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Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist

The Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist (Türkiye Komünist Partisi-Marksist-Leninist in Turkish, abbreviated as TKP-ML) is a Maoist insurgent organization in Turkey carrying out People's War against the Turkish Government. It was founded in 1972 with İbrahim Kaypakkaya as its first leader. The founders of the TKP-ML were the former members of the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey that desired to carry out armed struggle.

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; 47 years ago (1972-04-24)
Split fromRevolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey
  • Communist
  • Liberation of the Workers and Peasants
Youth wingMarxist-Leninist Youth Union of Turkey (TMLGB)
Armed wingLiberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey (TİKKO)
Political positionFar-left
National affiliation(formerly) Peoples' United Revolutionary Movement[1][2]
International affiliationInternational Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (formerly RIM)
International Freedom Battalion
Party flag
Flag of Communist Party of Turkey-Marxist–Leninist.svg
Official website

TKP-ML participates in the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations.

The TKP-ML is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey.


Türkiye İşçi Köylü Kurtuluş Ordusu
Participant in the Political violence in Turkey (1976–80), Maoist insurgency in Turkey, Syrian Civil War
LeadersAli Haydar Yildiz (first commander)
Nubar Ozanyan 
Area of operationsTurkey, Rojava
Part ofCommunist Party of Turkey-Marxist–Leninist
Allies  Peoples' United Revolutionary Movement
Opponent(s)  Turkey
  Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army
  Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
Battles and war(s)Maoist insurgency in Turkey
Battle for Kobanî
Manbij offensive
2015 Al-Hawl offensive
Al-Shaddadi offensive (2016)
Raqqa campaign (2016–present) 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).

Marxist-Leninist Youth Union of Turkey (Türkiye Marksist Leninist Gençlik Birliği in Turkish, abbreviated as TMLGB) is the youth organization of TKP-ML.


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, because of torture.

The Communist Party of Turkey-Marxist–Leninist re-organized between 1973 and 1978. The first party congress took place in 1978 (TKP-ML I. Kongresi in Turkish). In 1981 the second congress was organized (TKP-ML II. Kongresi). The party split following the second congress, the splinter group taking up the name 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 Proletarian (1987), Communist Party of Turkey-Marxist-Leninist (Maoist Party Centre) (1987) and Maoist Communist Party (1994).


TKP-ML banner during 1st of 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.[3]

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

On 2 February 2011, five guerillas of TIKKO in Tunceli died as a result of an avalanche.[4][5]

On 26 July 2013, the control building of a hydroelectric power plant regulator was bombed in the countryside of Tunceli Province by TIKKO militants.[6]

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.[7][8]

In 2016, the organization allegedly kidnapped Erkan Doğan, a civilian, who was later found executed.[9]

The fight against ISISEdit

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.[10][11][12]

On 14 August 2017, the organization's commander 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 terrorists tried to assassinate the members of the organization by mining the roads that were leading to the organization's headquarter. No casualties were reported.

According to several sources[citation needed], the organization has lost some of its most significant commanders in the fight against ISIS since 2014.

Designation as a terrorist organisationEdit

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.[13]

Notable membersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Peoples' United Revolutionary Movement established for a joint struggle". Firat News Agency. 2016-03-12. Archived from the original on 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  2. ^ "STATEMENT OF OUR PARTY, COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY/MARXIST-LENINIST (TKP-ML) … | İşçi Köylü Kurtuluşu". External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ A World to Win Magazine, 1985, "TKP-ML seizes the airwaves 8PM News Break"
  4. ^ To the Press and the Public: 5 martyrs of TKP-ML-TIKKO died in Tunceli
  5. ^ Mike Ely. "Turkey: Five Communist Fighters Killed in Avalanche". Kasama Project. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Hydroelectric Plant Regulator Bombed in Dersim - english". Bianet - Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  7. ^ "TİKKO'dan Berkin Elvan için misilleme eylemi". BestaNûçe Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  8. ^ Özgür Gelecek. "Gerilladan Berkin Elvan için misilleme eylemi". Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Islamic State bomb attack against Serêkaniyê HQ of TKP-ML-TIKKO". Signalfire. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ The Carter Center (2017), pp. 2, 3.
  13. ^ TÜRKİYE'DE HALEN FAALİYETLERİNE DEVAM EDEN BAŞLICA TERÖR ÖRGÜTLERİ: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2016-04-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit