our interviews

march 07, 2024

I would first like to start with the leader of the Kurdish people Abdullah Öcalan and his situation in isolation. He has been in total isolation for over three years and there is no news about him, how do you evaluate this, especially with regard to the international institutions such as the ‘European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ (CPT), which were actually created to intervene in such situations?

Rêber Apo1 has been in isolation now for more than 25 years. His captivity has entered its 26th year. On the very first day, while evaluating the Imrali2 system, Rêber Apo said that the CPT was responsible for his captivity and that they have established the Imrali system together. As a matter of fact, they are in constant contact with Turkey. The CPT is not a body of law. It presents itself as such, but it definitely depends on political will. When they visit prisons, they cannot publish their reports without the permission of the Turkish government. The approach of the CPT is also the approach of Europe. It is part of Europe’s Turkey policy. In fact, the CPT legitimizes the Imrali system with this attitude.

After all, they were the first ones there when Rêber Apo arrived on Imrali, because they were the founders of this system, as well as Europe, and the ‘Council of Europe’ (CoE). Now, with this attitude, they are maintaining the system that they legitimized, accepted and created together. If Turkey can carry this out, if it can maintain isolation in such a severe manner, it means that a country that wants to become a member of the European Union and is a member of the CoE has the approval of Europe, that they’ve legitimized and normalized it.

This is exactly how the CPT’s approach should be seen and this reality should be exposed. Because they deceive the world, they deceive the peoples. Here is the CPT, the body for the prevention of torture. It goes to prisons, checks, and says that it prevents torture, but there has been isolation on Imrali for 3 years. For 3 years Rêber Apo has not been allowed to meet with his lawyers or his family. But the CPT seem to consider this normal. There is no reaction to this, no stance is taken by them. It is necessary to struggle against this situation. We cannot break this Imrali system without struggling, without exposing it. So, it is necessary to criticize and expose the CPT as an institution. Again, we should not expect too much; the CPT works under the CoE. It pretends to be a legal institution, but it is directly dependent on politics. It acts in line with the orders of politics. That is why the CPT really needs to be exposed.

There are mechanisms like this in Europe and in many other parts of the world. They have established institutions that deceive peoples and societies. There are a lot of institutions that bare the label of ‘acting under human rights’. They present themselves as institutions for freedom, for the defense of democracy, but they have no real role. Their only role is to deceive the society. They obscure and cover up society’s demand for democracy, for freedom, for human rights. They become institutions to frustrate such demands, such aspirations. It is necessary to expose them. Because this is how these injustices are kept alive. They deceive societies by saying that they have democracy, human rights, and that they are against torture, and want freedom. This is a mask that needs to be torn off. Only in this way, only if it is forced, these institutions will confess the truth. They try to abide by some universal rules and principles. They do this in order to maintain their existence, to survive. But if they are not struggled against, they will certainly continue to deceive societies and peoples. The CPT continues to present itself as if it is an institution that visits European prisons and prevents torture; it really needs to be unmasked. There have been no meetings there for three years. Society does not know, his family doesn’t know, is Rêber Apo alive or not? We don’t know about his health. Doesn’t his family have rights? But this is being kept silent. Rêber Apo can not even see his lawyers. This is a very serious legal problem.

The legitimacy of the Imrali system has been weakened more than ever before. It has really become unable to justify itself. If it is addressed, if a struggle is waged, it is possible to overthrow this Imrali system and ensure that Rêber Apo can meet with his family and lawyers and be free. The attitude of the CPT is a reason for us to raise our struggle. It is a reason to wage a struggle for the peoples. It is a reason to wage a struggle for all humanity.

To get away from international institutions, how do you evaluate the latest developments in the struggle against the Imrali system?

First and foremost, I congratulate the hundreds of thousands who participated in the rally in Europe and also those who marched from Wan3 and Serhed4 for the freedom of Rêber Apo in Kurdistan. They really put forward an important action, struggle and attitude. They clearly showed that the Kurdish people and all democrats are against the isolation of Rêber Apo, that they are against the international conspiracy5 and that they want the freedom of Rêber Apo.

The demand of Rêber Apo’s freedom is no longer just the one of the Kurdish people, it has become the demand of all humanity, democratic forces, freedom searching forces, socialist forces, women, ecologists. The ideas of Rêber Apo, the paradigm put forward by him, is an alternative to the system created through capitalist modernity which is strangling humanity and society and aggravating social problems. Rêber Apo shows the way out. Humanity sees this, especially women, democratic forces and laborers see this. The Kurdish people already see Rêber Apo’s freedom as their own freedom. They are carrying out their own freedom struggle together with the freedom struggle of Rêber Apo.

