our interviews

april 24, 2024

Let us first take a look at the situation of the Kurdish peoples leader Abdullah Öcalan and, above all, at the struggle for his physical freedom. The global campaign that has been running since the end of last year has seen several highlights. Your movement is currently calling to enter a new phase and struggle on different levels. Can you explain this?

The global campaign under the slogan ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Solution to the Kurdish Question’ has reached a very important level, both in terms of societal resistance and in terms of legal, diplomatic, political, and ideological struggle. But it is necessary to develop the campaign even further. The main goal of the campaign is to ensure the physical freedom of Rêber Apo1. Safeguarding his health, security, and freedom conditions requires a much more comprehensive and much greater struggle than that which is currently being conducted.

Of course, political, diplomatic, and legal struggle is important. No law is being applied in Imrali, especially as national and international law is being violated in Turkey. There is a complete lack of conscience and morality against Rêber Apo; therefore, the legal struggle is crucial. Still, in order to achieve results in the named fields, a comprehensive struggle of the masses is necessary. Only when pressure is exerted on the Turkish state through social struggle and resistance, it will we be possible to achieve results. Again, we need to exert serious social pressure on the Council of Europe (CoE), the ‘European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ (CPT), the European states as a whole, as well as the forces implementing the international conspiracy2 in order for them to make certain political, diplomatic, and legal improvements, take steps, and change their policies.

Because of their omission, the CPT and the CoE are partners to the Turkish State’s policy of genocide. Turkey finds courage in their silence. For this reason it is possible, that the Imrali system of torture and solitary confinement still exists today. There has been no communication with Rêber Apo for almost three years, his relatives and attorneys have been forbidden to visit him. There has been no news regarding his condition. This is blatantly unconscientious, illegal, immoral, unethical, unpolitical, and inhumane. This silent consent on behalf of the CoE, puts it at odds with its own law.

Despite being a signatory, Turkey is violating the International Convention on Human Rights. Turkey completely disregards, or fails to recognize, any international convention as if it had taken Europe captive. Whether the Turkish state is blackmailing Europe using refugees as a threat or if there is a covert agreement, could it be possible that such an agreement would influence the policy towards Imrali?

It is unclear if there is a covert deal based on Europe’s refusal to accept refugees in exchange for them turning a blind eye to the brutal misconduct being carried out on Imrali. But what we see and what we know is, that Europe is a partner in Turkey’s crimes against humanity. In a way, Europe has become Turkey’s hostage. Turkey does what it wants and violates international law as it pleases. By turning a blind eye, both the CoE and the CPT have violated international law. In other words, they have violated the law they themselves have created. They are complicit in Turkey’s crimes of genocide and inhumanity. This is not a situation that should be taken lightly or accepted.

We have significantly broadened our struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo through social, legal, political, diplomatic, and ideological struggle by spreading Rêber Apo’s perspectives, idea and his philosophy more universally. However, the stage we have reached is still not sufficient. It is necessary to draw hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people from diverse social groups and ethnicities – aside from Kurds – to this freedom campaign. By doing so, pressure can be exerted on the CoE, on the US, and on all of the European states, among the other forces that gave rise to the international conspiracy. Everyone ought to be pushed to reevaluate and alter their approaches toward Turkey so as to bring an end to its policies of genocide, torture, and isolation in Imrali and to ensure Rêber Apo’s physical freedom.

Kurds have spread all over the world; there is a very critical amount of Kurdish population in Europe, America, and all over the world. We have gained many important international friends over the course of the 25-year struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo but particularly since October 10, with the launch of the global freedom campaign. Through expanding their network and engaging the European community, our friends have made a significant contribution to the movement’s internationalization. This could be strengthened by reaching more people and making even more friends and integrating European society in this campaign. Imagine tens of thousands of people organizing prolonged sit-ins in front of the CPT and the CoE. Because societal pressure is effective in Europe, these institutions would be pushed to review and possibly alter their dubious relationships of interest and policies with Turkey.

The Turkish pillar of this campaign is also very important. We saw during Newroz and the municipal elections on March 31 that the climate of fear in Kurdistan and Turkey has been broken and the fascist government has suffered a very serious blow. It received a fatal wound. Opposition and objection are developing within society, along with the will and courage to resist. The societal pillar of this campaign needs to be developed intensively in North Kurdistan, and Turkey. Further isolation could be prevented if hundreds of thousands of people in North Kurdistan, and Turkey, rose up and marched to Imrali, the Ministry of Justice, and to Ankara. If tens or even hundreds of thousands of people rise up, like in the case of Newroz and the Wan resistance, the isolation will be broken and the path cleared for Rêber Apo’s physical freedom. This would pave the way for the democratic solution of the Kurdish question and the democratization of Turkey because the source of all problems is the policy of genocide focused on Imrali. If the war of genocide against the Kurds had stopped, fascism would not exist anymore in Turkey. Turkey would not be as corrupt, lawless, and unfair anymore. The fascist government has abolished their own constitution in order to wage war and genocide against the Kurds. Injustice, unscrupulousness and pollution have never been so high. Politics have become polluted and is causing decay in society.

