Our Interviews

may 24, 2022

Parts of an interview with Cemil Bayik, KCK co-Chair, about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, including Turkey´s isolation policy against Abdullah Öcalan, the death penalty in Turkey´s prisons, the danger of Turkey´s attacks on South Kurdistan for the whole Middle East, the danger of Iraq falling apart, the harm inflicted on the Kurdish People by the KDP´s policy, the recent murder of the Kurdish patriot Mihemed Zekî Çelebî in Süleymaniye, the huge pressure on the HDP in Turkey, the impact of the war in Ukraine on Kurdistan, the blackmailing of Sweden and Finland by Turkey, the need for a democratic solution in Şengal [Sinjar] and Turkey´s destructive Syria policy:

Isolation of Abdullah Öcalan on Turkish Prison Island Imrali

“The Turkish state says that because of disciplinary penalties nobody is allowed to meet Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. Thus, they want to create the impression that they are following the law. This approach has become a constant policy. They don´t only use disciplinary penalties once, but always give a new one before the current one has even ended. Thus, they prolong these penalties every six months. They want to make the isolation of Rêber Apo constant. By doing this, they seek to cut Rêber Apo off from humanity, the people and our movement. They want to silence him so that the people forget about him. They try to force us and everybody else to accept this. But this is absolutely impossible. Neither our movement, nor the Kurdish people or anybody who defends human values can accept this. Because this isolation policy of the Turkish state against Rêber Apo is against the Kurdish people and humanity.”

“Currently, there is an international campaign for Rêber Apo. With the isolation policy, the Turkish state wants to obstruct this campaign. Furthermore, in European law there is the `right to hope` which grants people who have been imprisoned for 24 years the right to have their conditions improved and be released. Rêber Apo has been imprisoned for 24 years now. As a member of the Council of Europe, Turkey knows that this issue will be put on the agenda and seeks to prevent exactly this. Therefore, they say that Rêber Apo is still in prison because he has not given up his goals. Consequently, they give him disciplinary penalties. People with disciplinary penalties don´t get the chance to have their situation reviewed, their conditions improved and to be released. This is what Turkey is trying to make Europe accept.”

“Sixteen English trade unions have recently published a call, sent a letter to Turkey and made an international statement in support of Rêber Apo and the Kurdish people. They demand that the Turkish state stops its war against Rêber Apo, the Kurdish people and the guerrillas and that it puts an end to its genocidal occupation and the ban of the Kurdish culture and language. And they demand that the Turkish state sits down with the Kurds and solves the Kurdish question. Furthermore, Italian trade unions organized a demonstration and called on the Turkish state to stop its policy against Rêber Apo, the Kurdish people and the guerrillas. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the trade unions of Italy and England and congratulate them on their very important work. Our movement and our people will never forget this. Now, they need to increase their work even more so that they can mobilize trade unions from other countries and the European public as well. Thus, they will be able to achieve very important results.”

Death Penalty in Turkey´s Prisons

“If the Turkish state doesn´t achieve any results in the prisons, its policy against the Kurdish people will also not lead to anything outside of the prisons. The political prisoners represent the Kurdish people. If you want to annihilate the Kurdish people, you need to crush the willpower of the political prisoners. This is why the Turkish state carries out such brutal attacks against the prisons. Turkey deceives everybody by claiming that it has put an end to the death penalty. This is a lie. Death penalties continue to be carried out in the prisons. Thus, they are taking revenge on many revolutionary and democratic prisoners who refuse to accept their policy of capitulation. They simply murder them. Every day, new corpses leave the prisons. Sick prisoners are not allowed to receive treatment. They want all these people to die in prison. Many calls for the release of these people have been made but the Turkish state refuses to release them. The Turkish state murders these prisoners. And when they turn over their corpses, they claim that they have died because of an illness that could not be identified, that they just died or that it might have been Corona. All these claims are not true. It is absolutely obvious, that these political prisoners are being tortured to death and that their corpses are then turned over to their families. This clearly is a way of taking revenge.”

