our interviews

april 06, 2024

In recent months, there have been large-scale protests against the international conspiracy1, along with colorful 8th March celebrations, and the mobilization of tens of millions of people for Newroz. In addition to this, the guerrillas’ have been uninterruptedly serving fatal blows to the Turkish army with the revolutionary actions they have been carrying out. This atmosphere was intensified by the Command of the People’s Defense Headquarters (HSMK) who released very important information during Newroz.

Again, the outcomes of the municipal elections in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey have been historic. To begin with, how do you evaluate the municipal elections of 2024?

Before I get to your question, I would like to start this interview by stating that the political will of our people in Wan was attempted to be usurped. Wan is the only place in Turkey where the metropolitan and district municipalities were won by a single party. This usurpation has once again revealed what kind of anti-Kurdish mentality the AKP-MHP fascist government has.

DEM party candidate Abdullah Zeydan was put into the election, the High Election Committee (YSK) accepted this, and the people went and voted for him, he won by a landslide. This usurpation is clearly a conspiracy against the people. This is their message to the people that no matter who they choose, if the government wants to do something differently, they will do it differently. This is, in fact, the denial of the social and political will of the Kurdish people. They are not recognizing the Kurdish people’s right to self-government, even locally. It is a political genocide practiced by the genocidal colonialist mentality.

The Kurdish people must not accept this attitude of the AKP-MHP fascist government in any way. The AKP usurper cannot represent the people of Wan. They cannot govern that municipality. All districts of Wan legally belong to the DEM party. The people of Wan and all Kurdish people must continue their struggle to stand against these usurpers. They must repel those who set up this conspiracy. Not only the people of Van, but all Kurdish people must play their role in this repulsion. This is how the struggle for democracy and freedom develops. This is how freedom and democracy are won. This is how the Kurdish people win the right to self-government, the right to govern themselves. In short, these attacks can only be repelled through struggle.

These municipal elections were historic. Both in Kurdistan and in Turkey, a major blow was dealt to the special warfare regime, which is being waged against the peoples with all the means of the state. All of their lies, the deception, oppression, intimidation, and fear, they all collapsed. The truth cannot be hidden, this was seen in the elections. This situation marks the success of the peoples of Kurdistan and Turkey who did not kneel to any kind of attack and oppression by the state. In this respect, we congratulate them, the people who have been kept under a heavy plan of subjugation since 2014, for the stance they have put forward. I would especially like to congratulate the peoples, laborers, democrats, women, and different ethnic and religious communities in Turkey for their stance against AKP-MHP fascism.

It is necessary to understand that if it were not for the great struggle and stance of the Kurdish people and their allies—including the leftist democrats and Alevis—against the AKP-MHP fascism, the peoples and laborers of Turkey would have collapsed under the heavy pressure of the AKP-MHP fascism. This great struggle must be given the acknowledgment it deserves. It was this struggle which resulted in the AKP-MHP fascism’s failure to create the Turkey it wants.

Especially after the May 2023 elections, there was an air of negativity, hopelessness, and pessimism that the special warfare under the AKP-MHP rule, the Turkish intelligence service (MIT), and even the Kurdish collaborators in alliance with the AKP wanted to create. With such psychological warfare, it was aimed that the Kurdish people and the opposition forces were destroyed. So much so, that politics in Turkey and Kurdistan would now be redesigned by this government, and in the second century, Turkey would be shaped in this way. However, the Kurdish Freedom Movement, which has been the leading force in the struggle for democracy in Turkey and the Middle East for years, did not allow this to happen. It immediately launched a move to disperse this pessimistic atmosphere and raise the struggle.

The Kurdish freedom movement emphasized from the beginning that when the heavy isolation and psychological warfare imposed on Rêber Apo2 is broken, so will the oppression in Kurdistan and Turkey. The global campaign with the name ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’ was launched for this purpose. This campaign symbolizes a struggle against the special and dirty warfare of the AKP-MHP fascist government in Turkey and Kurdistan. There is a great embrace for Rêber Apo all over the world. This embrace is a direct struggle against the Turkish state, which keeps Rêber Apo in solitary confinement and carries out a policy of genocide against the Kurds. Therefore, it is a struggle against the Turkish state, which implements a fascism based on anti-democracy in Turkey, because the AKP-MHP fascism has maximized its hostility to democracy in order to harm the Kurds.

On this occasion, we celebrate April 4, the birthday of Rêber Apo. As part of the freedom campaign for Rêber Apo, our people and our international friends should take this opportunity to respond to the AKP-MHP fascism’s hostility to Kurds and democracy by going to Amara and celebrating his birthday there.

For years, AKP-MHP fascism has been portraying the struggle of the Kurdish people as though it was dividing Turkey, saying that it is fighting against terrorism, promoting chauvinism with all kinds of tools and means, especially in the press and media, and gaining a certain support in Turkish society. However, although the AKP-MHP government has been attacking with all means of warfare uninterruptedly for nine years with the support of foreign powers, it has not been able to regress the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom in any way. With the revolutionary operations that started in the fall of 2023, the guerrilla dealt heavy blows to the Turkish army one after another. With these blows, the fascist dream in Turkey has been destroyed. Thus, the failure of the AKP-MHP, which declared itself a government of war, has been seen not only in Turkey but also in the world. Undoubtedly, not only the Kurdish people, but also all the peoples in Turkey who are under the oppression of AKP-MHP fascism, have gained morale and courage to stand against this power. These war policies of the AKP-MHP have started to be questioned.

In the reality of Kurdistan, where the AKP-MHP government is waging war, the protests against the February 15 conspiracy, the Freedom March that took place Kurdistan in February, the revolutionary actions under the slogan of ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî’ carried out by women on March 8 in Kurdistan, and the Newroz celebrations in Kurdistan, Turkey, and the world, has predetermined the attitude of the Kurdish people in the election.

