Our Interviews

august 25, 2022

Parts of an interview with Duran Kalkan, member of the KCK Executive Council, about important new developments with regards to the struggle for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan, new figures regarding the resistance of the guerrilla against Turkey´s occupation policy in South Kurdistan/North Iraq, the continuing war crimes by the Turkish Army in South Kurdistan, the desperate diplomatic efforts by Turkey´s AKP-MHP regime, the support of international powers for Turkey´s attacks on Rojava/North and East Syria, recent developments in the relations between Turkey and Syria and the importance of the HDP´s ongoing democratic struggle in Turkey:

Important New Developments with Regards to Struggle for Freedom of Abdullah Öcalan

“Lately, there have been important development with regards to this struggle. A statement was recently published by 308 Turkish intellectuals against the war in Kurdistan. This was important. They called on the opposition not to support this war. They exposed and criticized the war. They showed that they are against the war. Of course, this also means opposing the İmralı torture and isolation system. In addition, 70 well-known intellectuals, politicians and democrats from all over the world recently made a statement. They called on everyone to support the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom, to oppose Tayyip Erdoğan’s fascism, and to oppose the Kurdish genocide. This was also very meaningful and valuable. At the same time, all this consitutes a call for the physical freedom of Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. All this clearly shows that this struggle is increasing. The statements and calls of trade unions, intellectuals, various democratic circles, individually and collectively, their opposition to the İmralı torture and isolation system, their demand for the physical freedom of Leader Apo, their demand to hear his voice, their stance that Leader Apo should be given the opportunity to play his role; all this is increasing. We salute all of these efforts. This is very meaningful.”

“The lawyers have also been continuing their efforts. The legal struggle is ongoing. Of course, we are looking at the process ahead. 8 years ago, the lawyers made attempts to reveal some things that had been suppressed. Statements were made that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will make a statement in September [2022] regarding the Imrali system and the ECHR’s decision on the retrial of Leader Apo. We have talked about these developments in the past. We have shown how the AKP-MHP fascism is trying to prevent this. They have been trying to prevent this with disciplinary penalties. All this has been maintained until now by neutralizing Europe, that is, the institutions that brought about this İmralı torture and isolation system, and by blocking their way. What will happen now? This is of course a matter of curiosity. The lawyers have stated that there will be a statement in September. The Kurdish people, all democratic circles are waiting with curiosity. What will be said, what will be announced? Why have they been silent for 8 years, what will these related circles say? How will they convince humanity and the various forces? Honestly, this is a matter of great curiosity. Everyone is waiting [for the statement in September].”

New Figures Regarding Resistance of Guerrilla Against Turkey´s Occupation Policy in South Kurdistan/North Iraq

“Of course, the fourth month of this great resistance has passed. Last year, this war was going on in similar areas. But of course, the 2021 war and the 2022 war are not in the same place. We are talking about the areas of Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna. The areas are the same, but the exact places where the war is taking place are different. Last year´s war took place more along the borders of these areas. Now the AKP-MHP fascist forces have been trying to move more inland. Therefore, the war is taking place in more central parts of these areas. This is where the guerrilla is even better prepared. On this basis, it is clear that a very harsh, relentless and meaningful war is going on. We have been evaluating this for four months. The enemy also says it and everyone is aware of it. The whole world is watching with great attention. There are intense discussions about what the results will look like. This government and the state system, the political status quo created after the First World War, lead to this war. And now everyone is watching with great curiosity to see what will happen, how it will end, what will come out of it. But the fighting parties have made the situation clear. They themselves have said that this is the last war of AKP-MHP fascism. They consider it as a war for life and death. It is certain that this will be the case for the AKP-MHP. Because now this government has come to its end. It will fall. The problem is not limited to the AKP-MHP. The Turkish system, which was formed based on the century-old mentality and politics of denial, annihilation and genocidal mentality and politics, will be destroyed. This is also a vital struggle for us. The war continues at its peak. Many times this war has been called the final battle. We are indeed in a war that is heading towards that point, a war that is growing and that will have great consequences. The battle in Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna is at the center of this war. In this sense, we can say that it this a war that will determine the fate of the Kurds.”