Now, for the democratization of Turkey as a whole, for justice, law, democratic politics, and a democratic system to develop, these policies of genocide must come to an end. The focus point of the system of torture and isolation is Imrali, so these policies must be abolished in Imrali first. Rêber Apo’s freedom, security, and health must be safeguarded. If this happens, democracy, freedom, and justice will prevail in Turkey. In this regard, societal struggle plays a very important role. Turkey cannot escape fascism if the democratic forces of Turkey, along with all those in favor of democracy, law, justice, equality, and freedom, do not participate strongly in the Kurdish struggle for freedom. If these circles do not struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo and the democratic solution to the Kurdish question, and if they do not carry out this struggle in solidarity and unity, fascism will not be overcome.

In this respect, I would like to make a call to our people: if our people rise the societal struggle with the spirit of Wan, Shirnak, and Newroz, together with the democratic forces in Kurdistan and Turkey, the isolation in Imrali will be broken.

The municipal elections of March 31 in North Kurdistan and Turkey mark the first time in 22 years that the Erdogan led AKP has fallen from its first-party status. What are your evaluations in relation to the elections and the attitude of the people?

The municipal elections on March 31st were crucial. It yielded political results which are much beyond the span of local level. The fascist regime has truly taken a significant hit and is now much weaker. The largest industrial and touristic cities in Turkey – that is, the locations where the country’s capital amassed – were all won by the CHP. The cities of Kurdistan were won by the DEM Party. In Kurdistan, the other system-parties have all but dissipated, most notably the AKP. The Kurdish and Turkish people – especially the labor force, women, and young people – were victorious in this election. Thus, democracy prevailed in Turkey’s municipal elections. The society’s aspirations for justice, freedom, and democracy prevailed. Naturally, this is a highly significant outcome. Ultimately, the fascist power was defeated. The fascist AKP, MHP, and Ergenekon regime was defeated.

Our comrades have already evaluated this, but again, this defeat suffered by the fascist regime will bring upon new consequences. In foreign politics, the fascist power will be reprimanded. This is an inevitable situation. Externally, every force will review its policies toward this collapsing administration, and this will have repercussions. In fact, this process has already started for the Turkish state. For example, there is currently a very serious upheaval within the AKP. Many have now started to question the relations between the MHP and the AKP, criticizing that the MHP-AKP alliance has brought the AKP to this point. People are analyzing the reasons behind this loss of power, saying that the AKP was manipulated by the MHP and that this had caused the AKP to lose. A rebellion has started within the AKP too. People may have disapproved in the past, yet this election marks the first time which so many groups expressing their thoughts so boldly.

Erdogan deliberately adopted an attitude of self-criticism in order to keep his own base. He had been very self-critical until he realized that this meant acceptance of defeat. He later returned to his custom policy of zero-tolerance towards criticism. He says “no one can criticize the AKP except for me”. He is a dictator. This is reflected in everything. If he is going to criticize, only he can criticize. If he wants to self-criticize, only he can criticize himself. He is doing the same thing internally within his party. In this way, he has blocked the way for criticism and self-criticism. Nevertheless, this does not change the fact that the AKP is in a state of turmoil and disintegration.

The AKP is really disintegrating. As a result of the AKP-MHP alliance, the AKP has become the MHP. They have evolved into a more racist, fascist, and anti-societal party. For many years, the last eight or nine years in particular, Erdogan’s AKP has been developing politics based on MHP mentality. Erdogan’s everyday language reflects the mentality of the MHP and Devlet Bahceli, this mentality is then put into practice through state policies.

By turning to the MHP, the AKP turned to its own end. Now there is serious decay amongst the AKP base. The so-called Welfare Party only gained some results because of this shift in the AKP base. This also played a big role in the strengthening of DEM. A certain base of Kurds who broke away from the AKP are now supporting the DEM Party.

The AKP has caused serious polarization in Turkey; it has been playing the nationalist, racist card for years. Only now has it been understood that such policies and mentalities are meaningless. The ‘çöktürme planı’3 that has been going on for almost nine years has also collapsed. Therefore, these fascist, genocidal policies have failed. Fascism suffered a great defeat in these elections.

The participation of the Kurdish society in the elections was very strong. The DEM Party has gained eighty-two municipalities across North Kurdistan and Turkey. This is a very important success. DEM Party has also gained first-party status in thirteen cities, four of them being major cities. In addition to Amed, Mardin and Wan, DEM Party is the first party in the administration of Urfa too. Apart from that, places such as Qers, Bedlis, and Shirnak were usurped by the AKP. The AKP really did all in its power to seize and usurp the will of the Kurds. We saw this very clearly in Shirnak, Bedlis and Qers. We saw it very clearly in Hilvan and Beytushebap. Nevertheless, the DEM Party is still first-party in many of these districts. This is a great success.

