Our Interviews

january 07, 2023

Parts of an interview with Besê Hozat, KCK co-Chair, about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, including likely developments in 2023, the continuing protests against the international isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, the responsibility of the Turkish state and French authorities for the recent attack in Paris, the incapability of the Turkish state to achieve its occupation goals in South Kurdistan/North Iraq, the pressure on Kurds and all other parts of Turkey´s society and the recent meeting between Turkish and Syrian officials:

Great Likelihood of Intensifying War in 2023

“The year 2022 was a year of intense warfare. In 2022, the Third World War, which was started by the hegemonic capitalist powers more than 30 years ago, continued, including in Ukraine, thus spreading to Europe and intensifying. In 2023, this war will continue and become more comprehensive and intense. This war will continue until the political balances of the 21st century have been established in the region. Therefore, it will continue for a long time. The center of the Third World War has always been Kurdistan. 2022 was also a year of fierce resistance. A great resistance took place in Kurdistan, especially under the leadership of Kurdish guerrillas, women and our people in general. This Kurdistan-centered resistance has had an impact on the whole world, especially on the peoples and women of the Middle East. Therefore, this resistance has spread to many places. 2022 was a year in which the women and peoples have achieved great victories under the leadership of the Kurdish women, Kurdish people and women in general. It is clear that 2023 will also be a year of great resistance and struggle which will continue to grow and rise. The women, peoples of the world and our people will definitely win. The year 2023 will be a year of victory. It will be a year in which Leader Apo’s [Abdullah Öcalan] freedom, health and security conditions will be guaranteed and the “Time for Freedom”-campaign for his physical freedom will succeed. On this occasion, I would therefore like to wish our people and all of humanity a Happy New Year.”

Continuing Protests Against International Isolation of Abdullah Öcalan

“Recently, there have been many discussions about the safety and health of Leader Apo. The source of these discussions is clear: It is the information spread by the Turkish state and AKP officials, especially the Minister of Justice. The current discussions are taking place based on this information. This constitutes a serious topic of discussion, especially recently. The information that the CPT went to İmralı twice and that Leader Apo did not meet with them has been made public by AKP officials and the Justice Minister. It is highly likely that the recent statements by the lawyers were also based on this information. There have been very serious calls and protests against the CPT for a long time. Most recently, in Turkey, MPs have been organizing a protest in front of the Ministry of Justice. This is exactly the center that disseminates all this information. The MPs have been protesting in front of the Ministry of Justice for a week now. Our people are on alert and on their feet everywhere. They are in a very serious state of anxiety and concern just like we as a movement are. Calls on the CPT have been made and major protests have taken place in Europe. In the four parts of Kurdistan, especially in North Kurdistan [East Turkey], Rojava and South Kurdistan [North Iraq], major protests have taken place. But there is still no statement. There is neither a statement from the CPT confirming or denying the recent information, nor a statement from the Ministry of Justice and AKP officials who have spread this information. Only when Leader Apo’s lawyers go to Imrali and meet with him will this be clarified. Then, it will become clear what is true and what is a lie.”

“The Imrali torture and isolation system is an international system. The forces that carried out the International Conspiracy [illegal imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan in 1999], namely the US and England, are primarily responsible for this system. But the CPT has also played a serious role in the establishment of this system, just like the Council of Europe. The CPT is an institution of the Council of Europe. Therefore, the Council of Europe is also responsible. International conventions and international law are being trampled on but no one speaks out. This means that this is being done jointly. This constitutes a common policy. That is how we understand it. The current attitude of the CPT completely serves the AKP-MHP fascist government. It is almost as if the CPT works for the AKP-MHP government and its interests. What does this mean? It means being complicit in the Kurdish genocide. The policy on Imrali is a policy of Kurdish genocide. All these practices there develop on the basis of the Kurdish genocide. Leader Apo represents the will of millions. He is the leader of a people. He has an institutional and social identity. The approach to Leader Apo constitutes the approach to all Kurds. The approach to Leader Apo is an approach to all peoples and women, an approach to humanity and human values. There is an extremely immoral, unscrupulous and unlawful approach to this issue. This constitutes an approach to all Kurds, an approach of genocide, denial and destruction. In the current situation, the CPT plays the role of concealing, masking and legitimizing this fascist, genocidal and colonialist character of the AKP-MHP. With its current attitude, the CPT and the Council of Europe are politically legitimizing the policies implemented by the Turkish state in Imrali. This is where the biggest danger lies. This is why we criticize the CPT, the Council of Europe and international powers so heavily. With their attitude they are encouraging the fascist AKP-MHP government and legitimizing all the fascist, genocidal practices on Imrali. This constitutes a great danger. Taking courage and strength from this approach, the Turkish state is engaging in all kinds of practices without recognizing any borders or international law. Therefore, this issue needs to be clarified.”