“The 4th month [of Turkey´s renewed attacks] has now been completed. The four month balance sheet was recently published. One may first ask: Did those who started this war of aggression and occupation plan to fight for four months? How fast did they hope to achieve results? In fact, they didn’t envision four months, they didn’t even envision four weeks. They said let’s complete it in four days, let’s finish it quickly, let’s win a victory and increase our political influence according to the war´s results. Despite making this calculation, not only did they not get any results in four months, they have now ended up in a complete deadlock. They are completely stuck now. There is a hand-to-hand battle. When they [Turkish army] move, the guerrilla hits them. They can’t do much from the ground. With air power they are trying to break the effectiveness of the guerrilla, the effectiveness of the guerrilla´s coordinated teams and tunnel warfare. In fact, the guerrilla has developed a very important tactical breakthrough: It has been very effective with its coordinated team and tunnel warfare. It has been very effective and has delivered heavy blows [to the Turkish army]. Now they are trying to break the guerrilla´s effectiveness with forbidden weapons, air strikes and technical power. The Turkish army´s situation on the ground is miserable. Every day the guerrilla cameras film and show this. The whole public is watching how they are, how miserable they are. The balance sheets that are being published regularly also clearly show this. The guerrilla has carried out 1,454 attacks in four months. In a narrow area. Yes, the battlefield is a rather big. But when we consider the whole of Kurdistan as a battlefield, the area where the current attacks are being carried out is a very limited area. So many guerrilla attacks in such an area. This means that the enemy has been attacked whenever he dared to make a move. This is definitely not a situation to be underestimated. It shows the intensity of the war. The guerrilla can verify at most half of the results of its attacks. 1871 killed Turkish soldiers have been made public. Many bodies [of Turkish soldiers] have been left behind under the control of the guerrilla. Guerrilla sources have already announced that they are in contact with the families [of these killed soldiers]. The total total number of killed soldiers is more like 2000. Of course, there are officers and contras among them, but also destroyed heavy weaponry: 6 helicopters, 2 tanks, 10 armored vehicles and 32 drones. A lot of technical equipment has been destroyed. Some of it has also confiscated by the guerrilla. These are clear facts. The HPG and YJA Star guerrilla has so far had 84 şehits [martyrs] on the battlefield. In other words, compared to other times and the overall average of the war [since 2015], the difference is really significant. It shows how effective the guerrilla’s performance and striking power has become, and how coordinated tunnel warfare has dealt a blow to AKP-MHP fascism, the Turkish army and its gangs. It is obvious how effective the guerrilla is today and what kind of position it has put the invading, aggressive power into. All this is very important. We can clearly see this in the current attempts of AKP-MHP fascism. I fact, we can clearly recognize the deadlock and defeat it has experienced in the Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna war.”

Continuing War Crimes by the Turkish Army in South Kurdistan/North Iraq

“First of all, they [AKP-MHP government and the Turkish state] are committing war crimes. Their very presence in Kurdistan constitutes a crime. They are genocidal occupiers who shed blood. But more than that, they are committing war crimes. They use banned weapons, chemical weapons, phosphorus bombs and tactical nuclear bombs. In the last four months, they have used these kinds of weapons 1532 times against the tunnels of the guerrilla. They have done this with weapons whose use constitutes a war crime and which were bought from NATO states. Some of them may have been bought with money, but the vast majority of them were simply given to them by NATO. The Kurdish people and the international public are still waiting for answers from the NATO administration, the US administration and from all the relevant state administrations. Because there are indeed documents [from the Turkish state] which clearly state ´we have used these kinds of weapons, we have used tactical nuclear bombs´. What is a tactical nuclear bomb? While a big bomb is used against a city, this smaller one is used against a building or a room. They haven produced them with the size of hand grenades: half a kilogram, one kilogram. These weapons cause complete destruction. The effect is the same [as other nuclear bombs]. Therefore, this constitutes the same degree of crime.”

