our interviews

january 19, 2024

The isolation and torture of the leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Öcalan, continues. Why and how does the Turkish state pursue this policy of isolation? Also looking at the global campaign; how do you evaluate the developments of it?

Before answering your question, I would like to draw attention to the following. Both in Turkey and in South Kurdistan [Northern Iraq], a call was made by artists, writers, organizations that stand against fascism in the struggle for democracy and freedom. They said: ‘we must give peace a voice’. It is very important to make such a call in this period. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on making this call and convey my respect to them. They should strengthen their work even more.

Regarding your question, the absolute isolation and torture against Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] continues. Even though there are actions against this, the genocidal, occupying Turkish state insists on its’ policy. Our struggle against this policy is too weak and so the Turkish state takes courage from this. But there are also some other states which support the Turkish state for their own interests, the Turkish state and the AKP-MHP government also benefit from this and insist on their policy.

Our general struggle has brought the AKP-MHP to the point of destruction. To maintain power, they carry out the politics of denial. According to them, there are no Kurds and there is no Kurdish question. They label anyone who asserts that there is a Kurdish question as a ‘criminal’. In other words, there is no change in the mentality of the Turkish state. It is a mentality which insists that the Kurdish question be resolved with violence and war. This is essentially the mentality of the MHP.

The MHP is not a party, it is a counter-guerrilla organization. That is why the MHP intends to liquidate the PKK, thus, to complete the Kurdish genocide. Rêber Apo, the Kurdish people and their international friends stand against these politics, they resist and struggle. We must underline, that this statist policy is being carried out not only against Kurds but also against all other democratic and socialist forces. The government wants to establish a regime of its own in Turkey. In that regime there will be no Kurds, no Alevis, no democrats or socialists. They want everyone to surrender to them. They are conducting politics entirely on this basis.

The aim of the global [‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’] campaign that is running right now, is to ensure the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and to solve the Kurdish question through democratic means. Despite all the shortcomings, this campaign has already achieved strong results. It has become a hot topic and the international embrace of Rêber Apo and his paradigm is growing day by day. The capitalist system asserts great pressure on humanity and is the source of a lot of destruction within the society. This can be seen by everybody. Therefore, there is also a search for an alternative to this system. The campaign we developed is like a medicine for the peoples. The people have realized that they can solve their problems when they take the system of ‘democratic modernity’ developed by Rêber Apo as a basis against the capitalist system. That is why they embrace Rêber Apo and his paradigm. Rêber Apo once stated: “Wherever my prison writings are, I am there.” He may be physically on the prison island of Imrali, but Rêber Apo is an internationally recognized leader who is being embraced more and more every day.

Rêber Apo is a free person despite being imprisoned and tortured on Imrali. He achieved this with his ideas, philosophy and through his struggle. He presented his paradigm to humanity and humanity has thereby gained a great weapon in the struggle for an alternative. In this sense, we can say that the first stage of the global campaign has succeeded. The important thing is to develop the next stage. Therefore, changes must be made in the actions taken. If new types of actions are not taken, the campaign will not yield strong results. We must now develop the move together with society, with millions of people. This must be done both in Northern Kurdistan [South-East Turkey], in other parts of Kurdistan and internationally. If the campaign is carried out on this basis, it will achieve its goal. The current actions are insufficient. Stronger, different actions should be taken, millions should march. Those actions must have an impact on both a global level, as well as directly on the genocidal Turkish state. Then the AKP-MHP will not be able to continue much longer. Our people and our international friends should understand this reality well.

The actions of the guerrillas are not covered much in the Turkish press, but the recent actions are on the agenda. These actions have shaken the Turkish state and the AKP-MHP regime. How have the recent actions affected society and politics in Turkey and Kurdistan?

Rêber Apo, the guerrilla forces and the Kurdish people have a great impact on politics. The Turkish state and the government were always making propaganda that the PKK had been destroyed. But when the guerrilla carried out strong actions, these actions shook the Turkish state and the AKP-MHP government. The propaganda they had been making for years came to naught both in Turkey and in the international arena. Everyone saw that their propaganda consists of lies. The results of the latest actions have once again revealed the true face of the Turkish state and the government. That is why the Turkish state is in a panic. They are working on how to neutralize the effects of these actions. They are detaining and arresting as many people as possible, bombing the areas of the guerrilla and are carrying out heavy attacks, especially against Rojava [West Kurdistan-Northern Syria]. In this way they are trying to show that they are strong, that they are still standing. They are trying to cover their weakness in this way.