In fact, the DEM Party has gained greater support in Turkey as well as in Kurdistan. The Turkish press portrays this differently, it is claiming that DEM is the fourth party, which is untrue. In Turkey, the strategy of ‘Urban Consensus’ was successful. Kurds consciously and strategically cast their votes with the goal of overthrowing the fascist regime. It was not the aim of the Kurds to win for one specific party, but rather for democracy itself. This allowed the democratic forces to unite and serve fascism a heavy blow. Significant results were obtained. Naturally, society has become much more dynamic as a result of these outcomes. A spirit of social resistance, a spirit of struggle emerged. Parties have demonstrated their ability and willingness to engage in politics more.

It is imperative that the Kurdish and Turkish people, as well as the democratic forces, interpret the outcomes of the municipal elections correctly. Moving forward, policies should be more pro-society; this concerns particularly the DEM party. From time to time, various circles have criticized the DEM Party, but these criticisms do not reflect the reality. The DEM Party is a party of Turkey. It is the main opposition party that fights for radical democracy in its true meaning. Based on this fact has the DEM Party gained a social and political ground across Turkey. Therefore, DEM must appeal to the people in Turkey’s metropolises, cities, towns, and villages. It must correctly introduce itself to the society and peoples of Turkey, influence them, organize them, and gain members. This is very important. To ensure the democratization of Turkey, as the only truly democratic party, the DEM party must reach an extent where it gains municipalities in many Turkish cities too. It must create strong grounds for the organization of societies not only Kurdistan, but also in Turkey. It must create a base for itself and develop and organize democratic alliances with a wide range of social segments, be it cultural, ethnic, religious, labor, women, or youth groups. At the moment, the grounds for this have been created. In that sense, the DEM party must move to a style, language, understanding and form of organization which appeals to all the societies in Turkey. This is extremely important.

A very important atmosphere has formed in terms of the organization and unity of the democratic forces. The ‘Labor and Freedom Alliance’ can be strengthened. Moving forward, it is necessary to make use of this opportunity. The people are ready for this, as they demonstrated in the elections. The society in Turkey wants democracy; it wants democratic change, a democratic state of law, and a democratic republic. This is a tremendous opportunity for organizing and for working though it requires mobilization. In this light, the democratic forces have important duties ahead of them; especially the DEM Party which has acted as a pioneer of the democratic forces in the past elections. It is absolutely necessary to meet the expectations of the people.

One of our comrades, Duran Kalkan, made a very important call the other day. He said: “The peace and democracy movement must develop in Turkey.” And he added, that “at the moment, the political and social ground for this has already been layed.” This is absolutely true. These elections have demonstrated that the democratic forces have established an important social base. In actuality, there would have been much greater gains if the ‘Democratic Power Union’ (DGB)4 had come into these elections with a general policy. Although the democratic forces – especially the DEM Party – came together and supported these results, there would have been greater outcomes if there had been a shared unity of power. They could have gained many more districts and even several provinces in Turkey if the leftist, socialist, and democratic forces had united more thoroughly and formulated a common strategy, plan, and program.

We followed the situation in Dersim for months. Many parties discussed and negotiated the situation and as a result, the DEM party decided to enter an electoral alliance in the region. Yet, this alliance policy did not work out very well. It appears that the election campaigns were not successfully conducted in the center of Dersim. The campaign workers either did not work well in this area, or they worked too little. Although DEM Party was able to win the co-mayorship of the municipality, they were unable to gain a majority in the Dersim council. The alliances were not very successful in any district, except for the Hozat district. The other districts were taken either by the CHP or the AKP. Had DEM approached the area with a better understanding of an alliance policy, a united force, the necessary program and strategy, it would have easily gained the majority of the seats in central Dersim. The left-socialist alliance would have taken all the districts. Neither the CHP nor the AKP would have won. This is a very serious criticism on their part. But we see that they also criticize and self-criticize this themselves.

The same is true for Turkey. Had the DGB entered the elections in Turkey with a common program, I believe it would have won many seats. This is also the case in terms of social struggle. Wan is a very important example in this regard. A very strong position evolved against the fascist administration due to the resistance of the Kurds, the resistance, unity, and solidarity of the democratic forces in Turkey, as well as the support of the system’s opposition parties. The fascist administration had to step back. Therefore, democracy and the will of the people was victorious. In the example of Wan, it was not only the Kurdish people who won, but it was also a success for the democratization of Turkey, the peoples of Turkey as a whole.