“Turkey cannot produce these kinds of weapons. But the USA, France, England or Germany can. The Turkish state buys them from these states. Russia makes them, I guess they get them from Russia now, too. We don’t know exactly from whom and how much. But this situation needs to be exposed. It is necessary to investigate this crime further. Many esteemed intellectuals and politicians have talked about this issue. International organizations have called on everybody to fulfill their duties. This is important and meaningful, but there need to be even stronger reactions. We need to try to mobilize the relevant institutions more, to expose this situation even more. The Turkish state has no right to commit these crime. No one has the right to carry out a genocide against the Kurds. When the Kurds do something small, these states immediately make a statement: ´We understand the security problems of the Turkish Republic.´ But the Republic of Turkey is committing massacre after massacre, without even caring about children, women and the elderly. It is doing this in South Kurdistan, in Rojava [North and East Syria] and everywhere in North Kurdistan [East Turkey]. It is slaughtering people from East Kurdistan [North-West Iran]. But one says anything. They call Kurds terrorists and all kinds of things. What do they themselves promise to the Kurds and what do they want the Kurds to obey? It is almost as if the Turkish Republic has been given a green light to slaughter the Kurds. They [international powers] support this to the fullest, they benefit from it. Based on this, they continue their policy of exploitation.”

Desperate Diplomatic Efforts by Turkey´s AKP-MHP Regime

“Since early July. Tayyip Erdoğan has been traveling all around the world. He has gone everywhere. There is no place he has not visited. There is no state he has not begged for help. He also carried out massacres. He did this in Perex [village in South Kurdistan], he attacked Zaxo, he is doing it in Qamişlo, he is doing it in Kobanê and he massacred 4 children [close to Hesekê in Rojava]. Every day, day and night, he attacks and carries out massacres and asks for help and support from everyone. First, he wants arms support. Secondly, he wants political support for the attacks. He is trying to ensure that nobody opposes these attacks. He silences everyone by selling Turkey’s assets and resources. This shows how difficult it has become for him, what kind of a deadlock he is in. In other words, using banned weapons in the war, attacking all parts of Kurdistan, all Kurds from seven to seventy, begging for support and help from all states; all this are clear indicators of what kind of deadlock and collapse the Turkish state and AKP-MHP fascism are experiencing in the current war. They is trying desperately to survive, but all their efforts are futile. The guerrilla has successfully developed its new way of warfare, renewed itself, and proven its power to resist. The Kurdish people, the youth have learned how to resist against fascism and the AKP-MHP´s genocidal policy. From now on, these developments will continue even more. No matter what they do, they will not be able to stop the Kurdish women, youth and people.”

Support of International Powers for Turkey´s Attacks on Rojava/North and East Syria

“These are not new efforts, but there are developments that seem new. As AKP-MHP fascism gets stuck in the Medya Defense Zones [mountainous regions in South Kurdistan controlled by guerrilla forces], it seeks support from all over the world. It wants support from NATO and it wants it from anti-NATO countries. In the past Turkey increased its relations with China, now they are trying to establish relations with Russia and Iran, just like they did with NATO. They rushed to Tehran, then to Sochi. Tayyip Erdoğan also rushed to see Zelenski. They are already working in partnership with NATO. We have not heard any statement from NATO against the AKP-MHP´s genocidal policy. NATO always supports this policy. NATO is waging this war. It is also complicit in the use of banned weapons. Since the last Erdoğan-Putin meeting, the attacks [in Rojava/North and East Syria] have increased a little more. There have been statements from the Russian side that they held talks and signed agreements on many more issues. One of them was the issue of a new attack against North and East Syria. Russia has so far taken a cautious approach in this regard. The open or indirect statements of some circles who were able to get information gave the impression that the attack has been postponed a bit. Some of the AKP’s pencil pushers said that an attack might happen towards winter. Now the war is escalating in this area. The attack has apparently been postponed, but the war continues at a low intensity and is getting more and more intense. On the other hand, there are new developments in the political talks.”

