. While he was still a high school student, he met leftist thought and found himself in the actions of his period.
He became a member of the Üsküdar district chairmanship of the Workers Party of Turkey (TIP) on October 11, 1965. He was detained during the demonstration where the workers of Çorum Municipality, who were marching from Ankara to Istanbul for the first time between 15 August and 31 August 1966, were supported and TÜRK-İŞ executives protested while laying wreaths on the Taksim Monument.
In the university exam he took on July 6, 1966, he graduated from both the faculty of science and the faculty of law. kazanwas. His father wanted Deniz Gezmiş to go to the faculty of science. Gezmiş did not refuse his father's request and accepted to go to the science faculty, but later changed his mind and enrolled in the law faculty. He entered Istanbul University Faculty of Law on November 7, 1966. Then, on January 19, 1967, he was caught in the events that took place when the Turkish National Student Federation (TMTF) building was given to the trustee, and he was released a day later by the court he was brought to with his two friends. Deniz Gezmiş, who was detained on the grounds that he and Âşık İhsani burned the US flag during the Cyprus rally organized by student organizations on November 22, 1967, and later released, founded the “Revolutionary Lawyers Organization” on January 30, 1968, together with his friends at the Faculty of Law. He was arrested for protesting the Minister of State Seyfi Öztürk, who made a speech at the meeting held in the conference hall of the Faculty of Science of Istanbul University on March 7, 1968. Gezmiş, who was detained until 2 May, was tried and acquitted on 30 May for protesting the 6th Fleet. Deniz Gezmiş, who became more and more active in student protests, led the occupation of Istanbul University on June 12, 1968. On behalf of the Occupation Council, he took part in the student delegation that participated in the meetings held in Baltalimanı with the Istanbul University Senate, and was instrumental in obtaining student rights and ending the occupation. Gezmiş, who took part in the protest actions against the 6th Fleet, which came to Istanbul shortly after the occupation, was arrested on 30 July 1968 due to these actions and was released on 20 September 1968. After all these events, he became the legendary leader of the student movement.
Deniz Gezmiş, who adopted the views of the "National Democratic Revolution" group in the ideological problems that concentrated within the TİP and caused divisions and debates, was instrumental in spreading this view especially among the revolutionary students. In October 1968, he founded the Revolutionary Student Union (DÖB) with Cihan Alptekin, Mustafa İlker Gürkan, Mustafa Lütfi Kıyıcı, Devran Seymen, Cevat Ercişli, M. Mehdi Beşpınar, Selahattin Okur, Saim Board and Ömer Erim Süerkan. On November 1, 1968, TMGT (Turkish National Youth Organization), AUTB, ODTÜÖB and DOB organized the “Mustafa Kemal March from Samsun to Ankara”. Then, on 28 November 1968, he was arrested due to the protests at Yeşilköy Airport during the arrival of the US Ambassador Kommer and was released on 17 December 1968.
After Oya Sencer's doctoral thesis on “Working Class in Turkey: Its Birth and Structure” was rejected twice by the University Professors Board, the students protested the event. Deniz Gezmiş was the head of this protest. While he was about to be arrested by the police on 27 December 1968, he escaped and went to İzmir. A week later, he was caught as a result of a raid while he was at the house of his friend Celal Doğan, who was imprisoned. It was released on February 22, 1969.
Gezmiş, who opposed the movements of the right-wing forces on March 16, 1969, together with the student body, was arrested again on March 19, on the grounds of this action, and was imprisoned until April 3 at Istanbul University. Then, on May 31, 1969, he led the occupation of IU Faculty of Law students on the grounds of protesting the failure of the reform bill. He was injured in the clashes that broke out because the university was closed and handed over to the police. Gezmiş, who escaped from the hospital despite an arrest warrant in absentia, went to the guerrilla camp of the Palestinian Democratic People's Liberation Front in Palestine at the end of June to receive armed training and to fight on the same side with the FDHKC members. Before going to Palestine, he sent a program of struggle to the 23st Revolutionary Nationalist Youth Congress convened by TMGT on June 1969, 1, together with FKF Chairman Yusuf Kupeli, who, like himself, had an arrest warrant.
