Our Interviews

august 12, 2023

An interview with Duran Kalkan, member of the KCK Executive Council, about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, also with a new elaboration on the current situation on Imrali, a contextualization of the activities related to the 9th anniversary of the genocide of the Ezidis, the contemporary significance of August 15, 1984 and the breakthrough of the guerrilla struggle, as well as an assessment related to the recent targeted attacks of the Turkish state on nature and the recent youth conference:

Initially, we would like to focus on Abdullah Öcalan and the situation on Imrali. Is there any news? How is Kurdish society dealing with the ongoing isolation? And what is Abdullah Öcalan’s role today in the context of the Kurdish Freedom Movement?

At first, I would like to send my greetings to Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] whose resistance against the ongoing isolation continues. The system of Imrali is a system of isolation, torture and genocide. The situation there has not changed and we should not expect any changes there anytime soon. That is because of the current administrators of this system. They are spreading lies through public statements. For example the [Turkish] Minister of Justice and the [Turkish] President both stated, that there was no violation of law, which is simply untrue. They are not even following their own laws. The sole intention of them constantly talking about ‘disciplinary punishments’ being imposed is merely to prevent meetings with Rêber Apo from taking place. They are trying everything to prevent Rêber Apo from being granted his physical freedom, which he has been denied for 25 years now. His situation therefore must be re-evaluated based on the application of European law. This is what they want to prevent with these so-called disciplinary punishments. They claim that all their methods are legal, while they constitute clear violations of the law.

The other forces who bear a responsibility for Rêber Apo’s situation remain silent as well. They pretend to be blind and deaf. The CPT [European Committee for the Prevention of Torture ], the Council of Europe and other institutions remain silent. This silence indicates an agreement. It reveals that these institutions support the practices of AKP-MHP fascism on Imrali.

At the same time, we can also see that the struggle for Rêber Apo’s physical freedom, against the isolation on Imrali and against the system of torture and genocide is growing stronger on many different levels. Recently, there have been important activities in this framework, especially abroad. For example, there was the press conference on July 26 in Brussels. This was a call to action in the framework of the demand for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo, which was organized jointly by trade unions, intellectuals and communities. There was also a conference on this issue in Colombia. And there were two protests of the Kurdish youth together with their internationalist friends in Europe. A concert for Rêber Apo also took place in Italy recently. In addition, there were also statements made by Italian and Scottish unions.

In short, all over the world there are calls and efforts for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. We have said before that humanity wants to hear the voice of Rêber Apo. All these activities clearly show that humanity, the democratic forces, intellectuals, politicians, even philosophers, women and young people all over the world need the ideas of Rêber Apo. Because his ideas offer a clear solution to all current problems, especially the solution of the Kurdish question. The line of the Democratic Nation, as well as the system of Democratic Confederalism, were developed on the basis of the idea of democratic self-administration. They are ways of finding solutions to all the problems created by the system of power and state, especially the nation-state of capitalist modernity. This is a paradigm of solving all social problems, as well as for organizing society.

In Kurdistan itself, protests for the freedom of Rêber Apo continue. Our people in Rojava [Western Kurdistan/Northern Syria] have been continuously rising up against the situation and are very sensitive regarding this topic. From time to time, they organize big mass protests. There are also various events being organized in North Kurdistan [South-Eastern Turkey] and South Kurdistan [Northern Iraq]. In Eastern Kurdistan [Western Iran], our people demonstrated a lot in the past, but now this has decreased a bit due to the pressure. But it is not unknown what the attitude of the absolute majority of the Kurdish people is there.

We can therefore see that there is a clear united stance. There is a unity of the Kurds, women, youth, intellectuals and artists and politicians in the four parts of Kurdistan and abroad. They reject the system of torture, isolation and genocide on Imrali. They want the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. On this basis, they demand the solution of the Kurdish question, the recognition of the freedom and the democratic rights of the Kurds, a democratic Middle East, a free humanity, the strengthening of the women’s liberation revolution in all fields and the spread of a free life everywhere on the basis of women’s freedom.