Danger of Turkey´s Attacks on South Kurdistan for Whole Middle East

“The war in [the South Kurdish areas] Zap and Avaşîn did not start on April 14 or 17 of this year. Actually, it started on August 26, 2016. On that day, when Turkey attacked [the North Syrian city] Cerablus, Biden and Mesûd Barzanî were in Ankara. Therefore, it is clear that the USA, Turkey and the KDP made this decision together. Based on their common decision, Turkey attacked Cerablus. Ever since that day, this policy has continued. As a result, the policy against the Kurdish people in North Kurdistan continues, in Rojava [the areas] Efrîn, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî have been occupied, just like Cerablûs and Bab, and in South Kurdistan an attempt to occupy the region has been started. The current events in Zap and Avaşîn are also a result of this same policy. Therefore, Turkey might appear to be waging this war in Zap and Avaşîn, but it is actually NATO. We are fighting against NATO. Not only today, but we have been fighting against NATO ever since the PKK was founded. Because Turkey is a NATO member, it receives very comprehensive support from NATO. Without the help of NATO, Turkey could have never waged this war until now. NATO is the one that decides to wage this war and Turkey simply puts this decision into practice. And the KDP collaborates with Turkey in line with this NATO decision.”

“The war in Zap and Avaşîn is not just an operation, like they claim. Calling it an operation is simply an attempt to deceive. This is a huge war. I can clearly say that the current war in Zap and Avaşîn is not like the war that Turkey has been waging against us until now. It is completely different. Both the Turkish state and the AKP-MHP government consider this war strategic for themselves. They see this as a war that will decide whether they will survive or not. That is why they have mobilized all their resources both in- and outside of the country for this war in order to stay in power and allow the Turkish state to remain on its feet. This is the reason why they are using the most modern technology and have deployed a huge number of troops. They simply don´t care about how many of their soldiers and Islamist proxy forces die there. Their order is clear: “You need to achieve results.” Therefore, they are using war planes, drones, helicopters, artillery and chemical weapons in order to achieve their desired results.”

“Their goal in this war is to crush the PKK and thus be able to carry out their genocidal policy. But this is not their only goal. During World War I, the Ottomans lost a lot of territory. That is why they drew a border which they called Mîsak-î Mîllî [National Pact]. Within these borders, they wanted to re-establish their state and continue their hegemony. But because of the Treaty of Lausanne, this did not happen and they lost some of the territories that they had defined as their own as part of the Mîsak-î Mîllî. The Turkish state has never accepted this. Therefore, Erdogan and Bahceli say that they need to reach the Mîsak-î Mîllî borders. They consider the current conditions in the world and in the Middle East to be convenient for achieving this goal. In order to be able to do so, they want to crush the PKK and carry out a genocide against the Kurds. Because if they don´t achieve any results in this regard, they won´t be able to achieve their goal. The current war in Zap does therefore not only affect the Kurds but all peoples in the region. If the PKK and the Kurdish people suffer a decisive blow, everybody will suffer great harm and nobody will be able to stay on their feet. Then, AKP-MHP fascism will be able to establish itself in all of Turkey.”

“Erdogan and Bahceli are not only using the Turkish army, but also Islamist proxy forces. The same proxy forces that they used in Libya and Azerbaijan, they are now using to wage this war [in Zap and Avaşîn]. And they are also deploying village guards from Turkey. With the help of all of these forces and by using chemical weapons, they want to achieve results. The HPG and YJA-Star guerrilla are putting up a heroic resistance against all of these attacks. The Turkish state had planned to achieve results quickly with its huge force and with the help of heavy bombardments. According to their plans, they would have thus taken control of Zap and carried on with their Mîsak-î Mîllî and neo-Ottoman aspirations. But the guerrilla forces have defeated this plan and have not allowed this policy to succeed. They have dealt huge blows to them. The Central Command [of the HPG] publishes balance sheets of the war daily, weekly and monthly. They clearly show that the Turkish state continues to suffer huge blows. The AKP-MHP government had planned to carry out early elections and have used all their resources to make this possible. But they have suffered huge blows and are unable to achieve any results in Zap. Zap will become a graveyard for them and the AKP-MHP government will fall. Therefore, everybody needs to refrain from keeping close ties with Erdogan and Bahceli and from supporting their policy. Whoever continues to support their policy will loose. Among the Kurds, this is the case for the KDP and in Turkey this holds true for the CHP and the Iyi Parti. Whoever stays close to this government and supports its policy will loose.”

