october 25, 2022
An interview with Besê Hozat, KCK co-Chair, about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, including the international attempts to justify Abdullah Öcalan´s prolonged imprisonment, the importance of the guerrilla´s resistance in South Kurdistan against Turkey´s genocide policy, the KDP´s collaboration with Turkey, the significance of the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ for the upcoming Turkish elections, the legitimate goals of the uprising in East Kurdistan and Iran, the election of the new Iraqi President and Turkey´s alliance with al-Nusra against the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria:
The isolation of the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan continues. The CPT [European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment] has recently made a statement regarding its last visit to the Turkish prison island Imrali. At the same time, the Kurdish people and their friends around the world continue to take a clear stance against the isolation. How do you evaluate the isolation and the international protests against it?
First of all, I would like to salute the resistance of Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. He has been putting up a great resistance for 24 years. A comprehensive war is being waged against Leader Apo. Imrali is a torture system. This isolation is not only limited to the last 5 or 6 years. There has been a terrible system of isolation, oppression and torture in Imrali for 24 years. The CPT, the EU, the Council of Europe and the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] are also involved in this. They have been pursuing a hypocritical policy from the beginning and accordingly know everything that is going on in Imrali. Therefore, they themselves are responsible for Imrali. Imrali is an international system. The USA, England and Germany are the ones who established it. Western countries in general are responsible for this system. The US, Britain and Mossad captured our Leadership [Abdullah Öcalan] and handed him over to Turkey which was given the role of a guardian. Turkey is implementing a torture system in Imrali. With the Imrali system the whole Kurdish society and the society of Turkey are subjected to a system of torture and oppression.
What is happening in Imrali is complete fascism. Today, this has spread all over Kurdistan, Turkey and the Middle East. All international powers know what is going on in Imrali. Recently, the CPT visited Imrali and said that they will release a report in 6 months. Why will you only publish your report in 6 months? Then, after another 6 months, they will ask for explanations from Turkey. That makes one year in total. This shows that they are gradually extending this period. They have been talking about disciplinary penalties for more than 2 years and have not allowed lawyers and family members to go to Imrali. Disciplinary penalties are a very deliberate policy in order not to have to apply international laws. This policy is being implemented with the knowledge and approval of international powers. Therefore, we are clearly faced with an international policy.
Our people have been carrying out very strong protests against this policy for many years now. The physical freedom of Leader Apo is on the agenda of all the peoples of the world today. His freedom has thus become a major demand. These efforts must continue even stronger. If we do not put serious pressure on the international powers, if we do not include all our international friends, the democratic public, and all non-governmental organizations and if we do not take a serious stance, their hypocritical policy will continue. Based on this policy, Turkey will then be able to continue to wage its genocidal war on the Kurds. Imrali is the center of this war. This hypocritical policy of the West also means giving approval to the genocide policy against the Kurds. The policy implemented against the Leadership is not independent from the genocide policy against the Kurds. It starts in Imrali and then spreads to all of Kurdistan and the whole society. Leader Apo is the leader of a people and millions accept him as the representative of their will. Not only Kurds, but also the democratic society of Turkey, the peoples of the Middle East and the women recognize Leader Apo as their leader.
We need to fight fiercely against the isolation policy. The Gemlik march was important. Lawyers in the Middle East and Europe recently made statements and requested to visit Imrali. These are important developments and we need to carry out these kinds of actions even more. The recent concert in Italy was also important. Everyone needs to stand up for Leader Apo because he is being held in prison due to his insistence on human values. His struggle increases the consciousness of the peoples, strengthens their willpower and opens the eyes of humanity. That is why they are afraid of the thoughts of Leader Apo. They are afraid of a single word of him reaching the outside and having an impact on society. Because they know that every word of Leader Apo causes great enlightenment, awakening, resurrection and resistance in society. And this threatens their power system and modernity. That is why they have all joined hands and are applying this system of oppression and torture in Imrali.
Therefore, we need to increase the struggle for the physical freedom of Leader Apo. The Council of Europe is also just pretending. For the ´Right to Hope´ they gave Turkey the following options: They said that after 24 to 25 years, if Abdullah Öcalan shows good behavior, the ´Right to Hope´ may be applied, but if not, Turkey may not apply it. That is why Turkey has been deliberately imposing disciplinary penalties for more than two years. Thus, they want to show that he does not show good behavior. With these disciplinary penalties they are trying to create a legitimate ground for not applying the ´Right to Hope´ to Leader Apo. This is the kind of dirty policy they are mutually pursuing.
Just as our people have defeated this concept until now, they can defeat it again through our struggle. Thus, they can ensure the physical freedom of Leader Apo and completely crush the plan to carry out a genocide against the Kurds. This can only happen through our struggle. We cannot physically liberate Leader Apo or defeat the Kurdish genocide plan by creating empty expectations. We will defeat all this only through our struggle. That is why we must wage a strong struggle for the physical freedom of Leader Apo in North Kurdistan, Turkey, the other parts of Kurdistan and everywhere outside of the country.