Everything is related to the Kurdish question. The First World War led to this situation. The agreements made after the First World War – the Armistice of Mudros and the Treaty of Sevrès – could not be implemented, which in the end resulted in the Treaty of Lausanne. In 1926, the UK drew the Turkish-Iraqi border based on the Ankara Agreement. The current Turkish Republic was founded on the basis of the Kurdish genocide and of hostility towards the Kurds. This prevents the democratization of the Middle East and threatens humanity with fascist terror. We will continue to keep this issue on the agenda. Had it not been for the establishment of such a republic or the Treaty of Lausanne, perhaps there would have been no Hitler, no Mussolini, there would have been no Second World War in Europe, and humanity would not have suffered such massacres. In other words, everything has come to be related to the Kurdish question. And the Kurdish question itself is of course related to the genocidal regime in Imrali. Because the will of the Kurdish people is in Imrali. Rêber Apo is the leader. He is the solution power to the Kurdish question.

For 29 months we have not received any new information about Rêber Apo. We consider it as our duty to continue shouting out the truth and to improve our analyses. We have to strengthen and spread the struggle. There is no withdrawing from this. The youth in Europe said that they will not stop, not sit and not sleep until the physical freedom of Rêber Apo is ensured. This is the right attitude. On behalf of our party, I call on all our people, women, youth, international friends and everyone else to participate more in this sacred and fundamental struggle for democracy, and to strengthen it with the help of new creative methods.

A few days ago was the anniversary of the genocide of the Ezidis carried out by IS, on the occasion of which various activities took place. What has changed over the last years and where does the self-administration of the Ezidis in Şengal [Sinjar] stand today?

For 9 years, the Kurdish-Ezidi people in Şengal have experienced very serious changes with regards to freedom and democracy. In the beginning, they stood against the genocidal attack of the Islamic State [IS]. These gangs were defeated with the support of the guerrillas of the HPG [People’s Defense Forces], and the fighters of the YPG and YPJ. After that, a great political awareness, especially among the women and youth in Şengal, a resistant attitude and organization developed among the people. I would like to respectfully salute this resistance and remember all the heroic martyrs of this holy struggle especially in the person of comrade Mam Zeki. They are true martyrs of freedom, democracy, humanity and solidarity.

On the 9th anniversary of this genocidal attack and the resistance against it, important events took place The Kurdish-Ezidi people took a clear stance with their statements, marches, and demonstrations. Their institutions and democratic organizations also took an important and meaningful stance and stated that they will continue this struggle for liberation and democratization until the end.

Recently, there was also a conference in Baghdad which was attended not only by Kurdish-Ezidis, but also by other communities, including those who are considered minorities in Iraq. This important conference produced major results and important demands were made. Those who attended the conference expressed their desire for democratization based on self-administration and the full implementation of the Iraqi constitution. Iraq applies its constitution only in some places and not in others. This creates problems. We therefore think that the Iraqi administration will reconsider this situation.

During the conference, a clear stance against betrayal was also taken, including the demand to put the KDP on trial. Indeed, it is important that all those be put on trial who ran away from IS and thus left the Kurdish-Ezidi people to genocide. Without putting them on trial, the crime of genocide cannot be effectively condemned or brought to an end. Why did the [forces of the] KDP run away back then? They had made a deal with IS, that is why. We have stated before that there are reports about a meeting in April or May 2014 in the capital of a country neighboring Syria. Apparently, in this meeting the decision for the IS attacks was taken. At the time, there was a rumor saying that Mesut Barzani had also been present at this meeting. In fact, this is not a rumor, it is certain. How did this affect us? At the time, we were holding a conference in Northern Kurdistan in mid-May. During the conference, we received information about this meeting from our foreign relations committee. We were informed about a new force that had emerged and that this force was going to attack to divide Iraq and Syria. The IS then attacked Mosul on June 12. In August, it attacked Şengal and Mexmûr. Then it headed towards Kirkuk and Rojava. This was an attack on the Kurds. In fact, there was an agreement between IS and the KDP made during the afore-mentioned meeting. The KDP had agreed to give some places to IS, but had later changed their decision. They said that IS attacked in order to put pressure on them. But it can easily be seen that the KDP never fought anywhere against IS and only pretended to fight in some places in order to deceive the people and to get some support.

