Aldar Xelîl: Turkey fabricates justifications for occupation

PYD Co-Presidency Council member Aldar Xelîl pointed to the Turkish attempts to fabricate justifications for new invasion attacks, saying, “They seek to change the cover of the attacks.”

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-Presidency Council Member Aldar Xelîl remarked that the reason for the deepening of the crisis in the Middle East is the imprisonment of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan following an international conspiracy. “The Middle East could have rebuilt itself and resolved its problems in these 24 years,” Xelîl underlined.

PYD Co-Presidency Council Member Xelîl answered ANF’s questions concerning the October 9 conspiracy, the attitude of the Syrian regime and the Adana Agreement, CPT's visit to Imrali prison and the Turkish invasion.

We have entered the 25th year of the international conspiracy. How was the political atmosphere in Syria before the conspiracy against Öcalan? How was the conspiracy managed? What was the position of the Damascus regime and Öcalan's attitude towards it?

As is known, Öcalan had projects for freedom and democracy. He is a leader who struggles for freedom and liberation. The plan he introduced presented solutions to resolve all the existing problems in the Middle East. The world and regional hegemonic powers did not stop their attacks through the Turkish state. They did not want peace and solutions to the problems. The Turkish state violently attacked both the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the Kurdish people. It also threatened the Syrian state. When they realized that their attacks against the Kurdish Freedom Movement would not yield results through military operations, and even when their plans to physically eliminate Öcalan in Damascus failed, they directed their threats against the Syrian state and worked hard to get Öcalan out of Syria and the Middle East.

Following World War II, the Syrian state became a part of the so-called anti-Western front allying with the Soviet Union, socialist parties and circles at that time. Liberation movements and Kurdish movements could take advantage of this, at least in Syria and Lebanon. When the Turkish state started to threaten the Syrian regime, the regime could no longer maintain its former position. After the 1989-1990s, the world was not the same as before. The Soviets were no longer the same either. The world order had changed.

In the meantime, the threats from the Turkish state were serious. In fact, the Turkish threats against Syria were not new. They had done the same in 1937. Turkey wanted to invade Syria by deploying its army to the border. Turkey told Syria 'You either give Öcalan to us, get him out or we attack'. Öcalan replied that “I would never want or accept a state to attack another and a war to break out because of me.’ He wanted the Kurdish question to be moved beyond the borders and a solution to be come up with at international level. With his leave, he did not only prevent the eruption of a war in Syria, but also sought to make sure that a step was taken for a solution.

Ultimately, Öcalan had to leave Syria. No problems have been solved in the Middle East since the conspiracy against him. On the contrary, the existing problems have grown even deeper. With this international conspiracy, they took Öcalan out of the Middle East and later captured him. 24 years have been taken from the lives of the peoples of the Middle East. The Middle East could have rebuilt itself and resolved its problems in these 24 years. Yet, the Middle East crisis has deepened and become more challenging. The whole reason for this is that Öcalan has been taken prisoner.

How did the Adana Agreement signed between Damascus and Ankara contribute to this conspiracy and what is the reason behind its current update?

The Adana Agreement was essentially one of the first steps of the conspiracy and threats against Syria. Firstly, the Turkish state occupied and seized the Hatay-İskenderun region. With this agreement, the Syrian state actually undermined its sovereignty. Until the Adana Agreement, the Damascus administration would say “we have regions under Turkish occupation, they must be liberated”. After the Adana Agreement, the Syrian state no longer talked about it. So, the Syrian state officially acknowledged the Turkish occupation and seizure of its territory. Secondly, it allowed the Turkish state to enter Syrian territory at up to 10 km depth whenever it wanted, for any reason, except for the previously occupied areas. In other words, Syria's sovereignty and integrity were lost. Syria became a place open to the Turkish state.

The Turkish state has now occupied regions such as Idlib, Bab, Azaz, Jarablus, Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spi. Turkey now wants to enter Syria not just within 10 km. Officially, it mentions a 30 km-deep buffer zone, but if it can, it will go up to 60-70 km. This shows that the Turkish state has a project of occupation, a project of expanding itself over other peoples in the Middle East.

For this reason, the Adana Agreement is not in the interests of the Syrian peoples. By updating the agreement, Turkey seeks to take advantage of the Syrian regime which is weak and obviously does not have much sovereignty over its own territory.

