Our Interviews

february 02, 2023

Parts of an interview with Besê Hozat, KCK co-Chair, about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, including the upcoming protests against the 24th anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan´s illegal imprisonment, the continuing heavy war and Turkey´s war crimes in South Kurdistan, the importance of the HDP´s new campaign ´Our Treasure is Our People´, the decision to hold early elections in Turkey, the need for a common struggle of the opposition to overthrow the AKP-MHP government, the unavoidability of change in Iran due to the women´s revolution, Germany´s recent decision to recognize the Êzidî genocide and the rising discomfort of the Swedish and Finnish societies with the support for Turkey:

Protests Against the 24th Anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan´s Illegal Imprisonment

“February 15th is a black day for the Kurds. It is a day of genocide. The aim of the International Conspiracy [attacks against the Kurdistan Freedom Movement starting with the illegal imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan on February 15, 1999] is to bring the Kurdish genocide to a conclusion. Therefore, I would like to condemn the international forces behind the conspiracy. The International Conspiracy has been going on in various forms for 24 years without interruption. It continues in the form of the genocide attacks in North Kurdistan [East Turkey], the occupation and genocide attacks in South Kurdistan [North Iraq] and the occupation and genocide attacks in Rojava. It continues in the form of assassinations, political murders and massacres in Europe. But there is also a strong struggle against the International Conspiracy. There has been an uninterrupted struggle for 24 years now. On the basis of the resistance of our Leadership [Abdullah Öcalan], our people, the guerrilla, women and of the youth, this struggle continues in a very glorious way everywhere. The resistance and struggle against the international conspiracy that has continued for 24 years have prevented the conspiracy from reaching its goals and thus defeated it. This struggle has made the movement much bigger and stronger. It has turned it into a regional and universal movement. Today, the international powers are forced to take the movement into account when determining their policy in the region. The status quo regimes in the region are forced to take the movement into account as well. This situation has emerged as a result of the 24 years of struggle against the conspiracy. This also shows clearly: The conspiracy has failed. The forces behind the International Conspiracy have been exposed and all their plans to destroy the movement have failed.”

“With regards to the isolation of the Leadership, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has recently said that ´there is a complete lack of communication and this must end´. They were forced to make such a statement due to the ongoing struggle. This struggle forces such international institutions to say this. Actually, they are all part of the International Conspiracy. The US, the UK, Israel and European countries took part in it. Many member states of the UN were involved. Many powers, from Russia to Egypt and Iran, took part in this conspiracy. Greece played an active role in it as well. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which includes all these states and Turkey, has now made such a statement as a result of the struggle that has been going on for 24 years. After the lawyers had filed an application, they had to make this statement. This is of course important. This is a sign that we will definitely get results if we continue our struggle. What the United Nations Human Rights Committee calls a state of ´complete lack of communication´ is actually total isolation. Now, they need to take practical steps. The United Nations needs to take a serious, practical attitude towards Turkey in this regard. They need to implement sanctions. That is what we expect from them. The CPT made similar statements before. There have been serious protests against the CPT for years. Especially in the last year they have intensified. In September [2022], the CPT went to İmralı but did not make any statement afterwards. There are a lot of dubious allegations, a lot of information. It is not clear whether the CPT really went there or not, how they went or how they established contact there. A lot of information with regards to this issue has circulated recently. A lot of information about the health of our Leadership has also been spread. The CPT has not made a concrete, clear statement yet. The Kurdish people have had enough of statements anyway. Whether it is the United Nations or the CPT. Tomorrow it is the ECHR and the next day it is the Council of Europe, the European Union, the United States of America, etc. The Kurdish people are really fed up with these kinds of statements. Our people and movement expect concrete practical steps from these powers.”

“The isolation and torture system in İmralı must be broken. This system is against universal human rights, international law and conventions to which Turkey is a signatory. It is a crime against humanity. The Council of Europe should not be complicit in this crime against humanity. The United Nations, the USA and all the forces that are responsible for this conspiracy should not be either. They should not stand by and just watch the Kurdish genocide. This is what the Kurdish people expect them to do. There are very important protests developing on this basis. There is the protest that MPs have been carrying out in front of Turkey´s parliament for weeks. This has created a very important, serious sensitivity of the public. In addition, on February 6, there will be demonstrations from Gever and Qoser to Gemlik. I would like to greet this demonstration in advance. This is very important. But these protests should not be limited only to Gemlik and Qoser. February 15th is approaching. Therefore, protests against the conspiracy must take place in Kurdistan and abroad in a strong way and must not stop. We must turn 2023 into a year in which we ensure the physical freedom of Leader Apo.”