The peoples of Turkey should also ask some questions to the AKP-MHP government. They should ask: ‘Where are you sending these soldiers, for whom are you sending them?’ They should investigate the reason behind this. If Turkish soldiers are dying, Erdoğan is the cause. Everyone should ask Erdoğan and the MHP to account for this. ‘Why are you sending our children to South Kurdistan, what are they doing there? This has nothing to do with defending the border. It has nothing to do with defending Turkey, Turkish society. You want to achieve some of your own political goals, that’s why you are sending our children to war and getting them killed’.

Erdoğan-Bahçeli are fully responsible for the killed soldiers. People need to see this. If everything has become more expensive in Turkey, they should investigate the reason for this. They should investigate why the Turkish currency is losing value day by day, the economy is being turned upside down, the lives of the people are being jeopardized. The reason is the war waged by the AKP-MHP.

Right now, in the mainstream media in Turkey, especially on social media, there is a lot of discussion on secondary agendas such as the conditions of the soldiers, where they are, whether the equipment they have is appropriate or not. Do you think these are the discussions that should be on the agenda?

These are not the main issues that should be discussed. The aim of these discussions is to shadow the defeat. Nevertheless, the Turkish army has suffered a huge blow. They are unable to continue the war. The actions that have been taken have clearly revealed this. They are waging psychological-special warfare to cover this up. They are distorting what happened via the press. This is the reason for all the discussions. They don’t want the people to investigate, to find out the reason, to say ‘enough is enough’. They want to put other things on the agenda. I would like to take this opportunity to call on the so-called village guards not to serve the politics of genocide, but to stand against it. Again, also the Peshmerga of the KDP should not be an instrument for genocidal politics. They should stay away from the bases of the Turkish state and not support them. This is what is asked of them.

That is why the guerrilla is successful in its struggle. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the guerrilla and congratulate them. It seems that the guerrilla will continue to heighten this struggle. Both the Turkish state and the AKP-MHP government should know that they cannot achieve results in this way. Kurds will continue their struggle for democracy and freedom. The Turkish government needs to understand this. They must give up the politics of genocide, denial, annihilation, isolation, torture and occupation. If they do not, this will create great dangers for Turkey. Erdoğan may have won the elections, but Turkey is heading towards destruction. Turkey has no friends left; they are alone. The peoples of Turkey need to see this and say, ‘where are you taking us, our future is dark, we are suffering great blows, we see no respect anywhere’. They should ask the AKP-MHP government to account for this.

As you mentioned, the Turkish state turns its attention to Rojava every time after being hit by the guerrilla. Sometimes they even put forward the propaganda that “[the guerrilla] came from Rojava and carried out actions”. What are the reasons for this and how should it be understood?

As I said, the Turkish state is conducting a psychological warfare policy. The AKP-MHP government insists on the politics of genocide. Everyone knows that the actions being carried out have nothing to do with Rojava. But in order to deceive the public, in order to legitimize their attacks on Rojava, the Turkish government say that those who carry out actions cross through Rojava and all their weapons come from Rojava. They even say that America trained the people carrying out actions, that America gave them weapons and sent them. “Otherwise”, they say, “the Kurds would not be able to carry out attacks during the winter season”. Because they see Kurds as simple. They don’t see Kurds as a society. They see them as those who must be destroyed. That is why they say that the Kurds cannot wage such a war and strike a blow against them. The aim of the Turkish state and AKP-MHP is to eliminate Rojava. They openly express this. World War 3 is already being waged, and they want to take advantage of this. They want to eliminate the Rojava Revolution and want to commit genocide against the people.

They want to occupy the whole of Rojava like they did in Efrîn, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî. They are placing ISIS gangs in Efrîn, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî and helping them in every way. They want to completely occupy Rojava, Northern and Eastern Syria with these gangs. That is why they are attacking Rojava. They target electricity, water, energy stations, hospitals, wheat fields. In other words, they are bombing the infrastructure of the people of Rojava. That is being seen by everyone. They say they are attacking the YPG-SDF, but this is a complete lie. They are trying to legitimize their attacks by saying that those carrying out actions in Turkey come from Rojava. Our people need to see this. With these attacks, the Turkish state wants to destroy the basis of life in Rojava, to make the people migrate so they could occupy and take over these areas. This is the aim of the Turkish state. Our people must stand firm and courageous against this. No one should migrate, no one should leave their lands, they should not leave their city, village or house. Because when you leave, you are following the will of the Turkish state. If you leave, you have no chance to return. Efrîn, Serêkaniyê, Girê Spî are in front of our eyes.