Turkey wants to dictate its conditions to the Damascus administration by taking advantage of the contradictions between Russia-Ukraine, the USA, Coalition forces and by linking Iraqi and Syrian issues together. Through the recent attempts for reconciliation with Syria, Turkey wants to both update the Adana Agreement and make use of the regime in its opposition to the Autonomous Administration. The Turkish state asked for help from everyone to attack the Autonomous Administration and destroy the Kurdish people. Initially, it cooperated with Jabhat al-Nusra, the FSA and ISIS, and now it is asking for help from the Syrian regime. It will never stop its initiatives to this end.

Millions around the world continue to protest the aggravated isolation imposed on Öcalan in Imrali prison. What forced the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to send a delegation to the Imrali priosn after a long hiatus, and why does the CPT not give information about the delegation’s visit?

For years, the Kurds, the peoples of the region and the world, intellectuals, workers, laborers, students, youth and women have been aware that Öcalan’s imprisonment is not legitimate. The CPT was forced to pay a visit because the campaigns for Öcalan’s freedom did not stop.

They went to the Imrali prison following the widespread protest actions, but they did not deal with the situation in legal terms. They should have made an official statement. They should have said that ‘we are here, this is the situation and there is a violation of rights.’ The CPT announced that their report would be released after 6 months. Then, what's the point of visiting Imrali prison? Undoubtedly, this is a subject of criticism.

We can consider the CPT visit as a success of the actions of the peoples for Öcalan. But all of these institutions are connected to a world order and hegemony. This hegemony is already managing the conspiracy process.

What should be done to end the occupation in Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, which has just marked its third year?

This is an occupation, and it cannot continue like this. People have been driven out of their houses and villages and forced to migrate. Many people have been arrested, injured and martyred. Therefore, the Turkish state must leave these regions. The occupation of Afrin, Serêkaniyê, Girê Spî and other occupied regions (Jarablus, Bab, etc.) must finally come to an end.

We must liberate our occupied lands. In order to end the occupation in these lands and to live freely, we must increase our struggle and strengthen our organization. We must rely on our own power but not foreign institutions. If these powers took care of our freedom, they would neither have carried out the October 9 conspiracy nor would they have allowed the Middle East to grapple with such a crisis. If our lands are currently being occupied and everyone is keeping quiet, it means that they are partners to the occupation.

What does the Turkish state mean by specifically pointing to Manbij after the guerrilla action in Mersin?

The Turkish state and government are enemies of the Kurds. It subjects the Kurdish people to cruelty and oppression. It wants to destroy a people as a whole. However, the people are resisting. For years, the children of these people have been carrying out actions of self-sacrifice. This is a sacred thing. It is a legitimate right of defence. The action of the two Kurdish revolutionary women in Mersin was an action reclaiming dignity. Erdogan should ask himself why these young people sacrifice themselves at this young age. Instead of thinking about it, he is looking for reasons as to who sent them, how the action was carried out.

For months, Turkey has been attacking and it threatens to escalate its attacks. Turkey seeks to change the cover of its attacks. Currently, it wants to attack based on justification. Mersin is too far away from Rojava. Turkish officials keep saying that the guerrillas had gone there from Manbij. They even mention a specific place. This means that they are seeking justifications for new attacks.

What has the Turkish army been doing in Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna since April? It is attacking civilians after crossing the border up to 100-140 kilometres up to Kelar around Sulaymaniyah. Why did the Turkish forces kill a Kurdish female writer, someone who works for a magazine and academy, and promotes the science of women, Jineology. Journalists, politicians, parliamentarians are being targeted by the Turkish state, which did the same thing in North-East Syria. Instead of blaming a specific place for the action in Mersin, Turkey should ask this question: ‘what did I do to these people to make them carry out such actions against me?’ This is a legitimate action. People are supposed to protect their dignity. They want to destroy this people. Will the people not resist? Erdogan will always seek justifications to continue his brutal violations.

There has been a revival of ISIS recently. What should a new roadmap to combat ISIS be like?

It is obvious that the Turkish state wants to revive ISIS. Turkey supports ISIS with money, weapons and ammunition. Especially after the Sina’a Prison attack, they wanted to carry out a new attack on the region. However, the security forces and the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria were already prepared with all their institutions. They frustrated the attacks. This is a success. We congratulate them.

It should not be forgotten that ISIS still poses a danger. The burden should not be left only to the Autonomous Administration and its military forces. This is a huge international burden that bears great dangers in it. For this very reason, all international powers must fulfil their responsibilities.