While evaluating the great defeat of AKP-MHP in the elections in Kurdistan and Turkey, it is necessary to see the attitude, performance and impact of the Kurdish people and freedom forces after the elections of May 2023.

The AKP-MHP fascist alliance wanted to strike a blow against the Kurdish people in the municipal elections. On the contrary, it was the DEM party, with the Kurdish people and their friends, that dealt a heavy blow to this fascist power in the municipal elections. In this context, what did the results of the municipal elections in Kurdistan show us?

The AKP-MHP alliance wanted to completely break the will of the Kurdish people in the environment that was created after last year’s elections. It made plans to deploy soldiers and police all over Kurdistan, especially those close to the war headquarters. The alliance with Hüda Par was realized within this framework. Süleyman Soylu did not highlight the value of the state’s cooperation with Hüda Par for nothing. It is commonly known that they are cooperating with the KDP to suppress the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom. The KDP’s policy in this municipal election was in line with that of the AKP. So much so that AKP, MIT, and some Kurdish collaborators have worked in various ways and with various manipulations to create the idea that the AKP will take a step in the solution of the Kurdish questions after the elections. This was done so that the AKP gains votes in Kurdistan. For years, the KDP has been approving the Turkish Republic’s policy of Kurdish genocide in Northern Kurdistan and Rojava. They assumed that with this approach, the Turkish Republic would accept them as an authority. This is the KDP’s problem and what determines its policy.

After last year’s elections, the Green Left Party started a process of questioning and self-criticism about the disconnect in its relations with society and its shortcomings and inadequacies in its electoral tactics. Especially the weakness in social relations and organization was questioned. In this process, the agents of special warfare and their collaborators have tried to change the chemistry of the Kurdish democratic movement by misleading the efforts of the Green Left Party, by distorting the source of the problems and giving false reasons, and even by misrepresenting the direction of the Green Left Party and deviating its line. In short, the Kurdish democratic political line put forward by Rêber Apo was tried to be deviated and put into the nationalist-liberal line. Of course, these were futile efforts. Because the Kurdish democratic political movement was not developed by someone sat at the table, it follows a tradition created by the serhildans3 in Kurdistan and the Kurdish democratic revolution. Like this, the psychological warfare against the Kurdish people after the May 2023 elections was repelled.

When this year’s elections approached, a very important decision was taken and a primary election was held. This primary election was not based on only party members like in other parts of the world. All local democratic dynamics were included in this process. This did not only create enthusiasm and excitement among the people; it also attracted the entire Kurdish democratic dynamic, to join this process. There were some shortcomings and inadequacies. But it was a very important and courageous initiative. This initiative expressed the confidence of the Kurdish democratic political tradition in the people and the Kurdish democratic accumulation.

Of course, it was an important democratic stance that HDP co-chairs courageously took responsibility for the inadequacies in the election process and announced that they would not run again. This gave confidence to the people, as they once again saw that their party was sincere and different from other parties. The HDP and the Green Left Party held their congresses, conferences, and meetings and clarified their policies and positions. In doing so, they touched the people. This has led to an important clarification in the minds of the Kurdish people and their friends. After the May 2023 elections, an attitude and stance in line with democratic mentality was correctly developed. There was not a wobble or a shift in the wrong direction. These facts must be seen when one talks about the great success of the municipal elections.

The Kurdish people have been waging a great struggle for freedom and democracy in North Kurdistan for more than 50 years. It is clear that a democratic revolution has taken place in Kurdistan. There may be incomplete aspects, but a democratic revolution has definitely taken place. Three to four generations have been molded with the values of this democratic revolution. This democratic revolution, molded by the paradigm of women’s freedom, has deepened, and the democratic consciousness of society, especially women and youth, has developed. We should see the actions and stance of Kurdish mothers as the most concrete proof of this.

Society is no longer dependent on an authority, nor is it an ordinary mass of individuals. After more than 50 years of organized struggle, it is a community of people with a will that has gained consciousness and asserted itself as a will. Armed with democratic values, it wants its will to be recognized. For this reason, it has reacted with great anger and rage against the dismissal of the co-chairs it elected in the local elections and the appointment of trustees, as well as the imprisonment of MPs and party executives. Appointing trustees against the will of such a people is the heaviest attack on them. Our people rightfully saw this as a Kurdish hostility. These people have changed, they have recognized themselves, and gained an important stance through more than 50 years of great struggle and heavy sacrifices. On the other hand, the survival of the Kurdish freedom movement and its struggle in every dimension in the face of all these brutal attacks has allowed the people to put more belief and struggle forward. There is an unbroken bond between the guerrilla and people. The attacks against the guerrilla only serve to deepen the anger of the people, which is what pushes them to struggle against genocidal colonialism.

The first thing the appointed trustees did was attack institutions related to Kurdish language and culture. Some of these institutions were closed. Women’s institutions that contribute to Kurdish democracy were closed down. Heavy attacks were carried out, especially against women. More female politicians have been imprisoned in Turkey, than in any other country in the history of the world. In general, Turkey holds the record for politicians in prisons. The proportion of women among these politicians is unprecedented anywhere in the world. All this has increased the reaction of the Kurdish people against the AKP-MHP government, which is conducting a fascist policy through appointing trustees. As a whole, the attacks on the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom everywhere have also revealed a serious attitude against this government.

Under all these factors, the Kurdish people dealt a heavy blow to the trustee policy in the local elections. It destroyed the trustee policy. This also revealed a stance of struggle against the heavy pressure on the Kurdish people and the occupation operation against the Medya Defense Zones4 and Rojava Kurdistan.