In this respect, the attitude of our people was really important on February 15, as well as the attitude of their international friends is important. The attitude of our people in Europe is important. There is clearly an attitude and struggle against the conspiracy. The international conspiracy, in the face of humanity, has been strongly condemned. There is nothing left to defend it. It is the USA and Israel that carried out this conspiracy back then and Turkey was left with the result. Ecevit, the former Turkish prime minister, said, “Why did they give Apo to us? We don’t know. We don’t understand why they gave him to us.”

In this respect, the stage the struggle has reached against the conspiracy, is very important. There was the global campaign launched on October 10 and on December 10, there were entire days dedicated to reading the prison writings of Rêber Apo. Through these Rêber Apo’s freedom has become an universal demand. This day has become a day that democratic forces and peoples all over the world embrace and struggle for. In this respect, the struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo has become very strong. The struggle against the conspiracy has become very strong. Of course, let us emphasize this again. Let us always emphasize it. Our martyrs built defense walls around the leadership with their campaign and struggle; those comrades who sacrificed themselves for the freedom of their leader.

It is the 25-year struggle of our people that has brought the struggle against the conspiracy to the level it is at today. It is not in vain, no struggle is ever wasted. If this 25-year struggle had not been waged, if this sacrifice, this struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo had not taken place for 25 years, the struggle against this international conspiracy would not have reached this level today. We need to see it like this. The situation that we have today, is the result of great labor, is the result of great sacrifices. Now it is time to smash the doors of Imrali. They have no legitimacy. Something that has no legitimacy cannot stand. It is so in the political field, it is so in the social field, it is so in the cultural field. Everything without legitimacy is doomed to collapse and fall apart.

The conspiracy is an event which has no legitimacy. The Imrali system is being kept alive by force. It is condemned by the conscience of humanity, the Kurdish people do not accept it. The majority of the forces currently involved in the conspiracy, are not on the side of the conspiratorial forces. They are in no position to defend this conspiracy. Right now, only Turkey is in a position to openly defend the conspiracy. There is also the ‘Kurdistan Democratic Party’ (KDP). This collaboration between the KDP and the Turkish state is in a way a policy, a relationship to continue the international conspiracy.

Now, in the second stage of the global campaign, it must definitely be socialized and popularized. The Kurdish people and society should embrace the campaign in the widest way and wage a struggle. They should carry this out in the political field, socially, and struggle for it on the legal level. They must also struggle for it in the field of diplomacy and this struggle must now be raised to a level that will liberate Rêber Apo. This is close. It is necessary to believe in this.

25 years ago, when the conspiracy took place, the international powers were saying “the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is finished, Rêber Apo is finished”. That is why they put him in prison. This is what they thought. But the result of the struggle is evident at the point we have reached today. Rêber Apo’s influence has grown and the struggle against the conspiracy has also grown. The conspiracy has been exposed. The struggle against the conspiracy has ceased to be only a Kurdish struggle, it has become a struggle for humanity; the struggle against the conspiracy has become a struggle for the freedom of humanity. Humanity sees the struggle against the conspiracy as the struggle for the freedom of laborers and women, as the struggle for the liberation of humanity. They want to free the Leadership, the initiator of the projects that show the path of salvation to humanity. They don’t think of the conspiracy as just a person being held in a prison; their struggle is not merely to get a person out of prison, out of isolation and torture. There is a struggle to liberate the leader, who has the ideology that will liberate people, laborers and women. When there is such a goal, when there is such a target, of course, acceptance of responsibility of this duty is growing like an avalanche, it has grown and will grow even more. In Europe they have started the second phase. It was the international friends of the Kurdish people, intellectuals, academics, democrats and trade unionists who started the first phase. Now they have started the second phase. Our duty as Kurdish people is to transform the second phase into a more social movement and get Rêber Apo out of captivity.

Lately, the guerrillas have been able to inflict severe blows on the Turkish army and the Turkish state’s position in the war has seriously deteriorated. What can you tell us about the circumstances surrounding this?

Both the operations of the guerrilla in 2023 and the operations in January and February shook the Turkish army. It put the Turkish army in a stalemate in the Medya Defense Zones6, they were stuck in a swamp. It can be described like this. These actions also show the level of the struggle against the conspiracy. They also express anger towards the conspiracy. In fact, the continuation of the conspiracy and the continuation of genocidal colonialism against the Kurdish people carry the same meaning. Defeating genocidal colonialism is only possible by defeating the conspiracy. When the conspiracy is defeated and the conspiracy falls, the genocidal colonialist policy will be broken. In this respect, the operation last February was a very important attitude against the conspiracy. It is an attitude against the genocide practiced on the Kurds.