Kurds supported and basically led the struggle against IS. Those who wanted to support the Kurds in this struggle regarded the KDP as the Kurdish administration. This was exactly the main goal of the KDP. They only pretended to be the opponent of IS. In this context, it is important that the demand of the latest conference to put the KDP on trial comes from the community of Şengal itself.

The KJK [Kurdistan Women’s Communities] recently also announced a campaign from August 3 until 15. It is carried out with the aim of supporting and helping the women of Şengal and Afghanistan against the attacks of the dominant men. This also led to a mobilization within Şengal and encouraged the women more, to continue being the vanguard of this change. In this context a forum will take place in Raqqa. In fact, Afghanistan, Şengal and Raqqa are extreme points where patriarchal attacks on women had happened. Of course, they are not limited only to these places, you find them everywhere, but the attacks in these places are more cruel, sometimes more subtle and disguised. There is a women’s liberation struggle against them in every field. It is the ideology of women’s liberation, this struggle and revolution that represents liberation against all kinds of oppression and exploitation of the 5,000-year-old hegemonic and state system and that reveals the foundations of a free life. Rêber Apo has subjected this to a very broad evaluation and analysis. The main factor in the developments in Kurdistan, the struggle for the solution of the Kurdish question and its inexorability is the women’s liberation struggle and is the creation of women’s leadership in the struggle at all levels.

Some states recognized the attack of IS on Şengal as genocide. Lately the British state did so on the anniversary. Actually, we need to look at the practices of those forces which recognize this as a genocide. The Ezidis were massacred by IS and since they have been defeated, the AKP-MHP and KDP are carrying out these attacks without a break. Now, if the attacks of IS have been labeled as genocide, what are the attacks of the AKP-MHP and KDP? Aren’t these also genocide? On the other hand, do those who call it genocide support the development of the democratic self-administration of the people of Şengal, the provision of autonomy, and the formation of a self-defense system? Saying that they recognize the genocide without providing these does not mean anything, but a deception. I think our Ezidi society should be sensitive, especially when it is about Germany. They are constantly trying to have the Ezidis migrate from Kurdistan to Europe. Instead of strengthening consciousness, organization and self-management of the Ezidi society, they are trying to scatter the community even more, to scatter it all over the world and make it cease to be a community. Our Kurdish-Ezidi people must be sensitive to these policies and should develop their own consciousness and organization more, and rely on their own power. They should also choose their allies correctly. It must trust in the free democratic life of the peoples and develop alliance with them. Its own strength and alliance with the peoples is in fact the fundamental attitude that will protect and save the Kurdish-Ezidi people from further genocide. For this reason, education, organization and awareness-raising are absolutely necessary to become an organized society with self-defense. In this sense I would like to wish a lot of success to our Kurdish-Ezidi people.

In a few days, August 15 will mark the beginning of the 40th year of armed struggle of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. How has the armed struggle developed since then? What would have happened if the August 15 breakthrough had not taken place?

Before I answer your question I would like to salute the heroic resistance of the Kurdish people, led by Rêber Apo and the PKK for 39 consecutive years. They dealt heavy blows to the fascist genocidal regime on the basis of guerrilla warfare. But that this war is going on against a single state should not take us to the conclusion that it is just against the fascist genocidal colonialism of the Turkish Republic. The Kurds are resisting against all of NATO. It is NATO that has been waging the war since 1985. Last month they created a command-control center to coordinate the war against the PKK, against the Kurds. Actually, it has existed de facto more than 38 years, but now they have made it public. The Kurdish people are resisting against fascist, genocidal, colonialist mentality, and politics. This resistance always deserves to be saluted. So, on the 39th anniversary of August 15, this day of resurrection and the guerrilla, I would like to congratulate all party comrades, especially the Leadership, our patriotic people, and our international friends. I especially congratulate the HPG and YJA Star forces, all our guerrilla forces, everyone who fights for freedom. I respectfully remember all those martyrs who fell as a result of the August 15 breakthrough in the person of comrade Egîd and Zîlan.