“In front of everybody´s eyes, chemical weapons are being used every single day. But everybody just remains silent. A delegation wanted to investigate the use of chemical weapons in the affected areas but England prevented this. Why does England prevent such a delegation? Because if this delegation comes and documents the use of chemical weapons, this will turn into a problem for them. That is why England does not want the truth to become clear. England also provides Turkey with new weapons. Media reports have shown this. The USA, England, Germany and Israel stand behind this war. And the KDP works with Turkey in line with the decision of these forces. So NATO is actively involved in this war which is why this is a war against NATO.”

Danger of Iraq Falling Apart

“Iraq is weak. Everybody sees this and wants to benefit from this situation. Many forces are putting pressure on Iraq and some are even directly intervening into the country. They want to increase their influence in Iraq and thus be able to impose their policy on the Iraqi state. Iraq has remained silent regarding the current war in Zap. They might have made some statements, but this only happened because they didn´t have any other option. If they hadn´t made any statements and hadn´t voiced their criticism, neither Iraq nor the Arab people would have accepted this. Therefore, they made a statement in order to avoid protests from the Iraqi people and the Arab people. But their statements were very weak. Turkey, the KDP and the USA know this very well and want to benefit from the weakness of Iraq. Iraqi airspace is under the control of the USA. Without the approval of the USA, the war planes of the Turkish states cannot fly over Iraq and South Kurdistan. Turkey´s war planes and helicopters can only scout and bomb the area because the USA has opened Iraqi airspace for them. This clearly shows that NATO and the USA stand behind this war. Because Turkey is a NATO member. Without the approval of NATO, Turkey cannot attack South Kurdistan and Rojava like this, it cannot take control of cities and areas, bomb them, cut down forests and depopulate the area. This policy constitutes a huge threat to Iraq and paves the way for the falling apart of the country. Both the Iraqi people and the Arab people need to recognize this. They need to understand the coalition between the Kurds and the Arabs as vital for themselves. If they do this, they will be able to stand against neo-Ottomanism, promote democracy and freedom in their country and protect it.”

Harm of KDP Policy for the Kurdish People

“In the past, there used to be a Turkish TV program called `Anadolu´dan Görünüm`. The main aim of this program was to wage special warfare against our people and our movement. By spreading deceiving and wrong news, they wanted to manipulate our people and the other peoples. Thus, they waged a very dirty war. Today, KDP media spreads news that are very similar to the news once spread by `Anadolu´dan Görünüm`. The news of the KDP media are completely the same. This clearly shows, that they were trained by Turkey in order to deceive the Kurdish people and the international public. The KDP media is thus waging a special warfare. The KDP needs to refrain from this policy. This policy does not serve the interests of the KDP and the Kurdish people. Today, the Kurdish people are faced with historic opportunities. Therefore, by building their national unity, the Kurdish people can achieve freedom. Despite our calls, the KDP works with the Turkish state and serves its policy. With this policy, the KDP has destroyed all its respect among the Kurdish people, the people of the Behdînan area and also within the KDP itself. We don´t say that the KDP needs to definitely support us. Of course, if they do, that would be good. But we simply ask them to not serve the Turkish state and its genocidal policy.”