Rêber Apo has declared February 15 as the ‘Kurdish Genocide Day’. Because the Kurdish genocide started in 1924 after the Treaty of Lausanne7. In fact, with the Treaty of Lausanne, international powers gave their approval to the Kurdish genocide. Turkey received approval for the Kurdish genocide in exchange for giving up Mosul and Kirkuk. The reaction of the Kurdish people emerged against this, as can be seen for example in Sheikh Said’s8 resistance in 1925, which was a resistance against this policy of genocide. In this framework, after 1924, the attack against the Kurds was initiated. This is how the Kurdish genocide began. February 15th was the day the Sheikh Said resistance began. On February 15th, Rêber Apo was taken into captivity. Rêber Apo saw these as a conspiracy of genocide against the Kurdish people. He saw them as genocidal attacks.

The guerrilla took an attitude against this conspiracy, against this policy of genocide. This is not only the attitude of the guerrilla, it is the attitude of a people. It is the attitude of the Kurdish people against genocide. This is how the guerrilla’s stance and attitude should be seen. It is clear that the guerrilla’s level of sacrifice expresses the Kurdish people’s passion for freedom. In these difficult conditions, in the most difficult conditions, the guerrilla’s realization of these actions against all kinds of techniques revealed the energy, belief and determination of the Kurdish people’s passion for freedom, and the level they have reached with their struggle, especially the Kurdish youth. The anger of the Kurdish people is being expressed. It is not just an action or a stance of the guerrillas. It is the anger of the Kurdish people, a blow of freedom against the enemy.

Indeed, without the support of the KDP, without international support, the Turkish army would not be able to stay there. For this reason, they had a very difficult time. They established relations with Iraq and established relations with the KDP. The Turkish state is now trying to get out of that difficult situation with its diplomatic activity. It is trying to bring Iraq there. It is deepening relations with the KDP. In this respect, the guerrilla has really initiated a wave of actions shocking for them. There was a new wave of invasion attacks by the Turkish army launched on October 21. Now, it was revealed how they were defeated.

The Turkish state will insist and will not give up this policy. The Turkish government ruled by the ‘Justice and Development Party’ (AKP) and the ‘Nationalist Movement Party’ (MHP) has associated power with war. Society has collapsed, the economy has collapsed, culture has collapsed, morality has collapsed. It’s only means of survival is this genocidal war. It tries to survive through this, but no matter what it does, it is not possible to get the results they want. As a result of this struggle, the genocidal system will collapse.

There is a sharp struggle going on. The Turkish state is attacking using all its means. But against this, the people have a stance, the guerrilla has a stance. The Turkish state is exposed. It is a very exposed state. There is almost no one left to support it – to openly support it. Other support is political, ideological, and based on economic interests. In this respect, it has no political legitimacy, it has no moral legitimacy, and the whole world sees that the Turkish state’s reality is fascist, genocidal and colonialist. This is the position of the Turkish state before the eyes of the world. But it is still trying to be saved by marketing and selling itself.

Of course there will be more attacks by the Turkish state in the coming period. But we can say the following: This guerrilla resistance, this determination, this experience of the guerrilla and the support of the people… In Turkey, in North Kurdistan, the AKP-MHP-ruled fascist government is forcibly attacking the people, applying all kinds of oppression, but the people’s support for the guerrilla continues. This is certain. They try to prevent this support by pressure and force. But it is clear that the hearts of the people are with the guerrilla. In fact, their struggle gives the people great confidence and morale. It enables the people to continue their struggle with this morale. This reality is obvious.

March 8, International Women’s Day, which has great significance in the Kurdish freedom movement, is just around the corner. On this occasion, can you tell us about the importance of the struggle for women’s liberation in the movement? What does that mean for men too? And what is your position on the discussions regarding co-presidency that are arising with the upcoming the municipal elections?

I congratulate all the women of the world on the occasion of March 8, the international Women’s Day, I salute those who work for the women’s liberation struggle. I would also like to commemorate those who were martyred for this cause with respect and gratitude. March 8 is no longer just International Women’s Day, it is not just a day of women’s solidarity. It is not just a day of struggle. March 8 is a day for women to change the world, to liberate the world. Today, in a world where capitalist modernity, the system of male domination hangs over society like a nightmare, women have emerged on the stage of history as the power that will eliminate this nightmare. March 8th, the struggle of women, women’s desire for freedom has now become a day of struggle, a process of struggle that not only lifts the oppression on women, but also liberates all of humanity, liberates men as well. It has such an importance. In this respect, on March 8, this consciousness will be heightened even more and this struggle will develop even more.

We will see the power of women more this March 8. Rêber Apo has already said that the 21st century will be the century of women’s freedom and this has already become clear. This determination of Rêber Apo has been realized. Definitely, the 21st century will be the century of women’s freedom and on March 8, women will take to the squares in Kurdistan, in the Middle East, and everywhere in the world and show that women will lead us to the real attainment of freedom and the real attainment of democracy. We believe in this. March 8 and May 1, these two days will change the future of humanity. When we say that a new world is possible, women show this very clearly. The stance of women show us that a new world is possible. Once again I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all women on March 8th.