“Our people have recently staged strong protests. A very serious stance has been taken in North Kurdistan. The protest in front of the Ministry of Justice is very meaningful and valuable. I salute the protesters, but this needs to spread all over North Kurdistan and Turkey. This struggle must spread. Until Leader Apo meets with his lawyers, all our people – no matter if young or old – must protest everywhere, especially in Turkey and North Kurdistan. Our people have made it very clear that they do not accept the current situation. They have put forward a strong stance. A very strong process of mobilization has also developed in Europe recently. There have been protests in Rojava, South Kurdistan and East Kurdistan [West Iran] as well. But this is not enough. In the current situation, this is not enough to defeat the dirty policies of the AKP-MHP fascist government and the genocidal Turkish state and to push back their attacks. The protests need to continue and grow more comprehensive.”

Responsibility of Turkish state and French Authorities for Recent Attack in Paris

“Many political murders have been committed in France over the years. Looking at it from this perspective, it is unthinkable that the French intelligence services are not involved in this [recent attack on Kurds in Paris]. The fact that such political murders and massacres are committed in legal institutions, in institutions established according to the laws of France and supposedly protected by the French police, clearly reveals the role and responsibility of France in this matter. We are not blaming all of them, but a wing of the French intelligence services is definitely involved in this. Some members of the French police are involved in this, just like some members of the French state are. I would therefore like to call on the French state: These massacres must definitely be clarified. Those who committed this massacre must be held accountable. The fascist Turkish state must be held accountable. The perpetrators of both massacres are clear. It is the Turkish state and the fascist AKP-MHP regime. It is the MIT [Turkish intelligence service] that has carried out this attack. This issue cannot be solved by just arresting the shooter. This cannot be solved by blaming everything solely on the shooter. Moreover, they call it a racist murder. What’s that got to do with it? They also said that Ömer Güney was a paranoid man, a sick man. He was the hitman of the January 9, 2013 Paris massacre. We know the Turkish state very well. It does not use professionals or its own main men, i.e. MIT officers, as hitmen. It uses such sick types. Nagehan Akarsel’s [killed on Oct 04, 2022 in Sulaymaniyah] killer was also like that. He had spent years in prison for criminal offenses and had only recently been released. Shortly afterwards, he came to Sulaymaniyah and martyred Nagihan Akarsel there. The Turkish state uses people who have served years in prison for criminal offenses as hitmen. This is the MIT’s method. The Turkish state is behind all this. This is very clear. The January 9, 2013 Paris massacre has been clarified in all its details. MIT officers confessed their responsibility. A lot of documents have come to light. Audio recordings showing how many times Ömer Güney traveled to Ankara were revealed. A lot of concrete documents have been made public and presented to the French state. It has become completely clear that this massacre was carried out by the MIT on Erdoğan’s instructions. But what did France do? It has not made any statements. The January 9, 2013 massacre must be clarified by France. It needs to reveal the truth, the facts. It needs to create the basis for holding the Turkish state to account. It needs to put the Turkish state and Erdogan on trial. It needs to put the MIT and all those who have collaborated with the MIT in France on trial. In the case of the December 23, 2022, it is the same. This is clear. From the very beginning, the Kurds have clearly said that the Turkish state is responsible. This was not an ordinary target. Our friend Evin was a member of the KCK Executive Council. She was a leading member of the women’s movement and one of our oldest friends. She joined this movement in 1988 and contributed a great deal to it. She is a comrade, a friend who has worked in all four parts of Kurdistan, who has worked hard, paid a great price and devoted her life to this struggle. She contributed a great deal to the struggle against the Islamic State [IS] and to the Rojava Revolution. She was a friend who transferred all the experiences she had gained in the movement to the YBŞ [Şengal Resistance Units] and YPG [People´s Defense Units] forces. I would therefore like to commemorate all the martyrs of the revolution in the person of Evin, Mir Perwer and Abdurrahman Kızıl. They are all people who have made great efforts in this struggle. They have been murdered in the middle of Paris by the Turkish state. Now, France and the Turkish state need to be held to account for this. Our people will ask them to account. And we will do so as well.”