The number of martyrs of our movement has now reached 50.000. This 39-year struggle did not just happen by itself. It demanded a high price and the Kurdish people paid it. It demanded courage and sacrifice, which all the Kurdish society, especially Kurdish women and youth showed. They resisted heroically against the fascist genocidal attack, which was supported by all kinds of foreign powers and Kurdish collaborators and betrayers. The Kurdish people heeded to and understood Rêber Apo, they trusted, hoped and supported the guerrilla. In fact, August 15 was a milestone in Kurdish history.

The great prison resistance of 1982 turned its determination into organization and action, but the practical gains and developments came mainly through August 15 and guerrilla warfare. The breakthrough of August 15 and the resulting guerrilla resistance underlies all the libertarian democratic developments in Kurdistan during these 39 years.

What would have happened if the August 15, 1984 offensive had not happened? What would have happened in Kurdistan, what would have happened in Turkey, what would have happened in the world? This world came face to face with fascism because the anti-Kurdish politics was accepted in Ankara. Now, without such a heroic struggle against this fascist regime, it is not clear what would have happened in Europe, to what extent racism would have gone, what fascism would have done, what the world would be like? It should not only be seen in terms of Kurds. It is well known that Turkey is a country of lies. “Everyone is a Turk. Everyone within the borders of this country, everyone who is a Turkish citizen is a Turk. There are no Kurds. Kurds are a Turkish tribe, the word ‘Kurd’ is a sound emerging while walking in the snow, and those who make this sound are called Kurds”. They put forward such very fabricated, very despicable sayings. They propagandized, they wrote tens, hundreds of books. A lot of people with graying hair, who consider themselves professors or artists did so. A great lie was imposed on the people of Turkey. The breakthrough of August 15 and Rêber Apo’s thoughts formed an enlightening answer against this tactic. It is necessary to understand the guerrilla in this way and to stay away from the fabricated words like “it is also war” and “we are against all kinds of war”. What do you mean you are against all kinds of war? There is colonialist war, genocidal war, unjust war and there is also resistance against these. Well then, look at the attack of the IS on Şengal and the fight against it. This was a war of resistance against genocide and it was a guerrilla war. You may be opposing guerrilla war. But imagine what would have happened with guerrilla resistance? Will you have any humanity left in you then? Indeed, Kurdistan was a stronghold of reactionism. 39 years ago, the September 12 fascist military regime attacked everywhere and said “we will destroy it [the Kurdish Freedom Movement] so that it will never be resurrected again”. They were saying, “We have already destroyed them [the Kurdish Freedom Movement], but some of them are rising from the grave, let’s crush them with our boots before they even take their heads out”. Such a bastion of reactionism has now become a land of freedom. It has become a place of freedom, a place of democracy. It is the stronghold of the world struggle for freedom and democracy.

What is the role of Abdullah Öcalan in this struggle and what role is he playing on the international level?

Everyone wants to come here, because they are inspired by this struggle of the people, women and youth. The leadership of Rêber Apo created this great struggle. It is a leadership that shows the way to liberation for all the oppressed. By changing the paradigm of the freedom struggle he gave answers to such questions as ‘why the struggle of the oppressed did not lead to victory? why their victorious struggles didn’t last long? He related these problems to the fact that the oppressed waged their struggles with wrong means. In this way, Rêber Apo changed a lot of wrong perceptions about the causes of such failures. The paradigm shift now appeals to everyone. Everyone finds what they are looking for in Rêber Apo’s philosophy, paradigm and thought. That is why they want to hear his voice and are discussing his thoughts all over the world. The Turkish state and the fascist genocide perpetrators wrongly hoped that they had stopped Rêber Apo’s impact by closing the walls of Imrali. Rêber Apo is being discussed in Colombia. He is in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, everywhere. He has achieved this, and has broken the walls of Imrali. This happened with the power of August 15, with the strength of the struggle. Kurdish society, youth, women, Turkish-Kurdish laborers have become a great force of consciousness, organization and will. So much so that no one can look at the Kurd as they used to. Everyone is now saying that Kurds are not as they used to be before. How did this change come about? Who brought it about? What was the old? What is the new? Many don’t see what has changed. They don’t analyze the changes. They do not want to see the changes, they don’t want to see the gains. Even they oppose them. On the other hand, They happen to put claim to those gains and achievements. Simply, this is theft. The people continue their struggle with the spirit of August 15, and will not give way to this theft.

