Originally published: https://kck-info.com/interview-kalkan-sep0623/
Abdullah Öcalan has been held captive on the prison island of Imrali in the Sea of Marmara for almost 25 years, but he continues to resist and his political ideas seem to be spreading. What more can you tell us about his situation and what can you tell us about the connection between the person of Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish question itself? What is the situation outside of Kurdistan in the international context?
At the beginning, I would like to respectfully salute the historic resistance on [the prison island of] Imrali by Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. Right now there is a big struggle going on, including important international initiatives, for his physical freedom both on a legal as well as on a political level. For example a few days ago, our people and our international friends had been demonstrating in many European cities and showed a magnificent stance and clear demands for the freedom of Rêber Apo. So I would also like, to send my greetings to the protests especially in Düsseldorf and Strasbourg, but also the other protests in Europe by our people, our international friends, by the youth and the women. I would like to wish them continued success in their struggle and underline that we are fully convinced of our struggle to continue successfully.
It has been more than two and a half years now, that there is no information about the situation of Rêber Apo. Most recently, his lawyers made an important call to the [‘European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’] CPT, asking them to disclose the information and findings they have.
It can be seen, that the struggle against the system of Imrali, the system of torture, isolation and genocide is actually getting bigger and more meaningful. This is a clear indication of the extent to which Rêber Apo has shattered the walls of isolation in Imrali and how he managed to expand his ideological leadership to a global level. It can be clearly expressed, that he created a leadership guiding the way to liberation of oppressed people, especially women, youth and working people worldwide.
A lawyer once said that without the physical liberation of Rêber Apo and the disintegration of Imrali, it is meaningless to even talk about peace. One can see that the ideas of Rêber Apo, the new paradigm – the paradigm of women’s liberation and an ecological-democratic society – is being spread. People watch, follow and adopt them with interest. They see solutions to their own problems within his ideas and the new paradigm. There is indeed a serious search for a new political system, that started especially after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The answer to that lays in the ideas and the new paradigm developed by Rêber Apo, where the people see the path to freedom, democracy and equality. They see their own salvation in it and that is the reason why people are more interested, struggle more, participate more, and rise their voices more. They take a more definite and clear stand for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo, and are seriously questioning the AKP-MHP fascism.
Still, the official institutions lack any kind of reaction to this struggle of the people. Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration has not surprisingly turned out to be lying. To say that they have built an empire of lies and fear is still an understatement. What Tayyip Erdoğan has developed, is a fascist dictatorship. We understand their intentions, we know their policies, and we also know their ideology, which is a fascist, colonialist, genocidal one. That is also the reason why they are constantly attacking. What is difficult to understand and the main problem is, why other international institutions responsible for Imrali [and the compliance with international law and human rights] remain silent as if they approve the Turkish administration. There is a partnership in crime or a partnership of interest. Trough this the physical freedom of Rêber Apo is being prevented. It can be stated as clear fact, that the most severe fascist, colonialist, genocidal oppression, persecution, torture and genocide known to history is being practiced on Imrali.
Of course we always ask the question, of what to do. And our answer is clear; we will struggle without expecting immediate and huge results. The torture and isolation system of Imrali stems from the Kurdish question itself. The questions means the genocidal ideology and politics imposed on the Kurdish people. It is perhaps one of the most severe problems known to humanity. The Arab-Israeli contradiction and conflict is the heaviest and oldest problem in history, but the Kurdish problem has surpassed it, because it is not limited to the Turkish Republic and the states of the Middle East. The global capitalist hegemony is based on a ideology and politics in which Kurdish existence is being denied and Kurdish people are targeted with extermination. Therefore, it can be put as much force as wished on the fascist AKP-MHP, a coup can be initiated, the country can even be forced to collapse; but still at the end, there will be someone there to support and save this ideology and politics. This has been seen several times in history.
The Kurdish question is no question that can be solved quickly and easily. In order not to be wrong and not to make mistakes, the problem needs to be grasped well. It can be described as the most comprehensive struggle for freedom and democracy in history, which is why it has merged not by coincidence with the other most comprehensive struggle in history, the struggle of women’s liberation to solve the problem of freedom of women. The development of [the science of women] ‘Jineolojî’ within the Kurdish freedom struggle and the beginning of the women’s liberation revolution is definitely not a coincidence. It is related to the essence and scope of the Kurdish question and struggle.