For more than two years now, a strong struggle has been waged in the context of the campaign ´Dem dema azadiyê ye´ [´The Time for Freedom is Now´]. The guerrilla constitutes the most fundamental pillar of this struggle. There is also a significant resistance of our people, but it is insufficient, often gets interrupted, turns into a routine and gets normalized after a certain period of time. It should not be like this. In the current phase, the fascist Turkish state is struggling for its existence. And for the Kurdish people this phase also has a very historical meaning. Because the old balances in the region have collapsed. The political balances of the 21st century have collapsed and the systems have disintegrated. The whole system is currently being redesigned. In the wake of the 3rd World War, the balances of the 21st century are being reshaped in the region today. The Turkish state conducts a total war and pursues a genocide policy to prevent the Kurds from gaining a political status in the 21st century. We are faced with a policy of genocide in all its physical, cultural, ecological and economic aspects. If we do not wage a total resistance against this, we won´t live up to the current phase. Therefore, the current attitude needs to be overcome.
For decades, Leader Apo has been waging a great struggle for the democratization of Turkey. And now, he is paying the price for it. One of the main reasons why he is in Imrali is his struggle to democratize Turkey. The Turkish rulers do not want Turkey to be democratized and free. They do not want a democratic republic, a democratic state. They do not want the Kurdish question to be solved on a democratic basis. Because they keep themselves in power by pitting the peoples against each other, by clashing, by creating enemies and by developing racist nationalism on the basis of the unsolved Kurdish question.
The years-long struggle of the Leadership and the Kurdish people has brought about very serious developments in Turkey. This has given courage, willpower and self-confidence to the forces of democracy. The Leadership has been waging this struggle in Imrali for 24 years. His struggle in Imrali is a struggle for the democratization of Turkey, a struggle for freedom. It is a resistance for democracy. Neither AKP-MHP fascism nor the bourgeois opposition want this. They have been keeping themselves in power in Turkey for years with the help of anti-democratic laws. That is why everyone must stand up for Leader Apo. Because he is fighting for the freedom of everyone. The society in Turkey, the democratic forces, intellectuals, artists and politicians must stand up for Leader Apo in the strongest way possible. Every aspect of Leader Apo’s struggle is justified and legitimate. Everyone needs to strongly participate in this struggle.
The HPG Press Center [Hêzên Parastina Gel – People´s Defense Forces] recently announced the 6-months balance sheet of the war in South Kurdistan [North Iraq]. One day later, the identities of 17 guerrilla fighters killed with chemical weapons and images showing the brutality of the war and the many crimes against humanity were made public. The guerrilla´s resistance also has a strong impact on society. In this sense, how do you evaluate the resistance of the guerrilla and the protests of society?
A great struggle has been continuing for six months now. We are talking about a brutal war. Fascist Turkey does not recognize any international laws. The Turkish state is a member of the Council of Europe and of the UN. It has signed many international conventions which clearly prohibit the use of chemical weapons. But despite this, the Turkish state is carrying out all kinds of actions that are not in line with the laws of war. Neither the Council of Europe, nor the UN, the EU or the US, the so-called apostle of democracy, have said anything about this. The Turkish state is waging an illegal and inhumane war, committing crimes against humanity. But no one speaks out. This attitude is extremely hypocritical, based on economic and political interests. I would like to condemn the attitude of all these powers.
In front of the eyes of the whole world, the children of the Kurdish people are being martyred group by group with chemical gases. But all these powers simply remain silent. There is so much data, so much proof. There are so many images, so many documents regarding the characteristics of each gas. This issue has also been taken to the OPCW. Supposedly, the OPCW is an international organization that fights against chemical weapons. But it has not taken any stance regarding this issue. Everyone simply watches the genocide of the Kurds, keeps silent and – in a way – thus participates in it. Therefore, these powers themselves are committing crimes against humanity. Our people need to cause an uproar because of this situation. I would therefore also like to criticize the attitude of our people. These young people who have been martyred with chemical gases, tactical nuclear weapons and other banned weapons are the children of our people. These are the most precious of their children. If they had preferred a simple life, they would not have come to fight under these difficult conditions. These sons and daughters of our people are fighting for the freedom of the people, for their political status, for a free Kurdistan, for all peoples to live together on a free and democratic basis. They are putting their lives on the line. But still there is no serious social reaction. It is almost as if everyone is in the position of a spectator. People seem to be thinking that the guerrilla and the Turkish state are fighting and that the guerrilla will eventually just win this war which is why they can just wait for the outcome to become clear and live a comfortable life. This is not right. This is an extremely shameful situation. When I say this, I am not saying that our people do not struggle, do not resist and do not pay a high price. Of course, saying such things would be a great injustice. Our struggle has not come so far only based on the guerrilla resistance but through the glorious resistance, struggle and the heavy prices paid by the people. After all, the martyrdom of their children, the fact that tens of thousands of them are in this struggle is also a result of the struggle of the people. Our people have raised these daughters and sons. A strong patriotic tradition and stance exists among the Kurds and their popular resistance has continued for years. But the stage the struggle has reached today is different. Now the struggle is at its peak. The Kurdish question has now reached its final stage.