Women have been resisting throughout history. There is so much oppression, and the reaction and struggles against this have taken various forms. We can state that the history of women’s struggle against the male-dominated system has not yet been fully written, it is not fully known. Because the male-dominated system has always written and evaluated the world and history according to itself. According to them, women have no name, women have done nothing in history, that is, they have no existence. Yes, women are under domination and oppression, it is a male-dominated world, but women also have a struggle. Especially in the last centuries, women have had put forward great struggle. They have taken a stand against the male-dominated system. It has mostly been a struggle for equality against oppression. There has been a struggle to repel and regress the oppression in the male-dominated system and to make women equal in the legal and economic spheres.

But of course, in the current stage, especially with the women’s liberation ideology put forward by Rêber Apo, this has entered a new phase. In the women’s liberation struggle, it is now necessary to evaluate the period before and after 1998, when Rêber Apo put forward the ideology of women’s liberation. Before, women had a struggle, a reaction, an objection against oppression – as I mentioned before, there was a struggle for equality in economic, cultural and various fields – but this lacked an ideological, theoretical basis. It was emerging more as a resistance force against oppression and persecution. But it must be seen that this struggle reached a new stage with the ideology of freedom by Rêber Apo. Because a struggle can only succeed if it has an ideological direction, a theoretical direction and a inclusive program.

Rêber Apo gave this ideology of liberation, this paradigm, this program, this theory into the hands of those struggling for women’s liberation. He built it up from historical foundations. He took it out of being just a resistance movement. He turned it into a pioneering force that will change the whole world and change society. In this respect, Rêber Apo’s contribution to the women’s liberation struggle is very great. We can claim the following; the person who has made the greatest contribution to the women’s liberation struggle is Rêber Apo. This must be recognized. What did he say? He said that the liberation of women is more important than the national liberation struggle. He emphasized this in order to underline its importance. Of course, he did not belittle the class struggle or the struggle of oppressed nations, but he made such an evaluation in order to make understandable the importance of the women’s liberation struggle and its character which strengthens the entire revolution.

The global women’s movement gained momentum when Rêber Apo put forward the women’s liberation ideology and initiated the formation of the women-only party, ‘Party of Women’s Freedom Kurdistan’ (PAJK), struggling with an own ideological and theoretical leadership. When the women’s movements around the world gained an ideological and theoretical basis, it gained momentum and accelerated. Indeed, since 1998, the women’s liberation struggle in the world has been growing exponentially. Rêber Apo’s statement that the twenty-first century will be the century of women’s liberation has already been proven today. Of course, the Kurdish women’s liberation struggle has a great share in this.

Rêber Apo based the women’s liberation struggle on a historical basis, he based it on the Neolithic society. Neolithic culture is engraved in the geography of Kurdistan. In this geography, women had a historical power and leadership. In other words, the foundations and genes that has the potential to democratize and liberate society exist in the soil and history of Kurdistan. The leadership has modernized the features of the Neolithic society and brought them to a historical basis. No one can pose a serious threat to this anymore.

Absolutely no force can stand in the way of the ideology of women’s liberation. It is based on ideological theoretical foundations and has exhausted and destroyed the foundations of male domination. Just as the system of male domination, the state system, created Sumerian priests in the Ziggurats9 and brought it to the present day, now the women’s liberation ideology, in reverse, is rotting and destroying this system of male domination. It has eliminated the historical justifications of the male-dominant system; the system of male domination no longer has legitimacy. It has no historical basis. Its rottenness, injustice and baselessness were revealed with the ideology of women’s liberation. The male-system can only sustain itself through games, force, war and oppression, and this will not last forever.

The level that the women’s liberation struggle has reached through Rêber Apo and the PAJK is obvious. Without seeing this reality, we cannot raise the women’s liberation struggle even higher. The reality of Rêber Apo that contributed to the women’s liberation struggle must be recognized. The line of women’s liberation ideology put forward by Rêber Apo must be learned and understood. If this ideological theoretical basis is understood, the women’s liberation struggle will be victorious. If a movement has a correct ideological theoretical basis, if it has a program, no one can stand in its way. Indeed, the women’s liberation ideology, the women’s liberation struggle is today the liberation struggle of humanity, the freedom struggle of humanity.

I would like to take this opportunity to underline the following: There is a system of domination over women, there is slavery. But the slavery over men is even worse. There is male slavery on men too. There is the slavery of the dominating mentality. Men are bound and polluted by the mentality of domination. Yes, women are enslaved under the male dominated mentality, but this mentality enslaves men even more. Male domination also contaminates men. In this respect, the women’s liberation struggle will liberate men from slavery the most. The liberation of men from slavery, their liberation from that pollution, their liberation from that immorality and lack of conscience will also be achieved through women’s liberation.