The international conspiracy was organized and as a result of it Rêber Apo was taken to Imrali, because he was searching for a solution to the Kurdish question. The Imrali system is a continuation of the international conspiracy. They did this in order to carry out the genocide of the Kurds, to prevent a solution of the Kurdish question, and therefore prevented the democratization of Turkey and a democratic influence in the Middle East and the world. In this respect, the struggle for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo needs to be seen as the struggle for the freedom of Kurdistan, for Kurdish freedom, for a democratization of Turkey, and for a freer life of humanity as a whole.
It can be stated, that the solution lies in developing this struggle in every aspect, by every method and in the strongest way. Especially legal struggles should be developed on this basis. Like it has been said many times, within the framework of democratic law, the Imrali system must be discussed, scrutinized and thoroughly exposed. We need to develop the struggle on a political level as well as within the masses, the youth and the women. Our movement is already developing the struggle for freedom and our guerrillas are fighting heroically. The sum of all these is the struggle that will ensure the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. We have to be persistent in this struggle, have to be stubborn, strong-willed and patient, as well we have to believe in victory and fight with determination until victory is achieved. With that in mind, I would like to wish success to all those waging this struggle.
You have already mentioned that the system of Imrali is being expanded. In which sense should this be understood? What is the current situation of political prisoners in Turkish prisons? How is the handling of the Kurdish question reflected in the Turkish prisons?
Rêber Apo stated a few years ago about his situation: ‘Such a system has been established here that without talking about myself, my own situation, still hundreds of people are subjected to extreme pressure, persecution, imprisonment, torture, because of me, because of this system here.‘ This affects everyone and therefore has to be opposed and fought against.’ Now we are facing that situation in almost all prisons. The situation of political prisoners is not being turned into Imrali, not to that extent, but it is deeply affected by it.
There is a very heavy fascist oppression, terror and torture in the prisons. Corpse are coming out of the prisons, as the prisoners are being martyred. The last prisoner that was martyred was Şakir Turan, whom I would like to respectfully commemorate. I also would like to remember all our friends, that have been martyred in the prisons. I share the pain of our people and the pain of Şakir Turan’s family. The families of the ones imprisoned are struggling against the prisons, which is very important, but it is necessary, that it gets better organized and better planned. There are indeed shortcomings and weaknesses; so there is a opportunity to strengthen them.
But the situation is obviously not only the problem of the families. A human rights organization recently published a report and stated, that right now 313 prisoners are being held in prisons for arbitrary reasons, even though their sentences imposed by the courts have been completed. This is a very serious situation which is a result of the spread of the lawlessness practiced on Imrali. 313 people is not a small number. Some of them have finished serving their sentences six months, some a year, some two, three years ago, but they are not being released. By saying this, it is not as if we are approving those sentences, because they are completely unjust punishments with no democratic legal aspect to them. They were sentences based entirely on fascist, colonialist, genocidal considerations, but even that is no longer respected.
In the same report mentioned above, it is stated that in 2022, they noted 1,201 cases of use of torture. If it were not for the administration of Tayyip Erdoğan, but a different one that would use even just a quarter of this oppression and torture, hell would break loose from many circles. But there is not much noise against the Tayyip Erdoğan administration and all the reports about it are getting ignored. As they say, it is the metaphor of the three monkeys. The world is indeed turning a blind eye to what the AKP government is doing to the Kurdish people.
What is being applied to the Kurds is also being applied to the workers, the women and the youth, as well as revolutionary democratic socialists of Turkey. The people are resisting in the prisons by following the tradition of July 14th resistance. [In 1982 a hunger strike has been started in the prisons, which spread all through the country.] No pressure or persecution can make them give up their goals or break their will. The last words of martyr Şakir Turan have been: ‘My head is upright.’ Everyone should stand up straight.
The administration of Tayyip Erdoğan put tens of thousands of people, men and women, in prisons, but still they did not manage to break the political will of the people. Everyone stood upright, struggled and is struggling. I would like to once again send my greetings to them and wish them success. Their resistance is difficult, it may be painful, they may be tortured, and some may be martyred. They are fighters for the cause of freedom and democracy.
