Commemorative practices and narratives of revolutionary movements in Turkey: "Kızıldere" as a texture of memory
Özkaya, Derya (2015) Commemorative practices and narratives of revolutionary movements in Turkey: "Kızıldere" as a texture of memory. [Thesis]
On 30 March, 1972, ten revolutionaries kidnapped three technicians hostage from Ünye radar installation to prevent the execution of Deniz Gezmiş, Yusuf Aslan and Hüseyin İnan and were murdered in a gunfight in Kızıldere, Tokat. This event is accepted as a leitmotif for the revolutionary movements in Turkey. This thesis analyzes the “memory regime” around this key event with reference to the experiences and narratives of the victims, the witnesses, and the revolutionary movements as the “heirs” of the “political legacy” of “Kızıldere,” comparing with official history. Main data for the research include all kinds of published and visual materials of various political organizations, memoirs and in-depth interviews conducted with former and current militants and the witnesses in Istanbul, Ankara, Samsun, Fatsa and Kızıldere. Describing the primary commemorative practices and narratives reproduced by the revolutionary movements which provide intergenerational transmission of the collective memory of “Kızıldere,” I argue that various meanings and temporalities attributed to “Kızıldere” create several layers of remembering and the past become a continuing experience. I then claim that past experiences in the case of “Kızıldere” are continuously reshaped through commemorating based on the current needs. So, the collective memory of this event contributes to present and future although it belongs to the past. Finally, I claim that defining the past experiences of violence in political terms allow the revolutionaries to go beyond the notion of victim and become active subjects of the past, present as well as the future.
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