“The Turkish state must be put to trial. It is a genocidal and murderous state. It spreads terror all over the world. It has been doing this in cooperation with IS for years. All the explosions carried out by IS in Europe were definitely carried out together with the MIT. The Turkish state is behind all these attacks. There have been such explosions in France before. And in several other countries in Europe. All of these were organized by the MIT. The Turkish state organized them. IS is part of a strategic alliance with the Turkish state. IS is an ally of the Turkish state. They have been working in cooperation for years. Together they are waging a genocidal war against the Kurds. They are committing massacres and attacks against the peoples of the region and against humanity as a whole. The relationship between the Turkish state and IS is very obvious. The Turkish state has used IS members as hitmen in many places. It uses IS in Europe in order to bring the European states to their knees and to get them in line with Turkey´s policies. It terrorizes Europe with the help of IS. The Turkish state has carried the war to Europe through Islamist proxy forces like IS. This also constitutes an attack on the people of France, humanity, the European society and its values.”

“The Paris massacre that happened on December 23, 2022 is a continuation of the January 9, 2013 massacre. It is part of the general genocide attacks on the Kurds. The Turkish state has carried these genocide attacks beyond the four parts of Kurdistan. Wherever Kurds live, the Turkish state carries out such attacks. Everywhere it considers it as its right to massacre Kurds and Kurdish pioneers, and tries to make the world accept this. Thus, the Turkish state is trying to get Europe in line with its policy.”

“The January 9, 2013 massacre has been clarified. It is not possible for the December 23, 2022 massacre to be clarified and the truth to be revealed to the public without also revealing the background of the January 9, 2013 massacre. The January 9, 2013 massacre is the key. Since this massacre, the genocidal attacks on the Kurds have become very systematic and comprehensive. Ever since, very serious massacres and attacks against the leaders of the Kurdish movement have been carried out everywhere. Therefore, revealing the truth of this massacre is very important. It is now January which means that January 9 is approaching. On this occasion, I would like to commemorate with respect and gratitude all the martyrs of revolution and freedom in the person of our friends Sara [Sakine Cansiz], Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez.”

Incapability of Turkish State to Achieve its Occupation Goals in South Kurdistan/North Iraq

“First of all, I would like to commemorate with respect, love and gratitude all the comrades who have been martyred in Avaşin, Zap, Metîna and the other parts of the Medya Defense Zones [in South Kurdistan/North Iraq] while they were heroically resisting. With their resistance, honorable stance and struggle, they have given the Kurds a great sense of success and victory. They have foiled many plans. Since the Turkish state has not been able to achieve results with its genocidal attacks, it has resorted to all kinds of dirty methods. Chemical weapons are a part of this. It has been using chemical weapons continuously for 8 months during this war. It has done so thousands of times and has also made use of thermobaric bombs. The Turkish state has used all kinds of banned weapons during this war. What is the reason for using these banned weapons, for using chemical weapons so intensively? The reason is that the Turkish state has not achieved any results. It has failed against the guerrilla and can therefore not implement its plan. Starting on April 14, 2022, the Turkish state tried to carry out its plan according to which it would occupy all the Medya Defense Zones, Mosul and Kirkuk. It wanted to realize the Misak-ı Milli [National Pact] plan. It wanted to reach the borders of the Misak-ı Milli and annex all of South Kurdistan. Thus, it would have established a very serious political hegemony over Iraq. It has been carrying out the same policy in Rojava and wanted to bring this to a conclusion. After achieving the desired results in South Kurdistan, the Turkish state had planned to turn to Rojava immediately. The plan was to occupy Rojava and realize the Misak-ı Milli there as well. Thus, it would have become the main hegemonic power in the region. This was the plan. Erdogan planned to participate in the 2023 elections based on this victory, win the elections and to completely constitutionalize his genocidal colonialist fascist dictatorship. But the guerrilla has put up a magnificent resistance, resisted with superhuman will and with great commitment and faith. It has crushed all the plans of the Turkish state. The Turkish state is now stuck in Zap, Avaşin and Metîna. In many discussion programs on Turkish TV channels all the fascist generals who fought against us for years in the 90s are now being sold as terrorism experts, security experts, and they are all saying the same thing: They say that they have suffered many casualties in Zap, but that this was necessary. “It was necessary because for Turkey this is an existential issue”, they say. Indeed, the army has suffered huge blows, thousands of casualties. The will of the Turkish army has really been crushed in this war.”