It is necessary to be in solidarity with this struggle, to see it, to understand it, and to protect it. In this sense, the struggle is not only the one of the families, but is actually the struggle of the whole society. The scale of torture in prisons has now become so high that it will spill over into society. Now everyone is saying that the torture practiced on Imrali has spread to all of us. This pressure, oppression, exploitation, hunger, crisis, economic crisis, political crisis, everything stems from there and from the Kurdish problem. Imrali exists just because of the Kurdish question. All this war, bloodshed and death are all things caused by the Kurdish question. Therefore, the ones responsible for this are those who created the Kurdish question and did not want to solve it. Those who imposed oppression, persecution, genocide and colonialism on Kurds, and those who want to destroy Kurds who do not accept their existence, freedom and democratic rights. When we talk about the Kurdish question, no one should see the Kurds as responsible. On the contrary, there is this persecution, oppression and extermination of the Kurds, for which they are jointly responsible.
The resistance in the prison needs to be understood, and there has to be more solidarity and support. These practices of persecution and torture have to be exposed more. There is no regime in the world that is able to execute this kind of torture; it will collapse upon exposure. In this respect, it is necessary to support the prison resistance more strongly.
Right now there is a massive war being waged in Kurdistan by the Turkish state. While the main focus is thereby lying on the Medya Defense Zones, the war is not only limited there. What can you tell us about the military situation and the guerrilla resistance right now?
Firstly, I would like to respectfully commemorate the comrades Mehmet Guyi, Mêrxas and Rêvan, who were martyred on September 4, eleven years ago. They have been struggling since years, were the commanders of the Kurdish Wan province [Turkish name Van] and lost their life in one of their great attacks. We gave hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of martyrs like them. In this regard we can speak of a guerrilla with a sacrificial spirit that is guided by an army of martyrs. In this knowledge we struggle, resist and fight. There is a reality of war embodied in [the South Kurdish/North Iraqi regions of] Zap, Avaşîna and Metîna; in other words, in the South Kurdish Medya Defense Zones. But the war is not limited to this region, it is also everywhere in Bakur [Northern Kurdistan/South-East Turkey]. Right now, there is war in [north Kurdish regions of] Garzan, Merdin [Turkish name Mardin], Amed [Turkish name Diyarbakir], Serhad [Turkish name Serhat], in the metropolises and all cities, as well as in Başur [Southern Kurdistan/Northern Iraq] and Rojava [Western Kurdistan/Northern Syria] and all of Kurdistan. The Turkish Republic is attacking the Kurdish people wherever they live in order to subject them to genocide, but we are resisting against this.
The resistance in the Zap war is decisive, as it has lasted a year and a half. They are attacking the same certain areas since two and a half years now, to occupy them. In fact, they have been attacking for eight years, since their big offensive was started on August 26, 2016 and did not end until today. It has entered its eighth year, as also the great guerrilla resistance has entered its eight year.
The recent attacks and resistance are of course much more important. Our Central Headquarter published the monthly balance sheet, in which was stated, that 323 guerrilla actions with 134 killed Turkish soldiers took place. It shows how many actions the guerrilla carried out every day, how many fighters got wounded, how much destruction happened and how much enemy equipment was destroyed. It is a heavy balance sheet, showing that there is a big war going on every day and every hour, and this now for months and years. The enemy in constantly attacking with airplanes, with helicopters, the use of chemical weapons, the use of tactical nuclear weapons, and all kinds of weapons and methods.
The Turkish state is trying to establish its influence over the areas it attacked last year to occupy them, but it is failing. Some people say that ‘Claw operation’ [name of the operation of the Turkish Army] caught it’s own claws. The Turkish army is indeed caught, as it has been trying for months and years to take one hill in the Western Zap area. A state mobilizes all its power, all the support it receives from NATO, but it cannot succeed in this goal. It suffers blow after blow, loss after loss. In this respect, the battle in the Medya Defense Zones is important and has historical significance. The heroes who waged this war, the heroic martyrs of this war should always be remembered with respect, love and gratitude. Because Kurdish identity continues its existence here the basis for this resistance is possible and that is also the reason why the future of the Kurdish people is shaped there.
The Zap resistance continues in the spirit of the prison resistance from 1982, it continues in the spirit of the Imrali resistance. It is the most meaningful and heroic sacrificial resistance that history has witnessed. There are no other examples of such kind. An enemy that is locked, blocked and unable to get out of the place it entered in order to get the quick results they aim for.