How is the situation of the war right now? In what condition is the Kurdish guerrilla in its soon-to-be 40th year of existence?

Our Central Headquarters Command recently published its balance sheet for July. It is actually not very appropriate for people aiming for democracy and freedom, to deal with such numbers, to say that they did so many things in the war, but you have to force those who do not want to understand. The guerrilla carried out 130 attacks within one month, which is almost five attacks every day. In these 70-80 invaders were killed. Even if only two are killed, this has to be called a war. This cannot be measured in numbers. In the same time 7 guerrilla fighters martyred this month. This indicates that this war is not so easy. On the other hand, the use of tactical nuclear bombs against the guerrilla forces has been observed 6 times. Also Chemical weapons, as well as other banned weapons were used several times. The Turkish army carried out a thousand attacks with airplanes, tanks and artillery against the resisting guerrilla. As we used to say, it’s about taking the battle to the ground and fighting it there. That is what is seen right now and through this the war got locked up. The Turkish army tries to occupy some places, but the more steps they make, the more they get hit. Our Central Headquarters Command gave out statements about this and more than there is stated there, is really not needed to be said. But because there are so many that do not want to see this situation, which is why we are forced to repeat these facts about the war again and again.

The fighters of the HPG and YJA Star guerrilla represent the spirit of the August 15 breakthrough and its victory, and continue to develop it. The guerrillas took self-sacrifice to a high level, breaking all attacks and thwarting all acts of annihilation. There were a lot of offensives by the Turkish state in Northern Kurdistan and Southern Kurdistan, maybe hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands times, but the guerrilla always broke those and proved the invincibility of this struggle.

It is not very realistic that those who could not destroy the 200-250 guerrillas starting the August 15 breakthrough to say that they will destroy the guerrilla that has developed so much and spread all over our homeland after 39 years. The Turkish state is not convincing when they say this. On this basis, I would like to salute the guerrilla’s resistance all over the region. I once again, would like to congratulate all the commanders and fighters of the HPG and YJA Star. They are carrying out the most difficult task, and form the basis of freedom and democratic developments that affects humanity and spreads throughout the world. Today, the martyrdom of the three comrades Rojhat, Rojda and Şoreş has been declared. I respectfully commemorate these comrades and all the comrades who fought and heroically fell martyr in Zap, Avaşîn, Metîna, Xakurkê, Garzan, Licê and Bagok.

The number 40 is a significant number in our social ethics, because it also means maturation in human life, gaining consciousness and strength. Our party, the Kurdish people, our guerrilla forces, our women and youth movements are entering the 40th year with such strength and consciousness. Wether or not this conflict will continue is not really up to us but depends more on the fascist genocidal administration of Tayyip Erdoğan and the People’s Alliance. They are increasing the attacks. Süleyman Soylu [former Turkish Minister of the Interior] is gone, but there are new Süleyman Soylu’s that have emerged. They are trying to continue the same policy, the same rhetoric, but also the resistance against it continues, it is developing and spreading. The 40th year will be a year of greater struggle and we may also witness great developments on military and political level. We should always be hopeful in this regard. Everyone should join the struggle with hope and faith. On this basis, I would once again like to wish success to all those who struggle for freedom and democracy.

What has increased in recent decades in general, but especially now in recent years, are the many reports of attacks on nature by the Turkish state. How are these related to the struggle of your movement?

Regarding the attacks on the nature, I would like to point out some facts especially to the women, youth, intellectuals, politicians, socialists and revolutionaries of Turkey. The Turkish state is engaged in a war. The fascist AKP-MHP is fighting in Northern Kurdistan, carrying out invasion attacks on Southern Kurdistan and Rojava. Again yesterday, some YPG fighters who were involved in the defeat of IS were martyred by the Turkish state. It is clear that Turkey is trying to protect the legacy of IS and is therefor waging the war.