“In [the South Kurdish area] Avaşin they have used all kinds of banned weapons such as chemical weapons and thermobaric bombs against the guerrilla forces, because they could not cope with their resistance. We don’t know the exact names of many of these weapons, but we can clearly see the results. Therefore, we know that this is the first time they have used such weapons. In this sense, they have committed crimes against humanity. There have been huge protests against the use of these weapons. When the martyrdom of 17 friends and very serious visual proof for this was made public, this caused a great outrage. Very serious protests were the result. One of those who protested was Şebnem Korur Fincancı. She is a very valuable person. She is a woman of science who has devoted her life to freedom, human rights and justice. But now they have arrested her. She took a stance publicly in a very honorable way and revealed that chemical weapons have been used. With her statement, this issue was put on the world’s agenda. Thus, this had a very serious impact. As a consequence, serious statements by the international community were made. A lot of documents related to this issue have already been made public. They are waging such a dirty war and are committing crimes against humanity. But they will definitely be held to account for this. Therefore, we need to not allow the issue of chemical weapons to cool down. We need to continue putting this on the agenda by intensifying and strengthening our efforts.”

“These attacks will continue in an even more comprehensive manner in 2023. We need to be aware that the Turkish state will insist on continuing these attacks in 2023 by intensifying them even more in the Medya Defense Zones. It will continue these attacks in all of Kurdistan. Against this, our struggle must continue very strongly everywhere, especially the struggle of the guerrilla and the people. We must be able to prove our capacity, strategy and practice of struggle that will completely defeat the centuries-old colonialist, genocidal and colonialist policies of the Turkish state and guarantee a decisive victory. This is extremely important.”

Pressure on Kurds and All Other Parts of Turkey´s Society

“The former HDP co-chairs, many MPs, co-mayors, municipal council members, political activists and thousands of other politicians are currently under arrest. They have all been in prison for years. Now they have moved against the DBP [Democratic Regions Party]. Keskin Bayındır, dozens of provincial co-chairs and district co-chairs have been arrested recently. These political genocide operations have become very intense. But the protests against this are insufficient. Therefore, it is necessary to criticize this. This is not acceptable. Those who have been arrested represent the political will of the Kurdish people. Our people need to be able to carry out very serious protests. These genocide attacks and this fascist policy don´t only affect the Kurdish people, but the whole society of Turkey. The attacks have passed beyond Kurdistan. Currently, there is also an ongoing operation against the Istanbul Municipality. They are planning to impose a political ban on Imamoğlu and are calculating on thus seizing the Istanbul Municipality. Imamoğlu has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. Therefore, the aim is to make this impossible. In Turkey, they are trying to crush all the forces that resist and that show a certain critical stance. If they seize the Istanbul Municipality today, they will move against the Izmir Municipality tomorrow. Then they may seize the Antalya Municipality and afterwards all the municipalities in the big cities along the coastline, all of which are held by the CHP. These attacks, the isolation [of Abdullah Öcalan], constitute a threat against the Kurds. But all this is also a threat against the society in Turkey. The aim of these fascist, genocidal attacks is the Kurdish genocide. But the results of this policy also manifest themselves in the form of fascism in Turkey. This also intimidates, oppresses and weakens the Turkish society. Almost all of Turkey’s economy is being spent on this war. This war is impoverishing Turkish society. Where is all this money going? It is all being spend on the war.”