Recent Murder of Kurdish Patriot Mihemed Zekî Çelebî in Süleymaniye

“I would like to respectfully commemorate Mihemed Zekî Çelebî. He was a true patriot. MIT [Turkish secret service] had threatened him. But he made these threats public on TV and thus showed exactly the right attitude. He made the policy of the Turkish state against Kurdish patriots public. By making the threats against himself public, he warned all Kurdish patriots not to fall for the games of the occupier. I would like to express my condolences to his family and friends and also to the Kurdish people. I would also like to greet all Kurdish patriots who refuse to give in to the Turkish state, who choose to stay in Kurdistan, work in Süleymaniye and Behdînan and don´t give in to the blackmailing and threats by the MIT and Parastin [KDP secret service]. This is exactly what a patriotic and revolutionary attitude needs to be like. With these attacks, the Turkish state wants to send the following message: `There is no stability in South Kurdistan. If you insist on your patriotism, you won´t stay alive.` With this message, they want to intimidate the Kurdish patriots and the people of South Kurdistan. Therefore, our patriots from North Kurdistan who have settled down in South Kurdistan need to not take a single step back in the face of this policy of the Turkish state.”

Huge Pressure on HDP in Turkey

“In North Kurdistan, people are being imprisoned and murdered. Even corpses are being attacked. Prisoners who have served their prison sentence are not being released but receive new sentences. Everything Kurdish is being banned. The Kurdish language is being banned. Kurdish concerts in Mûş, Bedlîs and all major cities of Turkey have recently been banned. Thus, the Turkish state clearly says: `You are not allowed to sing in Kurdish, play theater in Kurdish, receive education in Kurdish or to make a single step in Kurdish. You have to give up your Kurdish language and identity. You have to become Turkish and work for the Turks. Only then will you be able to live.`”

“Who continues to fight democratically against all these attacks? The HDP. The HDP does neither side with the government, nor with the opposition. Because the policy of the opposition only serves the interests of the government and the Kurdish genocide. The opposition does not pursue a different policy. But the HDP pursues the `Policy of the Third Way`. The HDP does not accept the policy of the AKP-MHP. That is why it is being put under such enormous pressure. HDP members are being imprisoned, the attempt to ban the HDP continues, HDP local administrations have been forcefully brought under the control of the AKP-MHP, HDP centers are being shot at and some people are put in front of the HDP center to insult the HDP MPs. A policy of lynching is being pursued against the HDP. Thus, they want to rid the HDP of its opportunities to work as a legal party. Recently, they banned an HDP conference [in Amed/Diyarbakir]. As a response, the HDP simply made its conference outside on the street. This was absolutely the right thing to do. The HDP needs to keep up this attitude. The AKP-MHP government is at the brink of collapse. This is why it is carrying out these brutal attacks against the HDP.”

Impact of War in Ukraine on Kurdistan

“Ukraine has suffered huge damages due to the war with Russia. Russia has also been unable to achieve its goals. Similarly, the forces of capitalist modernity had thought that they would be able to achieve quick results in the war between Ukraine and Russia. But they have been unable to do so. The war is still going on and it will continue. This situation has brought capitalist modernity into a very critical situation. Because of this, they have become more dependent on Turkey. Turkey tries to benefit from this. It wants to continue its relations with Russia and Ukraine, but also – and even more importantly – with NATO. Because Turkey has once again realized that it can achieve its desired results with this kind of policy. NATO wanted to achieve quick results in the war between Russia and Ukraine, but now finds itself in a very bad situation. Turkey both maintains its relations with Russia and continues to be a member of NATO. That is why their relations with Turkey have become even closer. Through Turkey, they want to transport gas and oil from the Middle East to Europe. Turkey has realized this and is now trying to benefit from these forces for its attempt to destroy the PKK.”

“This is why NATO is closing its eyes to what the Turkish state is doing. Consequently, NATO does not take a stance against Turkey´s use of chemical weapons or against its occupation. NATO acts like Turkey wasn´t doing anything. When Russia started to attack Ukraine, everybody protested against this. But when the Turkish state occupies South Kurdistan [North Iraq] and Rojava, uses chemical weapons, murders people and destroys the nature there, nobody says a word. Because these forces share certain interests with Turkey and want to use Turkey for their goals. Turkey itself considers this as an opportunity. Turkey knows that Russia is in need of relations with it and therefore tries to secure support from Russia. It hopes to thus be able to successfully pursue its genocidal policy against the Kurdish people and the PKK.”