“People chose to burn themselves in protest against the International Conspiracy. Many comrades and patriots set their bodies on fire as part of the ´You cannot darken our sun´-protests. Recently, two valuable patriots burned themselves in protest. Of course, this creates a certain level of sensitivity in the public. This is very meaningful. It requires great commitment, faith, will and courage. Its meaning and value is great and deep. We will always remember them with respect and gratitude. But such forms of protest should not happen. This method is not a method that Leader Apo approves of. As a movement, we have the opportunity to struggle everywhere. There are many ways and methods for us to wage our struggle. We need to choose forms of action that harm the enemy, the Turkish state. We need to overcome a style of action that harms ourselves and only appeals to people´s conscience. This is important. Such actions should not happen. In February and in the following months, we need to increase the struggle and resistance everywhere. This is how we can give the most correct and meaningful answer. I found it important to especially emphasize this.”

Heavy War and Turkey´s War Crimes in South Kurdistan Continue

“The situation is not like [the Turkish Defense Minister] Hulusi Akar recently said. He said that ´Operation Claw-Lock´ is finished. But this is not true. The attacks continue. There is a very serious war [in the South Kurdish areas Zap, Metîna and Avaşîn] right now. The Turkish state attacks with chemical weapons dozens of times every single day. It has doubled its use of chemical weapons there. It uses chemical weapons every day in a narrow valley. And it continues to use tactical nuclear weapons. It still uses a lot of banned weapons. So the invasion attacks are not over. The casualties [of the Turkish army] are very high. They have really suffered huge blows. They don’t know what to do anymore. They have suffered thousands of casualties and wounded there. The Turkish army has therefore really suffered a great defeat. The war in Zap is still going on in full intensity. In the valley called Çemço, the war continues in full intensity. Despite using banned chemical weapons so much there, they are not getting any results. The families of the dead soldiers and various organizations made a statement the other day. It is clear that these families are becoming more active. There are no funerals because their children are missing. They died in the war but not even an explanation is given to these families. Now, their protests are increasing. Previously, there had already been people applying to the HDP, to civil society organizations and human rights organizations. Then they [Turkish state officials] intervened. They paid them some money and also threatened them thus obstructing these developments. Obviously, the Turkish state has not achieved anything in this war. It will continue to insist on the war. But no matter what it does, it is no longer possible to achieve any results. This war has been a clear defeat for the Turkish state. Our friends have resisted heroically, and we have paid a great price. But we have defeated the plans of the Turkish state in 2022. Now, it is unable to get out of its blockage. It had made a very comprehensive occupation plan. This plan for South Kurdistan has been dealt a serious blow. The Turkish state is committing all kinds of war crimes in the areas where it has gotten stuck. Therefore, putting the use of chemical weapons on the agenda remains important. There was a serious public discussion about this issue and this must continue. The Turkish state is committing very serious war crimes, crimes against humanity. The struggle against this must continue. We must expose the Turkish state with regards to this issue. We must struggle and hold the Turkish state to account for this in every possible way.”

