Name of leader          Dursun Karataş

 

Organization                    Devrimci Sol

Organization Alias.         Dev Sol

 

Conflict country              Turkey

 

Gender                               Male   

    

Year of birth                      March 25, 1952[1]  

 

Place of birth                    Cevizdere village of Elazığ in Turkey[2]

 

Year of death                     2008[3]

 

 

Deceased

 

Yes, he died from liver cancer in 2008.

 

Birth order

 

His birth order is unknown.

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

Considering Karatas was born in 1952 and Dev-Sol was founded in 1978, he likely would have been 26 years old.

 

Leader entry method

 

He founded the organization in 1978.[4]

 

Powersharing

 

No, Dev-Sol’s organizational structure is described as being “broken down according to geographical locales”. Different areas have different leaders.[5]

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

He studied at Istanbul Technical University.[6] “During his student years he was involved in the Revolutionary Road movement and Dev-Young organization.”[7]            

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Yes, he had a wife who died in 1992.[8] He married again, but the time is not currently known.[9] He reportedly had a girlfriend in 2001.[10]

 

Children

 

Whether he had children is unknown.

 

Religious identification

 

He was an Alevi Muslim. (His funeral was at a cemevi, an Alevi house of worship.)[11]

 

Elite family background

 

His socio-political status of his family background is unknown.

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made

 

No, all of his political affiliations were related to his organization.

 

Physical and mental health

 

Yes, he had physical health problems. When he was in a Turkish prison, he underwent a hunger strike and had to be hospitalized. The hospital gave him intravenous feeding.[12] In 2008, died of cancer after a long battle.[13]

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

He was an activist. He went directly from school to founding the Devrimci Sol.[14]

 

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No, there is no evidence of experience in a state military.

 

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

Yes, he had experience in Dev Yol.

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence of combat experience.

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence he held a government position.

 

Lived in exile?

 

Yes, he went to Europe after escaping a Turkish prison. He was reported in the Netherlands and Greece.[15]

 

Study abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he studied abroad.

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he had military training abroad.

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad.

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

Yes, in 1981 Turkey arrested him.[16] He served prison time until escaping in 1989. A year later, Turkey sentenced him to life in prison in absentia.[17]He was arrested in France in 1994 on outstanding warrants in 174 countries. While an extradition was requested,[18][19] France released him from custody three months later.[20]

 

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

 

No, Turkey had hired a hitman to kill Karatas, but the assassination attempt did not actually take place.[21]

 

Cause of Death?

 

He died from liver cancer.[22]

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

He native language was Turkish.[23]

 

Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1a/DursunKaratas.jpg

[1] “Dursun Karatas,” yeniakit, Accessed July 3, 2018, https://www.yeniakit.com.tr/kimdir/Dursun_Karata%C5%9F.

[2] “Dursun Karatas,” yeniakit, Accessed July 3, 2018, https://www.yeniakit.com.tr/kimdir/Dursun_Karata%C5%9F.

[3] Richard McHugh, “Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front,” The SAGE Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Second Edition (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2011), 517.

[4] Richard J. Chasidi, Counterterror Offensives for the Ghost War World: The Rudiments of Counterterrorism Policy, (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2010), 418.

[5] Richard J. Chasidi, Tapestry of Terror: A Portrait of Middle East Terrorism, 1994-1999, (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2002), 230.

[6] “İşte Dursun Karataş'ın biyografisi” [Here is the biography of Dursun Karataş], timeturk

[7] “İşte Dursun Karataş'ın biyografisi” [Here is the biography of Dursun Karataş], timeturk

[8] Andrew Finkel, “Police Kill 11 Guerillas in Istanbul Raid After Tip-Off”. The Times, April 18, 1992. Accessed May 14, 2018 via NewsBank

[9] Andrew Mango, Turkey and the War on Terror: For Forty Years We Fought Alone, (London: Routledge, 2005), 24.

[10] “Turkish Police Warns Europe of Presence of ‘Terrorists’ Targeting Turkey”. Anatolia News Agency, October 7, 2001, Accessed May 14, 2018 via NewsBank

[11] “Turkish Commentary Says Public Officials Ignore Factors Nurturing Terrorism”. BBC Monitoring International Reports, February 4, 2013, Accessed May 15, 2018 via NewsBank

[12] “Turkish Statement on Death of Hunger Strikers”. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 20, 1984, Accessed May 15, 2018 via LexisNexis; “Turkey: Leader of Left-Wing Militant Group Dies-Agency”. BBC Monitoring International Reports, February 10, 2008, Accessed May 14, 2018 via NewsBank.

[13] “Turkey: Leader of Left-Wing Militant Group Dies – Agency,” BBC Monitoring Europe, February 10, 2008.

[14] “İşte Dursun Karataş'ın biyografisi” [Here is the biography of Dursun Karataş], timeturk

[15] Mango, 24.

[16] “Fugitive Turkish Terrorist Captured”. The Record (Kitchner, Ontario, Canada), September 12, 1994, Accessed May 14, 2018 via NewsBank.

[17] Nadire Mater, “Turkey-Politics: Symbolic Bomb Blast Traced to Arrest in France,” IPS – Inter Press Service, September 13, 1994.
[18] Mango, 24.

[19] “Turkish Militant Leader Interrogated by French Police,” Agence France Presse, September 12, 1994.[21] Suzan Fraser, “Turkish Government Spent $50 Million to Hire Hitmen”.

[20] Stephen E. Atkins, “DEV-SOL (Revolutionary Left) (Turkey)”. Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Group, (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2004), 76.

[21] Charleston Gazette (WV), January 25, 1998, Accessed May 14, 2018 via NewsBank.

[22] Jean Christou, “Turkey Seeks Handover of Wanted Fugitive Held in Cyprus”. Cyprus Mail (Nicosia, Cyprus), August 17, 2008, Accessed May 14, 2018 via NewsBank

[23] Yonah Alexander and Dennis A. Pluchinsky. Europe’s Red Terrorists: The Fighting Communist Organizations, (New York: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 2005), 40.

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