may 03, 2022

An interview with Cemil Bayik, KCK co-Chair, about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, including Turkey´s occupation attacks on South Kurdistan, NATO´s support for these attacks, the KDP´s collaboration with Turkey, the importance of the resistance against Turkish fascism, Iraq´s attacks on Sinjar, the ongoing isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, and the situation in Turkey´s prisons:

The Turkish state has recently started a new attack on South Kurdistan. This attack seems to be part of a broader plan. Could you elaborate more on this plan of the Turkish state?

For quite a long time, a comprehensive concept is being implemented against our movement. Now, attempts are being made to finalize the implementation in South Kurdistan and thus achieve the desired results. The basic aim of this concept is to crush the influence of the PKK and to commit a genocide against the Kurdish people. As part of this broader concept, they have now started a new attack on [the South Kurdish regions] Avaşîn and Zap. This attack does not only target our movement, but is also directed against the Kurdish people and humanity as a whole, since they want to completely annihilate all those who fight for democracy and freedom. As part of this concept, a special role has been assigned to Turkey and the KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party] and these two forces are now carrying out their mission accordingly. The same forces, that carried out the International Conspiracy against Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] and thus against our movement, our people and humanity as a whole, are in charge of this concept. NATO provides comprehensive support for it. The USA, England and Germany are all part of this concept. They try to get rid of the obstacles that the PKK creates for capitalist modernity and to carry out a genocide against the Kurdish people. They are doing this, because they know very well that they won´t be able to finalize the Kurdish genocide until they crush the influence of the PKK and its guerrilla forces. And they are very aware of the fact that the occupation policy in the Middle East will also not succeed without this. That is why the PKK is their primary target. The PKK constitutes the biggest obstacle for them. Therefore, they won´t be able to achieve their goals until they get rid of this obstacle.

It is also important to recognize that they don´t only target the PKK and the Kurdish people, but the Middle East as a whole. They themselves talk about this very openly. They want to impose an Ottoman policy on the Middle East. The Arab people and the other peoples in the region know this policy very well. They remember very well what the Ottomans did to them. That is why all these different peoples have also protested against this Ottoman policy. Everybody needs to recognize that the war in Avaşîn and Zap is a very comprehensive war which is not only limited to these two areas. As a first step, their plan is to achieve results in these areas. But as a seconds step, their goal is to take control of South Kurdistan as a whole. Today, Turkey already has a lot of military stations and MIT [Turkish secret service] posts in South Kurdistan. One third of South Kurdistan is under the control of Turkey. And they don´t consider this enough but want to gain control over all parts of South Kurdistan. The concept they are implementing in North Kurdistan, Rojava and South Kurdistan aims at establishing their hegemony over the whole Middle East. Therefore, not only the Kurdish people are facing a huge danger, but the Middle East as a whole. This danger for the Kurdish people and the Middle East constitutes a huge danger for all of humanity. The PKK is fighting against this danger. Therefore, the PKK is not only struggling for the Kurdish people, but for the whole Middle East and all of humanity.

In the case of Ukraine, there is a clear international stance against occupation. Yet, when it comes to the occupation attacks of the Turkish state, the world remains silent. Why is that?

The reason for this is clear. The forces of capitalist modernity want to crush the influence of the PKK since they consider it beneficial for their interests. They are doing this because they know that they won´t be able to secure their interests in the Middle East until they crush the PKK. They see the PKK, Rêber Apo and the guerrilla forces of the PKK as a huge danger for themselves and want to get rid of this danger. They have tasked the Turkish state and the KDP with the practical implementation of this. And the Turkish state and the KDP are willingly carrying out this plan for them. This plan serves the interests of the forces of capitalist modernity which is why all of them remain silent. Turkey and the KDP would never be able to wage this war against our movement and our people, if it wasn´t for the the concept that these forces are enforcing on our people and our movement and if they hadn´t tasked Turkey and the KDP with the practical implementation. The USA, England, Israel and Germany stand behind this concept. NATO provides comprehensive support to Turkey and the KDP. It is absolutely obvious that Turkey and the KDP are waging this war on the basis of this support. This concept is being pursued together with Turkey and the KDP. That is why all these forces remain silent. Sometimes they talk about human rights and democracy, but they are only doing this for their own interests. They say and propagate everything that servers their own interests. But their true face looks very different. Their support for Turkey and the KDP but also their silence concerning the brutality of the Turkish state in North Kurdistan, Rojava and South Kurdistan clearly show what their true face looks like. If something minor happens in another place, these forces raise hell. At the same time, massacres, torture, assimilation, deliberate demographic change and ecological destruction are taking place in Kurdistan. To put in a nutshell: Everything is being done in order to make it impossible for the Kurds to live in Kurdistan. Yet, none of these forces have protested against this just once. They have never asked why all this is happening. Why? Because they themselves are the ones who are responsible for this policy while Turkey and the KDP are the forces tasked with its practical implementation. They have absolutely no intention to protect the people, democracy, freedom, human rights and nature. For them, their own interests are everything that counts. They will always predicate themselves on what serves their own interests.