As we said, the war is not only going on here; we need to see other areas too. They are not very famous, they are considered non existend, they are covered up. This is not the case. In many areas of North Kurdistan there is a guerrilla war going on. Every part of Kurdistan is a forbidden zone and there are military attacks by the Turkish army everywhere. As the [Turkish] former ministers used to say, “we have finished it, we are finishing it” [referring to the PKK]. They again entered this mood. They are hiding these fights in order not to be exposed.
The fighting also continues in the cities, which is also very important to mention. It should not be taken lightly. Our ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement’ [HBDH] has played an important role in this regard. HBDH militias did effective work. They made fascism feel that it cannot sleep comfortably anywhere. They make the fascists live in fear at every moment. In other words, they have become fascism’s fearful dream.
Again, the ‘Civil Protection Units’ [YPS] and similar organizations are showing a certain effectiveness and showed there importance. There is a reality of resistance that has spread almost all the way to Turkey.
The enemy also continues its occupation attacks. It seems that he will want to continue his attacks by spreading them more. This, of course, means that the guerrilla will spread its resistance too. Will resist stronger, fight stronger, and give heavier blows to the enemy.
The balance sheet I mentioned may seem low, but it’s not all about numbers. Still at least 134 soldiers were shot, the Press Center of HPG announced, and still there is a total lack of a reaction from Turkey. This is actually the bad thing, not the 134 people. Even if it was one person or three. Hell should have broken loose in Turkey, in society, among women, young people and workers. Everyone should have asked how can you send children of this land, children of this society, to death like this, how can you drive them away? This fascist dictatorship should have been caught. But it never happens like that. On the contrary. Pay attention, they make big shows; they advertise that they are building so many warplanes, so many cannons, so many lethal things, and the society watches with interest. Today they are killing the Kurds, and while they are killing them, they are also killing you. What have the prisons become? What has life become? What about the economic crisis? It almost reached the level of starvation. The minimum wage is heading towards starvation. All of this is linked to this war.
These things are being hidden from society. A society has been created that cannot see these things, that cannot see and talk about them. With lies, some of them have been made unable to see. Others see it but cannot talk about it out of fear. There is a racist, nationalist, chauvinist, anti-Kurdish mentality and politics. It got to such a level that comrade Mustafa Karasu said that the current Turkishness means the killing of the Kurd. It means the extinction of the Kurd, it means Kurdish hostility.
I thought Kurds and Turks were brothers for a thousand years. Starting from the Battle of Manzikert 1071 to wherever, it were the Kurds who contributed the most to the formation of Turkishness. Will this be repaid with massacres, persecution and death?
The situation in Turkey needs to be seriously questioned. The founding principles and policies of the Turkish state, and the anti-Kurdish, colonialist, genocidal mentality and politics conducted by the AKP-MHP fascism today need to be questioned and overcome. Without this, there can be no democratization in Turkey. In this respect, the guerrilla resistance is actually the biggest struggle that develops democratization in Turkey.
In the last weeks there have been several talks in Bagdad in Hewlêr by the Turkish government. How do you evaluate these talks? And since the reports about betrayal and collaboration by the KDP are getting more again, what can you tell us about the approach of the KDP right now?
What the administration of Hewlêr [refering to the KDP party of Southern Kurdistan] is doing is obvious. They massacred many guerrillas and are responsible for the death of many more. Right now we are approaching the second anniversary of the martyrdom of a group of our friends that in the end of August 2021 were attacked and martyred by the KDP forces in the South Kurdish region of Xelîfan. I would like to once again respectfully commemorate them.
The meetings in Bagdad and Hewlêr have been evaluated and analyzed by us. Many sides are trying to understand what has been discussed, and what was is intended to be done. Because Tayyip Erdoğan said, “After the elections, we will both increase the military attacks, as well as we focus on strengthening our diplomacy”. The talks that they have held in Baghdad do not seem to have gone as they wanted, which was actually predictable as their arguments are very weak. They are negotiating Kurdish oil and Kurdish water in order to slaughter Kurds. This is the level of cleverness of the Tayyip Erdoğan administration.