If the Labor and Freedom Alliance and the democratic forces of Kurdistan and Turkey work and struggle in the spirit of Wan, they can definitely play a decisive role in the democratization of Turkey, in the democratization of the republic. Though this necessitates a common understanding of the democratic unity of powers. If these united forces produce a movement of peace and democracy, if they walk this path in accordance with the great social resistance and struggle leaned on the experience of Wan, they will be successful.

The CHP has gained first-party status in the 31 March municipality elections. Given the history of the CHP, why did the party gain such results? What impact will this have on the democratization of Turkey?

We cannot leave the democratization of Turkey at the hands of the CHP. The CHP, being the party that founded this 100-year-old republic, still defends its initial ideology. It acts according to the codes of this ideology and carries out politics on this basis.

Many CHP leaders, Özgür Özel in particular, talked about the democratization of the republic. They claim that they built the republic, but even after 100 years there is still no democracy in sight. They set out with the claim to democratize the country and atone for their past mistakes. If the CHP is able to interpret these elections correctly, it would understand that the democratic circles, along with the Kurdish and Turkish society, have expectations from the republican party. This was the main reason for their votes. They demand that the CHP plays a role in the democratization of the republic and changes its policies and codes. The peoples and societies of Turkey demand a change of mentality, they demand a change in understanding, program and policy from the CHP. It has to respond to this, otherwise it will bring upon its own end like it did before, only this time it may not find the opportunity to redeem itself.

The CHP needs to change its paradigm, abandon its official ideology, and give up on its Ittihat Terakki5 policies. It needs to reject its 100-year republican policies which are based on the denial and annihilation of Kurds. The CHP needs to radically confront what the Republic has inflicted on the Kurds over these past 100 years, what the Turkish nation-state system has done. It needs to officially accept it perpetrated the Sheikh Sait6 massacre, the genocides carried out in Dersim and Zîlan and the massacres of Alevis.

The 100-year history of the Republic is a history of genocide. Will the CHP accept accountability for a 100-year genocide? Will it apologize? Will it make this apology by changing its policy, by changing its mentality? Will it do so by presenting the Kurdish people, Alevis and the peoples of Turkey a democratic program? This is how criticism and self-criticism work. Will the CHP oppose the ongoing war of genocide against the Kurds? The focus point of this war is the torture and isolation system being imposed in Imrali. Will the CHP oppose this system of torture and isolation in Imrali? Millions of people are saying that the source of all lawlessness and injustice in Turkey is the torture and isolation system being imposed on Imrali. Will the CHP take a stance against this?

Justice, lawfulness, and democracy are what the CHP says it wants. The Imrali system is the root of all injustice and lawlessness. The CHP must then formulate its policies and attitudes if it is honest. It must oppose this genocide war. In order for the Kurdish, Turkish, and Alevis people to accept and believe in the CHP, it must demonstrate its worth. The CHP will not secure power until it does so. In fact, the CHP is embarking on an important responsibility by promising to democratize the republic after a century.

Turkish politics is a demagogy; all politicians in Turkey have become demagogues. They are good at demagoguery. Covering up the facts, distorting, lying, deceiving, saying beautiful words and doing the worst in practice. Nobody accepts this anymore. Neither the Kurds, nor the Alevis, nor the workers or laborers. As a whole, neither the democratic forces of Kurdistan and Turkey, nor the Kurdish and Turkish societies give credence to this. The people want to see fulfilled promises, they expect concrete steps. If the CHP achieves this, the people and democratic forces of Kurdistan and Turkey will support the CHP. But if the CHP does not take such concrete steps, if it does not clearly change its program, strategy, policy, mentality and practice, and if it instead becomes an extension of the AKP again, it will not last as long as the AKP.

The previous leader of the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, became the sole reason the fascist AKP-MHP government survived so long. Despite being the leader of a so-called opposition party, he did not voice dissent once. He did whatever this fascist regime ordered him to. The AKP-MHP chanted fascist slogans while the CHP showed support. The lifting of the immunity of Kurdish members of parliament would not have occurred if the CHP had not given its approval. Selahattin Demirtas, Figen Yuksekdag, Sebahat Tuncel, Gultan Kisanak and thousands more would not be in prison today. All of this, and much more, was made possible by the support of the CHP. Without the CHP’s support, such Ottomanist, occupationist, annexationist, colonialist and genocidal policies would not have been implemented in Syria or Iraq.

Will the CHP really stand by its word? I pose this question for the following reason; given that Erdogan will only try to deepen his total annihilation policies against the Kurds in order to regain power, why has Erdogan suddenly started referring to Özgur Özel as ‘Sir’ and ‘dear’. Of course, Erdogan would want to reconcile with the opposition to gain support for his anti-Kurdish policies, now that the CHP is emerging as a powerful party. But when Erdogan says he is looking forward to his meeting with Özgur Özel, and that they will be discussing many things, what is to be expected from the CHP? When Erdogan asks for the CHP’s support in Kurdish genocide policies, will the CHP remember its promises?