This problem can only be solved on a democratic basis. The Kurdish people will definitely achieve their political status in the 21st century. The opposite scenario would mean the continuation of the genocide policy that dates back hundreds of years. In this case, there will be no Kurds left. They will annihilate the Kurds, and the ones who survive will be condemned to an animal-like life. This is where the danger lies. The Turkish state says that they will finish this job in the 21st century, namely until October 29, 2023. Every day that scoundrel Soylu gives a new date with regards to this. This is the policy of the Turkish state. Until the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey and the Treaty of Lausanne, they want to redesign the fascist Turkish nation system by eliminating the PKK and carrying out a genocide against the Kurdish people. They want to announce the success of their policy on October 29, 2023. That is why this issue is so important. But the resistance of society does not develop accordingly. It does not turn into a total resistance.
The people in Rojava are constantly on their feet, just like our people in Europe. There is a certain level of resistance in North Kurdistan and in East Kurdistan [North-West Iran]. In South Kurdistan the people are extremely angry about the genocidal policy, but their anger does not turn into social resistance. Once it does, this will put great pressure on the international states that approve of this genocide. This will expose the Turkish state much more and oust the AKP-MHP from power. The AKP-MHP regime is already in the process of collapsing. This regime sustains itself with the help of a racist-nationalist mob. The guerrilla resistance against the regime is admirable and flawless. There is no other way to describe it. The enemy has bombarded the guerrilla thousands of times with tanks and war planes. Which other force is able to withstand such attacks? If a state had been under such a comprehensive attack, its lifespan would have only been one week. It would have simply ceased to exist. When IS attacked, Iraq fell apart, just like Syria did. The Turkish state is using all kinds of NATO technology and banned weapons. Despite this, the guerrilla has been waging a glorious resistance for more than 6 months. Therefore, all people – no matter if young or old – must rise up against this brutality.
Another dimension of these attacks is the stance of the collaborators and traitors. If it were not for the attitude, policy and practice of the collaborators and traitors that legitimize the genocidal attacks of the Turkish state, it would not dare to do what it is doing. It would not be able to use chemical weapons, tactical nuclear weapons and thermobaric bombs against the guerrilla. The policy of the collaborators and traitors offers every kind of opportunity for the Turkish state. With its statements and speeches, it legitimizes the actions of the Turkish state politically. They say that the Turkish state, the AKP-MHP only have a problem with the PKK, not with the Kurds. But we should ask the Kurds who the PKK is: The PKK are the children of this people. They give their lives for the freedom of this people, for its political status, for the freedom of Kurdistan and they fight for humanity.
So what are you doing, KDP? You are collaborating. You are betraying. And you are selling the resources of the Kurdish people to the fascist, racist Turkish state. You sell them to the AKP-MHP. You support the murder of the most distinguished children of the Kurds. And you legitimize this massacre internationally. One of the reasons why international powers are so silent about these attacks is because of the KDP’s stance. The KDP legitimizes these attacks. On the other hand, the KDP and the Turkish state are already acting together on the ground. The KDP builds roads and bases, provides logistics, all kinds of ammunition and other supplies, transports soldiers, treats the wounded, transports them and gives them clothes. This is how Turkish soldiers are able to enter areas that they would normally not be able to enter. The KDP exploits the sensitivity of our movement in order to prevent a civil war. It exploits this sensitivity and does all kinds of dirty things. Therefore, the attitude of the KDP has made it a part of these genocide attacks. With regards to this issue, there needs to be very strong protests by the public in Kurdistan. And there have been protests, but they are weak.
The KDP said that they seized a lot of gas masks in Duhok. Let’s say those masks were meant to go to the guerrilla. Why are you confiscating them? If those masks had been in the hands of the guerrilla fighters, maybe there wouldn’t have been so many martyrs. Delegations want to go to the areas where these weapons are used, but they are not allowed to. A delegation recently came and there was a serious international reaction. The KDP then realized that they were being exposed, and in order to prevent their exposure, they only allowed the delegation to go to Amediyê. The delegation wanted to go to the battlefield, to the area where chemical weapons were used, but they were not allowed to go. Consequently, it had to return to Sulaymaniyah. The delegation collected a lot of data. But the KDP tries to prevent them from publishing their data. Who knows what the KDP does and says in the diplomatic arena. The KDP is very active diplomatically.
What does the KDP gain from all this?
The KDP fills its pockets even more. Thus, the KDP and the Barzani family maintain their power, pile up more and more money and increases their capital. We have said this before: They have made many investments in the Gulf countries, the USA and Turkey. They sell the resources of Kurdistan and the people. The Barzani family is trying to strengthen its power, increase its capital and remain on its feet. They have turned South Kurdistan into a province of Turkey and seek to become its governor.
The anniversary of Şehit [martyr] Bêrîtan’s martyrdom is approaching. Today, the guerrilla fighting in Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna is led by YJA-Star guerrilla fighters whose resistance is based on the resistance tradition of martyr Bêrîtan. Which connection do you see between this anniversary and today´s resistance of the guerrilla against Turkish fascism?