Deniz Gezmiş, who remained in the guerrilla camps in Palestine until September, was expelled from the Faculty of Law on 28 August 1969, on the grounds that he occupied the university on 26 December 1968. During this period, when there was an arrest warrant for him, he made statements to journalists from his hiding place. Gezmiş surrendered in the police raid on the Faculty of Law on 23 September 1969, and was released on 25 November. However, after the murder of Battal Mehetoğlu by the right-wingers at the Istanbul State Academy of Engineering and Architecture, a re-arrest warrant was issued for Gezmiş, claiming that a rifle with binoculars, which was found during the search, belonged to Gezmiş. Gezmiş, who was caught on 20 December 1969, was imprisoned together with Cihan Alptekin, who was arrested with him, until 18 September 1970. When he was released from prison, he was drafted into the army. He did not join the military to realize his revolutionary plans. After that, he moved away from student protests and continued his struggle in different fields. He founded THKO in Ankara with Sinan Cemgil and Hüseyin İnan. On January 11, 1971, he was among those who carried out the robbery of the Ankara İşbank Emek Branch on behalf of THKO. After this incident, he and Yusuf Aslan began to be sought with the "shoot order". It has been announced that a reward of 15.000 lira will be given to those who helped catch Deniz Gezmiş and Yusuf Aslan.
On March 4, together with his friends, he kidnapped 4 Americans on duty at the air base in Balgat. By issuing a statement, a $400.000 ransom and "the release of all revolutionaries" wanted. Thirty thousand police and soldiers searched everywhere in Ankara, all entrances and exits of the city were blocked. Security forces besieged METU, the headquarters of THKO, to find Deniz Gezmiş and the Americans on 5 March. Clashes broke out between students and security forces. In the conflict that lasted for 9 hours, 3 people were killed and 26 people were injured. The university was closed indefinitely. Gezmiş and his friends released the Americans on March 9. The abduction of the Americans, the conflict at METU, as well as the death of a soldier in this conflict, caused a great reaction in the Turkish Armed Forces.
His capture and execution
Three days after the 12 March Memorandum was signed, on 15 March 1971, Deniz Gezmiş and Yusuf Aslan on one motorcycle and Sinan Cemgil on the other motorcycle set off. Sinan Cemgil then took the road towards Nurhak at the crossroads. While Deniz Gezmiş and Yusuf Aslan were on their way to Malatya to go to Malatya, when they heard that there was a transfer at the entrance of Sivas, they turned their way to Şarkışla. They pushed the motorbike, which broke down about 20 km before Şarkışla, and took it to the district. Shortly after they loaded the motorcycle on a jeep they rented in Şarkışla, the guard received a tip-off and the soldiers came during the conflict, and Aslan was injured and fell to the ground, Deniz Gezmiş continued to run alone. In order to escape, he broke into a petty officer's house and made him get into his car, which was standing in front of his door, with him. While the petty officer's wife was trying to close the door, she shot at the door, injuring the woman's hand. He took Petty Officer Sergeant Major İbrahim Fırıncı hostage. Gezmiş was caught surrounded on Tuesday, March 16, 1971 in the Gemerek district of Sivas, and brought to Kayseri, where he was brought before the Governor of Kayseri, Abdullah Asım İğneciler. From there he was taken to Ankara, to the office of the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Haldun Menteşeoğlu.
