our statements

november 5, 2020

Mesud Barzani Seeks Pretext for a New War

The commander of the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), Murat Karayilan, had previously declared in a public statement that the KDP was deploying military forces in order to encircle the guerrilla. He had stressed that the deployment was a clear preparation for war and asked the Kurdish people and the general public to be aware of these developments. He had also asked the president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Mesud Barzani, to deescalate the situation. In his recent response Mr. Barzani listed a number of pretexts to justify the decision to wage a new war. Thus he tried to influence the public opinion by distorting facts well-known to the whole Kurdish people.
In his statement Mr. Barzani listed a variety of pretexts for the deployment of military forces in areas controlled by the guerrilla and their consequent encirclement. Thus, he revealed that there is a clear intention to wage war against the PKK and that decisions to this effect have been taken. He showed that the respective forces are currently setting the ground for starting their attacks. By stating that `we have made it haram [religiously banned] for us to engage in intra-Kurdish fighting, but…` he declared his willingness to go to war based on a number of pretexts. While the Kurdish people had expected him to refrain from war, he urged the guerrilla to give up the areas under their control and stop their resistance against the annihilation policy of the Turkish state. Thus he shed light on the underlying reasons for the current encirclement guerrilla positions.
In separate statements the Executive Councils of both PKK and KCK stressed that they had no problems with the KDP and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). They noted that, under the auspices of the Turkish state, the KDP had developed a negative stance towards the Kurdish Freedom Movement. They refuted the claim made in Mr. Barzani`s statement that the PKK had any problems with the status of South Kurdistan or that it was exerting military pressure. On the contrary, because of its relationship with the Turkish state it is the KDP that has problems with the PKK and is building up military pressure by encircling guerrilla-controlled areas. It is widely accepted that KDP’s developing good relations with the Turkish state is highly impossible without the former’s adoption of an anti-PKK policy. It is an undeniable fact that the criterion for the Turkish state to develop good relations with other Kurdish political movements is that they adopt hostile policies towards the PKK.
Currently there is an attempt to justify their warmongering policies by blaming the PKK for pursuing hostile policies towards South Kurdistan. This is absolutely untrue. The PKK has made great contributions to the achievement and protection of the gains in Kurdistan, particularly South Kurdistan. In the course of its 50-years-long struggle, tens of thousands of its members have either fallen or been heavily wounded and hundreds of thousands have been imprisoned, thus leading to political developments in all four parts of Kurdistan, along with regional and global implications. Had it not been for this struggle it would have been impossible to achieve and protect the current gains. Therefore, it is indisputable that the South Kurdish gains cannot be solely attributed to the KDP; rather, these gains have been secured thanks to the struggle of other political forces not only in the South but in all four parts of Kurdistan. Undoubtedly, we also bear responsibility for protecting the gains we have contributed securing. We have repeatedly proven, through our attitude and practice, that we are ready to bear this responsibility. This fact is well-known by the whole Kurdish people.
It was the Turkish state and the Islamic State (IS) that threatened the gains of Kurdistan the most. The IS attacked the freedom forces and the achievements of the Kurdish people in Rojava, South and North Kurdistan. Nurturing deep-set hostilities towards the Kurds, the Turkish state perpetrated all such attacks. When IS unleashed its attacks on the peoples of South Kurdistan it was the HPG guerrilla that, without any hesitation, rushed to their defense. The guerrilla fought side by side with Peshmerga forces to protect Erbil and prevent Kirkuk from falling into the hands of IS. South Kurdistan`s political parties at that time had called on the guerrilla to protect the region. The KDP leadership was aware of these calls and supported them. The President of the KDP, Mesut Barzani, himself went to the Maxmur camp and personally congratulated the guerrilla for their role in protecting Erbil of which major parts had been emptied when the IS unleashed its attacks. He expressed his thanks directly to the HPG commander Tekoşer Gever who fell martyr in a recent Turkish attack. Furthermore, Mr. Barzani at that time criticized the Turkish state for not having provided any help and for having passively watched the IS attacks. With this well-known truth in mind, accusing the PKK of occupying certain areas during the IS attack means nothing else but ridiculing the memory and intelligence of the Kurdish people.
At the present time, the KDP pursues a range of hostile policies towards those who rescued Sinjar, just like the way it has declared as illegal the very forces which shouldered the mantle of saving Erbil from falling into IS hands. According to Mr. Barzani the guerrilla occupied Sinjar while the KDP was fighting IS! It is generally accepted that the guerrilla rushed to the defense of Sinjar and fought back the genocidal IS attack while neither Iraqi, nor KDP military forces were present in the area. The guerrilla did not take Sinjar away from any other force. They rescued Sinjar from the IS. Thus, it saved the KDP from the responsibility for an even larger genocide. The intervention of the guerrilla first and foremost saved the KDP`s face. It was the HPG guerrilla, too, that after the 2017 referendum protected Kirkuk until the last moment.
The PKK and the guerrilla trained young Ezidis for the fight against IS and helped them build their own self-protection forces. Having completed these tasks they left Sinjar. Beside a small number of young Arabs, today almost all members of the self-protection force YBŞ are children of the Ezidi people. Since the Ezidis are known to be the group among the Kurdish people that has suffered the most, Sunni and Alevi Kurdish rushed to their help in the fight against IS. Guerrilla fighters of Arab and other origins fought side by side with the Ezidis. Therefore, the claims made by Mr. Barzani about Sinjar are of absolutely no validity. Today its is the Ezidi people and their children that protect and govern Sinjar.
