Originally published: https://kck-info.com/analysis-kalkan-1808/
A new analysis by Duran Kalkan, member of the KCK Executive Council, about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, with a focus on the historical significance of August 15, 1984, and the importance of the guerrilla struggle to this day.
We are celebrating the 39th anniversary of the revolutionary resistance of the Guerrilla that was carried out on August 15, 1984, which symbolizes the historical starting point of the path to freedom. Thus, the Kurds have entered their 40th year of freedom and resistance and via various events, they celebrate it on their homeland and abroad. The guerrilla are celebrating this resistance by conducting successful actions all over Kurdistan, particularly in [the South Kurdish areas of] Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna.
On this occasion, I would like to first of all congratulate all comrades of the party, our people and international friends, especially Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. I would like to particularly salute the heroic stand and resistance of the HPG and YJA-Star guerrillas who resist the occupation and genocide and do not let fascism pass. By this I also want to respectfully commemorate all the martyrs of the Kurdish Heroic resistance in the person of the comrades Agit and Zîlan. In the 40th year, I wish success for all those waging the struggle for freedom and democracy.
Undoubtedly, it will be useful to briefly summarize the political conditions under which the revolutionary resistance of August 15 took place in order to be able to evaluate the results and effects of it.
It is well known that in the late 1970s and early 1980s the world was in a state of complete deadlock with the contradiction and conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. Each side was developing all kinds of military activities, including nuclear armaments, in order to defeat its opponent. While the US administration of the time was trying to gain the upper hand with its “Star Wars” plan, the Soviet Union, which called itself “socialist” and had failed in its Afghanistan venture, was going through a series of changes and searches, which finally materialized under the leadership of M. Gorbachev.
The most influential event in the Middle East was undoubtedly the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian resistance. Iran and Iraq had temporarily partially suspended the tensions and conflicts between them with the Algiers Treaty of 1875. Turkey, on the other hand, was experiencing a crisis in all areas, especially economic and political crisis, and the state system established on October 29, 1923 was no longer functioning. The 1975 Algerian Treaty also had a heavy impact on the Kurds, and the defeated KDP and its leader Barzani accepted this situation by declaring ‘Ashbetal’ [capitulation], disbanded and left Kurdistan.
It was under these conditions that two important events took place that affected Kurdistan and the Middle East. First, the leader of the Kurdish people Abdullah Öcalan, who had been trying to establish a party and start a new Kurdish resistance since 1973, founded the PKK at the end of 1978 and developed a process of struggle that deeply affected Turkey with the resistance in [the North Kurdish cities] Hilvan and Siverek. Secondly, the predominantly Islamic Iranian alliance succeeded in overthrowing the Shah in February 1979. The Iranian Revolution, gradually grappling with self-contradiction, began to blow its wind throughout the Middle East.
NATO and the regional reactionary powers did not delay in developing a new offensive against these two new developments and the effectiveness of the Palestinian Resistance. The Turkish General Staff, which is affiliated to NATO, formed a fascist junta under the leadership of Kenan Evren by staging a military coup on September 12, 1980 and seized the entire state. On September 20, 1980, the Iraqi government, under the secret guidance of the US, declared war on Iran in order to regain what it had lost in the 1975 Treaty. Thus, the Iraq-Iran-war was an effort to interrupt the winds of revolution blowing from Iran, and the September 12 fascist-military coup and resulting regime were attempts to crush the new freedom resistance rising from Kurdistan.
In this framework, the Kenan Evren junta carried out an intense fascist-genocidal attack in order to neutralize the democratic forces of Turkey and mainly to crush the newly developing Kurdish resistance by the Apoist group. By banning all things Kurdish, it moved towards a virtual reoccupation of Kurdistan and the total annihilation of the patriotic Kurdish existence. Hundreds of PKK militants and tens of thousands of Kurdish patriots were arrested and imprisoned. By imposing an inhumane torture system on those captured, it aimed at destroying, in the person of the prisoners, the existence of the Kurds and their awareness of freedom.
The PKK cadres and sympathizers, who were under the most severe oppression and torture in history, started to resist. This resistance was spearheaded by Mazlum Dogan on March 21, 1982 and was continued by Ferhat Kurtay, Kemal Pir and Hayri Durmuş. The last two comrades, along with many others who joined them, started hunger strike on July 14, the same year, and managed to ideologically defeat the fascist system of Turkish state. Thus, they revealed the new decisive power of resistance for freedom and clearly demonstrated that it is possible to resist under all the given circumstances. This situation created a very strong ideological and psychological superiority for the Kurdish Freedom Movement led by Rêber Apo and became a call for resistance for the militants outside.