Importance of HDP´s New Campaign ´Our Treasure is Our People´

“They cut the HDP’s treasury aid thus trying to break the will of the party and to make it unable to carry out election work on its own. But this won´t be successful. The HDP is not a state party. It is a democratic party of the peoples. It draws its strength from the peoples, from society. For years, the HDP did not remain on its feet by working with the help of the treasury. It relied on the people, took its strength from the people, worked and struggled with the support of the people. In this sense, the campaign launched recently by the HDP is really important. This expresses the essence of the HDP. Yes, the HDP’s treasure is the people. It has worked like this for years. In other words, a party that feeds on the state cannot be very effective for the people. It will gradually get integrated into the system. This then leads to a shift with regards to the mentality, politics and work and to the breaking away from the people. We can clearly see this happening to the parties within the system. But now, the HDP will go to the people more, go to the houses, streets and neighborhoods. House by house, person by person, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, district by district, province by province, the HDP will mingle with the people, with society. It will embrace society, listen to its problems, find solutions for them, think about them, organize from the bottom up and thus reach the people. Exactly in this way, the HDP will take a form that is in line with its essence, program and political understanding. The new campaign ´Our Treasure is Our People´ should therefore not only be limited to this election period. It needs to be the permanent understanding and working style of the HDP. It needs to be its philosophy of struggle. This process will lead to the growth of the HDP, the strengthening of the Labor and Democracy Alliance, and a very successful political struggle both in this election process and the time afterwards. I truly believe in this.”

Decision to Hold Early Elections in Turkey

“Normally, the elections were going to take place in mid-June. Now, they have announced that the elections will take place a little bit earlier. Of course, this is connected to their own plans. The fascist AKP-MHP government is gradually losing votes. The MHP is really in a state of collapse and this is getting deeper and deeper. They want to enter this electoral process without any further erosion, before the voters turn against them even more. On the other hand, there is a serious economic crisis. This is a structural crisis, not a temporal one. The entire society in Turkey feels great anger. There are clear consequences of this economic crisis. As a result, things are developing to the disadvantage of the fascist AKP-MHP government. As this process drags on, the economic crisis deepens. Poverty, hunger and the protests in society are increasing. This has played a very important role for their decision to have the elections take place on an earlier date. They tried to somehow get results based on the politics of war. But this hasn´t worked out either. In the following months, they will continue their war policy and increase the war even more. The fascist AKP-MHP government is becoming weaker and weaker. It is disintegrating and collapsing. With their war policy, genocide policy, fascism and all kinds of oppression and violence, they have not been able to break the will of society. The Kurdish society and the society in Turkey as a whole are waging a great struggle. Before this struggle increase even further, they want to take advantage of the situation by having the elections take place a little earlier. But this will also be useless. They will not get much result from this either.”

“Lately, the special psychological warfare has increased a lot. They have done everything to break the will of the Kurdish people, to promote decay in society and to destroy its moral values. They consider all sectors in Kurdistan, from the civil servants to the police, the gendarmerie and the village guards, as elements of special warfare. They have pursued this policy in Kurdistan also against children and women. But they won´t be able to achieve anything like that. The women’s struggle continues. The stance of women continues in a strong way. The same is true for Turkey. There is a strong women’s movement there that continues its struggle. These special war policies have therefore not yielded much results. How exactly does this policy of social extermination against women and society as a whole look currently? They have been organizing contra groups in Kurdistan, so-called ´Osman Ocakları´. This scoundrel Soylu [Turkish Interior Minister] has created a movement called the ´National Beka Movement´. By putting these kinds of scoundrels, traitors and collaborators in such groups, Soylu uses them for the genocide policy against the Kurdish society. The degeneration of society, various murders and massacres in Kurdistan and attacks on HDP buildings were all carried out by these groups. They have intensified the special war on the basis of degenerating society on the one hand, while on the other hand committing physical genocide. But they have still not been able to reach their desired results.”

Need for Common Struggle of Opposition to Overthrow AKP-MHP Government

“The ´Table of Six´ has not developed any program for the solution of the Kurdish question. This is why Kurds have voiced serious criticism. The HDP has also made calls [on the ´Table of Six´]. This criticism continues to grow. At the current moment, it would not be not realistic to expect a program from the ´Table of Six´ for the democratic solution of the Kurdish question. They have not overcome the politics of denial and annihilation. But they claim the following: ´We will rebuild the rule of law in Turkey. We will bring about reforms. This state will function according to the law. We will overcome this fascist dictatorship.` This claim is of great importance for Turkey´s society. There used to be law in Turkey. But that law never applied to the Kurds. In other words, the law had nothing to offer to the Kurds. That is a fact. Turkey´s laws are not of such a democratic nature.”

