YPG and Turkey-based Marxıst-Lenınıst organızatıons: Allıance under the USA umbrella

Estimated read time 7 min read


On January 3, Syrian Kurdish news networks and local sources reported that a drone attack was carried out on a point in Hasakah’s Tal Tawil, close to the frontline between Turkish-backed Syrian opposition and US-backed YPG, in the Hasakah region.


The incident on January 3 did not attract much attention, as it was thought to be one of the Turkish drone attacks, which has become almost routine. However, important details about the attack emerged the next day.


On the next day, sources said the point is a military base belonging to the Turkey-based Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). Throughout January 4 and 5, local sources in the Syrian Kurdish militants’ control area insisted that MLK P’s head of Syria operations was killed in a drone strike in Tal Tawil. Still, the sources could not give an exact name due to the YPG measures in the town. Immediately after the strike, YPG security units took measures and closed the area to hide the identities of the militants killed in the drone strike.


Earlier on 6 January, the Turkish state news agency published information provided by the Turkish intelligence agency about a drone strike in Syria. The state agency’s report was as follows: MİT neutralized Zeki Gürbüz, one of the alleged leaders of MLKP and the instigator of the attack on a prison bus in Bursa, in the Hasakah region of Syria.


Turkey killed a senior figure of the MLKP, which was founded in 1994 and was behind many terrorist attacks in Turkey, with a drone strike in Syria. Zeki Gürbüz was in charge of the MLKP’s operations in Syria. He was the second person in this position. MLKP central committee member Bayram Namaz was the first person in charge of the organization’s operations in Syria. He was killed in 2019 in an assassination probably organized by the Turkish intelligence organization.


The above-mentioned situation shows that Turkey’s only problem with US-backed Syrian Kurdish militants is not the YPG’s relationship with the PKK. According to security sources, there are almost a thousand militants belonging to Turkey-based radical left-wing organizations in YPG areas, those leftist militants also receive military training from the US under the name of YPG or SDF.

Since 2015, in a very visible way and with open propaganda in many languages, the US has been turning a blind eye to radical left-wing organisations presence in the YPG that embrace terrorist acts against Turkey.  According to open sources, under the umbrella of the US-backed YPG, there are more than 10 radical left-wing organizations based in Turkey with a Marxist tradition. 

Transformation of Turkish Leftist Movements

This is most obviously a consequence of the YPG’s relationship with the PKK. After the 1980 military coup, Turkish left-wing organizations lost their power and influence over society, and almost all of the new formations that emerged in the 1990s were influenced by the power of the PKK’s armed struggle against the Turkish state. Many leftist organizations tried to seize the opportunity to cooperate with the PKK by adding the colonialism thesis to their programs.


The program of the MLKP, which continues to exist in YPG ranks and thus receives US support, reads as follows: “The colonialist fascist dictatorship of the collaborationist monopoly bourgeoisie will be overthrown by force-based revolution (armed struggle – translator’s note).”


This led to the ideological transformation of many Turkey-based leftist organizations into small branches of the PKK. Underlying the idea of a symbiotic relationship with a national/separatist movement – PKK, the Turkish leftist organizations, which had degenerated into a petit bourgeois student movement and had completely severed their ties with the working class, had a strange ‘belief’ that the rule of what they called the fascist dictatorship or oligarchy would be weakened by the Kurdish separatist movement. The basis of the program of TKP/ML-TIKKO, which continues to exist in the ranks of the YPG and receives US support, is defined as follows: “The People’s Democratic Revolution accepts Marxism Leninism Maoism as the theoretical basis that guides all its actions in its struggle for socialism and supreme communism. By waging an unwavering struggle against revisionism, reformism, and opportunism of all kinds in the light of the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Zedong, the great leaders and teachers of the international proletariat among the youth of the people; Marxism Leninism defends and implements Maoism.”

The transformation of Marxist-Leninist armed terrorist organizations such as the MLKP, known for its hard-line Stalinist stance, and the Maoist MKP and TIKKO in the 1990s took place with the recognition of the PKK’s organizational superiority and the inclusion of the Leninist principle of the Right of Nations to Self-Determination in their party programs.


As a natural consequence of the relationship established by Turkish leftist organizations on the basis of the supremacy of the PKK, the ranks of the YPG in Syria were opened to leftist militants under the pretext of fighting ISIS.  The US turned a blind eye to the presence of these militants in the YPG, who should have been labeled as “foreign terrorist fighters” given their status and organic links with terrorist attacks in Turkey.

YPG and PKK-allied leftist organizations carry out attacks inside Turkey

According to a list published on the website of the umbrella organization, the United Revolutionary Movement of Peoples (HBDH), which is part of the YPG in Syria, the organization announced 139 attacks conducted inside Turkey in 2022. Among the attacks listed was a bomb attack on a vehicle carrying prison staff in the Bursa province of Turkey. This attack was planned and ordered by Zeki Gürbüz, who was killed in a drone attack on 3 January. In the list of attacks organized in Turkey by HBDH, the umbrella organization of Marxist-Leninist terrorist organizations, the following was written for the attack in Bursa “On April 20, 2022, against the oppression, torture, and massacres in prisons, we bombed the ring vehicle carrying prison personnel in Bursa. According to the statements of the sworn enemies of our peoples, racist fascists Süleyman Soylu and Bekir Bozdağ, 1 guard died and 13 guards were injured, 1 of them seriously.”

Cebrail Gündoğdu, who carried out the attack, was arrested in Izmir in October. Gündoğdu confessed that he had received weapons and sabotage training at the MLKP camp in Syria. Thus began the hunt for Zeki Gürbüz in Syria.


HBDH embraced the attacks of the ‘militia units’ of many left-wing organizations based in Turkey and used them in its open propaganda. This umbrella organization still receives training and arms from the USA under the name of YPG or SDF in Syria.

At least 15 Turkey-based left-wing armed groups under the People’s United Revolutionary Movement (HBDH) and the United Freedom Forces (BÖG), continue their existence in the ranks of the YPG with USA support. 


According to security sources, Syria is also used for transitions from leftist organizations in Turkey to PKK camps in Northern Iraq. YPG provides security and transportation on this route. Turkish security sources state that people who previously held various positions in legal and illegal leftist organizations have moved to Northern Iraq through Syria in the last few years and started to operate within the PKK.

Sources underline that these people also take part in umbrella organizations operating in Syria such as HBDH and BÖG, and appear in joint propaganda channels of the YPG and PKK in Syria and Iraq.

The permeability between Syria-Iraq and YPG-PKK can be easily verified even with open sources. However, despite “the presence of terrorist organizations and foreign terrorist fighters in the YPG and their relations with the PKK,” the US has not taken any steps in this regard for about 7 years.

These organizations, on the other hand, continue their attacks inside Turkey, taking advantage of the opportunities and environment provided by the US.


The situation pictured above may simply lead to the comment that the US is using the legitimate ground of the fight against ISIS to support terrorist organizations against Turkey. It would seem that this comment is not at all unfair.

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