Dursun Karataş

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Dursun Karataş
Born (1952-03-25)25 March 1952
Elazığ, Turkey
Died 11 August 2008(2008-08-11) (aged 56)
Arnhem, Netherlands
Nationality Turkish
Alma mater Istanbul University[1]
Years active 1978 - 2008
Organization Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front
Notable work Haklıyız Kazanacağız
Partner(s) Sabahat Karataş

Dursun Karataş (25 March 1952 — 11 August 2008[2]) was a Turkish revolutionary and the founding leader of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).


Karataş founded Dev Sol ("Revolutionary Left", precursor of DHKP-C) in 1978,[3] as an offshoot of the Dev Yol ("Revolutionary Way").[4] The group was based in Istanbul.[5]

Karataş was jailed after the 1980 military coup. In prison a political reorganisation was undertaken. The Dev-Sol inmates at Bayrampaşa prison refused to follow orders and boycotted court invitations. In prison Karataş wrote "Haklıyız Kazanacağız" ("We Are Right, We Shall Prevail"); a work which included an analysis of the movement's mistakes, and a list of the organization's enemies. It was published in two volumes in 1989, spanning more than 1000 pages.[5][6]

He escaped from prison in 1989[4] and fled to Western Europe.[7] In 1989 to 1990, Dev Sol carried out a series of attacks. However, on 12 July 1991, Turkish police was able to dismantle several cells of the organization. Karataş fled to Europe. In April 1992, his wife Sabahat was killed by the Turkish police.[5]

Following the police crackdown on Dev-Sol, Karataş was kidnapped and detained by the second-in-command of the movement, Bedri Yağan, on 13 September 1993. Karataş did however escape from captivity, and Dev-Sol was divided. Karataş and his followers reorganized their movement as DHKP-C.[4][5]

On 9 September 1994, he was arrested at the Franco-Italian border, and sentenced to four years in prison. In 2006 a Belgian court sentenced him in absentia.[8]

The Ankara 9th administrative court ruled in February 2007 that Turkey should pay an YTL 1,000 compensation to Karataş, who was tried in absentia for 27 years, for membership in an outlawed organization and the unauthorized possession of guns and fake documents. The judges' decision stated that: "The Karataş trial process started at the Ordu Martial Law Court in 1981 and has not been concluded since then. We have decided that Turkey should pay compensation to Karataş for such a lengthy trial process."[9]


Karataş died on 11 August 2008 at the Rijnstate hospital in Arnhem, Netherlands.[10] (Some sources initially reported him as having died in Belgium,[11] however the spokesperson of the organization in Brussels, Bahar Kimyongür, said that Karataş' friends gathered to pay their respects in the Netherlands.[12]) He lies in the Gazi Cemevi of Istanbul.[13] Over 20,000 people attended his funeral procession.[14]


  • Some sources simply say 1953, without citing a specific date. His party-written obituary also lists his birth date as March 25, 1952, and his place of birth as the village of Kürdemlik (Cevizdere).[15]


  1. ^ Dursun Karataş Hollanda'da öldü
  2. ^ "DHKP-C lideri Dursun Karataş öldü". Radikal (in Turkish). 13 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008. 
  3. ^ Chasdi, Richard J. Tapestry of terror : a portrait of Middle East terrorism, 1994-1999. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2002. pp. 230-231
  4. ^ a b c Kushner, Harvey W. Encyclopedia of Terrorism. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2003. p. 315
  5. ^ a b c d Teymur, Samih "An Analysis of Terrorist Recruitment by Observing the DHKP/C Terrorist Organization in Istanbul". [permanent dead link] University of North Texas (Criminal Justice) August 2004[verification needed]
  6. ^ Alexander, Yonah/Pluchinsky Alexander, Dennis A. Europe's red terrorists: Fighting communist organizations. London: Cass, 1992. pp. 39-40
  7. ^ Andrew Mango (14 November 2005). Turkey and the War on Terror: 'For Forty Years We Fought Alone'. Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-134-26996-9. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Belgium sentences members of Turkish terror group to prison". NTV-MSNBC. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008. 
  9. ^ Gökçer Tahincioğlu, Extreme left group leader to receive compensation for lengthy trial, Today's Zaman, 21 February 2008 (in English)
  10. ^ "DHKP-C leader dies in Netherlands," Hurriyet (12 August 2008). Retrieved on 2008-08-12.
  11. ^ "Dursun Karataş passes away," Sabah (12 August 2008). Retrieved on 2008-08-12.
  12. ^ Sertac Aktan (Arnhem); Ramazan Cin (Istanbul) (12 August 2008). "DHKP-C'nin lideri Dursun Karataş öldü". Ihlas News Agency (in Turkish). Retrieved 14 August 2008. 
  13. ^ "Karataş'ın cenazesi ailesine verilmedi". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Anadolu Ajansi. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008. 
  14. ^ "Dursun Karataş'ın yüzünü açtılar". Radikal (in Turkish). 15 August 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2008. 
  15. ^ "We have lost our Commander, our Leader, our Uncle". DHKP-C. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.  (tr: Komutanımız Önderimiz Dayımızı Yitirdik)

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