The concentration of soldiers and police in the region, using Hüda Par and enlisting the support of Kurdish collaborators, did not yield any results. We can say that Şirnak is one of the most successful places for the Kurdish people. The state has usurped Şirnak, which it abuses as a war headquarters. But still, Şirnak was the victor in this local election. The state has lost! The people of Şirnak have shown the whole world with their attitude, that the state has lost all of Kurdistan. I congratulate the people of Şirnak and salute them respectfully. They have clearly demonstrated that Kurds are strong-willed and honorable people; they have also given morale to the entire Kurdish people. The state’s seizure of the municipalities by concentrating soldiers and police in 5-6 districts is an absolute expression of its defeat. It is a confession that there is no element of the State left in Kurdistan except the military-police force. The people know that they won the elections not only in Şirnak but also in Uludere, Çukurca, Şemdinli, Esendere, Qileban, Savur, and Beytüşşebab. In fact, these are among the places where people are angry with the state and are breaking away from it. All this was achieved even though the atmosphere of the elections were not democratic or fair. The results express the opposite of this reality. Had the atmosphere been fair, the world would have better understood the stance of the Kurdish people.

The center of war in Kurdistan is Şirnak, and its governor is Wan. The DEM party has won all the big districts of Şirnak. The victory of the DEM party in all districts of Wan is actually the victory of the entire people of Kurdistan against the genocidal colonialist special warfare headquarters. The people of Wan should be congratulated. The people of Kurdistan are successful in all cities and districts. We congratulate them all. Therefore, we will not name them one by one. Though, in Hilvan and Batman, where the Kurdish democratic movement won its first mayorship in 1979, the DEM party’s success also has great significance. On this occasion, I would like to commemorate Edip Solmaz5, Nadir Temel6 and Dürre Kaya7 with respect and gratitude. Hilvan municipality is also wanted to be usurped. Out of respect for Nadir Temel and Dürre Kaya, our people must continue their struggle with determination; they must never allow this usurpation.

Women also made their mark on this election. Despite all kinds of attacks, women took an important lead in the election work and had the biggest share in the success achieved. How do you evaluate this?

When talking about the political struggle in Kurdistan, any view that does not evaluate the role and influence of women is incomplete. Every revolutionary and democrat must recognize this fact. Those who do not see the great role of women in the democratic and freedom-oriented development of Kurdistan, in political achievements, and in the change of life cannot make any ideological, social, or political evaluation correctly.

By advancing the paradigm of women’s freedom, Rêber Apo put forward the system of co-presidency and equal representation, he pushed the political field to make a revolutionary move. This created a great excitement and enthusiasm among women, who are the catalysts of society and determine the character of society. The democratic revolution in Kurdistan has reached a new dimension. We should look at this as making the democratic revolution invincible and as infusing the democratic revolution with the elixir of invincibility. In fact, Rêber Apo’s paradigm of women’s freedom is not only a paradigm based on the equality of men and women. It is a paradigm that shapes the whole society in the line and morality of women’s freedom. It is a line that will clean the whole society from its dirt and make it clean in conscience and morality. Rêber Apo has shown that the paradigm of women’s freedom will create such a society by evaluating historical society.

Kurdish women are currently at the vanguard of a revolution that changes not only Kurdish society but also the world with the mentality of ‘Jin Jiyan Azadi’. With this revolutionary move, Kurdish women have become the honor and pride of the Kurdish people. All Kurds should feel great enthusiasm and joy from this honor created by Kurdish women.

Kurdish women reached this level as a result of a great struggle. Rêber Apo’s struggle for freedom in Kurdistan has brought women to this point. The system of co-presidency is the most concise product of this great struggle. Those who do not understand and see this, do not understand the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom.

There is a story about Kurdish women’s struggle for freedom that I often tell. In the 1980s, families would come to visit us in prison. Mostly families from Batman would travel to Amed prison on what they called the yogurt trains’. One of these families was Mother Hanim and Father Ahmet, the parents of comrade Ercan Kavak. Two of their sons were in prison, while another one was sentenced. This last son later joined the guerrilla and is now a martyr. No matter which prison we were exiled to, they would follow us. One day in an open meeting, the mother said to us, “My son, this uncle Ahmet of yours used to kick me if I dared to stick my head out of the door, even if it was just a little bit. He wouldn’t want me to leave the house. Now, as your mother, as the mother of the Apoists, I go everywhere, be it Amed, Urfa, Ceyhan, or Ankara. Now it is your uncle Ahmet who sits at home, but I go everywhere to support the struggle.”

The impact that the Apoists’ struggle in Batman had on society made our mothers embrace their sons and the cause of their sons, and they liberated themselves through this struggle. Again, our sisters and young Kurdish girls were born into this world of struggle, and they took up the struggle everywhere without hesitation. They sacrificed themselves during Newroz, the symbol of the Kurdish people’s struggle for existence. It is necessary to see this reality and these facts well when we discuss and evaluate the impact of women in today’s political struggle.

Any Kurd who follows the system of co-presidency is an honorable Kurd, a free and democratic Kurd. If one of the candidates of the co-presidency is a man, he must feel honored. There cannot be a more honorable, free and democratic stance. The men who understand co-presidency correctly, will feel more rewarded than the woman. Rêber Apo gave this award and honor. As a matter of fact, Kurdish society chants the slogan “Jin Jiyan Azadî” in the squares because they see this reality revealed by Rêber Apo. This is the essence and basic slogan of the Kurdish revolution. Because it is this philosophy that ensures freedom, democracy, autonomy and self-governance of Kurds with their own identity, culture and will.

Co-presidency does not mean that one co-chair is superior to the other. They are equal, they make all decisions together democratically. One is not superior to the other. In this respect, saying who will be the official co-chair and making this an agenda means crippling and denying this understanding of co-presidency. It means seeing officialdom as an advantage, even as a power of authority. This would be to misunderstand co-presidency, to cripple its essence. In this respect, such discussions are a philosophical fallacy. Those who accept co-presidency cannot and should not participate in such a debate. Yes, there is an obligation to make an official declaration, though, the official declaration of someone is only a formality. It is not and cannot be an issue that concerns the Kurds and the co-chairs.