First of all, I would like to greet with respect and love all the comrades who are resisting. They are waging a very honorable struggle on behalf of the Kurdish people, the people of the Middle East and all of humanity. I would like to congratulate all commanders and fighters of the YJA-Star and HPG from the bottom of my heart. I would also like to commemorate with respect and gratitude our 17 precious comrades [recently announced as martyrs as a result of chemical weapons attacks]. I would like to commemorate with great respect, love and gratitude all the friends who have been martyred in the course of the resistance in Zap, Metîna, Avaşîn and all the Media Defense Zones during the last 6 months. The war still continues and the AKP-MHP will keep it going even longer. Because they need this war.
This month is the month of the International Conspiracy and the anniversary of heval [Kurdish for ´friend´ or ´comrade´] Bêrîtan’s martyrdom. On October 25, 1992, she was martyred while resisting the genocidal war waged by the Turkish state and the KDP against the guerrilla. Her story is well known by our people. After getting wounded, she threw herself off a cliff in order not to be captured by the collaborating and treacherous KDP and not to surrender. This great action has become a tradition of resistance. The foundation of the women´s army resulted from this. The women’s army´s character and identity originate from Bêrîtan’s resistance. Comrade Bêrîtan’s stance and attitude against surrender and betrayal have formed the character and identity of the women’s army.
Today, the guerrilla is resisting in a very honorable way in Zap, Avaşîn, Metîna and all over Kurdistan. This is due to the legacy of heval Bêrîtan. Today´s resistance is based on Bêrîtan’s way of resistance. Now, just like in ’92, both the fascist Turkish state and the forces of collaboration and treason are fighting against us. The guerrilla still has the same attitude of resistance like heval Bêrîtan. It does not surrender but takes an honorable stance. This is nothing that can just be taken for granted. The resistance is based on a great consciousness, will and passion for freedom. Heval Bêrîtan was also like this. Her love and passion for freedom have made this struggle grow and brought it to this day. On this occasion, I would like to commemorate heval Bêrîtan with great respect, love and gratitude. Based on her way of resistance, this struggle will definitely succeed.
In North Kurdistan [East Turkey] and Turkey, a real election atmosphere can already be felt. The election process has somewhat started, even if people might not yet call it that. Everyone has begun to work towards the elections. At the same time, the Turkish government is putting huge pressure on the Kurds and the opposition in order to tie their hands. As an alternative to this, the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ was formed under the leadership of the HDP. How do you evaluate the state´s pressure and the developments on the side of the resisting forces?
The upcoming elections are one of the most important elections in Turkey’s history. The government will do everything to win them because its existence depends on this. If the fascist government falls, it will be put on trial for all its crimes against humanity, corruption and theft. In this case, it is very likely that Erdoğan won´t be able to stay in Turkey. If Putin remains in power, Erdoğan may take refuge with him. It is not absolutely clear where he will be able to go. He may also seek refuge with NATO. Therefore, there is nothing Erdoğan will not do inside and outside of Turkey to win the election. He will continue to build all kinds of dirty relations. He keeps himself in power with the help of the war and the Kurdish genocide. And he will intensify this genocidal war even more. He will increase the war in the Medya Defense Zones. He has also been preparing for a new war in Rojava for a long time. He will wage war everywhere.
Turkey is faced with brutal fascism, oppression and violence. Workers and laborers are being massacred every day. The recent massacre in Bartın was just one of a series of massacres carried out by the government. There is the Soma massacre in which 301 workers lost their lives. Every day and everywhere in Turkey, two, three or whole groups of workers loose their lives. And then there are the genocidal attacks against the Kurds. A horrible economic-ecological destruction is taking place in the society of Turkey and twice as much in Kurdistan. A genocide is being carried out in Kurdistan, but there is also a social destruction happening in Turkey. Women are also faced with huge attacks. In short, this government has destroyed Turkey as a whole. It has consumed, stolen, extorted, usurped and destroyed all of Turkey’s resources and values. It has also destroyed the 100-year-old Kemalist system. The Kemalist state as we know it no longer exists. Now the government wants to build a society according to its own attitude and paradigm. It wants to do so on the basis of the aforementioned destruction and wants to structure the nation-state accordingly. The government wants to do this on the basis of the Kurdish genocide and the destruction of society, women and nature in Turkey. It will seek to build a fascist nation-state system on the basis of all this destruction.
The government is increasingly loosing the support of the voters. The Kurds have already broken away from the AKP. Except for a group of collaborators and traitors, no one has stayed with the AKP. There is also a serious rate of undecided voters. The government has not only caused its own collapse but has led Turkey into a process of destruction. And there is also the bourgeois opposition which is simply another version of the current government. They call themselves the ´Table of Six´. But they do not have a proper solution plan or policy for Turkey’s problems, especially for the Kurdish question. The reason for this is that they lack a democratic attitude, a democratic mentality. That is why they are unable to develop a democratic policy. Until now, they have not made a single serious statement on the Kurdish question. They have not presented any serious programs or policies. How will Turkey be democratized if the Kurdish question is not solved? This is simply impossible.