“The developments with regards to the war in the Medya Defense Zones clearly show that we are faced with an occupation attack against South Kurdistan. Just like in Efrîn, Serêkaniyê, Girê Spî [all in Rojava/North and East Syria], they are constantly attacking along the entire border. They bombard every day. They attack villages, houses and kill children. The people of North and East Syria are being martyred every day. In the attack in Qamişlo, Rêzan Cawîd and Dijwar Kobanê, founders of KODAR from East Kurdistan, were martyred. Rêzan Cawîd was the co-chair of KODAR. Today the Turkish state massacres children. There are massacres like this every day. In other words, AKP-MHP fascism says ´I can strike as I want without recognizing any principles or rules´. Just as it commits massacres in Zaxo, it is doing the same against villages and towns all along the border of North and East Syria.”

“Today, there is a struggle against these attacks. This is very important and meaningful. I salute this struggle. Especially the actions of the Efrin Liberation Forces HRE are important. I congratulate them on all their successes and salute the HRE fighters. The SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] has also developed a clear attitude. Not like in the past. Now it is using its right to retaliate. This has actually always been its right. No one can say anything about why the SDF is using its right to retaliate. It is absolutely the SDF´s right to do so. It can use this right even more effectively and thus achieve important results. On the other hand, the people of North and East Syria, our people in Rojava have recognized the given realities. Today, there is an increased consciousness, organization and preparation of equipment to strengthen the self-defense in the face of any new occupation attack. These developments are very important. All peoples, especially the Kurds of Rojava, should know well that they can exist and live free in this world only to the extent that they organize, train themselves and show the willingness to fight.”

Developments in Relations between Turkey and Syria

“What do the AKP-MHP fascism’s efforts, its talks with Russia, Iran and Syria mean? It is really early to tell yet. But the fact that the Turkish Republic and the Damascus administration have met, the talks at the level of foreign ministers are important developments. Even the gangs [Islamist proxy-forces allied with Turkey] were disturbed by this. They protested, burned Turkish flags, there was chaos [in the occupied areas in North Syria]. And it looks like there will be even more confusion. Of course, we want to understand who is behind such an alliance, such talks, such a relationship, what role NATO plays in this, what role Russia plays, what role Iran plays. I mean, on the one hand Iran and Russia are talking about the dangers of AKP-MHP fascism and the Turkish state, but on the other hand, if they are promoting such a development, it is a very dangerous situation if they are going to support the AKP-MHP fascism’s invasion in North and East Syria on this basis. On the one hand, they have relations with the Kurds, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. Because this has been publicly said and the Autonomous Administration has already said that they are involved in talks. As the PKK and the KCK, we have declared that we find these efforts meaningful and that we support them. These are situations that are still on the agenda. We still have the same view. It would be bad if, on the one hand, this is happening, and on the other hand, Turkey was being supported against these efforts and was being encouraged to carry out new attacks. This is dangerous. They themselves will suffer harm. And we do not think that this will really be the case. First of all, it is certain that the essence of the talks between the Turkish Republic and Damascus is anti-PKK, anti-Kurdish, against the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. Because the Turkish Republic has no other concern. The AKP-MHP has no other problem. On this basis, they are asking for support from the Damascus government, the Assad administration. How much will such a demand be considered? How long will a relationship, an alliance be formed? After so much enmity, they can surely form an alliance against the Kurds. They have done this many times in the past. But how will they solve the many problems between them? This is not very clear. This is not something that will happen easily.”

“We can say the following: With regards to the Damascus administration, we have always been in favor of solving the problems with North and East Syria through a political solution within a Syrian Democratic Union. This has been the right thing to do. We can also say this for the Syrian government: It is worth carefully examining the past. The most stable time of the current Syrian state was when they developed positive relations with the Kurds. It was when they had a friendly relationship with the PKK. They should never forget this. They should not become a tool for the Turkish Republic’s Kurdish enmity. They would gain absolutely nothing from this. The same is true for Russia and Iran. If they are going to use the Kurds as a bargaining chip with NATO in order to benefit from Turkey in some ways, in order to carry out their contradictions through Turkey, they will not get anything out of this. They cannot pull Turkey away from NATO. Those who enter into such relations with them today while they are in NATO will enter into all kinds of relations against them tomorrow. They should know this well. These forces should be more careful and sensitive. We are watching these developments carefully. We hope that nothing negative or wrong will happen.”