Because of the war between Russia and Ukraine, these forces now want to cut off Russian gas supplies to Europe and instead supply Europe with gas from the Middle East. This gas pipeline passes through Kurdistan. Therefore, the goal of these forces is to control this corridor. This is why they want to destroy the PKK and silence the Kurdish people. They think that by doing so, they will be able to easily transfer Middle Eastern gas to Europe. But they are wrong. Everybody who takes a hostile stance against the PKK and the Kurdish people pursues a wrong plan.

Turkey has occupied parts of Iraq and Syria and seeks to completely annex these territories. How do you evaluate the stance of the countries you mentioned earlier, but also of the Arab world against this?

The policy that capitalist modernity pursues against Rêber Apo and the PKK ist not only limited to the PKK and North Kurdistan. Neither is it only limited to the Kurds. This policy is being enforced on the whole Middle East. In order for this policy to succeed, they need to first of all achieve results against Rêber Apo and the PKK. Because Kurdistan lies at the heart of the Middle East. All forces, who seek to succeed in the Middle East, need to achieve results in Kurdistan first. But this is not an easy thing to do in Kurdistan. Because in Kurdistan, a struggle is being led under the leadership of Rêber Apo and the PKK. This is a huge struggle, a struggle for the freedom of all peoples. Because these forces consider this as a danger for themselves, they support Turkey and try to obstruct this struggle. Turkey has been waging this war for over 40 years now. It has used all its resources for this war. But it has been unable to achieve results. That is why, now, they predicate their policy on Kurdish collaborators.

Capitalist modernity itself has realized that despite all its support, Turkey is not able to achieve the desired results. As a result, they have arranged for those Kurds who are serving them to develop close relations with Turkey. With the help of these Kurds who are committing treason and of Turkey, the forces of capitalist modernity are putting the mentioned concept into action and seek to put an end to the danger for them that they consider the PKK to be. This is the basis of the policy they currently pursue. Therefore, the current war is a fight for existence. This is the case both for the AKP-MHP government, as well as for those who collaborate with Turkey and commit treason. The blows that are dealt to these treacherous and collaborating Kurds are at the same time heavy blows to the system of capitalist modernity and its plans in the Middle East. Since they are afraid of this, they attack our movement using everything at their disposal. They have mobilized all their resources in order to crush the PKK and commit a genocide against our people. The current status of South Kurdistan is in danger today. All the achievements that have been gained in South Kurdistan through the efforts of the Kurdish people and the PKK are now at risk. The Arab people also need to recognize this danger and need to remember well what the Ottomans did to them. Arab intellectuals, politicians and artists talk about this openly. Their protest is growing stronger every day and they are becoming more and more aware of the policy that Turkey and the KDP pursue against them.

While these attacks on South Kurdistan are taking place, the Iraqi state is trying to increase its troops in Şengal [Sinjar]. The people in Şengal have protested against this. What kind of attitude does Iraq need to take regarding Şengal? And what kind of stance do the Ezidi society and the democratic forces need to take?

Turkey has started a huge war and the KDP supports Turkey in every way possible in this war. At the same time, Iraq has recently started attacking Şengal and the Ezidi society. It is impossible to look at these attacks separately from the war in Zap and Avaşîn. Kazimi [Iraqi prime minister] considered the war that Turkey and the KDP have started in Zap and Avaşîn as an opportunity and tried to benefit from it. He thought that nobody would help the Ezidis if he attacks Şengal and that this would allow him to secure certain concessions. This approach is a huge shame for Iraq because the Ezidis were the ones who fought against the Islamic State (IS). With their fight, the Ezidis didn´t only liberate themselves, but also protected the dignity of the Iraqi government and of South Kurdistan.