However, because the system obligates that one person is named as president, and considering the heights reached and successes gained by the “Jin Jiyan Azadî” revolution, it is only just to name women as official candidates. This is what befits the Kurdish people and the revolution they have realized. Perhaps in very special and exceptional cases a male candidate can be named. All male co-chairs should demand that women become official co-chairs, as a necessity of achieving the honor of co-presidency. This is the correct philosophical view, political view, democratic and libertarian view. This is not about making someone superior and authorized. It is about the representation of the democratic and libertarian thought, about making this the soul of our revolution. This is what will elevate all patriotic men.

We, too, have suffered for years in fully grasping the paradigm of women’s freedom and fulfilling its requirements. We still cannot claim that we have fully grasped it, but we are trying to change ourselves through an internal struggle. Rêber Apo has constantly educated us and made us understand the line of women’s freedom and about the struggle to kill and uproot the masculinity that has historically settled in us. Of course, from the very beginning we were saying that there would be no revolution without women. We were excited about women’s participation in the revolution, but there was also a misconception that after the revolution took place, everything would return to its previous form. Rêber Apo saved us from our misconceptions. From this point of view, all Kurdish people, especially male patriots, should correctly understand Rêber Apo’s historic, sacred work and revolution and glorify it by transforming themselves.

The reason why we have stated that the official preference in the co-presidency is in favor of women is to make this aspect of our revolution visible and effective all over the world in the future. Because this revolutionary democratic aspect now affects the whole world, especially Turkey and the Middle East.

The AKP-MHP fascism wanted to fully institutionalize the fascist one-man regime it established by ensuring its dominance in metropolitan cities, especially Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Çukurova. However, the peoples of Turkey put a stop to this fascist plan with their support for the opposition. How should the picture that emerged in Turkey be evaluated?

The AKP-MHP fascism’s aim to turn Turkey into a fully institutionalized fascist country by dominating all metropolitan municipalities was dealt a heavy blow in the local elections. We were always emphasizing that the AKP-MHP fascist government was in a state of collapse and dissolution. We were saying that the AKP-MHP government, which wanted to destroy the Kurdish people, had collapsed. We were not stating this for propaganda. We were stating these because we were following the war against us and its results. It has once again become clear how true our evaluations are.

It was the fascist character and hostility toward democracy that led the AKP-MHP fascism in Turkey to such a collapse. All this is based on Kurdish enmity, which has brought this government to the present situation of collapsing. The enmity against democracy is the source of the moral, political, conscientious, and cultural collapse that is experienced in society. It is the genocidal war against the Kurds.

Also, the economic collapse played an essential role in the election loss. It is the war against the Kurdish people that created the economic crisis; it is this dirty war. All the resources of Turkey are abused for this war. Wasn’t it Erdogan himself who screamed at the people, “Don’t you know the price of one single bullet?” when the people gradually started to raise their voices because of the economic problems? He openly said that a crucial cause of the economic problem was the expenditures allocated to the war. He was repeating every day that the state budget was mainly allocated for war, pointing out that they were building this many military vehicles, making this kind of military investment. This is what happens when, instead of solving Turkey’s political problems through democracy, the government turns to war and compulsion. There are presidential special funds, as well as special funds allocated to MIT, as well as funds allocated for spying and funds allocated to the gangs that Turkey feeds. There is no mechanism to monitor these. There is no publicly available overview of where these funds go and who coordinates them. All of these are the triggers of the economic problems, and this had an impact on the election. It is not the lack of resources that creates this economic distress. It is mainly political reasons that cause the economic collapse. It is the lack of democracy based on Kurdish hostility that the war policies pursued.

The AKP-MHP government has put Turkey into a multifaceted crisis. The core of it is the crisis of society. In order to crush the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom, it has both been hostile to democracy and polarized society to an unprecedented level. The government has declared everyone except AKP-MHP supporters and allies, as traitors. It has turned Turkey into a country of political civil war and has created a polarization that has not only the potential to destroy themselves but the whole of Turkey. In this situation, neighbors have become enemies of each other. Society has thus been traumatized. This is unprecedented not only in Turkey but also in the world. In this way, not only an unscrupulous, unjust, and immoral political environment has been created, but also a social life of this color.

Conscience is one of the most basic human characteristics. This requires a basic approach to social values and justice. In the AKP-MHP government, not only is there not a shred of conscience left, but it has also tended to shape society in this way.

This situation has gradually increased the discontentment in society against the AKP-MHP government. Because this policy is not just a short-term practice; it has become its fundamental policy. This has gradually disturbed those parts of society that, until now, had voted for the AKP. Societies, regardless of their beliefs and cultures, cannot endure such a polarizing life for a long time. The AKP-MHP government, which dragged society into a civil war, is now starting to pay the price for this. Political powers and those with vested interests may be constantly unscrupulous and unjust, but society cannot be like that. In the end, the demand for conscience, morality, and justice within society rebels against this. This is the reason why many AKP voters did not go to the polls in this election. The AKP-MHP has put a straitjacket on society.

The current multiple crises are the consequences of the policies of this government. From politics to society, culture, art, the press, sports, and the economy, there is no area that is not in a deep crisis. Turkey has become a country of general social crises and multi-level crises, while at the same time special warfare is constantly being waged by the government. The people’s attitude in the municipal elections should be seen as an objection to this reality. Otherwise, an approach that ignores Turkey’s reality and the root of its issues would mislead one to believe that the increasing prices of potatoes and onions is what drove the AKP-MHP administration to this point. This, in turn, distorts the search for solutions to problems. Due to misconceptions, the search for the underlying truth of problems is not undertaken. This leads to the prolongation of the lives of fascist governments like the AKP-MHP.

