february 10, 2023
A statement by KCK co-Chair Cemil Bayik on the recent earthquake in North Kurdistan and Turkey, including a call for the stop of all attacks by the military forces of the Kurdistan Freedom Movement:
“To our honorable people: The earthquake [in North Kurdistan and North Syria] has caused a great disaster. Our people in North Kurdistan, Rojava, Turkey and Syria today find themselves in very difficult conditions. Especially because of the Turkish state´s policy of the occupation and massacres, the peoples are suffering even more. The Kurdish people, the Turkish people, the Arab people and the many other peoples in the region are suffering greatly.
What the society is going through has affected us a lot. I wish God´s mercy to those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to all the wounded. I would also like to offer my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and to our people in general. We feel and experience your suffering.
Unfortunately, earthquakes happen everywhere, all over the world. But the important thing is that many countries take precautions with regards to earthquakes. Therefore, they suffer less damage and fewer losses of life. In such countries, both the number of destroyed houses is smaller and the deaths are fewer. But when we look at Turkey, such disasters occur because no precautions are taken.
Thousands of our people are still stuck under the rubble. They need to be saved from there. Because it is winter, there is snow, rain and cold weather. If they are not taken out from under the rubble as soon as possible, they may die from the cold. Therefore, everyone needs to mobilize all their means. Everyone needs to urgently become active for the rescue of our people trapped under the rubble. Everyone, especially all the democratic institutions, need to mobilize all their means for this purpose.
The AKP-MHP are in power. The AKP has been in power for 20 years, ruling the state. It is well know that North Kurdistan and Turkey are located on a fault line which makes the country an earthquake area. Consequently, appropriate measures should have been taken. But the AKP has not taken any measures. It does not serve the people. For years, taxes have been collected for earthquakes in Turkey. But no one knows what happened to this money. The Turkish state has used all its means to massacre the Kurdish people in Kurdistan, spending millions of dollars for this. They have led special warfare, strengthened their supporters and gangs and developed many special warfare institutions. They have spent all the means of Turkey for this. That is why they have given nothing to the people of Turkey, especially to the Kurdish people. During their rule, they promoted theft, corruption and plunder in an unlimited way, thus making the rich among themselves even richer. They have made the people poorer and poorer day by day. That is why there is a huge gap between them and the people today. Many times they changed the laws and passed laws in favor of their own contractors and gangs. They also changed the tender laws so that those in their service would get richer.
As you know, earthquakes happen in many parts of the world. For example, big earthquakes have repeatedly taken place in Japan. Yet, we can see that during these earthquakes not a lot of buildings collapse and only few deaths occur. Why is that? Because they take very serious precautions. That is why there is not much suffering there as a result of earthquakes. If the Turkish state had taken precautions like Japan, today’s suffering would not have happened. Thousands of buildings would not have collapsed, cities and villages would not have been destroyed. Thousands of people would not have lost their lives or been injured.
The AKP-MHP has collected a lot of money during their rule. Every year they especially collected money for earthquakes, but today this money is nowhere to be found. Obviously they have spent it all – billions of dollars – on the war. If they had spent that money for the people, if they had spent it on earthquake precautions, if they had spent it on the health and education of the people, today´s suffering would not have happened. All the people of Turkey would be living in prosperity. If today some people have become very rich and the people in general have become even poorer, this is the result of the AKP-MHP’s policy against the Kurdish people. Because they want to carry out a genocide against the Kurdish people and consequently invest all the means of Turkey in war.
The AKP-MHP rule Turkey like a company, approaching the people like a cruel boss. They do not take any of the needs of the people seriously. Never have they acted in such a way. Therefore, our people, the Turkish people, the Arab people and all the other peoples living in Turkey need to hold them accountable for this. They need to both demand accountability and increase the cooperation and help of the peoples. The AKP-MHP has recently declared a state of emergency. The reason they have done so is to cover up the earthquake. They want to suppress the pain and screams of the people so that they do not reach anyone. They have mobilized the press to prevent anyone from hearing about the current problems. They are spreading propaganda to deceive the people and the world thus trying to hide many things. They pretend that they are helping the people everywhere, but this is a lie. The independent media [in Turkey and North Kurdistan] has exposed all their lies. Thus, they want to prevent the aid sent by the people to the earthquake zones and obstruct the cooperation between the peoples. In order to maintain their power, they want to put the aid sent by the peoples and from around the world at their own service. That is why the Kurdish people and the peoples of Turkey need to continue cooperating and helping each other in every way. They need to not allow the government to prevent this.
Because of the catastrophe and suffering that our people are going through, we, as the leadership of our movement, have decided to evaluate the latest developments and have reached some conclusions on this basis. We have done so out of respect for the peoples and human life. Therefore, we do not want to cause pain upon pain. We have evaluated the situation from a humanitarian, conscientious and moral point of view. Consequently, we call on all our forces engaged in military actions to stop all military attacks in Turkey, including in the cities. We have also decided not to carry out any attacks as long as the Turkish state does not attack us. This decision is valid until the suffering of our people subsides and until they have healed their wounds. Of course, the attitude of the Turkish state will also be decisive for our decision.
Once again, I would like to wish God’s mercy to those who lost their lives in the earthquake and a speedy recovery to those who were injured. My condolences to our people. This pain will be overcome with social solidarity. Our people will heal their wounds together.”