The war of the Ezidis against IS has become a source of pride for them. Both Iraq and South Kurdistan need to thank them and fulfill their legitimate demands. Yet, instead of doing this, Iraq attacks the Ezidis who have cleansed Iraq of all its deeds and is trying to force them to capitulate. IS also tried to force them into capitulation and annihilate them. The Ezidis are an oppressed society that has never caused any harm to anybody. They are neither asking for an own state, nor do they want to separate themselves from Iraq. They would not even have the power to do this. All they want is live in their homeland according to their own belief and religion. This demand needs to be fulfilled. Their demand is very reasonable. Accepting their demand would greatly increase the respect for Iraq. But attacks against this society won´t benefit Iraq at all. Quite to the contrary, Iraqi will suffer losses as a result. So what is the right thing to do? The right thing is for Iraq to solve its problems with the Ezidi society through dialogue. The demands of the Ezidis are not against Iraq but will only increase the wealth of the country. If Iraq continues to attack, it will appear to be just like IS. Because IS also wanted to annihilate the Ezidi society.

Iraq always said that it was the friend of all peoples and religions. Their is no people which has been oppressed as much as the Ezidis. Today, they are only a small community that wants to live according to its own belief. Iraq needs to know very well that this policy won´t benefit it at all. Iraq will suffer even greater losses than the Ezidis. We consider Iraq´s current policy as wrong. The international forces for democracy and freedom need to support the Ezidis. They need to see this as one of their most fundamental responsibilities. Because the Ezidis want to live a free life. With its war against IS, the Ezidi society has done a great service to all of humanity. Therefore, we call on the whole world and on humanity to stand up against this policy directed against the Ezidis.

In Kurdistan´s history resistance and treason have always existed side by side. This has caused great tragedies. Despite the huge protest of the Kurdish people, the KDP continues to insist on its treason. How is it possible that the KDP still sides with Turkey?

In this year´s Newroz message, I already said that the KDP has made a clear decision to side with the Turkish state. Today, everybody can see this fact very clearly. When I said this on Newroz, some people reacted a little doubtfully, but today this has become absolutely clear. The KDP has decided not to take sides with the Kurdish people, but with Turkey. Everybody knows that the Turkish state does not only pursue an anti-Kurdish policy in North Kurdistan but everywhere. It does so in Rojava, South Kurdistan, Europe and everywhere else. It doesn´t pursue its anti-Kurdish policy secretly, but does so very openly. Why has the KDP not decided to take sides with the Kurdish people, but preferred the Turkish state instead? Because within the KDP, family interests are dominant. They don´t predicate themselves on the interests of the Kurdish people, but on their family interests. They are using all the resources [of South Kurdistan] for the benefit of the Barzani family. International media reports have shown how they have assembled billions of dollars and how they have bought huge amounts of property from the USA all the way to the Persian Gulf. By doing so, they have made their decision to side with the Turkish state. Because those who own this much property and wealth don´t take sides with the people, but with the powerful instead. They do so, because their interests make this necessary. We can see clearly that they are acting together with Turkey, the USA, England, German and Israel. For the people, this state means only slavery, tyranny and injustice. If the KDP had decided to take sides with the Kurdish people, it wouldn´t be acting together with these states. But instead, they stand side by side with Turkey because they only worry about material things.