The way to democracy in Turkey is only possible on the basis of the solution of the Kurdish question. So far, the ´Table of Six´ has not been able to put forward a single policy because it pursues the classic policy of the state. That’s why the opposition cannot put forward a truly different position from the government with regards to the Kurdish question. Since the government knows this, it constantly uses this issue to attack the ´Table of Six´. Thus, the government is trying to shape the opposition according to its own attitude. It is trying to shape the CHP in this way. The IYI Party is already closer to the government. The AKP-MHP are also trying to shape other Islamic parties – Saadet, Gelecek and Deva – on this basis. Consequently, the ´Table of Six´ has become part of a nationalist competition with the government. This constitutes a serious handicap.
Therefore, the bourgeois opposition cannot present a policy and a practice that could give confidence to the Kurds and the democratic sections of Turkey´s society. The solution lies neither in the government, nor can it be expected from the current bourgeois opposition. From this point of view, the solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey and the solution to the country´s problems is the concept of the Democratic Nation, the paradigm of Leader Apo and the democratic politics based on it. The solution lies in the forces that conduct democratic politics. It is the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ that is waging a struggle exactly on this basis. This alliance constitutes the only solution to the problems. In this respect, the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance’ needs to turn itself into the main force of solution in Turkey without relying on anyone else. It needs to develop the strength to govern the country. It needs to be able to turn itself into an organization and a force of struggle that will be involved in the government of Turkey. The alliance definitely has this potential.
The potential of the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ in Turkey is 60 percent or 70 percent of the votes. If it can effectively strengthen its relations with society, make itself known to the people and organize and mobilize the society on this basis, it will become the strongest force. The values defended by it are very clear. They are the values defended by the society of Turkey: democracy, freedom, justice and democratic law. These are the issues that the whole society deeply cares about and that the HDP defends: the democratic unity of the peoples, living together based on friendship, democracy and equality and a democratic solution to the Kurdish question. These are the values, principles and needs that the Kurdish people represent and demand, just like the peoples of Turkey. In this respect, the growth potential of the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ is very high. Narrow and superficial approaches need to be overcome. This alliance should not only be a narrow election alliance, but an alliance of struggle.
The ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ needs to be an alliance that builds a Turkey based on a democratic and libertarian attitude. It must be able to explain itself to the whole society of Turkey and embrace all sections of society. It needs to meet the people everywhere and explain its own ideas. It needs to be able to explain itself to the Alevis, to the democratic conservative Muslims, to the Islamic sections of society, to all non-Muslim sections – e.g. Christians and Jews – and to all other communities. All these groups constitute the base of the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´. Women and youth have already become the main force and the pioneers of this alliance. The Turkish Women’s Movement and the Kurdish Women’s Movement are the main forces of the alliance. They are currently the strongest women’s movements in the region and in the world and consequently also pioneers in the struggle for democracy.
This alliance for democracy and freedom should not only be limited to 5 or 6 parties. It needs to be transformed into a general alliance of all sections of society. The ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ recently published a road map with regards to this issue. I consider this road map as very import. They put forward a manifesto, but it needs to not only remain on paper. It must be put into action. In other words, they must work very hard, house by house, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood person by person to organize and take action. This struggle is no longer a matter of rhetoric. If the people don´t take to the streets, if a serious social force of opposition and resistance does not emerge and if the social opposition does not fill the streets, this struggle cannot achieve results and they won´t be able to win the elections. A strong social opposition is the way to win the elections: tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people filling the streets. The ´Table of Six´ has been serving the interests of this fascist government for years. They are doing everything they can to prevent the society from taking to the streets. It is the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ that will change this.
This society has the power to overthrow the fascist government. The society is very angry. A strong democratic opposition force has now emerged. And society is sick and tired of all the theft, corruption, massacres, genocide, fascism, injustice and lawlessness of this government. The problem is one of leadership. If society is led correctly and effectively, this government will definitely not remain in power. Therefore, it is necessary to wage a strong struggle before the elections. It is also necessary to strengthen the protests in this context. The AKP-MHP will risk everything, including civil war, in order not to loose its power. For years, it has organized and trained many contras and gangs. All the economic means of the state are in the hands of this government. That’s why it is willing to do everything it can to remain in power. The only way to take the power away from them is by struggling on the streets. The ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´ won´t be able to overthrow this government just by talking and by saying radical things.
The representative of a mentality that until yesterday insulted Alevis, marked their houses and massacred them, today says that he will start an ‘Alevi Initiative’. As an Alevi, Kurdish and female revolutionary, what would you like to say about this?
The AKP-MHP pursues a plan of genocide and assimilation against the Alevis. They plan to submit the Alevis and put them in the service of the state. Because Alevis are a society that has lived outside the state for hundreds of years. They constitute the vein of a society that has not recognized the state or power, continues to live based on its own belief, culture and traditions and keeps alive the mentality of democratic and communal life. Therefore, the Alevis are a fundamental component of the ´Labor and Freedom Alliance´. They are also a fundamental component of the general struggle for freedom. But now we can see that nationalists have emerged among Alevis. A very deliberate and systematic special war is being waged with regards to this issue. Certain people who call themselves Alevis have become members of the MHP and the AKP. For example, there are such lowlifes like İzzet Doğan who have been recruited by them.