The guerrilla resistance began with the actions in [the Turkish occupied North Kurdish cities of] Eruh and Şemdinli on August 15, 1984. It was led by the immortal Commander Mahsum Korkmaz. This guerrilla action was a successful response to the call coming from the prisons. The PKK guerrillas, who trained and prepared themselves ideologically and militarily in the Lebanese-Palestinian field, took advantage of the political and practical environment created by the Iranian revolution that overthrew the Shah and the Iraq-Iran war that began on September 20, and succeeded in launching the new Kurdish resistance from August 15, 1984 on.
Undoubtedly, the PKK guerrilla started and carried out the difficult struggle against the Turkish army, which was affiliated to NATO, mainly on the basis of its own strength, awareness and belief. It also benefited from the fact that the Iran-Iraq war rendered the Turkish Republic’s borders with Iraq and Iran partially uncontrolled, and that this war rendered the joint system of hegemony over the Kurds established by the Treaty of Lausanne inoperable. Rêber Apo was the main force that created and developed these developments. He correctly and adequately evaluated the political and military developments from ceaselessly and showed the ability to regroup the party cadres and train and prepare them abroad with great effort. Thus, the September 12 fascist-military regime wanted to defeat Rêber Apo and the PKK. They tried to do this in the person of the prisoners by imposing torture on them, but the regime suffered a historic ideological defeat in its own prison, and could not prevent the development of the revolutionary resistance of the guerrilla on August 15 and entered the process of historical collapse.
The revolutionary resistance of the guerrilla on August 15 showed and gradually proved that the fascist-genocidal Turkish army can be fought against. This resistance proved that the Kurds can sustain a guerrilla warfare against the fascist-genocidal Turkish army, even though it is NATO’s second biggest army. In 1984, the administration of Evren-Özal, which was helpless facing the newly guerrilla warfare, took this situation to NATO conferences. This changed the character of the war in a way that NATO assumed the burden of waging the war against the Kurds from 1985 on. Still they never achieved their goal of crushing and destroying the guerrilla. The changes made in the Turkish State by both the Kenan Evren junta and the subsequent administrations, especially the AKP-MHP fascist alliance, have always followed the same route.
The revolutionary resistance of the guerrilla on August 15 successfully transformed the PKK into a strategic and tactical force of action, it reasserted the historical strength of the Kurdish people and the heroic combativeness of the Kurdish people. It showed everyone what can be achieved when the courage, sacrifice, and the strength of Kurdish youth and women are equipped with the philosophical and mental power of Rêber Apo and sense of awareness and freedom he has created. In many areas of North Kurdistan, especially in Botan, but also in Rojava and abroad, Kurdish youth and women, the entire people welcomed the revolutionary resistance of the guerrilla on August 15 with enthusiasm. Everybody began to strengthen their own resistance fronts in support of the guerrilla, laying the foundations of a new national understanding; in the concept of a democratic nation. Then, as of now, only the leadership of the KDP opposed this development, allied with the Turkish army and launched military attacks against the PKK guerrilla.
The new Kurdish liberation resistance, which developed on the basis of the August 15 resistance, profoundly affected the whole region of the Middle East and created rapid changes in political and military relations and alliances. First of all, by imposing the solution of the Kurdish question on the entire region, it led the existing states to develop new political attitudes. In addition to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which until then had been almost the only really big problem and conflict in the region, the Kurdish question was imposed on the politics of the entire region as the new and most comprehensive problem. Gradually, other contradictions and conflicts began to take a back seat. The Kurdish question has become the problem that determines all political and military relations in the region. So much that even the Iraq-Iran war, in which the parties could not and did not come to an agreement, was ended in the spring of 1988 so that “the PKK would not take advantage of the political-practical environment created by that war”.
The resistance of the guerrilla on August 15 had worldwide effects which are actually more obvious and meaningful. Those circles who were assessing the possibility of a Kurdish resistance against the September 12 coup were actually a bit surprised when such a step was delayed. As a matter of fact, they reacted to the August 15, 1984 Eruh and Şemdinli actions by saying, “The expected Kurdish resistance has begun”. Some European states, which until then had supposedly opposed the September 12 coup and complained to the Council of Europe against the Kenan Evren junta in order to gain economic and political benefits from Turkey, immediately withdrew their demands and protests after the August 15 and began to support the Turkish state’s genocidal attacks against the Kurd. Their fake democracy was actually exposed even then.