Of course, not everyone is Tayyip Erdoğan and not everyone is like the Turkish administration. For example, the administration of Baghdad does not have such hostility towards the Kurds, as there exists the official Kurdistan region. In fact, if the democratization of the Kurds were to be realized, the effects and reflections of this on Iraq would be more liberating and democratic. They have hopes in this respect, but still there are various negotiations going on.
Let’s put it this way, the Turkish state has declared an area to occupay and is attacking it, but it fails. This is the situation in its current state. It seems that they need to move to other places in order to realize this fact. When these invasion attacks started, we said that when they attacked a hill, they wont be able to hold it, they will sooner or later be forced to pull back. Right now we see that they are unsuccessful. They are stuck and cannot expand, because they lack the power to occupy this region.
Tayyip Erdoğan drew huge maps and promised that he will realize the Misak-ı Milli [National Pact]. He is developing neo-Ottomanism and is trying to occupy everywhere. If they occupy Kurdistan according to the Misak-ı Milli, they will then turn to the Arab field. It is not clear what would happen and where he would stop, just like the Ottoman expansion at the beginning of the 16th century.
Now in Turkey they want to expand with the capital accumulation based on global capital and therefore want to exploit Kurdistan and the Arabic countries even more. Some say Turkey has imperialist ambitions. Yes, it wants to redevelop colonialism, but it cannot afford it. The Kurdish resistance has thwarted all their plans. It frustrated their imperialist expansion and colonialist ambitions. It also brought them to the point of collapse. Hakan Fidan [foreign minister of Turkey] was seen how he embraced Nechirvan and Masrour Barzanî. He does so because he needs them and wants to push them into more battles. He wants to move them to where his power is not enough. If he could, he would attack them himself, but right now he wants to attract them because he is powerless. And they promised to be supportive, what they also showed in practice. So far they are accomplices. But let’s look to the future. From now on, if they will take any step forward in [the South Kurdish regions] Metîna, Garê or Xinêre, if they fire a bullet, it will be war. Everyone should know this.
The KDP should not think that it can get away with whatever it does. Some say the PKK is weakened, Turkey speaks according to themselves. Let them remember the past. This is how the Turkish Republic was misled in the past and what happened to them. In that respect, the KDP should not play with fire.
The situation for the Turkish Republic is obvious. I don’t think the KDP will have much power either. They are in a situation where they cannot get out of it. In the end, they may still end up looking for other forces to get them out. It is necessary to see it like this, but it is dangerous. Especially the society and people of Başur should should be conscious to this situation. It is thanks to the sacrificial resistance of the guerrilla that South Kurdistan still has not become fully colonized. If the Turkish state finds an opportunity for this, they will do it. Also the KDP wants this, as they have indeed sworn to destroy the PKK. The KDP has all kinds of relations and alliances with all the enemies of PKK. And then, when the PKK speaks out, they say “they are speaking against me”. KDP does everything, engage in all kinds of betrayal and collaboration, and no one can say anything against it. Is there such a thing? Who does the KDP think Kurdish society, Kurdistan is? They should be fully aware of what they are saying and what they are doing.
This is the situation right now. Let’s see how it develops, we are following it closely. So we are evaluating all kinds of possibilities. We focus on what they might want to do. We prepare ourselves accordingly and everyone should do the same. All our patriotic people must see and evaluate this situation. They should not only be prepared for such attacks, but they should also remember and see that the resistance and struggle against this colonialist genocidal mentality and politics is through the struggle against collaborationism and betrayal. Without the struggle against collaborationism and betrayal, the colonialist genocidal mentality and politics cannot be defeated or fought. This has become like flesh and blood, it has become united. We say that if we wage this struggle, we will win.
In the last days there has been again heavy fighting going on in North and East Syria, which is an indication of the developments of the last months and years in the region. What can you say about the clashes right now and differing interests in the region?