Erdogan wants to enact a genocidal, fascist, dictatorial constitution and he wants the CHP’s support for this. He will wage war everywhere and ask the CHP to remain silent. When silence is no longer enough, he will demand active participation. Kilicdaroglu’s CHP did this in the past, the fascist AKP-MHP government has been waging an all-out genocidal war against the Kurds, uninterruptedly for the past 8-9 years. In Turkey, fascism is in full force. What will the CHP do? This is of course a test for the CHP. Kurds, Alevis, workers and laborers, in other words the democratic society of Turkey, are watching the CHP with great attention. In fact, they are giving the CHP a chance, giving it time. This process is a historical one; it is a test for the CHP.

The elections were very important. This fascist government has done all kinds of evil to the societies of Turkey, it has flushed all the resources of the society into war and has impoverished them as a result. It has brought people to the point of starvation, has left no democracy, freedom, equality, justice, or law. Because of these reasons, it is important that the fascist government has been brought to its knees, that however little it may be a slight chance of democracy has emerged. Of course, all forces must put this opportunity to use.

As is known, the Turkish state has been intensively conducting diplomatic meetings with other states, looking for support and approval of Turkish war policies. Erdogan is also expected to visit Iraq and the Kurdistan Region soon to seek approval of his policies. What are your evaluations in relation to these visits?

For some time now, the AKP-MHP fascist government has been seeking to secure support internally and externally for an all-out genocidal war against the Kurds. Under the name of politics, the fascist government has been intensely conducting military diplomacy, seeking the support of both international powers and regional states. The KDP and the forces in Southern Kurdistan are also wanted to be actively involved in this war. The fascist Erdogan regime is working intensively in order to achieve this. The talks in Iraq – there will be a meeting in Washington afterwards – are also aimed at providing support for this war of genocide. Erdogan also says that he will go to Hewlêr [Erbil]; he is working to involve the KDP more actively in this war.

I would like to emphasize the following. The ‘Development Road’ project is a trap for Iraq. Turkey hides its neo-Ottomanist, occupying and expansionist policies under the name of that project. If Iraq plays Turkey’s game, it will lose. It would be putting its own land to the service of Turkey’s expansionist and occupationist dreams. Turkey definitely has expansionist ambitions in every project it develops in the region. Each and every one of these projects are a product of racist, chauvinist ideology. It is a product of neo-Ottoman policies; this is exactly what they aim for. They have no contribution or benefit to neither the peoples, nor the states of that region. Our comrades have warned Iraq on this issue, not to fall for this game. Turkey’s sole aim is to establish hegemony over Iraq. It is already trying to lay the groundwork for this in Kirkuk. It is mobilizing Turkmens in Kirkuk, Til Afer and Mosul. It has entered Iraq militarily, politically and economically. It is building companies everywhere to gain leverage. It also uses the Euphrates and Tigris water as blackmail. It is trying to achieve its expansionist, Neo-Ottomanist policies by taking advantage of Iraq’s weakness. Iraq should not fall for this game. Iraq is aware about the history. In fact, there is a Turkish idiom to describe how cunning and deceptive the Ottomans are. “The Ottomans have many tricks”, is what is being said. The AKP considers itself as the continuation of the Ottoman Empire, so it too has many tricks, conspiracies and traps. Iraq must not fall for those.

Whatever path Iraq decides to take, the Kurdish guerrilla and the people will resist. They will never accept these genocidal, colonialist occupation policies. These policies have not been accepted till now, they will not be accepted hereafter. The guerrilla are re-writing history with their resistance and skill. They put up a very splendid resistance and put the Turkish army in a quagmire. This will only gain strength moving forward. They will resist in the strongest, most determined, most assertive and strong-willed manner. The guerrilla selflessly defends the honor and freedom of the peoples. Until now, it has waged a selfless struggle and developed resistance. It will do so from now on too.

The guerrilla will resist, but our people, especially those in South Kurdistan, must also react very strongly against these attacks. While propagandizing about the importance of the status of southern Kurdistan, the KDP has opened an important part of the South to Turkish occupation. What status has the Turkish state left in South Kurdistan? The people there ought to rise up against this. There are very honorable people in the South. The KDP, in partnership with the Turkish state, is massacring these people who resist honorably and take a stance against Turkish occupation. One example is our esteemed friend Server, who was murdered in the Bradost area the other day. Many patriots were massacred like this in Behdinan before. These attacks are being conducted everywhere; villages are being bombarded. Another patriot, a young man, was killed in Asos only recently. In order that villages are emptied, the Turkish state and KDP are constantly targeting villages and houses, killing patriots.