Our female comrades always stress out this aspect. This problem is not only a women’s problem. It is the problem of men, it is the problem of the liberation of men too. More precisely, it is a problem of the liberation of the whole society. It needs to be understood like this. Rêber Apo has put this forward. He revealed what women’s liberation means for society and what it means for men. What did he say as soon as he put forward this theory, and even before he put it forward? He talked about “killing the man” and theorized it as ‘killing masculinity’. Rêber Apo made it very clear that killing masculinity is a theory of freedom, a theory of democracy, and that killing masculinity is a way to achieve freedom and democracy. These are realities that should be learned by all women, men and the whole society. Of course, especially socialists should also learn about Rêber Apo’s women’s liberation ideology. Because one cannot be a real socialist without having the right attitude on the women’s liberation line. I would like to emphasize this in particular.

Developing the ideology of women’s liberation means to lay explosives under the system of male domination. An important dimension of the struggle for women’s liberation is the political struggle. In this regard Rêber Apo attached great importance to the system of co-presidency. He saw it as an important aspect of the women’s liberation struggle, and revealed that the liberation struggle should be carried out and continued in this direction. Because the co-presidency system is not just two people sharing authority. To understand it this way is to distort the meaning of co-presidency. The co-presidency system means to create a new social system; creating a new social understanding. It means to create the essence of a new life. It needs to be understood and practiced as such. Otherwise it cannot be seen as the sharing of authority. Because the struggle for freedom, the struggle for democracy is not a struggle about shared-authority. The struggle for freedom and democracy is the struggle to break and destroy powers. It is an approach of sharing, joint administration and joint work.

When establishing the co-presidency system, the friends who become co-presidents, especially male friends, should be very proud of this. They should feel honored, since they are becoming an important part of the freedom struggle that will change the world. They are becoming an important responsible force. They need to be worthy of this. They need to represent it well, and need to have strong belief in freedom and democracy.

Of course the Turkish state attacks this system. Because it is a male-dominated system. If the male-dominated system weakens, genocidal colonialism also weakens. In this respect, the genocidal, colonialist Turkish state has been very hostile to the women’s liberation struggle and the co-presidency. The reason is that the women’s liberation struggle, the co-presidency system, is a struggle that rots, melts and weakens that genocidal system. The state attacks intensely because it has realized this. This is also the reason why so many female politicians, so many women who struggle for women’s freedom are imprisoned and tortured.

The Turkish state, as well as the capitalist modernist forces will of course continue their attacks against the women’s freedom struggle, they will also attack the system of co-presidency. The male-dominant mentality is even trying to use women to weaken and trivialize the co-presidency system. The other day, a so-called leftist or social democrat woman tried to belittle this model which develops society based on the free will of both genders, by saying “what is this co-presidency anyway”. In other words, the equal representation of the genders and the awareness and embracing of this is made to seem unimportant by the male-dominated mentality.

The ideology of women’s liberation will destroy male-dominant ideologies. Where the women’s liberation line develops, no reactionary ideology can remain, nor can the supremacy-based ideology. The women’s liberation ideology eliminates supremacy.

Of course, there have been discussions to a certain extent about the system of co-presidency. There was a discussion about who will be the official president in the municipal elections. We heard that and I can say, that this is is a very shameful thing. It means that whoever is official will be dominant and supreme, so the dominant mentality is searched to be prevailed. This is what it means.

Co-presidency means a common mentality, democratic understanding, democratic governance. It means overthrowing all kinds of superiority, all kinds of ignorance and supreme mentality. If clarification is formally necessary, then all women should be the official representatives. In some places they made it a woman, in some they made it a man. It doesn’t really matter, because that is not what the discussion should be about. Co-presidency is not a discussion of such. Co-presidency means joint administration, joint work, joint will. One will be official, one will be superior, the other will be something else; it’s not like that.

Let us also emphasize this: All patriots who are loyal to Rêber Apo need to understand the ideology of women’s liberation correctly, they need to understand the system of co-presidency correctly. Perhaps the first condition of loyalty to Rêber Apo means, to understand the ideology of women’s liberation correctly, to approach women correctly. In this context, it means to approach the system of co-presidency correctly. One cannot say “I defend Rêber Apo” or “I am loyal to Rêber Apo” without approaching women’s liberation correctly. All Kurdish patriots, everyone, should know this. The women’s liberation ideology of Rêber Apo is not an ordinary idea. It will change the whole society, it will change the world, it will free men from domination too, it will free men from slavery too.

Men are under the slavery of the male-dominant mentality, they are tied to its’ chains. This is polluting them. Sure, there is female slavery at the forefront but this male-dominant mentality is poisoning men the most. It deprives them of morality and conscience. This is how we need to understand it. Co-presidency is very important. Rêber Apo put this forward. Our movement is already practicing this everywhere. We now have joint administrations everywhere. In all our meetings, the majority is formed of female comrades. The influence, reputation and role of the women’s movement, PAJK, in our movement, the PKK, is very big. This is commonly known.