We can see clearly that the KDP has fully joined the war of the Turkish state. It encircles the guerrilla forces, cuts off the connection between different guerrilla areas, helps Turkish soldiers reach these areas, guarantees their security, provides logistical support for them, transports killed Turkish soldiers from the battlefield and provides the Turkish state with intelligence information. To put it in a nutshell: The KDP gives all the support it can to the Turkish state. Some circles have already openly criticized this. Very recently, three parties made a public statement in Hewlêr [Erbil] in which they condemned the support for the occupation carried out by the Turkish state. In response, the KDP attacked them. I would like to respectfully greet these three parties. In [the South Kurdish city of] Xaneqîn, the people gave out sweets to celebrate the success of the guerrilla. I would like to respectfully greet them as well. In Kirkuk, Sulaimaniyah, Çemçemal, Raperîn and many other places, artists, authors, intellectuals and politicians have condemned the occupation and have talked openly about the connection between treason and occupation. I would like to respectfully greet them, too. In Silopi [North Kurdistan], our people demonstrated courageously despite the presence of Turkish soldiers and police. I would like to greet them and express my respect for them. Our people in Europe are also protesting against the Turkish state´s occupation and the treason and collaboration of the KDP. I would like to greet them and express my respect for them. Day by day, the protest of the peoples and the forces of democracy and freedom against the occupation carried out by the Turkish state and the treason of the KDP is growing stronger. The KDP needs to understand this and refrain from its current policy. On this basis, I would like to make a call: This policy against the Kurdish people is also against you. You might be pursuing a policy limited to daily affairs, but eventually this policy will destroy you, too. At first, the PKK might be the target, but after that everybody else will be targeted. Our people have also said this very clearly.

Is the protest of artists, intellectuals and politicians against this policy of treason enough?

Those whose interests are closely aligned with the occupiers follow a policy of treason. This has a long historical foundation in Kurdistan. Because of the division and lack of strength of Kurdistan, these forces say: `Without support from outside, we cannot achieve any results.´ Yet, these outside forces are colonialist forces that follow a hostile policy towards the Kurds. That is why certain powerful circles among the Kurds act together with these forces according to to their own interests and deceive the people. They tell the people: `We are surrounded on all four sides. If we don´t get support from outside, we won´t be able to stay on our feet.` Until now, they have been able to deceive the people. But today, the people have realized that they are not telling the truth and that this policy does not serve the Kurdish people, but its enemies instead. The struggle of the Kurdish people has an influence on the region and the whole world. Today, everybody sees the struggle of the Kurdish people and the PKK and gains strength and hope from it. All these people see Rêber Apo and the Kurdish women as their leaders. That is why they consider this war that is being led by the Turkish state with the collaboration of the KDP as a danger for themselves and increase their protests against occupation and treason day by day.

But is all this enough? No, it is not. This protest will continue to grow. This also depends on our own struggle. If we increase our struggle even more, not only the Kurds, but also the Arab people, the international public and the forces of democracy and freedom will increase their protests against the Turkish state´s occupation and the KDP´s collaboration and even more people will join the demonstrations. On the first day of the attacks, the protests weren´t very strong. But day by day, the protest is increasing. For example, British workers´ unions have taken a very strong stance against the occupation. I would like to greet them and express my respect for them. In addition, the protests of the international forces of democracy and freedom are also growing. The same is true for Arab politicians and intellectuals, because they have also understood better now what kind of danger the Turkish state and the KDP constitute for them. They are making efforts to inform the Arab people about this topic. I would like to respectfully greet them, too. It is very important that they increase their efforts even more.

The guerrilla forces in Zap and Avaşîn are inflicting heavy blows on the occupying forces and are thus working on bringing an end to the AKP-MHP. Because the end of the AKP-MHP means that the Kurdish people, the peoples of the Middle East and all of humanity free themselves from a huge burden. For this goal, the guerrilla forces are waging an unbelievable resistance against all the attacks that are taking place with the most modern weapons like tanks, artillery and war planes, but also with chemical weapons. It is our right to do everything we can against these attacks. We are waging a justified and legitimate struggle. The Turkish state is the one that is not justified and legitimate. It is trying to occupy our land and annihilate us. Standing up against this constitutes a historical and human responsibility that derives from our democratic culture.

The guerrilla forces continue to wage a determined resistance against the attacks. With their light weaponry, they are resisting against the most modern war technology and chemical weapons. What is your take on the resistance of the guerrilla forces?