Recent Meeting Between Turkish and Syrian Officials

“Of course, we cannot separate this situation from the current political conjuncture in the region and in the world and from the developments in Syria. If we did, this would be a very eclectic and incomprehensible approach. Russia is directly involved in the recent developments. It is having a very difficult time because of the war in Ukraine. This is very clear. Ukraine is strategically very important for Russia. Its initial plan was to seize all of Ukraine. It thus pursued strategic goals there. By establishing dominance over Ukraine, Russia wanted to completely end NATO’s influence there. Therefore, it is very important for Russia to have Turkey on its side. Russia cares about this very much. Turkey is a NATO country. It would be a great success for Russia, if Turkey ended all its support to Ukraine. Since Turkey is a NATO country, it is very important for Russia to keep the country by its side. There is already a serious economic embargo in place against Russia. Russia therefore seeks to continue its imports and exports from and to Turkey and to thus make Turkey Russia´s gateway to the world. What is Russia doing to keep Turkey on its side? It is making a lot of concessions to Turkey with respect to the Kurds. Russia is pursuing such dirty politics. It uses the Kurds as an instrument and is willing to sacrifice them. At the same time, Russia is looking at the situation of the US and NATO. Turkey is a NATO country. NATO has a regional policy and a Russia policy as well. NATO´s goal is to keep Turkey on NATO´s side so as not to push it further towards Russia. An embargo has been imposed on Russia, for example, but Turkey has not joined it. In other words, Turkey has not played along but there have not been any serious protests. Some people are arguing that Turkey is meeting with Damascus because of the elections and that all this is only of tactical nature. But this is not tactical at all. Of course, the aim [of the AKP-MHP government] is to win the elections. And their current policy also serves this goal. That is one hundred percent certain. Russia wants Erdogan to win the elections in Turkey. That is also very clear. For years, the opposition in Turkey and the opposition within the system, especially the CHP, have been constantly urging the current government to make a deal with Damascus. In this sense, the current policy is the policy of the Turkish state as a whole. If we exclude the democratic opposition, it is a state policy including both the opposition and the government. Turkey has recently changed its Syria policy. It aims to destroy the Rojava revolution and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria by making a deal with the [Syrian] regime. In this regard, Turkey is also trying to get Russia´s and Iran´s support. But Iran is a little more cautious because it does not want Turkey to become a hegemonic power in Syria and the region in general. It is highly likely that the next stage will be a meeting between Cavusoglu and the Syrian Foreign Minister, again under the guarantorship and mediation of Russia. The stage after that may be a meeting of Erdoğan and Assad. But these developments will not be easy. These developments are not as easy as some might say. This is a very complicated, bumpy, conflictual and chaotic process. And it is not clear what time will bring. In this respect, an agreement between Syria and Turkey is not an easy thing to happen. The agreement that Turkey wants cannot be achieved easily.”

“It is in Damascus’ interest to negotiate with the Kurds and to achieve an understanding with them. I don’t think Damascus will make an agreement with Turkey on the basis of clashing with the Kurds and carrying out a genocide against them. Damascus knows very well what this would mean. It is the Arab and Kurdish alliance and unity that has kept Damascus alive for decades. It is also the Arab-Kurdish unity that has saved Syria from IS. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and the Arab-Kurdish alliance have achieved all this. The democratic unity and alliance of the peoples are the basis of this. If Turkey has now been forced to accept Assad and if the world has also come to the point of accepting him, this is thanks to the struggle of the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] and the peoples of North and East Syria. This is thanks to the struggle of the YPG and YPJ. I am sure that Damascus knows this too. Damascus has never pursued such a genocidal, colonialist policy against the Kurds like Turkey. It has always kept the Kurdish culture, language and people alive in Syria. Therefore, Damascus’ interest lies in a reconciliation and an agreement with the Kurds. Anything else, such as acting on the basis of Turkey’s policy, would be political suicide for Damascus. Both the Damascus administration and the Syrian state possess the intelligence and experience of a state to know this. We believe that this is the case. In other words, an approach based on an agreement and negotiations with the Kurds and on Syria solving the problem on a democratic basis will benefit Damascus, Syria, the Syrian people and the Syrian state as a whole, as well as the peoples of the region and the region as a whole. This will strengthen Syria and make it one of the strongest, most prestigious and respected countries in the world.”