“It is important to meet at the following point: The common denominator of the Labor and Freedom Alliance and the ´Table of Six´ is to overthrow the fascist dictatorship. This is their only common denominator. Otherwise, there is still no common ground with regards to democracy, the solution of the Kurdish question or the democratization of Turkey. This is a fact. If the ´Table of Six´ really wants to democratize Turkey, the way to do this is the democratic solution of the Kurdish question. How will you democratize Turkey without solving the Kurdish question on a democratic basis? This is not possible. As long as the policy of denial, extermination and genocide continues, there will be no democracy in Turkey. In this case, Turkey will gradually move towards fascism again. This is a fact. The overthrow of this fascist government will put the democratic solution of the Kurdish question and the construction of a state on the basis of democratic law on the agenda. Different dynamics will emerge. The tendency towards democracy will gain more ground for organizing, working, struggling and conducting politics in Turkey. In this sense, if the Labor and Freedom Alliance and the ´Table of Six´ agree on overthrowing this fascist dictatorship, it is extremely valuable to wage a joint struggle on this issue. Without the support of the HDP, without the support of the Labor and Freedom Alliance, it is not possible for the ´Table of Six´ to win the election. The HDP and the Labor and Freedom Alliance play a key role. If they want to win the support of the HDP and the Labor and Freedom Alliance, they need to adopt a democratic stance. And their candidate must be determined according to these criteria. This is important.”

Unavoidability of Change in Iran Due to Women´s Revolution

“There has been an uninterrupted resistance led by women for months. This has led to great social change and transformation. The Iranian state will not stay like this. There will definitely be serious changes in Iran. We will see the effects of this much more clearly in the future. The women’s struggle has really gained a regional and universal character. In other words, it is changing the world. The 21st century, the Leadership said, ´will be the century of women´. Indeed, the 21st century has already become the century of women. Now, under the leadership of women, societies are standing up, humanity is standing up. This is very important. In other words, society has been resurrected. Everywhere, demands for freedom, equality, justice and democracy are being voiced loudly and women are leading the way. Women will really change the world. Women will liberate the world. Women will democratize the world. Women will lead the revolution in the region in particular. Women will be the vanguard of the democratic Middle East revolution. We have been seeing this very concretely in Kurdistan for decades. The Kurdish Women’s Freedom Struggle in Kurdistan has seriously influenced and mobilized the women of the region. Today, a center where this has intensified is Iran and East Kurdistan [West Iran]. The state has not been able to suppress this easily there. That is why it is increasing the pressure now. It is trying to create fear among the people with its execution policy, trying to break the will of society. But these policies of violence will not yield any results. This regime will not get any results with executions. This will only put the regime in an even deeper deadlock. Therefore, these policies must be abandoned. The execution policy is one of the most brutal practices in the world. It is a crime against humanity. The regime has to stop this. We are in the 21st century. Everywhere people are on their feet. Women are on their feet. They want freedom, justice and equality. No one, no state power can prevent this. Not Iran, not Turkey. Neither can other states. There is a very serious awareness. The world has turned into a small village. A development in one place affects the other. They strengthen each other and create a synergy. What is the right thing to do now? It is to change this policy. To put an end to these executions. To abolish the execution laws. It is to take democratization as a basis. Iran can only get itself out of this impasse through democratization. If Iran democratizes itself, if it recognizes the rights of women, youth, Kurds, Baloch, Arabs, Persians, in other words of all the identities living in the country, Iran will really become an example for the region. It will become the most democratic power in the region and the most powerful state.”

Germany´s Recent Decision to Recognize Êzidî Genocide

“It is important that Germany has now recognized the Êzidî genocide. Twelve countries had done so earlier. At the same time, the following hypocrisy exists in European countries: They recognize the Êzidî genocide, but they do nothing. Normally, if a country recognizes the genocide, in order to prevent such a genocide from happening again, it needs to also recognize the self-administration [in Şengal]. Because this is how these genocides can be prevented. If the Êzidîs and Şengal do not have a self-administration and self-defense forces, they may experience genocide again in the future. Germany and the other twelve countries that have recognized this genocide need to therefore also recognize the self-administration and self-defense forces of Şengal. Only this will bring an end to this hypocritical policy. But if their recognition does not turn into something practical, if it does not result in recognizing the self-administration, nothing much will happen in practice. Germany has pursued a special policy for the Êzidîs for decades. It has a very special policy on this issue and carries out serious missionary work. Germany is trying to pursue a policy of taking the Êzidîs under its influence.”