Our people ought to rebel against this, they must rise up everywhere. Had the South reacted to Turkish bombardments and occupation, the Turkish state would not be able to commit civilian massacres so easily. It wouldn’t dare to do such a thing. The KDP is actively taking part in this war of genocide; the parties in the South must react to this. If hundreds of thousands rebelled everywhere, the Turkish state could not massacre these valuable patriots and honorable people. It would be impossible.

In this regard, I call on our people to take a stand against these genocidal, massacring policies. Turkey is developing a second Anfal against the people of the South. I call on our people to take a stand against this, to rise up.

Recently, KJK published a much praised document in relation to women’s self-defense and violence against women. What are your evaluations on this topic?

Indeed, the coordination of the KJK did share an important statement recently in relation to women’s self-defense against violence. They called for women to organize and strengthen their self-defense.

All over the world there is a very serious threat of genocide against women; violence against women has increased everywhere in the world with Turkey at almost first-place. Both state and male violence against women in Turkey has increased by 1,400 to 1,500 per cent. This male-dominated system, the system of capitalist modernity and the nation-state system, are already fascist systems. All these systems constantly feed, produce, deepen and provoke the dominant ego in men and return to women in the form of violence and massacres.

In a world where wars are developing, violence and fascism are increasing, it could only be expected that more women are becoming the victims of violence because misogyny and sexism is what feeds wars. The system of capitalist modernity is in chaos; in many countries across the world, the governing powers are fascists. Their fascist policies are being directly absorbed by society and by men. The dominant man feeds off this violence and fuels his masculine, sexist, male-dominant mentality, understanding and behavior. By inflicting violence on women, the dominant man psychologically recharges his foul mindset and turns the woman into an object – a commodity that satisfies his own motives.

These policies effect the woman ten-fold, constantly returning to the her in the form of more violence. Women are under constant attack and particularly psychological attack by sexist culture and backward ‘traditional value’ judgments. Psychological violence, the most severe violence, is extensively being inflicted on women. While physical violence may kill a woman once, psychological violence kills her thousands of times a day, keeping her under constant psychological pressure.

In this sense, women cannot put their security in the hands of this system. Women cannot surrender themselves to the intentions of the dominant man. Women are being murdered everywhere; whether this is within their own homes, on the street, or at work. They are being murdered by their husbands, friends, boyfriends, fathers, brothers. Women everywhere must raise awareness and organize themselves. An organized woman is the greatest power. An organized woman is a woman with self-defense. A woman’s self-defense comes from her organization. If a woman is not organized, she cannot defend herself. If she cannot defend herself, she will be constantly be killed, she will constantly die and die in every form. Both the fragmentation of will and the fragmentation of personality are death.

There are many horrific examples within society. The woman gets married with the claim of loving the man. The man she married murders her in a very graphic, brutal way after three months. It does not even last three months in some cases. Women are subjected to rape 24 hours a day. Rêber Apo used to say that the home is no different from a brothel anymore. A weak, powerless woman will constantly be under the threat of rape, the fact that it occurs in her home does not change this reality.

Can a woman really fall in love in a world where men are so dominant, so misogynistic, so sexist? For example, can you fall in love with a man who is hostile to you, a man who dominates you, who controls you, who sees you as a slave, who sees you as less? How can this be called love and affection? This has nothing to do with love or affection. If this is the definition of love, then life itself has been lost.

Rêber Apo was saying “where love has been lost, live should not be sought.” In a place where life has been lost, love has been lost. The excitement and the passion of life are linked closely to love; one cannot exist without the other. There can be no relationship, no love, or no affection when life itself has become so ugly. If you want to save love, then you will first save life. You will create a life you will fall in love with, you will create a man you will fall in love with. Only with a free man, a man who sees women as equal and free, who decides on a free, equal, democratic relationship with women, can love and life be shared. Only a life based on free women and free men, on a free moral and political society, can be loveable.

I really don’t understand why women get married. They marry their murderer and go to their own death. The other day I watched the footage of a mother whose daughter had just gotten married and was murdered shortly after. I was very effected. The mother placed her daughter’s wedding dress on the middle of a street, poured petrol on it and burnt it. In pain, she called out to young women. She said “don’t get married, if you get married it will be your end”. “Learn a lesson from my daughter,” she said. Women must first fight to save life. With the given circumstances, there is neither a life to live nor a man to live it with. All that is left to do is struggle for a better world.

In this respect, women need to raise their consciousness, make themselves strong-willed, organize themselves, and develop their defense. They must struggle and save life itself. They need to establish a free, equal, and democratic system so that they can live freely. Unless this happens, the woman is always going to be under attack.

The Shirnak incident is important in this regard. There have been many cases of harassment and rape by Turkish soldiers in Kurdistan for a long time. The society was silent about these special warfare tactics, these policemen and soldiers. Recently, a policeman, a soldier attempted to harass a woman, he sexually assaulted her. The people and youth of Shirnak stood up and lynched that scoundrel. I wish they had killed him. They taught him a good lesson. This should happen everywhere. Where ever a man is caught saying something to a woman, a girl, or even a child, where ever he is looking at them with bad intentions, he should be lynched. Such people should not be given the right to life and this stance must develop everywhere. Therefore, women need to organize everywhere and ensure their own self-defense.