Alevis call people who betray their own social values ´degraded´. Today, a group of such degraded people has been created. Through these degraded groups the entire Alevi community is being subjected to a genocide with regards to its belief and culture. A horrible policy of assimilation and religious genocide is being carried out against the Alevis. The AKP-MHP have carried this century-old state policy to its peak. I think the Alevi population in Turkey is close to 20 million. For the government and the ´Table of Six´ this constitutes a serious potential of voters. Everyone is making politics based on these potential voters. The AKP-MHP fascist regime pursues a plan that goes beyond the upcoming elections. They want to commit the Alevis to a massacre. They pursue a policy of making the Alevis surrender and thus creating Alevis of the state. The kind of Alevi the state wants to create is a collaborator and traitor. Just as there are Kurdish collaborators and traitors who betray their own society and social values, Alevi culture and belief that is tied to the state and controlled by it is a degraded form of Alevism. Based on the project the AKP-MHP are talking about, they are trying to create an Alevism of betrayal and collaboration.
Cemevis [religious centers of Alevis] have now been put under the control of the Ministry of Culture. In other words, they do not even recognize Alevism as a belief. According to this attitude, Alevism constitutes only a very narrow culture. There are those who fall for this policy. Erdoğan was welcomed by some people [of the Alevi community] and there are also reports that there have been applications to the Ministry of Culture. All those who take such initiatives are, to use the Alevi expression, traitors and collaborators. They have nothing to do with Alevi culture or faith. The Alevi faith is a democratic, free and just faith. What does an Alevi who sides with a fascist, racist and nationalist government have to do with Alevi culture and tradition? They have nothing to do with this. They are simply collaborators, traitors and degraded people. Alevis need to recognize this.
Those who stoop to this have abandoned their belief and culture and should be considered as degraded. They need be exposed and excluded from society. Being such a degraded person results in social isolation. It is necessary to wage a strong struggle against these special war and assimilation policies. The government carries out these special war policies in a very intense way. With this policy the AKP-MHP have been exploiting the religious feelings and beliefs of the people for years. Does the Islam of the AKP have anything to do with real Islam? The Islam represented by the AKP-MHP means hostility towards Islam. It has nothing to do with Islam. The understanding of religion and belief developed by this regime is absolutely hostile to Islam. The AKP is an un-Islamic tendency that has brought itself to power through the denial of democratic-cultural Islam.
They have nothing to do with Islam. Now they are doing politics over women’s hair, skirts, pants and headscarves. They are doing all this to redesign society according to their fascist understanding that is hostile towards religion. Muslim society needs to fight against this policy of special warfare. The government has been exploiting this for years and has thus maintained its power.
On the other hand, there is also a very intense special war against the Kurds. The Turkish state itself is a special warfare state, but the AKP-MHP government is waging a dirty war that has surpassed all previous governments. From drugs to prostitution, they use everything for their war in Kurdistan. For example, they organize festivals in places with a tradition of resistance. They do this in Silopi, Cizre and Amed. In places of resistance where young people have shed their blood and given their lives for the freedom of our people, they gather the society and organize entertainment events. Thus, they try to turn people into a ridiculous, degraded and decayed society that makes fun of its own values. This is a policy of decay, amnesia and of turning society into a community of collaborators and betrayers of their own values and culture.
In these places of resistance, every family has its martyrs and resistance fighters. There are so many people whose blood has been shed, who have suffered and paid a huge price. Just as the AKP-MHP government tries to corrupt and degenerate society with prostitution, drugs and spying, it also tries to make society disintegrate with such activities. It is trying to destroy the moral values of society. This constitutes a much more brutal war than military warfare. Against this, Silopi, Cizre and Amed have to stand up, no matter if young or old. This policy constitutes an insult, oppression and betrayal against Silopi, Cizre and Amed. How can this be accepted? To accept this means to accept dishonor, disintegration and degradation. Is this something that can be accepted? A society that betrays its own values is not a society or a people and does not have any dignity.
We must strongly resist against such degenerative policies and wage a strong struggle against those who degenerate. We need to expose them everywhere and take a clear stance. No one should apply to the Ministry of Culture. This is simply disgraceful. Accepting these festivals and taking part in them is disgraceful, degrading and dishonorable. This has nothing to do with patriotism. It constitutes treason. When a woman or a child is harassed or raped in Kurdistan, the perpetrator needs to be punished. I am not saying that this hasn´t happened at all. There have been protests to a certain extent. But our freedom struggle is now approaching half a century and our people have clear values and a very strong sense of honor. Therefore, a much stronger struggle is needed.
The resistance in Iran led by Kurdish women continues. People of different views and ethnicities have united under the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ [´Women, Life, Freedom´]. Your movement is the creator of this slogan. What is your take on the protests in Iran?