Now, negative discussions regarding the system co-presidency are really not right for Kurds. Aren’t the sacrifices of our woman comrades obvious? Today they play an important role in the war both as commanders and as fighters. They put their lives on the stake. Now this reality will gradually be seen more. Everyone will organize their lives according to this reality. All Kurdish patriots will learn Rêber Apo’s ideology of women’s freedom. Because that is what loyalty means.

Right now all humanity respects Rêber Apo. One essential reason why he has become so influential is that it has put forward the ideology of women’s liberation. Of course he is against supremacy, against the state, against exploitation and oppression. He is an ecologist and therefore against industrialism. Rêber Apo is seen all over the world as a leadership that will bring the liberation of humanity, the liberation of laborers and women. The line of women’s liberation is also a line that affects societies and all democrats. This is a fact that needs to be understood. All Kurds should be honored by this. All Kurds should realize that with the struggle for the freedom of women, they are the most forward-thinking society in the world today, the most democratic and libertarian society.

We have already touched on the municipal elections, but to come back to that explicitly; How important do you consider these elections to be? Should Kurdish society engage in it, or should the calls made by some to no-vote be followed?

For the Kurdish society, the municipal elections are more important than the general elections. Kurds have a problem of freedom, have a problem of self-administration. They have the problem of protecting their own values and achievements. First and foremost, they have the problem of being accepted as themselves. All these are reasons why the local governments are very, very important for Kurds. Without a doubt, it is important to form a group in the parliament and to do politics there too. These things are already happening, but local governments and municipalities are even more important for Kurds. They directly concern their own society, their own geography, their own people. It is a place where they can do politics in touch with their own society. That is why, local governments are of such great significance.

For this, the AKP government is playing great games. They have transported soldiers and policemen to Kurdish regions in attempt to gain majority votes in these areas, putting pressure on the people. Maybe duplicated votes will be used as a technique of fraud too. What comes to light in advance, shows how important this election is and it shows, that the genocidal colonialists also see this importance. In this respect, what we will say is that of course the election process in Kurdistan should be taken very serious. It is said that the trustees will be kicked out. They should really fulfill this claim. The trustees should really be removed. Kurds should put their will forward. Not accepting the trustees appointed to the rightful positions of Kurdish politicians means rejecting the genocidal colonialist system.

Knowing this, the Kurdish people should of course go to the local elections. They should remove the trustees with the goal to gain new municipalities and we believe they will do so. This is the right thing to do. Work is being done in this direction. The state and the AKP-MHP government are already trying to manipulate in Kurdistan and they search to seize some municipalities and put pressure on the society through them, or more precisely, what they are trying to do, is to leave no space for Kurds to do politics for themselves. For the Kurds, the most important political space is the municipalities.

AKP is trying to play games again, they are talking about a solution process. As if there could ever be a new solution process. The AKP is trying to deceive the public by saying that there was a solution process, but that it was abolished, that the PKK abolished it. They are trying to deceive, they are shameless. They are shameless to say that; who rejected the Dolmabahçe agreement10? The AKP government and the Turkish state. Rêber Apo was trying to drag them into the solution process. After April 5, who imposed heavy isolation on Rêber Apo? They ignored the Dolmabahçe agreement. After that, everything was already over. They are speaking as if the Kurds ignored the Dolmabahçe agreement. As if members of the ‘People’s Democratic Party’ (HDP) ignored it. As if Rêber Apo ignored it. Rêber Apo showed the most reasonable approach and he achieved that agreement. But even that was rejected. Because the mentality of the Turkish state is colonialist, genocidal.

First of all, everyone should know that the solution to the Kurdish question is through struggle. It is through democratization. It is not like one person will come and solve it. There is no such thing. There is no solution without struggle. Even Rêber Apo was skeptical at the time. He asked if AKP and Erdoğan could do this. He always expressed his skepticism. Because Erdoğan is not of such a mentality to accept solution, he is not of that caliber. In this respect, the Kurdish people should not listen to anything from the left or the right. Some go as far as to say that the HDP is negotiating with the AKP.

The Kurdish question is not a problem that can be solved overnight. It is not a problem that can be solved by a few people getting together and meeting. It is a problem to be solved through struggle. A big change in mentality is needed. The genocidal mentality needs to change. There is still Kurdish denial. Such denial has not been lifted. Those are just words spoken to cover up the denial. They turn a blind eye to some things on purpose, to cover up the denial, to cover up the genocide. They are softening some language and cultural issues. They may have established television channels like TRT but the sole purpose of this is only to cover-up. These should not be believed. The Kurdish people must show their will. They must show their will in the election. This is not just an election for a mayor. The Kurdish people must say, “This is my will. I want freedom, I want my identity, I want my culture, I want to govern myself”.

Demonstrating one’s own will is the most valuable thing. A municipality is much more important than a MP. The Kurdish cause is much more important than a mayor or an MP. They must put forward their political will, their struggle, their attitude and insist on it. We believe that they will show this in this election.