This is the only way the ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî’ movement can be realized, and only in this way can it be put into practice. In other words, ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî’ can be achieved by organizing, developing self-defense, struggling, creating a free and democratic life and system.

The youth have been actively participating in the struggle, for the construction of a democratic system. Though, it is clear that the attacks against them are also intense. What are your evaluations in regards to this?

A very strong stance, struggle and resistance was developed by young people across Kurdistan and Turkey all through Newroz, the 31 March municipal elections, when the will of Wan was usurped, in Shirnak, in Colemerg, in Elih, and in Riha. I congratulate the youth in this sense. They have put forward a very meaningful stance. The role of the youth, particularly that of young women, was very important in achieving results in the Wan resistance. This same stance was demonstrated against the usurpation and occupation policies being imposed in Colemerg, Shirnak and throughout Botan. We were watching carefully, and it was very meaningful. A young army has been formed in North Kurdistan and the cities of Turkey.

Young people are really the most dynamic forces of society. They are excited, enthusiastic, lively, daring, searching, and passionate. All these are the characteristics of young people. We all went through that process. We lived those. These are very important. The youth are the dynamism of the struggle. In a way, they are the hope of freedom. They are the guarantee of a free future.

Young people everywhere must show a very strong participation in the struggle for freedom. Those who can come to the mountains should come to the mountains. Young women and men should join the struggle. They should be a part of this resistance against the colonialist, genocidal enemy by putting forward a will and stance akin to that of the young fighters in Zap and Metina. Whether they are in South Kurdistan, or the North, those who are unable to come can assume the duty of protecting their country in their own places. We have seen this in Wan, Shirnak, Colemerg and Elih. Young people can very well defend the country where they are. They can put forward a great will of resistance and struggle and defend their people, their future, and their values.

In this sense, the youth must break every hand that reaches out against children, women, the elderly and our people as a whole. They must fight strongly against this colonialist, genocidal enemy. They must turn every place into areas of action, areas of rebellion. They must take the lead in mobilizing society. Who will do this if not the youth?

This colonialist-genocidal regime carries out genocide policies in thousands of ways; whether it is militarily, socially, culturally, economically, or ecologically. It also has a special policy against the youth. For example, drugs are a policy of genocide against the youth. There are drug dealers everywhere in Kurdistan, on every street. All police officers and soldiers are drug dealers. They even use some mullahs and civil servants in this way. They are all elements of special warfare. In Kurdistan, they lure Kurdish children, even the youngest ones, into drugs. They are trying to get young people addicted to drugs in order to break them away from the struggle, from their own values, culture and society. They break the will of these young people, break their personality, degenerate and corrupt them. With drugs, prostitution, rape, immigration… We need to stand against this.

It should be such that not a single policeman, not a single soldier, not a single special warfare officer, not a single drug dealer should dare to sell drugs on any street in Kurdistan. The youth must clean all the streets of Kurdistan from drug dealers and special warfare elements. All the streets, neighborhoods, towns, cities of Kurdistan must be cleared of rapists, special psychological warfare elements, drug barons, drug dealers. The youth must wage a very strong struggle against this. Young people must organize themselves. There is no need for someone to give instructions to the youth. There is no need for someone to manage the youth. Our youth are really the most political youth in the world. The youth of Kurdistan are the most political and conscious youth in the world.

They can organize very easily everywhere. They can establish committees, they can establish assemblies, they can form self-defense units, they can defend Kurdish society. They can defend Kurdish women against all kinds of attacks of the enemy. They can clean all the streets, cities and towns of Kurdistan from these special psychological warfare attacks. I believe that the youth can achieve this and I call on them to do so.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas, as well as Iran, continues and is constantly getting worse. What is the Turkish role in this, what interest is the Turkish state trying to assert through this crisis?

It is as clear that Turkey was the force which provoked Hamas to attack, leading to the emergence of the war between Israel and Hamas. Turkey orchestrated this plot to disrupt the energy corridor that stretches from India to Israel and then via Greece to Europe. Israel was gradually restoring its ties with the Arab world during that period. It had also made agreements. The Turkish Republic was uncomfortable with this situation as this meant Turkey’s exclusion from the trade route. Another factor which made Turkey uncomfortable is the fact that Iran was also gradually building strength, becoming a key player in the region. The plan of the hegemons was that the region was to be shaped through Israel. The energy route was also going to bring Israel a great economic income and add to its strength. This would have meant that Turkey’s geostrategic position would lose importance. The fascist, the colonialist, genocidal Turkish regime could not bear this, and set Hamas against Israel however many lives this cost.