The Turkish government has allocated everything to this war. Tayyip Erdoğan brags that they have developed the war industry and asks everywhere for support. He even turned Sweden’s NATO-membership talks into a bargain to buy weapons. “Do you know how much a bullet costs?” With this saying he wants to intimidate the people. He wants to imply that the people of Turkey should listen to what this government says and should accept it. Right now there is no opposition to war, no demand for peace, no one who opposes the colonialist genocidal war, no one who speaks about fraternity of the people in Turkey, at least they are very few. After so many years, the war has entered its 40th year. This war is at the root of everything. How will there be brotherhood? How will we get rid of AKP and MHP fascism? How will the economic crisis, depression, oppression and terrorism in Turkey be prevented? …if the reality of war is not seen.

Let us also look at the intellectuals. Economic crisis analysts, social analysts, government analysts analyze Turkey detached from the war in Kurdistan, which shows a big blindness to reality. For example, the CHP could not win the election because they did not oppose the war. Because they did not defend and openly speak for peace, democracy, the solution of the Kurdish problem, the rights of Kurds, and fraternity with Kurds. It is no different from the AKP-MHP.

The forests of Kurdistan are burning. But this is not anything new, they have been burning for years. They have been nefariously cutting down all the forests of [the North Kurdish regions] Botan, Garzan and Dersim for years. They cut down the forests and burn down all trees that they cannot cut down. This is a form of warfare.

Now they are cutting down the forest of Akbelen. They said that in one week, ninety football fields’ worth of land was deforested. The deforestation in Kurdistan is because of the war. But in case of the deforestation in Turkey people claim that this it is only about making profit. Yes it is about profit, but what is this profit used for? Some robbers are getting rich and use their money for the war against the Kurds. It is used as bullets against them. Turkish society, socialists, intellectuals, women and the youth should not be fooled by the images. They should look at the cause that brought about the result. The main reason is war. And the basis of this war is the anti-Kurdish mentality and politics. Before the witness of the world, the Kurds are being subjected to genocide, physical and cultural genocide. Demographics are being changed, people are being driven out of their homeland. How is this different from what IS has done?

There is a great resistance in Akbelen which I would like to salute. Our nature is being protected there. They wanted to build dams in the Black Sea area. The villagers stood up and resisted. Gezi, one of the most important resistances of the country, started with protecting the forest and trees.

The ecological question in Turkey is important. This government loots, plunders and sells everything. It has already sold the Bosporus and it is also said that they have sold the Black Sea. It is destroying all of nature to find capital for war. After that, it negotiates with the world, goes to Astana, to Europe and now around the Middle East, begging from Arab sheiks. It is said that Erdogan will go to Baghdad in a few days to ask for money. The Prime Minister’s advisor announced that they are coming to ask for support against the PKK. He will bring Iraq into the war against the PKK in order to destroy it. What is he bargaining for? The rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates, whose rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates? This is Kurdish water. He is selling the waters of Kurdistan, trying to turn it into a bargaining chip in order to kill the Kurds. We neither think, nor believe that the Iraqi administration will be a tool for this, because the Iraq does not have a Kurdish question like Turkey does. Yes, there are many problems in Iraq and Kurdistan. Problems of implementing democratization, freedom and women’s freedom. Not that Iraq has no problems, but it is not denying the Kurdish existence like the AKP-MHP and the Turkish state does. There is a federal Kurdish administration within Iraq. Maybe it does not run well, but at least there is no policy of denial and annihilation. Therefore, it cannot fall into the line of the Turkish Republic, but if it does, it would be in the most dangerous position.

What role does the KDP play in this?

On the other hand, there is the situation of the KDP. The KDP is playing a very critical role. What they are doing is a collaboration and a betrayal that has never been seen before in the world. Without the KDP’s betrayal and support, it would be difficult to find others who are willing to support the AKP-MHP’s fascism. It would not be able to do even half of what it is doing now without the KDP. It is therefore, why the KDP bears as much responsibility for its actions as the AKP-MHP collaborator.

