Mihri Belli

Düşünür, Siyasetçi

16 Ağustos, 2011
Istanbul University Faculty of Economics, Mississippi University, Faculty of Economics
Diğer İsimler
E. Tüfekçi

Thinker, politician (Born December 1916, Silivri / Istanbul – Death 16 August 2011, Istanbul). He used the name E. Tüfekçi in his writings and books from time to time. He is the son of Urfalı Mahmut Hayrettin Bey who led Thracian Resistance during the Independence War. He graduated from Robert College in Istanbul and studied in Faculty of Economics of Istanbul University. He graduated from Mississippi University, Faculty of Economics in United States (1939). He was introduced to Marxist ideas and revolutionary activities during his studies in USA in 1936. He participated to youth and labor movements there. He worked for a while in Mississippi among black woodchoppers.

Mihri Belli returned to Turkey in 1940 and came in contact with Turkish Communist Party (TKP). Turkey was under the rule of CHP’s one-party-rule at that time. CHP which was under influence of German victory in the first years of the 2nd World War had left Soviet friendship policy. At that time the only opposition party was the secret Turkish Communist Party. Belli contacted TKP and joined the party and started his political activities. By the end of 1942 he was assigned to membership of central committee of TKP. In 1943-44 he worked as an assistant of Ord. Prof. Fritz Neumark in Istanbul University Faculty of Economics. There, he was one of the founders and organizers of Progressive Youth Union. In 1944 he was arrested during the investigation of Progressive Youth Union and condemned to 2 years imprisonment and exile.

Belli went abroad in 1946. He joined the Greek Civil War as a guerilla. He promoted up to Battalion Commander in Democratic Army ranks. He was injured twice during clashes and treated in Bulgaria and Soviet Union. In 1950 he was imprisoned for a short time because of entering Turkey without a passport and having a weapon. During 1951 investigations he was again arrested put onto trial and condemned to seven years imprisonment (1951-58). After completing his penalty he wrote articles in reviews of “Yeni Yol”, “Türk Solu”, “Yön  (using the name E.Tüfekçi) and “Aydınlık” rather with pen names.

Mihri Belli for the first time acquired the legal right to speak and write under his real name in 1960s. He helped to publish the reviews of “Türk Solu” and “Aydınlık Sosyalist Dergi”. Meanwhile he was arrested twice for his speeches and writings and was imprisoned for months. He developed the famous thesis of National Democratic Revolution (MDD) in this period. He and his friends came into contact with leaders of the youth movement such as Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and Hüseyin İnan which started to turn into a mass movement.  MDD in a short time became very efficient among leftist youth movements and played a role in transforming the youth movement of “68 Generation” in Turkey into a revolutionary and Marxist shape.

 Belli went abroad to avoid arrest after the military memorandum of 12 March 1971. He was guest of Palestinian Liberation Organization for a while. Later he came to Turkey but in some months he went again abroad to Western Europe. He stayed there for a while and helped to publish the review “Yurtsever”. He was in Turkey during the general elections of 1973 from which CHP led by Bülent Ecevit came out as the strongest party. After the Repentance Law of 1974 he founded Turkish Laborer Party (TEP) with his friends (1975). After the party was established, Military Commission Prosecution Office started a prosecution about it and asked the removal of the word “Kurdish” from the program and charter of the party. Years passed and the Constitutional Tribunal took action. It closed TEP because of defending to give equal rights to Kurdish people. He was heavily injured in 1979 after an assassination attempt to him.

Mihri Belli went abroad after the military coup of 12 September 1980 (1981). He stayed in Middle Eastern countries for a while and joined the founding of United Resistance Front against Fascism. From there he passed to Sweden. During all this process he closely followed the Kurdish movement. In 1992 he returned to Turkey. In 1997 he met Abdullah Öcalan and realized an interview about which it is said that they came to an agreement about that the Kurdish problem could be solved under the roof of the unitary state on the basis of equality without establishing a federation. Reports of this interview were later published as book.

Belli was one of the founders of Liberty and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) in 1996 and Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) in 2002. He was a candidate in the general elections of 3 November 2002 for the 1st region of Istanbul from Democratic Party of People (DEHAP). He defended that the essential and main problem in Turkey was Kurdish problem.

Portraits of Mihri Belli he made fifty years ago in prison were exhibited in 2005 under the title “Hapishaneden Çizgiler”. He served a total of eleven years prison and stayed for eighteen years in exile. In 2006 his 90th birthday was celebrated. On the 29th of December 2007 he resigned from SDP and in 2008 he contributed to the foundation of Socialist Party of Workers with people who left this party.

Mihri Belli was one of the leaders of Turkish socialist movement, Member of Central Committee of Turkish Communist Party (TKP), theoretician and leader of National Democratic Revolution (MDD) movement and 68 Revolutionist Youth Generation, Leader of Turkish Laborer Party (TEP), founder of Liberty and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) and Socialist Democrat Party (SDP), candidate for PM of “Block of Labor, Peace and Democracy”, Honorary President of Socialist Party. He passed away on the 16th of August 2011 due to respiratory insufficiency at his house in Göztepe, Istanbul and inhumed to Feriköy cemetery.

Mihri Belli had written in the introduction part of the book “Sosyalizm and Islam” he translated with Doğan Avcıoğlu in 1965 that our intellectuals memorized the West, but did not know their own culture and history apart from three-five clichés and that this was a shame for them.


THOUGHT-RESEARCH-ANALYSIS: Rigas’ın Dediği (Turkish-English), Eine Analyse der türkischen Linken (Turkish Left –Yesterday and Today. German – Turkish – English), Türkiye: Yapı - Ulusal Sorun (Turkish-English), Savcı Konuştu: Söz Sanığındır (1962), Milli Demokratik Devrim (1968), Yazılar (1969), Devrimci Hareketimizin Eleştirisi 1961-I971 (1977), TKP’nin Tarihsel Konumu (1978), Solda Birlik İçin (1978), Türkiye Emekçi Partisi Davası (1980), Yunan İç Savaşından Gerilla Anıları: Rigas’ın Dediği (1987), İnsanlar Tanıdım (anılar, 2 c., 1988), Gurbetten Notlar: Türkiye Solu, Yaratıcı Marksizm ve Dünya Üstüne (1996), Yunan İç Savaşı’ndan Gerilla Anıları (1998), İnsanlar Tanıdım - Mihri Belli’nin Anıları 1 (1999), İnsanlar Tanıdım - Mihri Belli’nin Anıları 2 (1999), Esas Hadise O Kiraz Ağaçları (2003), Türkiye-Yunanistan Nüfus Mübadelesi (2004), Hapishaneden Çizgiler (2005).

TRANSLATION: İslam ve Sosyalizm (Using the name E. Tüfekçi, with Doğan Avcıoğlu, 1965).


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