Currently, Turkey is playing a provocative role for the war to spread. Listening to the Turkish press, it is really evident how much the Turkish state desires the war between Israel and Iran. They broadcast this topic 24 hours a day, every day of the week. All of these are attempts of provocation. They hope to benefit from the spread of this war to weaken Iran which they see as a rival because of their historical contradictions. While they want Iran to enter war so it would lose strength, they also want Israel to be defeated so their own geopolitical position is not jeopardized. The Turkish state assumes that by weakening these actors, it will open up a space for itself in the region. Since they are already a NATO country, they think that NATO and America will fill future regional voids through Turkey.

Erdogan thinks that America will give more importance to the East Pacific and Far Asia and that he will fill the void created by America in the region and form a coalition. In addition to this, if such a war spreads, he will grasp the opportunity to easily conduct his genocidal attacks in South Kurdistan, Syria and Rojava. Erdogan also plans to carry out the same policy in the Caucasus where Iran is trying to create an energy route with Armenia. Now Erdogan wants to develop an energy route with the Russians, the Turkic republics and Azerbaijan. It is in search of alternative routes. This Baghdad Development Road Project is a part of this. That is why Turkey wants this war to spread and plays a very provocative role in achieving this.

There has been an exchange of attacks between Iran and Israel after Israel killed some of Iran’s leading commanders. What are the possibilities of a full-scale war erupting between the two forces?

Iran is not in a strong enough position to conduct this war. There have been multi-faceted embargoes on Iran for years. Be it economically, arms, or diplomatically. In this sense, it is experiencing a serious economic crisis. It is economically very instable. Also, the opposition has been rebelling against the Iranian state for years. The social opposition has become very strong because there is a lot of discomfort. The people want democratic administration. Iranian peoples and societies want democratic politics and reform. In recent years, the ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî’ demonstrations have also created a very serious demand for change, transformation and democratization. Therefore, there is also distrust and discomfort towards the current government. All of this social pressure is causing strain on the government. Therefore, when it all adds up, Iran does not want war under these conditions so it tries to be very careful. It is not in favor of the spread of war.

Israel, on the other hand, has indeed waged a war of genocide against the Palestinians, but it has also suffered great damage. Israel collapsed economically and militarily. At the moment, Israel is also very weak. Without the support of America and the West, Israel would not be able to survive. On its own, Israel could not have waged the war in Gaza. This is a fact. Therefore, Israel is trying to secure the support of America and the West by increasing tensions with Iran though it is not in a position to wage a comprehensive war with Iran in the current situation. Should America join this war, Israel would play an active role. But as far as we can see, America is also approaching cautiously. It is not rushing. America is trying to hide its intentions a little bit.

The currently situation between Israel and Iran is a low-intensity war, there is a situation of conflict. But neither side wants to turn this into an open, widespread, comprehensive war at this stage. There is a careful approach in this regard. Israel and America are pursuing a policy aimed at wearing down, weakening and capitulating Iran. This low-intensity war is a part of this policy. But Turkey really wants this war to spread. It hopes to benefit from this. It thinks that it has an interest in this. It plays such an ominous role.

As a movement, we are against war. Our struggle is a struggle for legitimate self-defense. In this sense, we see more bloodshed and the spread of war in the region neither in the interest of the Kurds nor the peoples of the region. The ones who lose in war are the societies, and these lands seen enough blood. Therefore, we are against war. Our strategy everywhere is democracy, the solution of problems in accordance with the understanding of a democratic, confederal system. It is to solve the problems on a democratic basis, through democratic political negotiations. War has no benefit for anyone except for the imperialists and colonialists. We are a movement of the people and the people do not need more war.


1 Referring to Kurdish peoples leader Abdullah Öcalan.

2 By international conspiracy she refers here to how Abdullah Öcalan was kidnapped in violation of international law on February 15, 1999 and how he is kept in solitary confinement on the island of Imrali until today.

3 Plan that the Turkish government, or rather the deep state of Turkey in coordination with NATO forces, forged secretly during the so-called ‘peace process’. The state abruptly broke off talks with the Kurdish movement in 2015 and escalated the situation as part of this plan, which could literally be translated as a ‘plan of forcing them to their knees’.

4 Alliance of various democratic, social and left-wing forces.

5 The İttihad ve Terakki (Union and Progress) was a political party in the Ottoman Empire founded in 1889. It played a significant role in the late Ottoman politics, particularly during the Young Turk Revolution of 1908. The party is responsible for the Armenian Genocide, and paved the way for the fascist and genocidal mentality that exists in the Turkish state until today and which is today primarily directed against the Kurdish people.

6 Kurdish tribal leader who led a general uprising in North Kurdistan against the Turkish occupation. The rebellion failed due to treason and Sheikh Sait was hanged with his comrades on June 29, 1925 in Amed.