In fact, after the presidential and parliamentary elections of May 14 in Turkey, Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration embarked on a search. Therefore, Erdoğan went to Astana and tried to organize support for his politics there, as well as he tried to get support from NATO through the negotiating of Sweden’s entry into the alliance. In the focus of the talks, was Erdoğan’s interest to find more support for the attack on the Medya Defense Zones. His aim was to get these forces to encourage the KDP to get more involved in the war. Secondly, it was to launch a new offensive against North and East Syria. But the final results of the diplomatic moves have not been satisfying for them. At that moment, the way for a new invasion attack against North and East Syria remains blocked. So instead of a new invasion in form of a ground offensive they attack every day, with airplanes and combat drones, as well as constant artillery shelling. The Turkish army hits cars every day and night. Also it turned out, that islamistic groups have been organized and encouraged underhandedly, to create fake conflicts from within the region. These have been new methods instead of a direct Turkish invasion. Also trip to Sochi can be called a search for support, as they are constantly probing Iran. So for example right now it is said that the Turkish Foreign Minister will go to Iran.
In parallel, there are developments in North and East Syria. The [Syrian Democratic Forces] SDF had announced that it had started an operation under the name of ‘Strengthening Security’. Now some circles with close ties to Turkey claim that there are clashes between SDF and some tribes of Deir ez-Zor but SDF has stated that they will fight against gangs and ISIS remnants. On the other hand, simultaneously, Turkish forces and gangs affiliated with them immediately attacked Manbij, where children have been massacred in the villages. If those forces get the opportunity, they will continue with their misinformation campaign and their attacks.
The Turkish state is seeking a possible way for a new invasion that it can carry out without air strikes. It spreads its intelligence network, agents, and affiliated gangs everywhere and by this tries to disrupt and provoke the situation. It is Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration, that is controlling these forms of attacks. It should be seen, that Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration supports both IS as well as other islamistic gangs in Syria since a long time. The fascism of AKP-MHP supports these forces at the highest level.
Especially since the battle of Kobanê, a revolution of freedom is developing in North and East Syria, and in order to suffocate it, Tayyip Erdoğan has been carrying out these planned attacks. They tried to disrupt the evolving of the system of democratic nation. The relation, friendship and brotherhood between the Kurdish and the Arabic people are developing and strengthening. That is what the Turkish state is afraid of and why they attack. If Kurds and Arabs manage to live in pure solidarity, if they become a democratic unity within the framework of their own principles of freedom according to the system of democratic nation, there will be no possible way for the Turkish state to further carry out its fascist genocidal attacks. In this case it would of course not be possible for the Turkish fascist state to survive any longer.
In regard to Deir ez-Zor, there are currently various plans and interests being pursued by the various global, as well as regional forces. There are essential energy resources in the region, energy transport routes run along it and not to forget the Shiite crescent [Territorial connection project of Shiia dominated areas from Iran till Libanon]. Virtually all forces that are in some way present in the Middle East are in the region, making it an area of conflict. Also Deir ez-Zor is historically a really difficult region to govern. It was once a place of exile for the Ottomans where they have also committed massacres [especially the Armenian Genocide]. Whoever opposed the palace or stood against it was immediately exiled there. The region is such a social accumulation.
Now, with so many provocations, everyone has their hands in Deir ez-Zor. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria should take a calmer and cooler approach. They should try to understand better what is happening and should not fall for provocations. They should see the games, take precautions and act careful and sensitive against them. There has to be complete control over this issue.
I would also like to make a call to the Arab society, and to their tribes. The biggest development in North and East Syria is the development of a democratic nation. It can be seen here how different ethnic groups organize themselves on the basis of their own principles of freedom and established a democratic unity and brotherhood. This is an historical and very important situation. It has been proven that the concept of the democratic nation developed by Rêber Apo is the path to freedom, democracy and liberation for everyone. For this a good understanding is necessary, as well as it is necessary not to fall for simple, cheap calculations and to the many provocations. There are many who are afraid of and against the development of the Kurdish-Arab alliance.
Let’s protect and develop this area of freedom, this area of democracy, which was created and developed on the basis of fighting against IS and defeating it, given more than ten thousand martyrs. Let us work, discuss, talk and join forces to develop this. Everyone, especially the Autonomous Administration, has to understand and approach things more correctly and all such games will be foiled.
A few days ago it was the first of September, the World Day of Peace. Among others, the people of Amed took to the streets to demonstrate for peace. However, the day is not without controversy and so it was on this day that serious fighting’s broke out. What can you tell us about it? And what is the responsibility of the youth in this time?
