DR. ŞİVAN | SAİT KIRMIZITOPRAK
Sait Kırmızıtoprak was born in 1935 at Cıvrak (Sarıyayla) village in the Qısle (Nazimiye) district of Dersim (Tunceli). His parents were Abbas and Zöhre. Experiencing the pogrom of 1938 in all its tragedy, Sait was orphaned when his father passed away in 1941. Sait began his formal education at the age of nine, when a primary school was built in his village in 1944. Finishing primary school in 1949, Sait Kırmızıtoprak continued his studies in a secondary school in Tunceli. Succeeding in the Regional Boarding School examination that he entered at the end of the 1949/1950 academic year, Kırmızıtoprak continued his secondary education at the Balıkesir High School and graduated in 1955. The same year, he sat the entry examinations for the Medical School of Ege University in Izmir, and came third. In the 1955/56 academic year, he transferred to Istanbul University Medical School.
In January 1957, Sait Kırmızıtoprak and his friends founded the Istanbul branch of the “Tunceli Cultural Foundation” and in March 1957, he published a local newspaper called “Ceride-i Dersim” as the media organ of this foundation. Beginning to pen articles for this newspaper, Kırmızıtoprak later on published articles in newspapers and magazines such as “Akis”, “Forum, “Vatan”, “Yön”, “Dicle – Fırat”, “Sosyal Adalet” and “Milliyet”.
He was among those arrested in 17 December 1959, who came to be known as the 49s. During his detainment at Harbiye Military Academy, he became engaged to İsmet Özevcek. Following the military coup of 27 May 1960, Kırmızıtoprak and his friends were transferred to the “Soğukkuyu Military Prison” in Ankara, and were released in March 1961.
Taking exams during his detainment, Sait Kırmızıtoprak graduated from the Medical School of Istanbul University in 1962. He worked as a Government Physician at Güdül and Gemerek, and as the Chief Physician at the Yunak Public Hospital. Following a brief period of self-employment he joined the armed forces for his military service. During his military service in 1965-1967, Dr. Sait Kırmızıtoprak visited Sait Elçi and other TDKP officials and took part in their trials in Antalya. The 49s trial in which he was tried, was concluded during this period and according to the verdict, Kırmızıtoprak was “deprived of public rights” and sentenced to “ general supervision ” in Isparta.
Losing his chance to become officially involved in politics and supporting socialist ideals and struggles, Dr. Sait Kırmızıtoprak thereafter began to support the liberation of the Kurds. Kırmızıtoprak advocated the idea of establishing an organizationally modern, progressive/revolutionary, nationalist Kurdistan Party that would address the national, political, economic, democratic and cultural demands of the Kurds. Such a party, in line with the need and necessity for an armed struggle against the oligarchic administration and its militarist cadres that usurped Kurdish rights in North Kurdistan, would aid a professional guerrilla struggle. However, due to a lack of suitable conditions for such a struggle in Turkey and North Kurdistan, and in order to set up the basis for this struggle and to support the on-going struggle in South Kurdistan, he held meetings with his friends and influential political figures in Turkey and North Kurdistan. He then crossed the border to South Kurdistan on 4 October 1969 with a group including Çeko (Hikmet Buluttekin), Soro (Nazmi Balkaş) and Reşo Zilan (Ahmet Kotan). Dr. Şivan and his friends began training at the camp provided for them in South Kurdistan by IKDP, and conducted organizational activities along the border. Following their activities in the North, Dr. Şivan and his friends founded T-KDP in Ankara on 28-29 June 1970. According to them, “Turkey’s primary and urgent conflict that needs to be resolved is the reality of the Kurdish nation”.
The aim of the established party was to guarantee
1- the dismissal of the refusal and denial of the presence of the Kurds; official recognition of the Kurdish society,
2- the acknowledgement of the national democratic rights of the Kurds,
3- the right of the Kurdish society to determine its own fate.
The party supported the involvement of all classes and strata of the society in Kurdistan for the national struggle that needed to be conducted in North Kurdistan.
The party charter read, “ The wide rural communities of Kurdistan are the main basis of the Kurdish society living within the boundaries of Turkey. That is why our party, during its activities in the name of realizing its main goals and targets, will depend on the villagers of Kurdistan, while the workers and the middle class members like the intelligentsia, students, civil servants, artisans and craftsmen will be the natural supporters and allies of these villagers of Kurdistan.”
When speaking about Dr. Şivan, one needs to recognize some qualities of his that he did not share with his contemporaries. The first is Dr. Şivan’s identity as a theoretician. In order to describe someone as an intellectual or theoretician, one needs to witness his ability of owning his own mind. It is true that he was aware of the world in its entirety and knew the masters of all schools of thought, but Dr. Şivan always made his own decisions and never got scared of the consequences of his own ideas. In his book titled “Kurdish National Movements” he made some striking analyses and thus departed from the classic theory. According to classic theory, State is the tool of oppression for the dominant class. However, Dr. Şivan considers the states of Near and Middle East, and even Asia as central authorities and regards the owners of these states as civil and military bureaucracies. To support this view at the time, required true scientific courage.
The second important quality of Dr. Şivan was his political solemnity and his perspective towards government. After he went south, he settled there and established his organization. He believed that the Kurds in Turkey could only earn their rights through armed struggle. He began to work in line with this idea. He asked how the Turkish army had settled in Kurdistan, and tried to provide an answer. He asked party officials to send him information regarding this settlement. It is evident that as he spoke of the need for armed struggle, he began seeking methods to realize it. Independent of whether the struggle he would initiate was right or wrong, it was definitely a demonstration of his political solemnity.
Dr. Sait Kırmızıtoprak has two children named Dârâ and Ruken. His published books include “Ezen ve Ezilen Millletler Sorunu / The Problem of Oppressing and Oppressed Nations”; “Memo Qol”; “Kürt Millet Hareketleri ve Irak’ta Kürdistan İhtilali / Kurdish National Movements and the Kurdish Revolution in Iraq”; “Zımanê Kurdî / Kurdish Language” co-written with Kamuran Bedirxan; “Ferheng Kurdî û Tırkî (J. Blau’s Kurmanji-English-French dictionary translated to Turkish by Dr. Şivan with numerous additions), and “Cahş û Cahşîtî”.
Dr. Şivan (Dr. Sait Kırmızıtoprak) and his two friends, Brusk (Hasan Yıkmış), Çeko (Hikmet Buluttekin) were executed in Gilala on 26 November 1971 as a result of a conspiracy associated with the killings of Sait Elçi, Mehemedê Bego and Abdüllatif Savaş.