Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist

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Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist
Türkiye Komünist Partisi/Marksist-Leninist
General Secretary
  1. İbrahim Kaypakkaya
  2. Süleyman Cihan
  3. Kazım Çelik
  4. Mehmet Demirdağ
  5. Unknown (present)
Founderİbrahim Kaypakkaya
FoundedApril 24, 1972; 51 years ago (1972-04-24)
Split fromTİİKP
  • Communist
  • Liberation of the Workers and Peasants
Youth wingTMLGB
Armed wingTİKKO
Political positionFar-left
National affiliationHBDH (formerly)[1][2]
International affiliationICL[3]
RIM (formerly)
Party flag
Flag of Communist Party of Turkey-Marxist–Leninist.svg

The Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist (Türkiye Komünist Partisi/Marksist-Leninist in Turkish, abbreviated as TKP/ML) is a Marxist–Leninist–Maoist insurgent organization in Turkey involved in the Maoist military strategy of people's war against the Turkish government. It was founded in 1972 by a group of former members of the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey (RWPPT), organised by İbrahim Kaypakkaya as TKP (M-L), who wished to carry out armed struggle.

The TKP/ML participates in the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations. It is designated as a terrorist organization by the Turkish state.


Türkiye İşçi Köylü Kurtuluş Ordusu
LeadersTİKKO General Command (collective leadership tied to Party)
Active regionsTurkey, Rojava
Part ofCommunist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist
Allies Peoples' United Revolutionary Movement
Opponents Turkey
Syrian opposition Syrian National Army
 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
Battles and warsMaoist insurgency in Turkey
Battle for Kobanî
Manbij offensive
2015 Al-Hawl offensive
Al-Shaddadi offensive (2016)
Raqqa campaign (2016–2017) Turkish military operation in Afrin

The armed wing of the party is named the Liberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey (Türkiye İşci ve Köylü Kurtuluş Ordusu in Turkish, abbreviated as TİKKO).

The Marxist-Leninist Youth Union of Turkey (Türkiye Marksist Leninist Gençlik Birliği in Turkish, abbreviated as TMLGB) is the youth organization of TKP/ML. TMLGB, founded in 1972 as an organisation for youth workers, peasants, students and other youths from different production sectors under the Istanbul Province Committee. Mehmet Zeki Şerit (died in 1977 under torture) was the first chair of the TMLGB. TMLGB did not work actively until its first congress in 1987.


Following the military memorandum of 1971 the Turkish government cracked down on the communist movement in Turkey. Kaypakkaya and several of his colleagues were arrested. The party machinery was destroyed, while Kaypakkaya died in prison in 1973 as a result of torture.

The Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist–Leninist) re-organized between 1973 and 1978. The first party congress took place in 1978 (TKP (M-L) I. Kongresi in Turkish). In 1981 the second congress was organized (TKP (M-L) II. Kongresi). The party split following the second congress, the splinter group taking up the name TKP/ML (Bolşevik), later Bolshevik Party (North Kurdistan-Turkey).

This was neither the first nor the last split in the party. The Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist – Hareketi had already split in (1976) during the re-organisation period. Other splits followed the second congress: Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (Revolutionary Partisan) (1987), Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (Maoist Party Centre) (1987) and Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist) (1994).


TKP/ML banner during 1 May demonstration in Berlin (2005)

On 17 May 1985, TKP/ML broadcast a propaganda message to millions of television viewers in Istanbul, replacing the soundtrack for the evening news.[4]

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

On 2 February 2011, five guerillas of TİKKO in Tunceli died as a result of an avalanche.[5][6]

On 26 July 2013, the control building of a hydroelectric power plant regulator was bombed in the countryside of Tunceli Province by TİKKO militants.[7]

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.[8][9]

In 2016, the organization allegedly kidnapped Erkan Doğan, a civilian, who was later found executed.[10]

The fight against ISIS in Syria[edit]

In 2014, the organization sent a group of fighters to support the Kurds and other minorities in the fight against ISIS in Kobanî. Since then, the group has actively trained and supported the minorities in the fight against the extremist groups.

On 25 March 2016, the organization's headquarters in Serêkaniyê were targeted by a motorcycle bomb causing slight injuries to two members and damage to the headquarters.[11][12][13]

On 14 August 2017, one of the commanders of TİKKO, Fermun Çırak (alias Nubar Ozanyan) died in the fight against ISIS. Ozanyan had trained Kurdish, Turkish, Armenian, Arab, Palestinian, Greek, Canadian, Sardinian, Belgian and French internationalist fighters against ISIS and other Islamist groups.

In 2018, ISIS tried to assassinate the members of the organization by mining the roads that were leading to the organization's headquarter. No casualties were reported.

Following the defeat of ISIS, the TIKKO turned attention to fighting the Turkish Backed Free Syrian Army.

Designation as a terrorist organisation[edit]

The organisation is listed among the 12 active terrorist organisations in Turkey as of 2007, according to the Counter-Terrorism and Operations Department of the Directorate General for Security of the Turkish police.[14]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Peoples' United Revolutionary Movement established for a joint struggle". Firat News Agency. 1 March 2016. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  4. ^ A World to Win Magazine, 1985, "TKP/ML seizes the airwaves 8PM News Break"
  5. ^ To the Press and the Public: 5 martyrs of TKP/ML-TIKKO died in Tunceli
  6. ^ Mike Ely. "Turkey: Five Communist Fighters Killed in Avalanche". Kasama Project. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Hydroelectric Plant Regulator Bombed in Dersim – english". Bianet – Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Retaliatory Action For Berkin Elvan From TIKKO". Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  9. ^ Özgür Gelecek. "Gerilladan Berkin Elvan için misilleme eylemi". Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Tunceli'de TKP/ML TİKKO'lu teröristler, kaçırdıkları Erkan Doğan'ı öldürdü – Son dakika haberleri".
  11. ^ "Islamic State bomb attack against Serêkaniyê HQ of TKP-ML-TIKKO". Signalfire. 28 March 2016. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  12. ^ "TKP-ML TİKKO'ya yönelik bombalı saldırı". Hawar Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 26 March 2016. Archived from the original on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  13. ^ Foreign Volunteers for the Syrian Kurdish Forces (PDF) (Report). Atlanta: Carter Center. 27 February 2017. pp. 2–3.
  14. ^ TÜRKİYE'DE HALEN FAALİYETLERİNE DEVAM EDEN BAŞLICA TERÖR ÖRGÜTLERİ: "Türki̇ye'de halen faali̇yetleri̇ne devam eden - Başlica terör örgütleri̇". Archived from the original on 14 January 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2016.

External links[edit]