The court started on 16 July 1971 in Altındağ Veterinary School building under the chairmanship of Brigadier General Ali Elverdi, in Baki Tuğ prosecutor's office, in Ankara Martial Law Command Court No. 1 and ended on 9 October 1971. Deniz Gezmiş and his friends were sentenced to death on October 16, 1971, pursuant to Article 1/146 on the grounds that they violated Article 9 of the TCK in the “THKO-1971 Case” that started on July 146, 1. Court order:
Deniz Gezmiş, Yusuf Aslan, Our court has found that you have committed the crime of attempting to abolish, change or abolish the whole/part of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. He decided to impeach you with the death penalty in accordance with Article 146/1 of the Turkish Penal Code. The sentence is a possible appeal within a week, your detention will continue.
“The sentences of criminals should be commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, these are young, inexperienced, exuberant people. They and their peers were taught that their outbursts would not yield any results.”The decision was later brought to the Turkish Grand National Assembly. CHP leader İsmet İnönü at the parliamentary session held on Monday, April 24, 1972. “As a party, they are working with all their strength to prevent those sentenced to death from being executed after May 27, not to be executed for political crimes, and to enact a new law” He suggested and continued:
In the voting held after the speeches, the death sentence of Deniz Gezmiş and his friends was approved by the Parliament with 48 "accept" votes against 273 "rejection" votes. İsmet İnönü and Bülent Ecevit voted "reject", while Süleyman Demirel and Alparslan Türkeş voted "accept". Necmettin Erbakan did not participate in the voting. President Cevdet Sunay also approved the executions.
The inmates were asked to apologize. None of them apologized for what they did. In the article published in the German magazine Der Spiegel, it is written that Deniz Gezmiş said the following before he was executed:
"Long live fully independent Turkey! Long live Marxism-Leninism! Long live the brotherhood of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples! Long live the workers and peasants! Down with imperialism!
"Long live fully independent Turkey! Long live the supreme ideology of Marxism-Leninism! Long live the independence struggle of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples! Down with imperialism! Long live the workers and peasants!
Deniz Gezmiş, together with Yusuf Aslan and Hüseyin İnan, was hanged on May 6, 1972 between 1.00-3.00 in the Ulucanlar Prison. The death labels were donated to the Ulucanlar Prison Museum, which later became a museum, by Anadolu Agency reporter Burhan Dodanlı. Labels of death: According to his lawyer Halit Çelenk, who witnessed the execution, his last words are as follows:
"He was sentenced to death in accordance with Article 1-9.10.1971 of the Turkish Penal Code, with the decision numbered 971-13, main 971-23, dated 146, of the Ankara Military Court No. 1.
Deniz Gezmiş became a very important symbol of the "revolutionary struggle of the left" by becoming a flag after his execution. Although many leftist organizations have different opinions on other issues, one of the rare issues on which they agree is Gezmiş's leadership of the revolution. The requests of Deniz Gezmiş and his friends to be buried next to Taylan Özgür, who was killed in 1969, were not fulfilled.
15 years after the incident, Süleyman Demirel told a journalist that for the executions, “One of the unfortunate events of the cold war.” made his comment.
Deniz Gezmiş's Last Letter
I left you when you received the letter. I know that no matter how much I tell you not to be sad, you will still be upset. But I want you to meet this situation stoically. People are born, grow, live, die. The important thing is not to live long, but to be able to do more in the time that one lives. For this reason I take going early in stride. And besides, my friends who went before me never hesitated before death. Rest assured that I will not hesitate either. Your son is not helpless and helpless in the face of death. He took this road on purpose, and he knew that this was the end. Our opinions is different but I think, you will understand me. I believe that not only you, but also the Kurdish and Turkish peoples living in Turkey will understand. I gave the necessary instructions to my lawyers for my funeral. I will also notify the prosecutor. I want to be buried next to my friend Taylan Özgür, who died in Ankara in 1969. So don't try to take my funeral to Istanbul. It's up to you to console my mother. I leave my books with my little brother. Advise him specifically, I want him to become a scientist. Let him deal with science and not forget that dealing with science is also a service to humanity. He states that I do not have the slightest regret for what I did at the last moment; I embrace you, my mother, my brother and my brother with all the fire of my revolution.
Your Son Deniz Gezmiş – Central Prison