Attacks by the Turkish state in the Medya Defense Zones have continued unabated recently. Recently, civilians have also been killed again in Turkish attacks. One of the latest developments is that the KDP is gathering its peshmerga forces in uniforms of Iraqi border troops in the guerrilla area. What do you think about these developments and the statements made recently?

We are following the developments regarding the amassing of KDP peshmerga. Certain statements have already been made by their administration. This is not new. They have amassed these supposed border troops in the Medya Defense Zones before. They were all from the KDP. But back then, they were limited, few in number. Let’s say some of them were even friendly to the movement because they understood the game the KDP was playing, they had relations. But that was how it was at that time. Now the KDP and Turkey want to play a new game. They want to pit Iraq against our movement. The Turkish state is stuck in a deadlock, the KDP is stuck in a deadlock as well and it is being exposed. They are actually trying to get out of this situation. For this reason, they are amassing under the name of Iraqi border troops. Almost all of them are KDP members. How does this situation arise? This is forced by the KDP rather than Iraq. KDP is pushing Iraq. Turkey is pushing Iraq. KDP is imposing this situation on Iraq by using the Iraqi flag like this to save its own situation. It supposedly wants to pit Iraq against our movement. This is a game. We believe that Iraq will not play this game, neither side has any interest in it. It is clear where the eyes of the Turkish state are. Every day they talk about the Misak-ı Milli11.

There is nothing to say about the KDP. It has been collaborating with the Turkish state until now, now it is trying to take relations to a different level. We think that Iraq will not, and should not, play this game. Turkey and the KDP together are trying to put pressure on Iraq and drag it into the war that they are waging and in which they have reached an impasse.

How do you evaluate the attacks of the Turkish state against Rojava and North-East Syria?

More than 5 million people live in Rojava and North-East Syria. The population of Arabs and Kurds is almost equal. In other places, entire states have populations of only two or three million. Through these attacks, the Turkish state is trying to collapse the infrastructural system of a community of 5 million people. They are trying to poison the lives of the people. Power stations are being hit, hospitals are being hit, oil fields are being hit, publishing houses are being hit, roads are being hit. Rojava is under constant attack.

The latest attack targeted the Assyrian people. In a way, they are trying to make Rojava uninhabitable. It is a complete genocide policy. They try to dehumanize the place. They search to occupy it and settle gangs according to their plans. Can this not be called a plan of the United Nations? The map Erdoğan showed them marked exactly the areas where the Kurdish people settle. They want to erase the Kurds from here. Who will he bring here? Refugees. He says this openly, “let’s invade, let’s bring refugees there, let’s solve this problem”. He says to the Europeans, look, this is how we will solve your problem. He is blackmailing the Europeans in this regard. There is a really inhumane situation. No voice is raised against this. I guess Europe and the US would speak out immediately if there were such attacks elsewhere in the world. But they do not speak out against these attacks. First and foremost, Turkey is a member of NATO. It is bound by some laws of the European Union. It does not obey. It destroys public order. What is public order? Most essentially it means providing security for society. That is what Turkey attacks. They try to make the region unreliable, uninhabitable, destabilized and finally to occupy it. It attacks 5 million people. Erdoğan is taking revenge on those who are fighting against ISIS. All those people who Erdoğan says he hit are the fighters and commanders who are fighting against ISIS. The attacks against Rojava are really intense. But they are not well exposed. It needs to be exposed well.

It is the same with Şengal [Sinjar] and Mexmûr. There the KDP also legitimizes it. The KDP is also saying this: see how those Kurds can be shot if they don’t agree with us. Why are the Kurds in Rojava attached to Rêber Apo? Also Mexmûr is loyal to Rêber Apo. In Shengal, they are loyal to the Leader. Of course Shengal will be loyal to the Leader. He warned us before the genocide, he ordered us to take care of it. Rêber Apo has always taken care of the Êzidî people from the very beginning. Today, if they have an identity, if they can speak freely and express themselves, it is Rêber Apo who made this possible. Of course they love Rêber Apo. The KDP is hostile to Kurds who love Rêber Apo, just like the Turkish state is. The Turkish state has no justification for striking. The only reason for the attack on Rojava is Kurdish enmity. The Kurds need to establish a democratic system for themselves there. The interests of the Turkish state in these attacks need to be exposed all over the world. Also the role of Europe, the US, the Coalition Forces needs to be exposed.

While evaluating the war in the region; what is your perspective on the latest developments in the fightings between Israel and Hamas?