The AKP-MHP has indeed become a power of organized evil. It is a power that violates even the essentially fascist and undemocratic constitutions and laws of Turkey. Even the existing constitution and laws are not enough for their authoritarian, fascist character. For this reason, if they had the power, they would make an even more authoritarian, fascist, and genocidal constitution that would form the basis for genocide against all different ethnic and religious identities. They would completely legalize this authoritarian system that oppresses society, especially women and laborers. The peoples of Turkey put a stop to the creation of such a country.

Turkey has been under an authoritarian system for 100 years now. In this century, it has also been a country where an intense struggle for democracy has been waged. From the very beginning, Kurds objected to this system which ignored them. Therefore, they were subjected to oppression, persecution, and genocide. However, the desire to live freely with their own identity, history, and culture continued. Although the genocidal policy of the Turkish state has been put into practice very widely and effectively, it could not completely eradicate Kurdish existence.

Also, socialist forces waged a great struggle against this state. In the history of Turkey until the 1970s, socialists were imprisoned mainly for political reasons. Despite their ideological and political inadequacies, they played an important role in the struggle for democracy and freedom. In the 1960s and 1970s, the struggle for democracy by the socialist forces had reached a level that should not be underestimated. The organization, influence, and power of the left in the 1970s are well known. These leftist forces also took a stance on the Kurdish question, advocating federation and autonomy in addition to a separate state. In short, I cannot mention them one by one right now, but there have been many socialist movements in Turkey that have taken part in the struggle for democracy, and they have paid a high price for this cause. This struggle has played a significant role in the development of the idea of democraticizing Turkey. Important political transformations in Turkey’s history have always been attempted by those who demanded democracy. Or this is how they have been able to influence society and gain its support. The wind created by the Democrat Party in 1950, the wind created by Ecevit’s CHP in the 1970s, the support of Özal’s party after 1980, and the AKP’s coming to power in 2002 by talking about democracy are the results of the impact of the struggle for democracy in Turkey, on society. It would be incorrect to not recognize this historical reality when evaluating the objection that is currently emerging in society against the AKP-MHP government.

As a matter of fact, throughout the history of the republic, there has been a longing for democratization among the pious segments of the Islamic faith against the modernist approaches of political parties. They have expressed their desire to live their beliefs freely in a democracy. And the AKP has used this desire of the people for its own interests to increase its own political power. The historical inadequacy of political Islam in the struggle for democracy has resulted in the AKP government’s hostility to democracy after gaining a certain benefit at the beginning. Today’s democratic forces need to recognize this reality and draw the pious people who yearn for democracy, into the struggle for democracy. Because there is also a serious and important search for conscience, morality, and justice in non-powerist social religious beliefs. The AKP government is hostile to these values.

Undoubtedly, the struggle for democracy among the Kurdish people, especially for the last 50 years, brought about radical changes in society. Their insistence on the struggle for democracy and freedom in the face of the most severe oppression has played an important role in keeping the spirit of democracy in Turkey alive. In this respect, the struggle of the Kurdish people has become the most fundamental democratic dynamism in Turkey. In the struggle against AKP-MHP fascism in Turkey, the role of the Kurdish people’s struggle for democracy, which is carried out in unity with the democratic forces of Turkey, is very important. To stress this point out, the level of democratic consciousness and freedom that the Kurdish society has reached is the motor of the struggle for democracy in the whole of Turkey. It affects not only the radical democratic forces and socialists, but also the opposition forces within the system that are disturbed by the AKP-MHP fascism.

Another point must also be emphasized. Due to the struggle and influence of all democratic forces, especially the Kurds, the AKP-MHP government lost its influence in the cities that determine the political, economic, social, and cultural direction of the country. It is very important that in these places, society expresses its desire for democracy and freedom against AKP-MHP fascism. Considering that many Kurds live in these places, it can be understood how important the common stance of Kurds and the people of Turkey is to the democratization of the country. Whether the opposition within the system correctly evaluates this is another matter. However, it is clear that the society in Turkey is in search of democracy. This is a fundamental factor that enables Turkey to look to the future with hope. It is the result of those who have been struggling for democracy and freedom for a hundred years.

It is also important to note that the change of leadership in the CHP after the May 2023 elections has created a new dynamism in the basis of the CHP. Such results often occur when failed administrations change. Undoubtedly, this was not the decisive factor, but it must be recognized as a factor.

The Kurdish people and their friends in the struggle for democracy have again left their mark on the defeat of the AKP-MHP fascist alliance. All opposition circles are drawing attention to the role played by the DEM party. How should the attitude of the Kurdish people and their friends around the DEM party be understood?

Undoubtedly, it is the Kurdish basis of the DEM party, the basis of the democratic alliance that voted for the DEM party’s candidate in Kurdistan. They also voted for the DEM party in places where the DEM party barely had a chance of winning, such as the Akdeniz district of Mersin. In the center of Dersim, the DEM party candidates supported by the alliances won. In Kurdistan, the DEM party voters went to the polls in masses. The results are evident.

In this election, the DEM party was not in a general alliance or consensus in Turkey. But in very strategic areas of Turkey, it pursued a policy together with all democratic forces to make AKP-MHP fascism lose. This policy was called ‘urban consensus’. We should talk about the unification of all social forces that want democracy. Rather than speaking about one party candidate winning, it is necessary to see the fact that all social forces that want democracy came together and took a stance against AKP-MHP fascism. This is how the attitude of the people should be read. This should be seen as an attitude of winning not for a party but for democracy and the forces of democracy. The CHP must also understand it in this way. These are votes for democracy and democratization. This is the people’s response to fascism.