“Europe and NATO have now given Turkey and the KDP certain tasks. The KDP and Turkey also want to transport gas and oil from the Middle East through their territories to Europe. Europe only cares about its own interests. They don´t have anything to do with ethics, conscience, human rights, democracy and freedom. For Europe, everything that counts are its own material interests. In order to receive oil, they close their eyes to everything the Turkish state is doing. And they even support Turkey. Currently, they are spreading propaganda by claiming that the PKK did not allow gas and oil to reach Europe and that they were attacking the PKK in order to get rid of this obstacle. This is how they are now trying to deceive everybody. The PKK has never obstructed the transport of gas and oil. The PKK does not pursue a policy like that. They are just trying to come up with such an excuse in order to cover up their war of annihilation and genocide against the PKK and the Kurdish people. So that nobody protests against this war. With this excuse, they want to both occupy South Kurdistan and achieve their neo-Ottoman goal of reaching the Mîsak-î Mîlî borders. Therefore, their policy is not based on human rights, law, ethics and conscience but only on their own interests. For this policy, they want to sacrifice the Kurds.”

Blackmailing of Sweden and Finland by Turkey

“Sweden and Finland have recently decided to join NATO. According to the rules of NATO, the approval of all NATO states allows new members to join. But if one member says ´no´, joining NATO is impossible. It is only Turkey that does not accept Sweden´s and Finland´s NATO membership and uses this to blackmail them. It uses the PKK and the Kurds for its blackmailing. Turkey demands Finland and Sweden to stand against the PKK, help them destroy the PKK and support the genocidal policy against the Kurdish people. Turkey says that it will only accept Sweden´s and Finland´s NATO membership, if they agree to all this. Some NATO member states who support the war against the PKK and the Kurdish people have recently said that they `will consider the demands of the Turkish state`. Thus, they are basically saying that Turkey´s demands need to be accepted.”

“Some NATO members have said right away that they accept Turkey´s demands. This means that they accept the destruction of the PKK and the Kurdish genocide and thus carry out the demands of the Turkish state. This is very dangerous. I would like to warn them. They should not pursue a hostile policy towards the Kurds and the PKK. They should not support the Turkish state. They need to avoid giving in to the blackmailing of the Turkish state and need to not accept Turkey´s demands. If they do accept these demands, they will suffer great harm. The Kurds are not like they used to be anymore, but understand these games very well. Nobody can do politics on the back of the Kurds anymore thus securing their own interests and sacrificing the Kurds. The Kurds won´t accept this. They have made a clear decision for freedom. They have decided to either life in freedom, or to not live. It is important for everybody to recognize this and not fall for this mistake.”

“There are democratic circles in Sweden and Finland. The Turkish state wants to crush them as well. This is clearly one of its goals. Because there is the issue of Olof Palme. After Olof Palme was murdered, they put the PKK on the terror list. Later, it became clear that Olof Palme had been killed by certain other forces. The PKK had absolutely nothing to do with this murder. The MIT [Turkish secret service] was involved in this murder. This has become clear. For many years, they have treated the PKK and the Kurds very unfairly. Sweden needs to correct its decision and apologize to the Kurds. Turkey has seen that especially in Europe, many people work for the freedom of Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] and for the removal of the PKK from the terror list. And Turkey knows that these demands are growing stronger there day by day. In order to stop this, Turkey is now blackmailing these countries.”