“The more we struggle, the more we get results. This recognition did not happen spontaneously. The Êzidîs, the people of Şengal have waged a very serious struggle for the genocide to be recognized. They have waged a serious political, diplomatic and social struggle. As a result, the recognition happened. This has given great courage to the Êzidîs. They can now further increase their struggle on this basis. They can make other states recognize the genocide as well. At the same time, they can also make them accept the self-administration. The self-administration of Şengal must be accepted by the whole world. In this regard, Êzidîs need to wage a very active political, legal, diplomatic and social struggle everywhere.”

“The Şengal genocide, the 74th genocide was a genocide directly initiated by the Turkish state. The Turkish state carried out this genocide together with the Islamic State [IS]. This attack did not take place independently from the Turkish state. Kidnapped [Êzidî] children have repeatedly been found in Ankara. All the Êzidîs who went to Turkey were scattered all over the world. Many Êzidî women and children are still in the hands of IS. The Turkish state is part of this genocide. So if you recognize the genocide, you need to also recognize the Turkish state´s role in it. It took part in these genocidal attacks. Therefore, a corresponding attitude must be taken.”

Rising Discomfort of Swedish and Finnish Societies with Support for Turkey

“Sweden and Finland have recently lifted their arms embargo against Turkey. Turkey is slaughtering Kurds every day with the weapons it buys from Sweden, Finland and other European countries. It is committing genocide. Therefore, with this attitude, they [e.g. Sweden and Finland] become complicit in the genocide policy of Turkey against the Kurds. All this is happening with the weapons provided by Sweden, Finland, Germany and other European countries. I would therefore like to condemn this attitude. The Turkish state wants the whole world to be anti-Kurdish. This is what it is imposing on Sweden and Finland today. It has turned its NATO membership into a very serious asset to blackmail others. It also blackmails other countries with gangs [Islamist proxy forces] every day. Explosions [i.e. Islamist attacks] took place in many places in Europe in the past. The Turkish state assassinates our friends with the help of these gangs. Like a tyrant, it exports its fascism and violence everywhere. It exports its state terror everywhere and tries to impose its policy on everyone. The Turkish state says: `You will be anti-Kurdish just like me. You will prevent them from organizing demonstrations. You will actively support our Kurdish genocide policy and become an enemy of the Kurds.´ Now, by lifting their weapons embargo, Sweden and Finland are in a way serving this policy.”

“We would like to criticize this attitude very seriously. The government that recently came to power in Sweden has made many concessions to Turkey. It extradited a patriot and exerted heavy pressure on Kurdish institutions there. But then it realized that the Turkish state knows no borders and that it keeps asking for more. Sweden has its own laws and understanding of democracy. It is a state known in Europe as a state of law, as a democratic state. Now it is increasingly trampling on its own law. This is causing serious discomfort in the Swedish society. Serious criticism is gradually developing among the Swedish people. If the government continues like this, it will lose the next elections. This is certain. When there is an election in Finland, the current Finnish government will fall as well. There are serious protest of the society in Finland. The society continues to criticize this policy. Thus, the government has realized that if this continues, they will loose their power,. They themselves cannot cope with the pressure of the society. As a result, both the current Swedish and Finnish governments have softened their stance a bit.”

“In addition, Turkey has entered an election process. Turkey´s society is very unhappy about the current situation. A serious opposition is developing against the current fascist government. Europe is also taking this into account: Where will the relationship with this fascist regime in Turkey lead? This fascist government in Turkey also harms Europe. Turkey is a member of NATO. But it does not implement NATO’s decisions. It does not apply any rules. It has signed the International Convention on Human Rights and other international conventions. But it does not implement any of them. The European Parliament takes decisions, yet the fascist government does not implement them. The CPT says something, but it does not implement it. This government does not implement the decisions taken by the European Parliament either. How far will this go? Apparently, the European states are also uncomfortable with this situation. Criticism is increasing in Germany and the press in the UK is also increasingly voicing criticism. So are France and the USA. There is serious pressure from the respective societies on these states and governments.”