We have evaluated the state of the war before. Of course, this war is going on and will continue. Israel will continue the war until it achieves its goals. They are already talking about a Gaza without Hamas. Europe and the US agree to this. It is understood that the war will continue. But what is interesting here is the attitude of the Turkish state. We were listening to Erdoğan the other day, he was saying “we don’t want the war there to spread.” However, the state that wants the war to spread and wants it to continue, more than any other state, is the Turkish state. The Turkish state wanted the Israeli-Gaza war to spread to the region so that it could benefit from it. This was exposed before the eyes of the world. Everyone in the world is discussing it right now. We are not the only ones saying this. The US energy route was going to pass through there if their plan had succeeded. SO, Turkey directed Hamas in order to sabotage it. It is the Turkish state that directed this massacre and killing of civilians. The world is talking about it.

The Turkish state does not want Israelis and Arabs to make peace. If Israel and the Arabs are continuing their fighting, Turkey’s importance in the Middle East will increase. Both against Israel and against the Arabs. It is said that Erdoğan embraced Hamas for the sabotage of the energy route developed by the US. These are being discussed and evaluated. Even the pro-AKP press was saying on TV, “Why doesn’t Iran wage war against Israel, why doesn’t Hezbollah wage war?” Finally, when the Houthis were attacked in the Red Sea, Erdoğan said, “Look, it’s good. The Houthis don’t listen to Iran, they are doing the right thing”. They were openly supporting the Houthis.

Now Erdoğan is shamelessly saying that “war has morals”. True, there is morality in war. Yes, Israel does not abide by the morality of war, but it is the Turkish state that does not abide by the morality of war the most. We are talking about the AKP-MHP government. Erdogan, didn’t you say “we will do what is necessary whether it is a woman or a child?” You killed women and children. No one in the world says this openly. They kill women and children, but they don’t say it. Erdoğan said it, bragging about it. How many Kurdish politicians are in your prisons at this moment? What have they done? You put them in prison just for defending the Kurdish identity. You hit them with guns, you hit them in Rojava, you hit civilians in Qendîl. So many civilians were killed in Qendîl. You struck in Kortek (central Qendîl), in Şengal, in Sulaymaniyah. Erdogan has become the mafia of the world. He gets a call in Turkey, then goes to Sulaymaniyah and shoots with weapons because he is in the Kurdish region. Why are you shooting people? Because they are not the Kurd you prefer? The other day he shot a doctor.

Yes, war is a heavy situation. There is really a great destruction in Palestine. This is clear. But there is also the reality of the Turkish state. Erdoğan gets up and says these things in Antalya. He says war has morals, while being the single most immoral person. What kind of a personality is Erdoğan? He blames every evil in himself on others. He says he has the good traits which he doesn’t have. Such a liar. Where did he learn it, who taught him? I guess someone told him: ‘we should always blame our evil deeds on others. That way no one will see the bad things we do.’ I don’t know if this is Erdoğan’s personality or not. He really blames all the evil he does on someone else. If anyone is the most immoral in this war, it is Erdoğan, the AKP-MHP government. He is also using chemical weapons. He is killing civilians, driving people out of their motherland, occupying. Didn’t he make a demographic change? Where are the Kurds now? Isn’t this genocide? Then he gets up and gives lectures to the people in Gaza and Palestine.

From this point of view, when evaluating the war, it is necessary to see the role of the Turkish state in this war. We want this war to end as soon as possible. We want the oppression of the Palestinians to end. Hamas’ attacks are also unacceptable. They massacred civilians, that is a different situation, but there is no justification for such cruelty against civilians.




1 Referring to Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

2 Imrali is a Turkish prison island in the Sea of ​​Marmara.

3 A region in Turkey occupied northern Kurdistan called Wan, or Van in Turkish.

4 A region in Turkey occupied northern Kurdistan.

5 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.

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

7 A treaty from July 24, 1923 that splitted up the Ottoman Empire and formed the borders of today’s Middle East.

8 Şêx Saîd was a Kurdish tribal leader who led a general uprising against the Turkish occupation. The rebellion failed due to treason and Şêx Saîd was hanged with his comrades on June 29, 1925.

9 Ziggurats were pyramid-like buildings built by Sumerian priests, through which they ensured the basis of rule over society. Öcalan analyzes the role of the Ziggurats and Sumerian priests and their influence up to the present day in great detail in his prison writings.

10 The Dolmabahçe Agreement was the result of a long discussion process between the Kurdish movement and the Turkish state about resolving the Kurdish question and democratizing Turkey. A preliminary 10-point roadmap was agreed upon, which became known as the Dolmabahçe Agreement. However, the Turkish state used the discussion process during which there was a ceasefire to prepare itself, suddenly canceling the process, with Erdoğan denying the existence of the Kurdish question and relying on a complete military escalation that continues to this day.

11 The so-called ‘National Pact’ refers to a political declaration made by the leaders of the Ottoman Empire in 1920 during the First World War. The oath defined the territorial borders – including Kurdish settlement areas in present-day Iraq and Syria – and the basic principles for Turkey’s future policy. Today, Turkish nationalists often refer to the ‘National Pact’ to formulate their aspirations for Turkey’s territorial expansion.