All Iranian women and peoples have come together around Jîna Emînî. There has been an uprising for over a month now. This can almost be described as a state of rebellion. This is a first in recent history. There has not been an uprising of this scope and quality in Iran before. Women have strengthened this uprising with regards to its quality. Iranian society is a matriarchal society. Persians and Kurds are peoples with very close connections. They lived together under the same confederation for hundreds and thousands of years. They shared governance for many years. Their cultures and traditions are also very close to each other. Therefore, Persian and Kurdish women have a lot in common. In Iran, racism, nationalism and religionism exist, but they are weak. The social culture is much stronger.
Society has a strong democratic-revolutionary vein. It is not a surprise that the current uprising has lasted so long, is of such high quality and has been characterized by the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’. This slogan has resonated with Iranian society. Women, men, young, old and children have all embraced this slogan. The slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ is being chanted in every language. It is true that the Leadership [Abdullah Öcalan] developed this slogan. It constitutes the essence of the philosophy of women’s freedom. This slogan is a refined version of the women’s paradigm. ´Jin, Jiyan, Azadî´ is more than a slogan. It has a depth that goes beyond just being a slogan. It is the refined form of the philosophy of freedom, the paradigm of the Democratic Nation, of democracy, ecology and women’s freedom. Therefore, this slogan actually represents a philosophy.
From the first day of the uprising, women and men have taken to the streets in all cities and towns of Iran chanting the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’. Men have taken sides with women in a very spectacular way. This is the result of the characteristics of matriarchal culture. All this is very important. This uprising continues to intensify. The slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ transforms both men and society. It has spread around the world. The protests all over the world and in all countries of the Middle East are taking place under the slogan ´Jin, Jiyan, Azadî´. A life that is not based on free women is a life of slavery. Life is only life in its true sense if it is based on free women. This slogan expresses this reality. Therefore, Iran needs to respond to the demands of the women, society and people.
It would not be accurate to understand this uprising only as the result of provocations of foreign powers or certain organizations. This will not lead to healthy conclusions. Of course, there may be those who want to exploit this uprising and use it for their own interests. The USA, Israel, Europe and Turkey may also want to make use of it. For example, what did they turn the Arab Spring into? But understanding the protests of women and society in this way would be incompatible with reality. Women and Iranian society demand democracy, freedom and justice. There is serious oppression in Iran, not only against the Kurdish people but against all ethnic identities. And now there are the protests of the people against this. All of them are demanding freedom, justice and democracy. They want a democratic rule of law. States that do not change and transform themselves accordingly are faced with their own dissolution.
The political crisis in Iraq seems to have somewhat calmed down after the election of the new president. Dr. Latif Reşid has tasked Sudani with the formation of a new government. What kind of impact will these developments have on Kurdistan and the region?
Iraq has been in a state of chaos for a long time. The nation state and the five thousand years old state system have been destroyed in Iraq. A huge chaos has emerged from this collapse. Whoever comes to Iraq cannot establish a stable administration. This is nothing new. There are also interventions by external powers. Many powers are waging a war for hegemony here. Iraq has been the scene of a war over hegemony between Iran and the USA for decades. Britain, other European countries and many other states, especially Turkey, are meddling in Iraq. Turkey is organizing Turkmens on the basis of its own interests and is thus deepening the chaos. It has turned Bashiqa into its own military base. It is stirring up Iraq politically, economically and militarily.
Dr. Latif Reşid has now been elected as president and we would like to congratulate him again. We believe that he will play a positive role. It is important that he plays a role in solving the problems between Baghdad and South Kurdistan on a democratic basis, in overcoming the crisis and chaos in Baghdad and in the democratization of Iraq. Moreover, it is important for the Iraqi state to take a clear stance against the Turkish state’s Neo-Ottoman, occupying and expansionist policies. A new government will very likely be formed under Sudani’s presidency, but it looks like this administration will not last long. After the formation of a new government, the chaotic situation in Iraq will not be overcome easily. The intensity of the Baghdad-based conflicts may decrease a little, but the chaos in Iraq as a whole will continue. Because everyone will want to shape the government based on their own interests. The US will try to make it act in line with its own policy, just like Iran and Turkey will do with regards to their political goals.
Sadr’s stance is also important. He has made his stance very clear by saying that he will not take part in this government. Sadr will put serious pressure on the government by gathering popular support around himself. Therefore, stability won´t be achieved easily. The solution in Iraq is a democratic system, a democratic-confederal Iraqi system based on autonomous regions. The solution is a democratic Iraqi administration. Only such a system can solve the problems in Iraq.
In North and East Syria, Afrin has been handed over to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – formerly known as al-Nusra – which continues to commit all kinds of crimes against humanity. The attacks of the Turkish state and its Islamist proxies continue. So does the resistance against them. How do you evaluate this issue?
The situation in North and East Syria needs to be assessed very well. During the Astana and Sochi talks, decisions were taken to bring Ankara and Damascus closer to each other. Both Iran and Russia put pressure on Turkey with regards to this issue. As a result, Turkey has started to use a softer language. Afterwards, meetings between the intelligence services of the two countries [Turkey and Syria] became more frequent. There were even discussions about the possibility of talks between Erdoğan and Assad. Thus, attempts were made to ease the tensions between Damascus and Ankara that have been going on for 11 years. Recently, there were also the Putin-Erdogan meeting and talks with NATO.