AKP-MHP fascism has oppressed and polarized society to such an extent that it has united all opposition forces against itself. It has united all social forces demanding democracy, against itself. The DEM party’s policy towards the provinces of Turkey, was to stand with those who are radical and democratic within the system against AKP-MHP fascism. Just as it has been in a struggle against AKP-MHP fascism in Kurdistan, it has also maintained this attitude in the cities of Turkey. In the face of the fascist and anti-Kurdish occupying policy of the AKP-MHP government, DEM party members could not be expected to adopt any other attitude. In fact, in every place where the MHP nominated candidates, the people voted for the victory of CHP candidates on the basis of urban consensus, without hesitation. In places where the MHP fielded candidates, Kurds could not have been expected to adopt a different attitude.

Undoubtedly, in a very limited way, there were also some people who voted directly for DEM party candidates due to the wrong attitude of the opposition forces in 2023, because the DEM party did not withdraw its candidates anywhere. Thus, it did not leave those who wanted to vote differently in their own base without a choice; it prevented them from voting reactionarily or with the wrong tendency. This should be seen as support for the struggle for democracy. Because the votes given to the DEM party are also among the votes of the democratic front.

Everyone in Turkey should recognize the crucial role of the DEM party, that is, the Kurds and their allies, in the struggle for democracy and the collapse of the AKP-MHP government in the municipal elections. The attitudes against the AKP-MHP government can clearly be seen on the scoreboards. The provinces won by the CHP in Kurdish geography are in a position to stand against the AKP-MHP fascism and push it back. This is an objective fact revealed by the democratic attitude of the Kurdish people and the peoples of Turkey. The democratic forces in Turkey are voicing this fact.

It should be known that if there were a parliamentary election right now, everyone whether they are Kurd, Turk, Alevi, Sunni, women, and youth, would vote directly for the DEM party. In this respect, as Meral Daniş Beştaş said, the CHP should not see these votes as its own. This is what Özgür Özel stated in his first speech after winning the election. This is the right attitude. If this attitude of the DEM party’s base is not understood correctly, neither the correct policy nor the correct approach will emerge. Everyone knows that the DEM party’s base in Istanbul is around 10%. This is, of course, the common vote of Kurds, Alevis, democratic left forces, and women. At least 8% of these votes have become part of the forces demanding democracy in Istanbul. They played an important role in Imamoglu’s victory, which was stronger than in 2019.

The DEM party is still holds its position as the third biggest party; evaluations claiming otherwise are superficial. Half of the votes received by the DEM party are in Kurdistan, half of them are in Turkey. Because the DEM party’s base in Turkey includes the votes of left-wing democratic forces, Alevis, including Turkish Alevis, women from different societies who vote for the DEM party’s line of women’s freedom, and other ethnic and religious communities, In this respect, DEM’s vote in Turkey is currently estimated to be around 11%. An assessment that DEM’s votes have fallen is a superficial evaluation. Those who want to say that DEM’s votes have fallen by looking only at the votes received in Kurdistan, leaving aside the votes in Turkey, or even those who want to make DEM look unsuccessful with ulterior motives, are only those who distort reality. DEM is the most successful party in this election. It is also the most successful party in strengthening the forces of democracy in Turkey and pushing back fascism. DEM is the third-biggest party in Turkey. Cheating and vote-stealing will not change this reality.

Everyone should see the role of the DEM party and its base in the struggle for democracy in Turkey. The right politics and the right struggle can only be done by recognizing this reality. The DEM party and its base do not want the forces that are in search for the democratization of Turkey, to be mistaken.

Especially within the framework of the elections in the Turkish parts, DEM’s alliance with the peoples of Turkey, through its policy of urban consensus, has yielded an important result. The special warfare was launched with the collaboration of some Kurdish individuals against the HDP and the Green Left Party after the last election. Thus, they attacked the alliance and partnership between the Kurdish people, the peoples of Turkey, and the forces of democracy.

When we look at the success of the DEM party and the fact that the AKP-MHP fascism lost, can we say that those standing for “the policy of alliance makes the Kurds lose” are wrong?

The general policy of the HDP and the Green Left Party in the May 2023 elections was not wrong. Their intention and desire was to strengthen democracy against fascism. This is what was expected from the HDP. However, while implementing this policy, there were shortcomings and inadequacies in some tactics and methods. Some mistakes were made. Since the right policies, tactics, and methods were not put into practice, the desired results could not be obtained. More creative, gradual tactics and methods could have been applied to frustrate the policies of the fascist alliance. On the other hand, the unprincipled and undemocratic attitude of the opposition forces within the system, which made some democratic discourses against AKP-MHP fascism, was of course used by malicious circles. The revelation of the secret agreement between the ZP and Kiliçdaroglu created a justified reaction among the Kurdish people. Those with ulterior motives tried to use this to attack the policies of the HDP and the Green Left Party in this election. In fact, they did not aim to expose this mistake of the opposition forces within the system, but they targeted the DEM party, that is, the unity of struggle created with the forces of democracy in Turkey, in which Kurds have a position.

Again, attacks were made on the HDP because some deficiencies were seen by their base. It was said that Kurdish votes were being used to elect nominees who had no interest in the Kurdish cause. However, the HDP, as the party of the democratic forces of the Kurdish and Turkish people, had overcome the threshold. While in the past it used to have a maximum of 30-35 deputies, now it has a minimum of 60 deputies. In this respect, the statement that Kurdish votes are used to elect such deputies is also a distortion and demagogy. In fact, by lowering the threshold to 7%, the AKP-MHP fascism wanted to prevent the its opposition from voting for the HDP so it would overcome the threshold. It did this even in places in Turkey where the HDP would usually not get any MPs, so that the HDP would not get votes from the anti-AKP base. Those who voted for HDP were people close to HDP’s ideas and principles. However, they lowered the threshold so that these votes would not be cast; thus, they calculated that it would reduce the HDP’s votes.