On the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne, where the decision of the Kurdish genocide had been taken back then, Kurdish intellectuals and patriots from all four parts of Kurdistan and from abroad went to Lausanne, came together to show the unity of the Kurds, to take decisions on the solution of the Kurdish problem, to manifest the will of the Kurdish people to the world. And where was the KDP? It was not here, they were guiding Turkish soldiers in [South Kurdish areas of] Xakurkê and Metîna at the same time. Now there are reports that show that the KDP is trying to help encircle the guerrilla. The AKP-MHP fascism uses the KDP in all its military attacks.

The ecocide you described before is part of a comprehensive concept of war. What kind of repercussions does this in turn have for Turkey itself?

All of Turkey’s problems stem from the unsolved Kurdish question. For understanding Turkey, this fact is important. Turkey deals with the Kurdish question by waging war on the Kurds. And everything has been set up according to the necessities of this war. They cut down trees because they need the money for war. They market tourism sector to get money for the war. All these things are used for the war. Of course, there is also a bourgeois society that capitalizes on this. But the basis of all this is the pressure and terror in the prisons and on society. There is war. This must be seen and the war must be opposed. The struggle against all these crises, forest burning, profiteering and exploitation must be combined with Kurdish freedom and fraternity. How can Turkey be democratic while the Kurds are being deprived of their freedom rights? How will AKP and MHP fascism be stopped? If not so, the forest cannot be protected and the hikes cannot be prevented. Everything has already been sold out. That is why we say that the war must be opposed. Everyone should concentrate on the solution of the Kurdish question as the underlying cause of the war. Therefore there is more need for a unified struggle.

I would like to call on all our international friends. In this period right now, we have to develop the struggle with all methods and particularly the ecological struggle is very important. There are two areas that the hegemonic state system of capitalism attacks. It attacks the society, particularly the women; and it attacks the nature. It wants to destroy them. In order to achieve freedom, to find a space to live freely, we need to wage a multi-faceted struggle against this system, against the system of capitalist modernity. In Turkey, the ecological struggle is essential because there has been too much destruction. Women have taken the lead in the Black Sea region. They cling to their homeland and are committed to a free life. They are doing the same as in Akbelen. Once again I would like to salute those resisting and wish them success.

If you were able to follow the recent youth conference, what is your opinion about it and what can you say in general about the current situation of Kurdish youth?

Important decisions were made during the Youth Conference. It was an important step taken at the right time. I would like to take this opportunity to salute the youth movement and wish success for the participants of the conference. I would like to call on the Kurdish youth in the four parts of Kurdistan and abroad to study and examine the results of the conference and to implement them in a planned and organized manner.

The youth is very active and there are important steps being made. The stance they have showed in the struggle for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo is important and is seems that it spreads. The PKK was born as an intellectual youth party, and it is still such a movement today. We have guerrillas fighting in the mountains and in the cities. Also the women’s organization and movement has developed to a large extend. But it is the Kurdish youth, the youth movement, that spearheads all of these developments. The PKK continues to be a youth movement and a youth party. That is how the youth should appreciate its role and the responsibility it should shoulder.

There is a special warfare in Northern Kurdistan. Prostitution and the use of narcotics are deliberately being developed. A former minister of Erdoğan’s government once said: ‘It is better for the youth to become prostitutes than to go to the mountains’. Patriotism means to oppose this and to fight against all of this. In Northern Kurdistan, some young people have gathered and are developing a campaign to resist against the special warfare. I wish them success. But they organized such campaigns many times in the past, and were always left unfinished and therefore did not lead to any results. That is why I would like to caution them to be careful, so that this time their campaign will not be left halfway. The only way to fight against special war is through revolutionary war, through the fight for freedom. In the absence of revolutionary war, there is no point in making public statements and announcing campaigns. Let’s not fool ourselves, but adopt a more accurate and realistic approach.

‘Fighting leads to freedom, freedom brings about beauty, and it is this beauty that deserves love.’ In other words, if they want to be loved, they will have to wage struggle as youth so that all our love will be with them. That is something that Rêber Apo said, and it should be the guiding spirit for the Kurdish youth.

Of course as the Kurdish Freedom Movement we have a responsibility towards the youth. These criticisms are at the same time our self-critique. We regard them as our own shortcomings that we have to overcome. On this basis, once again I would like to salute the youth and call on them to develop are more Apoist stance in their freedom struggle. I am convinced that they will succeed in this.