“Finally, let me say this: There is no power left in the world that AKP-MHP fascism and the Turkish state have not established relations with and that they have not asked for support. Against whom? Against the Kurds. Why? To massacre the Kurds. You are so Kurdish-hostile, establish relations and alliances with everyone against the Kurds, and leave the Kurds no possibility of life in this world. But if Kurds establish relations with anyone, you call them ‘traitors’. Who is the real traitor? Who is betraying whom? The Kurds have never done anything to betray the Turkish people. They have never entered into any relationship or alliance that would harm the interests of the Turkish people, their country and freedom. Accusing the Kurdish people of betrayal every now and then actually reflects their own reality. We see clearly here who the traitor is and how enmity is being practiced.”

Importance of HDP´s Ongoing Democratic Struggle in Turkey

“HDP has a clear stance. It continues its efforts and struggle. Recently, the HDP congress and several rallies took place. From time to time the HDP takes effective initiatives. Its way forward is open. In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to say that the future of Turkey lies in the hands of the HDP. They continue their resistance. The HDP´s path is clear. The government is collapsing and there is no opposition to come to power. Time is also moving fast. Everyone sees this. AKP-MHP’s days are limited. The following can clearly be seen: After the AKP-MHP, it would make no sense for those who have the same mentality and politics in Turkey, who have an anti-Kurdish, colonialist, genocidal, pseudo-democratic mentality, to take over the power. If this will be the case, the AKP-MHP will not change and will not fall. Therefore, if the AKP-MHP are to fall and the government in Turkey is to change, the alternative is the HDP. The HDP seems to have understood this reality better in recent times. The “we will solve it” attitude at the recent HDP congress was very important. A program including basic problems and solutions was passed. All these developments constitute an important stance.”

“As the third alliance they also represent the democracy alliance. Their efforts in this direction continue. They say they will make a statement with regards to this alliance soon. This is good. This alliance needs to develop even more. They should be more confident. I can say the following: First, they should widen the alliance. They can have a broader approach. Why? Because today is their day. They should approach everyone with a program based on the minimum principles of democratization. They should be able to ally with anyone who wants even the smallest aspects of democracy. They should not necessarily combine many principles and say that they only unite with those who agree on all these principles. That is not an alliance. We are talking about democracy, an alliance and basic principles. You formulate three or four articles which constitute the basic democratic principles. On this basis, you can unite with everyone. This is how broad of an alliance we need. Secondly, we need much more intensive efforts. They need to work and struggle even more actively and approach people one-on-one even more. They need to mobilize more power. Yes, there are arrests, there is pressure, the current fascist administration creates obstacles. People see this, but all this must be fought against. The struggle develops, strengthens and pushes the HDP. The HDP is the HDP because it fights. Today, everyone is looking at the HDP. They see the future of Turkey in it. If the HDP hadn’t struggled, it wouldn’t have been able to do anything.”

“When Tayyip Erdoğan met with the Assad administration, Kılıçdaroğlu said, ‘Finally, they have come to follow our approach’. As if there was no problem left. AKP or CHP, Erdogan or Kilicdaroglu – there is no difference between them. That’s what this means. But this is unacceptable. CHP members should think a little smarter. If Kılıçdaroğlu says he wants to lead the new government, he should know that this attitude is completely unacceptable. So these efforts of him are in vain. Even if he succeeds, he won´t be able to stay in power. Because everyone sees things much more clearly today and people are fighting. Therefore, everyone has the duty and responsibility to be more consistent, sensitive, to support the democracy alliance. And the HDP carries the duty and responsibility to lead the democracy alliance even more. We are sure that this is going to happen.”