The guerrilla forces are waging a war of dignity. This is a war for all of humanity and to protect all human values. Therefore, the guerrilla forces are not only making history for the Kurdish people, but for all of humanity. Where do they get the strength from that enables them to do all this? They get it from Rêber Apo, from his ideology, philosophy, resistance and his struggle for the Kurdish people and humanity. If the guerrilla forces did not have this strong commitment and weren´t willing to sacrifice themselves completely for freedom and democracy, they wouldn´t be able to wage this struggle under such circumstances. Because they are fighting against chemical weapons, air strikes, artillery shelling and the most modern technology. These bombardments don´t only take place once in a while but are a constant reality. There is absolutely no interruption of the air strikes and artillery shelling. The attacks with chemical weapons also don´t only take place once or twice in a few places. Chemical weapons are being used in many different places and take place a lot. In addition to all that, the KDP is using all its resources to serve Turkey. Turkey is not only using its own resources for its attacks but also those of NATO. At first sight, this war might seem like a war against Turkey, but actually it is a war against NATO. Because NATO has been waging this war against us since the very beginning and has been supporting Turkey with regards to this. Without this NATO support, Turkey would not have been able to stay on its feet for so long. This is a fact. Therefore, I would like to greet the guerrilla forces and express my thanks to them. The guerrilla forces themselves know very well that they are not only waging this war for the Kurdish people, but for all peoples of the Middle East and humanity as a whole. The guerrilla forces represent human values like freedom, democracy and equality. They are giving their everything to serve these values. Their struggle gives hope to the Kurdish people, the international friends of the Kurds, humanity and the international forces of democracy and freedom. If it wasn´t for this unique, self-sacrificing struggle of the guerrilla forces and the heavy blows they are dealing to the occupiers, the Kurdish people and its international friends would not support the guerrilla´s resistance in this way. By supporting the guerrilla forces, they are taking responsibility for themselves. Because the guerrilla forces are giving their lives for them, not for themselves. The guerrillas don´t ask for anything for themselves. If they did, they wouldn´t be able to survive under these circumstances for one single day. Under these most difficult circumstances, the guerrilla forces are giving their lives for the values, identity and future of the Kurdish people, especially for South Kurdistan.

Our people in South Kurdistan were attacked with chemical weapons in the past. They have thousands of Şehits and wounded. I am sure that the people of South Kurdistan know better than anybody else what attacks with chemical weapons mean. Today, the guerrilla forces are fighting against chemical weapons. Thus, they don´t allow the Turkish state and the KDP to establish their hegemony over South Kurdistan. It is important for everybody to understand that if the Turkish state and the KDP achieve their desired results, South Kurdistan will cease to exist. Not a single South Kurdish party will be able to stay on its feet. They will force everybody to capitulate, rid them of their identity and turn them into slaves. The guerrilla forces have so far prevented this, but the KDP and Turkey still try to suffocate everybody. The source of the problems [in South Kurdistan] are the KDP and Turkey. In order to solve these problems, there is only one way, namely defeating the Turkish state in the Zap area. With the support of the people, this will be possible. Here, the role of our South Kurdish people is especially important. If the Turkish state is defeated in Zap, the AKP-MHP in Ankara will also collapse. This is the kind of struggle the PKK is waging today. The PKK wants to free the Kurdish people and all parts of Kurdistan, but also all peoples of the Middle East and humanity as a whole from this burden.

In connection with the current attacks, the isolation and torture system against Abdullah Öcalan continues. At the same time, the international campaign for his freedom is also going on. How do you evaluate the ongoing struggle for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan?

Everybody needs to take part in the campaign for the physical freedom of the leader of the Kurdish people Abdullah Öcalan. Not only the Kurdish people but everybody who is against oppression, fascism and hegemony, all the people who predicate themselves on human values, ecology, democracy and freedom. This campaign does not only aim at achieving the physical freedom of Rêber Apo but also at solving the Kurdish question. It serves the democratization of Turkey and the Middle East. And it will also serve democracy and freedom all over the world. Because Rêber Apo is not simply an individual. He does not only represent the PKK and the Kurdish people. By representing the Kurdish people, the PKK represents and fights for all of humanity. It seeks to liberate humanity from the hegemonic system, especially from capitalist modernity. That is the foundation of the PKK´s struggle. All those who have read the books and defense writings of Rêber Apo understand this. As a consequence, they support Rêber Apo and the struggle of him and the PKK.