Need for Democratic Solution in Şengal [Sinjar]

“After the start of Turkey´s attacks on Zap, Iraq attacked Şengal. These attacks were clearly connected with the attacks on Zap. The day of the attacks was a very important religious holiday of the Ezidis, the `Çarşema Sor`. This shows that Iraq did not carry out this attack out of its own will, but instead did what certain other forces asked it to do. It is absolutely not in the interest of Iraq to carry out such an attack. On the contrary, Iraq itself has actually suffered harm from these attacks. This shows that the USA made Iraq carry out this attack. And who made the USA do this? The KDP and the Turkish state. Since 2016, the USA, Turkey and the KDP have pursued such a policy together. In Cerablus [on August 26, 2016] they started to put this policy into practice. The recent attacks on Şengal are a part of this policy.”

“Recently, there was war in Şengal, but Iraq was not able to achieve any results in this war. It realized that it would only suffer even greater harm if it continued with the war. If Iraq attacks the Ezidis, this will be considered the same as the Islamic State´s [IS] attacks. This harms Iraq more than it benefits it. The Ezidi people don´t ask to separate themselves from Iraq. They don´t call themselves enemies of the country or demand their own state. All they are saying is: `We want to live in Iraq based on our own identity, religion and values. Until now, we have suffered many genocides and nobody protected us. Therefore, we want to be able to protect ourselves. Iraq needs to accept this.` These demands of the Ezidi people are not huge or difficult to accept. Accepting them would only benefit Iraq internationally.”

“Some people [in Şengal] wanted to protect themselves against this heavy war and tried to leave Şengal. The KDP then used its own people and intelligence service to lead these people from Şengal to areas controlled by the KDP. Thus, they tried to depopulate Şengal and give everybody the impression that only the KDP could stabilize Şengal. The KDP thus tried to occupy Şengal. But Iraq realized this and consequently stopped its attacks. Therefore, Iraq now wants to solve the existing problems not through war but dialogue. This is exactly what the Ezidis have been demanding. I believe that the negotiations are still ongoing. We hope that these talks will lead to positive results. Both the sensitivities of Iraq and the Ezidi people need to be taken into consideration. On this basis, they need to achieve a common ground.”

Turkey´s Destructive Syria Policy

“Erdogan wanted to make Damascus fall and make the Muslim Brotherhood gain power there. Thus, he wanted to put Syria under to control of Turkey. When he realized that he wouldn´t be able to achieve this, Erdogan opened Turkey´s doors for the people of Syria. Millions of people thus went to Turkey with the help of the MIT. Then, [Turkey] said it would send millions of people to Europe. Europe got really afraid by this and accepted Erdogan´s demands because of its own interests. Europe has given billions of Euros [to Turkey] and has deliberately ignored its genocidal policy. All Syrian factories were brought to Turkey. The people from Syria have become a cheap labor force in Turkey. Thus, Turkey has benefited greatly from them economically. Additionally, Turkey has turned the leftovers of Islamist proxy forces like IS into an army and has used it in Libya, Azerbaijan and elsewhere. Today, they send these Islamist proxy forces wherever they need them.”

“Today, Erdogan is telling the Arab states that the Syrian people are suffering in Turkey, that they therefore want to send them to the Arab states and that they need help for this from these states. And the Arab state provide this help. What Turkey actually wants to achieve by this is to settle down its Islamist proxy forces and their families in North and East Syria. Thus, it wants to carry out demographic change. Turkey forces the Kurds to leave their homes and replaces them with Islamist proxy forces. By doing this, Turkey seeks to cut off the connection between North Kurdistan and Rojava.”

“The Turkish state wants to annex all the areas that it has occupied. Now, it wants to annex Efrîn, Bab, Cerablus, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî just like it did with [the province] Hatay. In these areas, the Turkish state has established the same system as in Riha [Urfa] and Dîlok [Antep]. In these occupied cities, education is in Turkish, the schools are in Turkish, Turkish flags have been put up and the police and banks there are Turkish. They have made everything there Turkish. Erdogan portrays all this as a humanistic effort. But actually he does all this against humanity and the peoples. He will settle down the Islamist proxy forces there that he has organized and thus force the people in these areas to capitulate. And he will force everybody to leave who refuses to capitulate. And then, he will call for a `referendum`. Thus, he will turn these areas into a part of Turkey. This constitutes a huge danger.”