The guerrilla is now in the same areas where they were during the IS attack. These are the same areas as in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Therefore, it is absolutely groundless to claim that they used dirty tricks to take hold of certain areas while the IS unleashed its attacks. These claims serve to deceive the public and legitimize attacks on the guerrilla.
The KDP also claims that the PKK has forcefully depopulated villages and hindered the local population from returning to their homes. This, too, seeks to distort the facts and deceive the public. The villages in question were forcefully emptied during Saddam Hussein`s reign. Today, many villages can be found in guerrilla-controlled areas while their population is constantly increasing. It is the attacks of the Turkish state that have made some villages uninhabitable. And it is the KDP that is hindering the inhabitants of these villages from returning assuming that they will support the PKK. There is no proof of even a single village where the PKK and the guerrilla deterred inhabitants from returning. It is also not true that villages in guerrilla-controlled areas are subjected to oppression and forceful tax payment. Having become a symbol for the guerrilla and the Freedom Movement, the Kandil region has in the past years witnessed a major population increase and the construction of many new houses. The KDP claims that the PKK is prohibiting villagers from settling down and reconstructing their homes. Yet, it does not take any measures against the daily air attacks of the Turkish state that lead to the death of villagers and the destruction of homes. This attitude means nothing else but to exonerate the attacker from his crimes.
The KDP calls the guerrilla an occupying force although for the past 40 years they have let a struggle in all parts of Kurdistan. Yet, it has nothing to say about the Turkish state that occupies the most strategic South Kurdish areas, leads the anti-Kurdish camp, has built dozens of military bases and constantly carries out fresh attacks. Rather the KDP legitimizes and supports this anti-Kurdish force.
The PKK has never collaborated with any colonial force while, together with the Turkish state, the KDP has attacked guerrilla-controlled areas dozens of times. For 20 years there has been no military escalation between the KDP and PKK. But the KDP has used the last years to make preparations for a war against guerrilla areas and to carry out numerous attacks. Besides, hundreds of guerrilla fighters have been killed in action due to information given to the Turkish state`s intelligence service – although the KDP has promised not to allow a new inner-Kurdish war. While it makes such promises the KDP is waging a war against the guerrilla.
Currently, the Turkish state is not only carrying out its genocidal attacks in North Kurdistan. It occupies parts of Rojava and constantly attacks Sinjar, an area synonymous with the survival of the Ezidi people. Leading figures of the Ezidis like Zeki Şengal or Zerdeşt Şengal and many Ezidi fighters have thus been killed. The KDP legitimizes and encourages the policy and attacks of the Turkish state in all parts of Kurdistan instead of taking a clear stance against them. Does the KDP`s patriotic duty only encompass protecting its own power over the Kurdish people? While the PKK and guerrilla have protected South Kurdistan during times of hardship the KDP has failed to develop a clear stance against the genocidal policy of the enemy of the Kurds in other parts of Kurdistan. Is this compatible with a truly patriotic attitude?
The Turkish accuses the PKK of seeking to take control of Erbil and Süleymaniye. Thus, it wants to legitimize its own attacks. The KDP, too, makes similar accusations. It is absurd to accuse the PKK of having any such intentions. To the contrary, it has been the guerrilla that has always lived up to its patriotic responsibility and protected these cities. This is an undeniable fact.
Currently, there are attempts to spread false accusations about detained PKK members that were planning attacks on the South Kurdish leadership and its foreign policy representatives. This kind of propaganda serves as a basis for a future war. Statements made by the KDP president also serve to legitimize the party`s warmongering policy. It has become more than clear that this propaganda is filled with lies. KDP president Mesut Barzani made his statement after these lies had been exposed.
Due to its relationship with the Turkish state the KDP has recently stepped up its hostility and attacks against the PKK and the guerrilla. The Turkish state is currently carrying out attacks everywhere. It forces all its partners to support this policy that aims at crushing the PKK. Consequently, the KDP has also taken up such an attitude. But the reason for escalating this policy into a full-out war lies in the political, economic and social problems in South Kurdistan. The KDP clearly wants to cover up these problems by starting a war against the PKK. This also changes the political agenda for the benefit of covering up the anti-Kurdish, genocidal policy of the Turkish state.
Neither is it our intention, nor have we taken any decision to start a war against the KDP or any other Kurdish force. Despite the provocative presence of KDP forces in the Zinê Werte area and the active support for Turkish air raids we have maintained our farsightedness and worked to improve our relationship. Our attitude regarding the provocative KDP acts in the areas of Xinêre and Behdinan has been the same. But the KDP is trying to tighten the encirclement of guerrilla controlled areas. It tries to force a capitulation by deterring all guerrilla movements. All these steps by the KDP are actively supported by air strikes of the Turkish state. Thus, the KDP is putting its decision for war into practice.
The encirclement of guerrilla forces by the KDP and its use of Turkish raids concern the whole Kurdish people and all its political forces. The KDP`s support for the genocidal policy and all-out attacks of the Turkish state will weaken the gains of the Kurdish people in all parts of Kurdistan. It will finally put them in great danger. Therefore, it would be a great historic mistake to view the current tensions simply as a problem between the PKK and KDP. This is why we call on the whole Kurdish people and public, all political forces, women and the youth, on all intellectuals, artists and friends of the Kurds to adopt a clear stance against the warmongering KDP policy that is based on the encirclement of the guerrilla forces. We call on all these groups to take action against the current developments that will cause great harm to all Kurds and democratic forces.

Co-Presidency
KCK Executive Council