The attitude to be taken in the face of this situation, is for the HDP to work to win the votes of wider segments by embracing its own founding idea. In this respect, adhering to the founding idea of the HDP is very important for Kurdish democratic politics. This is not just a project to get 20–30 more deputies. This is a strategy to democratize Turkey. Kurds cannot develop their struggle for freedom and democracy with a few more deputies or with Kurdish deputies only. In order for democracy to develop in Turkey, on the basis of the solution to the Kurdish question, they must hold on to the idea of the HDP like a life line.

The Kurds will always win if the DEM party continues its policy to form an alliance with the democratic forces of Turkey. Saying, “What do we care about the democratic forces? What do we care about the democratization of Turkey? Let’s just take care of ourselves” is a lack of politics and a great loss for the Kurds. Kurds should not listen to such superficial and vulgar discourse.

The fact that the urban consensus of the DEM party has created hope for democracy in Turkey has once again demonstrated the correctness of the HDP’s ideas and principles. It should be known that the HDP tradition has never pursued a policy of winning for someone. The policies and tactics it has implemented have only been carried out to win for the forces of democracy and the Kurdish people. If approached in this way, a correct evaluation can be made.

Immediately after the elections, some people, the base of special warfare, were saying that the Kurdish voter turnout in Kurdistan and the DEM party’s votes in Turkey had fallen. Considering the success of the DEM party, why do they voice such evaluations?

It is clear that Kurdish voter turnout has not fallen at all. Such a thing cannot be said for Kurdistan. However, it is certain that some AKP supporters in Kurdistan did not go to the polls. Some of the AKP Kurds are also disturbed by the state practices, trusteeship, and war policies in Kurdistan. Because the war is affecting them too. In this respect, the appointment of trustees – the rejected the will of the Kurds – also disturbed some Kurds who had previously voted for the AKP. They are disturbed by the AKP government’s constant war rhetoric. They start to realize that the war is a cause of poverty. On the other side, the DEM base in Kurdistan went to the polls in masses. For this reason, in many places, the DEM party won municipalities by clear margins compared to the past. In the Wan election, the DEM party was the only party in Turkey to win both the metropolitan city and the districts. This example of Wan shows that Kurds rushed to the polls. It is a lie and a distortion to say that the DEM base in Kurdistan did not go to the polls. The reality is the opposite.

In Turkey, the DEM party’s votes have not fallen. If there had been general elections, its votes would have far exceeded the 2023 general elections. The political revival among Kurds is clear evidence of this. The revival in Kurdistan directly affects the metropolises of Turkey. In this respect, while it is obvious that the Kurds cast their votes with the same intention as the democratic forces of Turkey due to the urban consensus, the statement that the DEM’s votes have fallen is a very simple demagogy. Even a child can see that this is not true. The AKP and some Kurdish collaborators are already in a race to find fault with DEM. They are ready to defame, whether their words are right or wrong does not matter to them. These are disinformation campaigns made by elements of special warfare and its collaborators on social media. The Kurdish people and democratic forces should not pay attention to them.

Despite all the oppression, persecution, arrests, deception, and deployment of disguised troops, the Kurds and their friends of struggle won a great victory in Kurdistan and crushed the AKP-MHP fascism in Kurdistan. What should be done to expand this electoral success? After the defeat in the 2019 local elections, the AKP-MHP government increased its attacks and launched an invasion attack on Rojava. The fascist chief Tayyip Erdogan said after the election that they “will not give in to terrorism.” What should be done against this?

The Kurdish people have won a great victory in Kurdistan. Given the repression, this victory is even more significant. Everyone should appreciate this. Especially Kurds should feel honored. Not only the people of North Kurdistan, but Kurds in Rojhilat, South Kurdistan, Rojava, Shengal [Sinjar], and all over the world should be honored and proud to see such a reality.

The Kurdish people, especially the youth and women, should take this success as a basis for stronger organization and struggle. They should experience the joy of this success and should celebrate. They deserve it. But still, we face a genocidal colonialist power. The Turkish state is not only colonialist; it is also genocidal. It is not enough to say it is only a colonizer.

Some may say that the AKP has been hit, and it may give up this policy. This means ignoring the reality of the Turkish state. If Turkey was only a colonizer, maybe it could change its policy in such a situation. Since it is genocidal and its existence depends on the destruction of the Kurdish people, unless a strong democratization develops and this genocidal mentality is overcome, no softening can be expected in the solution of the Kurdish question in Turkey. The solution to the Kurdish question will not come by with some talks and negotiations, unless fundamental democratization develops. The solution to the Kurdish question is not a matter of the will of one person or a group. To say that one person within the state can solve it means not understanding the reality of the Turkish state and the Kurdish policy it pursues. In short, such expressions are the result of a superficial and narrow political view.

The struggle for democratization and the development of an understanding of democracy, form the basis for talks and negotiations. Otherwise, we would be mistaken if we said that the state would take steps in the face of political imbalances or this strain. We need to know very well the genocidal character of the Turkish state. The ‘law’ of this state is genocide. This can be overcome either through a fundamental breakthrough or by developing fundamental democratization. This is how a democratic solution can be realized.

In this respect, this success should not lead to complacency and should instead be the basis for strengthening the struggle against this enemy. Particularly young people and women should be more involved in the struggle. Every Kurd should be organized. Organizing is a democratic right and expression; this should be used well.

After the elections, Erdogan used the term ‘terroristan’ again and stated that they would attack. Erdogan sees not only Rojava but all of Kurdistan as a region of terrorism. Whoever claims the Kurdish will, whoever says they want to speak their mother tongue, their culture, their identity, and their own self-government, is seen as a terrorist. Erdogan said he would launch invasion attacks right after the election and that he would send young people to the war fronts. If the enemy prepares for new attacks, then it is necessary they be confronted.