Our people can only survive by resisting and struggling. They should not prefer any other way. Our people must fight against the brutality of the Turkish state in every way. This is their right. Our people must develop their self-defense. I also want to make a call for some states; Russia, America, coalition forces are silent against these attacks. In Rojava, the people’s means of life are being bombed, there is no water, no electricity, no hospitals, but these states have not made a sound. This is understood as accepting the barbarism. In other words, they are partners of the Turkish state. Our people must also stand against this. They must ask the coalition, “What are you doing here, are you conducting the politics of the Turkish state or are you here for your own purposes? You are practicing politics over the Kurdish people, sacrificing Kurds for your own purposes, we do not accept this” and they must make their stance clear.

Rojava is in great danger right now. They brought Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda gangs there. It was also revealed that they brought Hamas members to Rojava during the Palestinian-Israeli war. What should the people from Rojava do in the face of this danger?

As it is known, ISIS was headed to Damascus when Erdoğan directed them to Kobanê. Erdoğan is the one who directs ISIS. ISIS fighters also expressed this; they said that they were heading towards Damascus, but then the Turkish government changed their route to Kobanê. They used ISIS completely against the Kurdish people. They wanted to strike a blow against the Kurdish people with ISIS. But when the people stood resolutely and courageously against ISIS, Erdoğan realized that he could not stand against the Kurds with ISIS. That is why the Turkish state itself invaded Rojava. In the history of our movement, there where many moments when they mobilized some fascists against us, and they mobilized some tribes. Always when they realized that it was not working, they mobilized their own forces. They did in South Kurdistan what they did in North Kurdistan.

The Turkish state bombed many living areas, but what does the KDP say? It says the PKK is the reason why the Turkish state attacked Rojava. In other words, the KDP legitimizes the attacks and bombardments of the Turkish state. The ENKS-KDP serves the politics of the Turkish state. They can call themselves Kurds all they want, they have nothing to do with Kurdishness. When the Turkish state launched an attack, they attacked the prison in Hesekê to get the ISIS fighters out. Erdoğan wants to mobilize ISIS again. He wants to achieve some results in Northern and Eastern Syria with ISIS.

March 31st will be a critical election in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan. The democratic and freedom seeking forces continue their preparations decisively under the conditions of fascism. Pre-elections are being held in a democratic way. They state that they will put an end to the trustee regime. What would you like to say about the upcoming elections?

The Turkish state, the AKP-MHP government is trampling on the will of the Kurdish people, because it does not accept the Kurdish society, the liberation of the Kurdish people. What they deem worthy of the Kurds is to slaughter, surrender, enslave and eliminate them. That is why our people gained many results in the municipal elections. The Turkish state did not tolerate this. They put trustees in place to eliminate the will of the Kurdish people. They usurped the municipalities that the Kurdish people achieved through struggle and labor. They put all the opportunities created by the municipalities at the service of AKP-MHP. They appointed trustees for two consecutive terms. This policy did not yield results for them, and they were exposed. They realized that if they appointed trustees for a third term, this would create big problems. This time they are trying to put forward trustees in a different way. Again, they are transporting people who will vote for the AKP to Kurdish cities so to gain control over these cities and prevent the Kurds from having a will. Even if the population of some places is 2 thousand, they transport twice as many people there. Those being transported are either policemen, soldiers, village guards or fascists, the AKP places them throughout Kurdistan. This time they aim to take the municipalities in this way.

That is something our people must not accept and must stand against. In the cities or districts where voters have been brought from outside, our people should ask where these voters have come from, who sent them and what they will do in Kurdistan. They should say ‘we are the people of this place, and we will live with our will, you cannot usurp our will’. In this way the government wants to send the message that it has ‘won’ municipalities in Kurdistan and that there is no Kurdish question. The Kurdish people say that they do not accept the trustees and that they will win back their municipalities. The Kurdish people are decisive and courageous in defending their will. That’s why there are now pre-elections. The people have developed a democratic system. There has never been such a democratic pre-election in Turkey. This shows the truth of the Kurdish people. The Kurdish people have developed great moves in the field of freedom and democracy. They are leading the peoples of Turkey in this sense. I congratulate our people on this occasion. Whoever comes out in these elections, everyone should support them. It should be known that this is a war. The Turkish state, the AKP-MHP government wants the Kurds to lose, and the Kurdish people must struggle and organize to win. They must reach everyone and frustrate the AKP-MHP politics. This must be a new move for the Kurdish people.