Undoubtedly, the support of NATO states to the Turkish Republic went beyond these. For example, the murder of Olof Palme on February 28, 1986 was in fact a conspiracy against the PKK and the Kurdish freedom resistance . Then the Düsseldorf Trial, the longest running trial in Europe, was organized and conducted in Germany. As a result of these plots, the Kurdish people’s struggle for existence and freedom was criminalized, thus blocking the peoples’ support for the Kurds, while the support of the states for the fascist-genocidal Turkish Republic was tried to be covered up.
Of course, it was not possible to get the support of the peoples of Europe and the world, the oppressed women and youth by relying only one step. Such a situation of continuous support could only emerge with a process of developing resistance. The following can be said here: The Kurds introduced themselves to the peoples, women and youth of the world on a revolutionary and democratic basis thanks to the revolutionary resistance of August 15 and the ongoing guerrilla war, and they achieved the most meaningful relations and supports on this basis.
In conclusion, it is also necessary and useful to underline the following points. The correct libertarian awareness, organization, self-confidence, willpower, and everything similar in Kurdish society has been achieved thanks to the revolutionary resistance of August 15 and the uninterrupted guerrilla war. This is why it is called the “Kurdish Resurrection Day”. In every respect, it expresses the rebirth and re-existence of the Kurds. For 39 years, all libertarian developments in Kurdistan have been based on the August 15 guerrilla resistance. Especially Kurdish women’s gaining awareness of freedom, organizing themselves and developing the women’s liberation revolution with great courage has been the most important and effective result and invincible power of the guerrilla resistance.
We should ask the question like this: What would the situation of the Kurds be like if there had not been such a guerrilla resistance and struggle? What other form of struggle could have brought about such a Kurdish awakening and impact on humanity? One can discuss these questions as much as one likes. In the end, the only unified answer can be ‘guerrilla resistance’. Because no other method of struggle can strike and weaken Turkish colonialism and genocide against the Kurds, and awaken and educate the Kurdish people, who have been subjected to all kinds of inhumane attacks for a hundred years, and make them organized and strong-willed. Only guerrilla warfare can achieve these things. As a matter of fact, this is what has happened.
At this point, even though its name is ‘guerrilla’, the Kurdish freedom guerrilla should not be confused with guerrilla practices in other countries. The Kurdish freedom guerrilla is based on the leadership of Rêbertî [Abdullah Öcalan] and the party. It is highly conscious and faithful, with the highest level of courage and sacrifice. In other words, it acts with a complete stance of sacrifice. It has been proved that it is not possible to fight and win against the colonialist-genocidal mentality and politics in Kurdistan with the measures of the guerrilla movements in other countries. For this reason, the principles and measures of the Kurdish freedom guerrilla are unique and in many respects unlike those of guerrillas elsewhere. This is so because the so-called Kurdish problem is unique in the world.
39 years of uninterrupted guerrilla resistance, which has played a decisive role in all libertarian developments in Kurdistan and democratization in Turkey, is entering its fortieth year of resistance and victory as of August 15. It is obvious that the historical role it has played for 39 years will continue to play in the fortieth year and will continue to be the cause of emancipatory developments. Because the new AKP-MHP fascist administration is making its attacks more comprehensive and fierce, only the guerrilla can stand against such an attack and only the guerrilla can open the way for all kinds of democratic developments by holding the fascist-genocidal mentality and politics to account.
In its fortieth year, the Kurdish freedom guerrilla is ready to play such a role much more effectively and successfully. Today, in the mountains of Kurdistan, especially in Zap, Avaşîn, Metîna and Xakurkê, the guerrilla is striking deadly blows against the fascist AKP-MHP. Yesterday, it was this guerrilla that showed the strength to stand against the Islamic State [IS] attacks, especially in Şengal, Maxmur and Kobanê, and to defeat it. Now it is resisting victorious to break the attacks of the IS partner AKP-MHP and to collapse fascism. The resistance of the guerrilla on August 15 revealed that the guerrilla is invincible.
Once again, I would like to congratulate all libertarian and democratic forces on the occasion of August 15, and wish them great success in their struggle. I would also like to salute the heroic resistance of all HPG and YJA-Star guerrillas fighting in the Apoist self-sacrificing line.