Through their attacks on Rêber Apo, they want to annihilate the PKK, the Kurdish people and humanity including all its hopes. The same policy against Rêber Apo is also being pursued against the Kurdish people. The Turkish state seeks to take revenge. They had annihilated many different peoples and were very close to doing the same to the Kurds. That is exactly why Rêber Apo started his struggle. Thus, he has not only resurrected the Kurds but has breathed new life into them. That is what the Turkish state seeks to take revenge for. Their dirty policy aims at crushing the influence of Rêber Apo in order to be able to easily silence the PKK and the Kurdish people. This policy against Rêber Apo is being implemented in all parts of Kurdistan. Today´s war in Zap and Avaşîn is a continuation of this policy. In North Kurdistan, Rojava, South Kurdistan and East Kurdistan, Kurds are being murdered, tortured, assimilated, whole areas are deliberately being depopulated, demographic change is being enforced and war is spread. All of this is part of the general genocidal policy against the Kurdish people. But who is resisting against this policy? Rêber Apo. That is exactly why this genocidal policy is being pursued against him. Whatever is being done to Rêber Apo is also being implemented against the Kurdish people as a whole. This is the foundation of the Turkish state´s policy.

In Turkey, prisoners who have finished their prison sentences are not being released. Others have recently been tortured to death or simply left dying. What is your opinion about this issue?

The genocidal policy of the Turkish state is being implemented most comprehensively in the prisons. Who are the people that are being imprisoned? All those who struggle against the genocidal policy. The prisons are the places where this policy can be seen very clearly. Anybody who wants to understand what kind of policy the Turkish state pursues against the Kurdish people needs to look at what is happening in the prisons. There, the Turkish state wants to crush the willpower of the prisoners and force them to capitulate and to serve the state.

All over the world, many people have been imprisoned. But in Kurdistan, this has happened the most. In North Kurdistan, there is basically nobody left who has never been in prison. Many have been imprisoned multiple times. Today, 300.000 thousand members of our society are in prison. Whoever fights for the Kurdish people and Kurdistan, gets imprisoned. They are being tortured and get long prison sentences. They turn life into hell for the prisoners. The prisoners are deliberately made sick, don´t receive medical treatment and are not released although they have finished their prison sentences. Today, our people are being murdered in Turkey´s prisons every single day. They are carrying out death sentences while at the same time deceiving everybody by claiming that they have officially banned the death sentence. But today, death sentences are being carried out in practice.

The Turkish state hasn´t been able to achieve any results against the guerrilla forces in Zap. It has been unable to crush the guerrilla´s willpower and has suffered heavy blows there instead. As a result, it has started panicking and resorts to the use of chemical weapons. At the same time, the Turkish state has introduced the `law of remorse´ and commits massacres in the prisons. What does all this clearly show? It shows that the Turkish state has been unable to achieve any results, is facing an increasing resistance and suffering heavy blows. Its losses have increased and its downfall has accelerated. The Turkish state is filled with a huge fear. That is why it carries out this kind of policy. They have used all their resources but have still not achieved any results. That is why it resorts to the use of chemical weapons and to brutal law. When all this also doesn´t help, the Turkish state tries to achieve its desired results by committing massacres and by carrying out death penalties. Therefore, I would like to respectfully greet all our imprisoned comrades who continue to resist against the genocide. I am absolutely convinced that their resistance in the prisons will defeat the prison policy of the Turkish state. Just like the guerrilla forces defeated them, our imprisoned comrades will do the same at their front. Thus, the resistance of the guerrilla forces and the prisons complement each other. This spirit of resistance also spreads among the people and gives hope to all of humanity.

The Turkish state and its collaborator KDP, but also NATO, the USA, England, Germany, Israel and all the other forces that support this policy need to know that – no matter what they do – they will never be able to crush the willpower of the PKK, the guerrilla forces, our comrades in prison and the Kurdish people. All their efforts will only increase the anger of the Kurdish people and the PKK. And this will lead to their defeat. Therefore, our struggle won´t only lead to the victory of the Kurdish people, but also of all people of the Middle East. We seek to promote the hope and demands of humanity. This is what our struggle is based on. No matter how great, we are ready to give every sacrifice that is necessary for this struggle. We have done so in the past and we will continue to do so in the future. Nobody will be able to break our willpower. Eventually, they will be the ones to loose. The Kurdish people will achieve great victories. And this will benefit everybody greatly.