Wherever the genocidal colonialist fascist Turkish state attacks, all Kurdish people must stand up. The attacks on Rojava, the attacks on South Kurdistan and the Medya Defense Zones, the attacks on Shengal – they are attacks on all Kurds. All Kurds in the four parts of Kurdistan and in the world must stand together against these attacks and stand up everywhere. In the spirit of the battle of Kobanê, Kurdish youth should come to wherever there is an attack and protect. Now the most attacked areas are the Medya Defense Zones, Rojava, and Shengal.

The attack on the political will of the Kurds that could be observed in Wan, should not be seen as an ordinary attack. This is an attack on the Kurdish people’s freedom struggle as a whole. All Kurds must show their attitude during such attacks. Not only Wan or the cities and towns are subjected to such attacks, but all Kurds must take to the streets and defend their democratic will in the face of these attacks. In this regard, we salute the people of Wan and the Kurdish people in other cities for taking to the squares and putting their struggle forward against this attack.

In the elections, the AKP and its fascist alliances suffered a heavy defeat in Turkey as it became the second party for the first time, while the opposition as a whole achieved a historic success. So, taking into account the June 7, 2015 elections, what course of action should the Turkish opposition take to ensure the complete defeat of the AKP-MHP fascist alliance?

Undoubtedly, the election results have given hope for the future of Turkish society. It provided a basis for the struggle for democratization. This election strengthened the alliance between the Kurdish people and the democratic forces of Turkey. It played an important role in the development of Turkey’s democratic unity on the basis of democratization and the solution of the Kurdish question. In fact, with this election, the Kurdish people and the democratic forces of Turkey have once again demonstrated that they do not have a problem of survival, as the AKP-MHP fascism claims. The will to ensure Turkey’s unity on the basis of democratization and the solution of the Kurdish question have been put forward against the AKP-MHP policies that are tearing Turkey apart and leading to division.

However, the latest successes do not automatically lead to the total defeat of the AKP-MHP fascist alliance. In the 2015 elections, the AKP government lost as well. But the forces of democracy and opposition forces, including the HDP, did not adopt the right attitude. They failed to utilize the AKP’s electoral defeat to oust it from power. Political tactics and moves that remove the legitimacy of the AKP, have not been made. They just followed the AKP’s agenda. After the June 7 elections, opposition forces failed to unite. But the AKP immediately set out to expand its own front.

The radical democratic forces in Turkey must organize faster and unite their forces immediately. The current disorganization must be overcome. The Labor and Freedom Alliance must be expanded much more. Because without the radical democratic forces leading the struggle for democracy, it is unthinkable that the opposition forces within the system will play much of a role in democratization. They may even squander the opportunities they have. When I listen to some opposition channels and the speakers who appear there, instead of expanding the forces of democracy and opening up to a wider spectrum, instead of the policy of narrowing the base of AKP-MHP fascism even further, there are approaches such as being content with the status quo and even continuing classical policies. Turkey was established as a republic in the 1920s. Under the conditions of that period, an authoritarian republic was formed. But now this republic needs democratization. If the opposition within the system does not act with this approach, the opportunities that have emerged can be squandered again.

The struggle for democracy and democratization is a question of alliance everywhere in the world. It is a mistake to think that only one party or group can bring about democracy in a large country like Turkey, where there are so many different communities. The radical revolutionary democratic forces and the opposition forces within the system should act with this consciousness. In fact, no political force or movement in Turkey that does not aim for the solution of the Kurdish question can struggle for democratization and develop democracy in Turkey. All discourses about democracy that do not aim for the democratic solution of the Kurdish question are deceptive and have no meaning other than self-deception. As a result of such discourses, Turkey will just continue to be trapped in the 100-year-long grip of authoritarianism.

In any other country in the world, after such an election, the current government would be called to resign and a general election should be held. This is a democratic tradition. All democratic forces should call on this government to resign. This government has lost its social base and legitimacy with this election. Remaining in power means a usurpation of authority. Without taking this stance, the forces of democracy cannot develop an appropriate struggle for democracy. This government will want to continue its rule by using state means and new games and conspiracies. It will resort to every means to change the tendency towards democracy in society. From this point of view, the struggle against the government must be sustained, and it must be forced to resign.

In order for the struggle for democracy to truly develop in Turkey, those who say that they are democratic must demonstrate this with their stances. The will of the Kurdish people has been usurped. In this respect, all democratic forces, including the opposition forces within the system, intellectuals, writers, artists, and all ethnic and faith communities, must take a common stance against this hostility to democracy. The Kurds and forces that voted for democracy in Turkey and played their role in bringing down AKP-MHP fascism expect this. The first reactions were already positive. The continuation of these approaches is important for the unity and common struggle of the democratic forces. Such an attitude is an attitude that must be shown, not only for Kurds but for democracy in all of Turkey.


1 By international conspiracy he refers here to how Abdullah Öcalan was kidnapped in violation of international law on February 15, 1999 and taken to the prison island of Imrali after he had gone through a political odyssey through various countries that began on October 9, 1998. The forced odyssey and abduction is verifiable the work of various states and secret services, above all the CIA, Mossad, the Greek and Italian states.

2 Referring to Kurdish peoples leader Abdullah Öcalan.

3 Kurdish word for ‘popular uprising’ similar to the concept of ‘intifada’.

4 Areas on the border between North and South Kurdistan/South-East Turkey and North Iraq, that are under the control of the Kurdistan Freedom Guerrilla.

5 Edip Solmaz, former Kurdish mayor of Batman Municipality, who was assassinated by the Turkish state on November 12, 1979, 27 days after his elections.

6 Nadir Temel was one of the first mayors of the Kurdish freedom movement. He was nominated for Hilvan on May 6, 1979 and was elected with a clear majority. Shortly afterwards he was arrested, and spent many years in Turkish torture custody until he finally passed away in 2009.

7 The 1979 elections created a strong political atmosphere in Turkey. Dürre Kaya, otherwise known as ‘Mother Dürre,’ was elected as city councilor being the first woman city councilor in Kurdistan, thereby challenging the patriarchal system.