The MHP and Hizbul-Kontra act as if they are opposed to each other, but they are in the same alliance. How is this happening and what is the basis of this alliance?

Right now AKP-MHP and Hizbul-Kontra have formed a front. As it is known, the AKP-MHP is against Kurds, how can someone who claims to be Kurdish take part in such a front? We need to question this. The MHP says it is against Hizbul-Kontra, but this is a big lie. Because it was the MHP that developed Hizbul-Kontra. The MHP developed Hizbul-Kontra to prevent the freedom movement from developing and to strike a blow against it. They want to take over Northern Kurdistan completely and maintain their power there. They’ve put all the laws aside. Their only goal is to take over Northern Kurdistan.

When Hizbul-Kontra emerged, they massacred thousands of our patriotic people. They wanted to prevent the further development of our movement in this way. Could someone who slaughters Kurds and sheds the blood of Kurds, be a Kurd simply because they claim to act in the name of Kurdishness? Of course not. If the MHP makes some criticisms against Hizbul-Kontra, it is doing so to hide the truth. Because they organize and mobilize the contras. In order that this is not disposed, they pretend that they are against each other. This is a scenario. No one should deceive themselves; they stand against our movement together.

The AKP-MHP, Hizbul-Contra front was formed to destroy the PKK and eliminate the Kurds. Those who are based on fascism, racism and religious fanaticism are in that front. In other words, none of those on this front are different from each other. Our people, the democratic and socialist forces must ask these questions; ‘How can those on this front speak on behalf of the Kurds?’, ‘What do they have to do with the Kurds?’ and ‘How can those who massacred Kurds speak on behalf of Kurds?’

In the past, Hizbul-Kontra wanted to prevent the development of our movement by massacring Kurds, now they have been assigned a political role because they had been exposed. This time they want to prevent the further development of the movement and the Kurdish people in the political arena. That is why they Hizbul-Kontra is offered many opportunities. They aim to deceive the people by using these opportunities. AKP-MHP wants to take over Kurdistan by using Hizbul-Kontra. What does this have to do with Kurdishness? Not only Hizbul-Kontra but also the KDP has nothing to do with Kurdishness. They help each other. To prevent the truth from being understood, the MHP pretends to be against the Hizbul-Kontra.

Important developments are also taking place in South Kurdistan and Iraq. There was the Kirkuk election. After the elections, there were a lot of discussion between the Turkish state and the Iraqi state. The Turkish state wants to draw Iraq into its politics. What are your observations on this situation?

Not only in Iraq, but wherever there is war, wherever there is confusion in the Middle East, AKP and Tayyip Erdoğan are behind it. Because their aim is to increase the war in the Middle East. They keep themselves alive through war and massacre. They know that if they do not do so, they will not stay in power for a single day. Turkey knows the situation of the Iraqi state. There are many problems; they are not easily solved, that is why they are weak. The Turkish state sees this as an opportunity for itself. And here it is using the KDP. It wants to influence Iraqi politics via the KDP and draw Iraq to its side like the KDP. Iraq must not fall into this trap and be deceived. It should be careful. It should solve its problems with the Kurds through dialog. If Iraq does this, it will become a leading power in the Middle East. But if they accept the policies of the Turkish state and the KDP, Iraq’s problems will grow even more. They cannot solve their problems in this way. The Turkish state is increasing its pressure on Iraq day by day. My call to Iraq is to be careful against the games played by the Turkish state through the KDP. They should not be hostile to the Kurdish people. If they do, they will suffer great damage.

Elections took place in Kirkuk, Şengal [Sinjar] and Iraq. The Turkish state, the KDP and the Turkmen Front wanted to gain results in Kirkuk. They worked for this. Against this, the alliance led by the PUK was successful. The plan of the Turkish state, the KDP and the Turkmen Front did not work. But this does not mean that they have given up on this plan. The Turkish state wants to seize Kirkuk. It wants to start a war in Kirkuk and take it from the Kurds. The alliance of the PUK prevented this plan from working. The success of the elections once again showed that results are achieved through alliance.