Then there was a meeting with Biden which was followed by various statements. Turkey, with the support of both Iran, Russia, the US and NATO, wants to destroy North and East Syria. It wants to establish a state for Islamist proxies in this area. Of course, it does not say to Russia and Iran that it will establish such a Islamist proxy state, but instead points to the Autonomous Administration as the problem. Turkey says that if Russia and Iran support it on this issue, it can make some concessions with regards to Ukraine, Idlib and Assad. This is the message Turkey has recently given Russia and Iran. But the actual plan of the Turkish state is to implement the Misak-ı Milli [National Pact], i.e. it wants to annex South Kurdistan and Rojava. And it is doing this through carrying out the Kurdish genocide.
We cannot assess the latest developments in Afrin independently from this broader context. There have been many meetings with Russia and the US behind closed doors, and there are others that have not been made public. We cannot understand al-Nusra’s entry into Afrin as a plan of Turkey alone, independent of Russia or the US. Many dirty negotiations have taken place behind closed doors. It has been one year that the Turkish state is trying to complete the Kurdish genocide. We know this very well. We know very clearly that the Turkish state has a plan to achieve its Misak-ı Milli goal by carrying out the Kurdish genocide. That is why it has completely focused its domestic and foreign politics on achieving this goal. In order to carry out this plan, it is selling the resources of Turkey to everyone.
The arrival of al-Nusra [in Afrin] is a plan of Turkey, but there is also international support behind it. For example, we need to understand Russia’s approach well. Russia hit some bases of Islamist proxy forces in the area between Azaz and Afrin. Especially Turkey and Russia have made certain negotiations. There are some Islamist proxy groups that are not under Turkey’s control. The groups are very uncomfortable with the relations between Turkey and Damascus. The Islamist proxies that Turkey has established, supported, trained and equipped until now do not want Damascus and Turkey to establish closer relations with each other. They are very disturbed by this new situation. These groups are giving Turkey a headache. They might end up posing a great danger for Turkey in the future and might even decide to fight against Turkey. Turkey is very afraid of this possibility.
Russia’s recent strikes against these Islamist proxy groups are not independent from Turkey´s policy. Turkey makes Russia attack them. If Turkey itself attacks them, it will only provoke an immediate reaction from these Islamist proxies, cause chaos and force Turkey into a conflict with them. On the other hand, Turkey also makes al-Nusra attack these Islamist proxy groups. All of the groups that are being eliminated by al-Nusra are groups that pose a potential danger to Turkey. They are not under the control of Turkey or have the potential to slip out of Turkey’s control in the future. Turkey has moved forces under its control to these areas. Today it moves them to Afrin and tomorrow it will take them to Serêkaniyê. In fact, the first battle of the YPG in Rojava was the battle against Al-Nusra in Serêkaniyê in 2012.
Al-Nusra is the Syrian version of Al-Qaeda. Many IS groups are also part of it. Turkey has made a deal with all of them. In 2016, Turkey made a deal with the Russians when it launched an invasion attack on Jarablus. As part of this deal, Turkey brought all the Islamist proxies to Idlib. Thus, Russia was able to secure Aleppo. Al-Nusra and Turkey have made a deal with regards to North and East Syria. This involves giving the areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration and the occupied territories to Al-Qaeda, i.e. to Al-Nusra, and moving them there.
The Turkish state will use these forces as leverage in its relations with Damascus. It will base its Syrian opposition policy on these forces. Turkey will blackmail Damascus with these forces and try to use them against the Kurds. It will try to make them clash with the Kurds. And the Turkish state will try to convince the international community and Damascus to recognize these Islamist proxy forces as the Syrian opposition. Then, Turkey will crush all the Islamist proxy groups that it considers a source of concern for itself by pitting them against each other. Can al-Nusra be accepted by Russia, Damascus and the world? No, it can’t. That’s another matter, but all Turkey cares about is using them as a trump card to be able to carry out the Kurdish genocide and to destroy the autonomous system [in North and East Syria]. Therefore, this is a very dangerous plan. The people of North and East Syria need to act very sensitively and consciously against this.
The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria needs to conduct effective politics and diplomacy and struggle accordingly. Very serious military preparations need to be made. The society of Rojava, no matter if young or old, needs to prepare itself for the revolutionary people’s war. From now on, the fascist Turkish state will wage the war against Rojava together with Al-Nusra. The revolutionary people’s war in Rojava should have been waged since the beginning. Until now, it has only been put into practice partially. If the revolutionary people’s war is waged to a full extent in Rojava, if all people take part in it and struggle, if every member of society fights like the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces], this plan will definitely be thwarted and the Turkish state will suffer the biggest blow in its history. Then, the system that the fascist AKP-MHP regime wants to establish in Turkey will be completely destroyed and the way for a democratic Turkey will be paved.