On September 1, the day of peace while people were taking to the streets, the administration of Tayyip Erdoğan launched its most widespread attacks. From [the South Kurdish regions of] Asos to Qandil, all over Behdînan and in northern Kurdistan, all the way to Rojava and Manbij. September 1 is not a day of peace; September 1 is the day Hitler’s fascism attacked Poland. In other words, the day the Second World War started. It is actually a day of war. Today’s fascists are also attacking and in fact, they are acting in accordance with that day by doing so. One can see the ideological bond between Erdoğan and Hitler.
From the point of view of Kurds and democratic forces; how much can we talk about peace today? A European lawyer said clearly that it is meaningless to talk about peace until Rêber Apo is physically free. In other words, even to talk about peace under this circumstances is meaningless and wrong. Which peace? What peace? There are so many attacks all the time.
From this point of view, how necessary and meaningful was it really to hold a peace rally in Amed? One could say because the Kurds are not at war, they are not attacking, but they are under fire of a war. They are facing a massacre and a genocidal attack. There is not really a war, but a fascist genocidal attack and massacre developed and carried out by Tayyip Erdoğan and the [governing] ‘People’s Alliance’ in order to crush the guerrilla, liquidate the PKK, and complete the Kurdish genocide on this basis.
The Kurds are resisting against this. They have to resist. They want to eliminated them and they are resisting against this. The people of Amed are not the side of the attacker, so they don’t have to give a peace advice somewhere, saying not to attack. Whoever is attacking, wherever they attack, in whose name these attacks are being carried out, to them advise has to be given. If they do it in Ankara, if they do it in Izmir, if they do it in Istanbul… They are doing it, but it would be more meaningful if they did it more. Because these attacks are carried out on that basis.
I would like to underline, that what we want, is peace. Looking back on September 1st, we wish that those who went out on the streets of Amed on September 1st had also gone out on August 15th [anniversary of the start of the armed struggle of the Kurdish movement] and if they had celebrated and greeted the 40th anniversary of the breakthrough by the guerrilla in 1984. Because the breakthrough of August 15, 1984 is one of the most meaningful acts of freedom and democracy of humanity and is in this sense, also an act of peace. Not only in words, but also in practice.
After August 15 just a single persons sentenced of death penalty was executed. After that nobody was executed as result of death penalty, they even had to erase it from the constitution. It can be easily said, that the breakthrough of August 15 served peace in a very essential way. Just calling it a guerrilla offensive and immediately calling it a war will get us nowhere. We need to be careful with the concepts we use and the words we say.
We are also approaching the anniversary of the fascist military coup of September 12, which by the breakthrough of August 15 was foiled. Instead of being executed or killed, people were released from prisons alive, the torture was reduced, and small steps towards democratic practices were developed. On the other hand, also the anniversary of the IS attack on Kobanê, which took place on September 15 is approaching. Those who sealed the downfall of IS and saved humanity from the scourge of IS were the guerrilla fighters shaped by August 15.
It is the matter of a fact, that we as Kurdish people are under heavy attack of annihilation and genocide, which started under the involvement of global political powers with the Treaty of Lausanne [Treaty from July 24, 1923 that splitted up the Ottoman Empire and formed the borders of today’s Middle East]. On July 24, 2015, there have been massive bombardments of our positions, conducted over several hours by about seventy Turkish warplanes. On April 25, 2015, the Tayyip Erdoğan administration knocked over the table of the so called peace talks in Imrali, which is why Rêber Apo clearly stated, that it is Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration who initiated these attacks. The attack that began on that day and continues till today is an attack on our free existence with the aim of destroying our freedom and annihilating our country. Since then we have been resisting and fighting, as we have to hit and defeat the enemy with the only language he understands. There is no alternative at this time and no other way out. It is clear what we have to do, as we wont make ourselves act like sacrificial lambs. When there are heavy attacks on us, we wont just say “Stop, I want peace!”, because by doing so the aggressor wont stop.
We will fight with the clearly defined goal of breaking these attacks and this aggression. By doing so we will use every possible method for our struggle. For more then 40 years now, nothing would have developed without the guerrilla. If it weren’t for the guerrilla forces in Zap and Avaşîn, who endured and resisted in those tunnels for months, at a level that no normal human being could endure, Kurdish identity wouldn’t even exist anymore. One should stay away from Hamaset literature [literature style about heroes and legends] and support the guerrilla instead. One cannot get anywhere by standing in such fear and dread. That is why I especially call on the Kurdish youth. We more or less know, what kind of anti-propaganda is being spread about us and what some people try to say about us, but to make it clear; as the PKK, we are fighting against this fascist, colonialist, genocidal war with the guerrilla style. Our strategy is to fight, because we are forced to do so if we want to protect our sole existence.