The Turkish state summoned Iraqi officials on the day of the elections. Because Turkey interfered in the elections. They saw that the alliance developed by the PUK frustrated their plans. They talked about “how to take Kirkuk from the Kurds, how to make our plans successful”. If there are serious problems in Kirkuk now, it is because of the KDP. The Turkish state is doing these things to achieve its goals, but the KDP is the pawn. Therefore, everyone should realize that the KDP is responsible for the problems in Kirkuk.

The KDP has put all the facilities in South Kurdistan at the service of the Barzani family. It is also postponing the elections. How do you evaluate these developments and what is the situation in South Kurdistan right now?

There is a reason why the KDP did not win in Kirkuk and Şengal. The Kurdish people stood against the KDP’s betrayal. That is why the PUK’s alliance gained results. Because the KDP’s politics is causing great harm to the Kurds. People in Rojava, North and South Kurdistan see this now. Even the people under the control of the KDP see this. That is why the KDP could not gain results from the elections. In the past, it used to gain results in Şengal in the name of electoral work. They would only put up their own candidates for election, in reality there was no election taking place. During the most recent elections held in Şengal, the alliance was also put forward as an alternative candidate, and the alliance was successful. The KDP lost. This showed that the KDP does not represent the will of the people. It was seen that the results it gained in the past under the name of elections were fake, that it gained results through pressure and bribe. They wanted to bribe people during these elections too. But now they have come to the end of this policy. That’s why the KDP is also stuck, and they are doing these things to get out of this situation. The democratic forces that have formed an alliance should strengthen this alliance. This way they can prevent new games.

After the Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent Israeli attack on Gaza, a new process has begun in the Middle East. There are discussions that this war will spread to Lebanon, Syria, even Iran and the whole region. In such a process, a massacre took place on the anniversary of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani. In a statement you made regarding this massacre, you said that some forces want to expand the war and spread it to the region. Who are these forces and what do they want to do?

Before the anniversary of Qasem Soleimani’s death, Reisi wanted to go to Turkey. Shortly before he was about to go, this explosion happened. Although ISIS claimed responsibility, it was the Turkish MIT that carried out this explosion. When Iranian President Reisi was about to go to Turkey, the Turkish government wanted to have discussions with Reisi about implementing the decisions they had taken against us, against the Kurds. They aimed to develop politics via this explosion. In this way, they wanted to draw Iran into a war against the PKK and the Kurds. Reisi did not go to Turkey after the explosion, I don’t know why. But that explosion was carried out by the Turkish MIT, which wanted to achieve its goals.

The Turkish state wants to form an alliance, a front against the Kurdish people. It has made many such alliances in history. Therefore, it wants to draw Iran and Iraq into this front. It is working for this. They are especially focusing on Iran. We cannot say whether these plans will come to fruition or not. Erdoğan wants to enlarge and expand the war in the Middle East. If he does not expand the war, he cannot stay in power. Erdoğan also developed the Hamas-Israel war. With this war, he aimed to prevent the planned energy route that starts in India, passes through Israel and reaches Europe. Because they had left Turkey out. Erdoğan said, “We will not allow those who exclude us to get results”. Then there was the Hamas attack. The Turkish state wanted the energy route to pass through Turkey. The line developed by India-Israel was intended to pass through Rojava and reach the Mediterranean. Turkey intervened and prevented this. They say, “We prevented the line of terrorism”. They say this in a veiled way.

It is a great loss for them that the line does not pass through Turkey. The Turkish state no longer has the strategic and political role it used to have. In order to get out of this difficult situation, the Turkish state wants to develop a front against the Kurdish people, to draw Iraq into its politics and to ensure that the war in Gaza continues, in order to prevent the energy line. He wants the energy line to pass through Turkey and Iraq. Erdoğan’s whole aim is to prevent the energy route from passing through Kurdistan and to ensure that the Kurds do not benefit from it. Because he wants to destroy the Kurds. Now he aims to open a route through Azerbaijan and is working on it. But that route has not been opened either. Everyone now sees that Turkey wants to escalate the war in the Middle East for its own interests. It wants to draw Iraq and Iran into the Gaza war. It has already taken the KDP with it. This is how it wants to stay in power. The people of Turkey need to see this. Erdoğan may have won the elections, but he has put Turkey into a great disaster. If Turkey today is isolated, excluded, if the political, social and economic problems in Turkey have deepened and if these problems are growing day by day, it is because of Erdoğan’s politics.