The ones that can’t reach these guerilla, should go to Deir ez-Zor and join the war against IS. The only way that we can win against this reactionary forces of AKP, MHP, IS, KDP and so on, is by resisting and fighting in a guerrilla way. The Kurdish youth should be very attentive and conscious about this situation. They should see, that there is a special warfare of the state, that is being fought against by revolutionary war. It is our responsibility, especially as a youth movement, to build up the force behind the concept of revolutionary war.
Rêber Apo once said, “You say peace, peace all the time but fighting for peace is the most difficult fight in the world. Peace is only achievable trough struggle.”Peace cannot be achieved solely by talking. It can only be achieved through a comprehensive struggle, which in the same time has to be a struggle for freedom and democracy. Like our great martyred commander of our resistance in Şirnex [Turkish name Şirnak], Comrade Zeryan, said, “May it be your peace, we want our freedom.” In this sense I would like to once again call on the youth to join the guerrilla especially in this period, and to develop the revolutionary war against the fascist regime of AKP-MHP in every field.
On September 9, in Germany will be the 31st annual international Kurdish culture festival hosted, which this year is dedicated to the three martyrs from Paris – Evîn Goyî, Mîr Perwer and Abdurrahman Kizil. What is your opinion on the festival according to the latest political developments?
Firstly, I would like to state, that it is a very important festival, that is taking place every year since 1992. It represents the identity, culture and tradition of the Kurdish national community in Europe. It is significant in this aspect because we see that on the other side, military attacks, arrests, tortures, murders and persecutions continue in Kurdistan, all with the aim of conducting a cultural genocide against the Kurdish people. The Turkish state is killing some Kurds and trying to assimilate and Turkify the rest. For this, in addition to economic pressure, military pressure, police pressure, it is mostly carrying out cultural attacks, by developing language assimilation, culture assimilation, history assimilation. It does this through propaganda, through art, through literature.
In this regard, it is very important to organize Kurdish cultural festivals, to develop cultural events, to carry out cultural work. It is without any doubt very important, to develop Kurdish art, literature and language. But it is necessary to do these things together with the freedom struggle, by integrating values that are being created through the resistance of the guerrilla. Only in this way will Kurdish culture further gain real and deep meaning. In this respect, cultural events are important and meaningful, but I would also like to take this opportunity to criticize. In fact, I already have criticized our people in Europe a little bit, but still there is a need to add something to it.
Culture cannot be lived just in one day a year, not with one festival a year. In Europe there should be cultural activities every day. A cultural festival at the national level can be held every few months or once a year, but in the regions, there should always be cultural activities. There should always be happening something, as it used to be. For example I remember Newroz, which was never before just one day, it was celebrated for at least two-three months. Also other days like August 15 and November 27 were celebrated. All kind of artists were running to these events and the art of them was developing in these events. That was a development especially started and always promoted by Rêber Apo. But when we look at it now, we see, that most of these activities have been reduced to an absolute minimum. Artists do not come together face to face anymore and are not any longer in direct exchange with the society. They call themselves cultural association, but cultural activities are not carried out by them. Children were actually being educated in these places with their own culture and language some years ago. It seems like the system developed by Rêber Apo has been changed by the people in Europe. We need to go back to the old system and the way that Rêber Apo showed us.
Both being a member of a people under genocide, and being abroad living within other societies, but trying to live the Kurdish culture. This is not possible. This can only be achieved if you adopt a real cultural stance and expand the cultural work. As a matter of fact, the Kurdish community in Europe can become the nucleus of Kurdish democratic nationhood. We also saw this when the breakthrough of August 15 took place and there was a broad basis of support. The spirit, consciousness and will of this breakthrough were formed to organizational power. We have to regain this attitude, spread it further, develop it, and make it to a part of our daily cultural activities.
I would like to congratulate everybody who took part in organizing the festival. On behalf of the leadership of our party, I would like to wish them great success. I send my respectful greetings to everyone participating in the festival. At the end, I just want to say to all artists and other workers, let’s unite in more festivals!