Ayata: Turkey is the centre of terror
PKK Central Committee member Muzaffer Ayata describes Turkey's role as a terror supporter and warmonger in the region.
Muzaffer Ayata, a member of the PKK Central Committee, describes the destructive effects of Turkey's war policy at home and in the surrounding region in an interview with ANF.
How would you classify the current phase of the war in Kurdistan?
We can see the current resistance in Kurdistan and the Turkish state's efforts to suppress this resistance as the final stage of a great historical struggle. The finale of a 40-year war is in full swing. Fascism has used all the means at its disposal. Currently, it is using chemical weapons and the heaviest bombs. The Turkish state has a huge army anyway. It has been a member of NATO for 70 years and thus has all the equipment of the military alliance at its disposal. Since its foundation, the Republic of Turkey has only waged war against the Kurdish people. This historical dimension is often overlooked. The Turkish army has not waged any other war. There was the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, but it cannot be called a war. It was a simple landing operation and the Greek army did not fight. There was no war as we know it. Of course, the north of Cyprus was occupied. The counter-guerrillas had already prepared the ground for the occupation by creating chaos on the ground.
But against the Kurdish people, the entire air force, all legal and illegal forces, the most brutal methods, from the counter-guerrilla, Hezbollah, JITEM, people like Mehmet Ali Ağca and Mehmet Ağar and mercenary groups like SADAT, to mercenary gangs like ISIS and al-Nusra were sent to war.
Is the Turkish state waging this all-out war alone?
Of course not. Turkey does not have such huge resources, because guerrilla warfare is a war of attrition. Not only the cost of weapons, ammunition and personnel, but also many social, societal, psychological, diplomatic and political aspects have to be taken into account - the price of such a war is therefore very high. Turkey would not be able to fight this war without NATO support. It would not have been possible to continue this war if the PKK had not been declared a terrorist organisation under the aegis of the USA and if NATO had not permanently renewed the weapons and equipment of the Turkish army.
The PKK-led uprising is different from the classical Kurdish uprisings. Previously, the efforts of the Kurds to organise and prepare for war, to develop a strategy and tactics and to build appropriate organisations had not been comprehensive. Rather, the state had prepared and attacked. It provoked the war and used all means, especially the resistance among the Kurds. For this reason, all resistance and struggles were mostly confined to a narrow area and could thus be suppressed in a short time.
The power of the state can be compared to the situation today, but that is not the point. The state had an army, a bureaucracy, media, diplomacy and foreign relations. Its preparations were comprehensive. It had a budget and this was used for the war. The other side had none of this. Nor could it wage an organised guerrilla war. When people's habitats are destroyed, their villages evacuated or massacres committed against civilians, such movements usually cannot sustain themselves and dissolve. This has massively affected the Kurds' self-confidence. They have developed the feeling that they would not be able to assert themselves against the state. Assessments such as "We cannot defeat the state, the state is strong, it always wins, we should not stand against it" have permeated society to the core.
The Turkish state keeps spreading reports of countless guerrilla fighters being killed. What are these reports aimed at?
The Minister of War, Hulusi Akar, has become a real funeral minister. A minister for deaths. "We have taken out 35,000 terrorists since 2015," he claimed. 35,000 people means 35,000 families. After all, these alleged dead didn't grow in the field, they have families, neighbours, tribes, relatives. In this way, the whole Kurdish society is thrown into mourning. Corpses are used as a measure of success and self-praise. Of course, this is psychological warfare. When we look at this approach, we see that the state has crossed any human boundary. Its language is toxic and ice-cold. It does not even have respect for the dead. Certain terms are used to cloud the conscience and mind of society. When it comes to manipulation and using the mind for the negative, they are world class. They talk about 35,000 "terrorists" that they have "neutralised" and not about people who have families.
Of course, these figures are also disputed. This is very clear in Rojava. Every day they say: "We neutralised five terrorists, ten terrorists who were preparing an infiltration attempt on the border." Most of these messages are lies.
This is how a certain perception is to be created. It is to say to the societies and states of the world, "We are under threat, our borders are not secure. Our borders are constantly being crossed and violated. This is why we are attacking Syria. We are doing this to neutralise terrorism." But the whole world is present in Syria. Air sovereignty is in the hands of the US and Russia. Britain and France are also there. There is the coalition against ISIS. The Kurds have never attacked Turkey from Syria. They have no offensive forces and no intention in this regard. Everyone knows this because all intelligence services, reconnaissance planes and satellites are watching the region. The Kurds have no planes, no tanks. Why should they attack Turkey? ISIS attacked them and they fought back. They fought against ISIS. The coalition joined forces with the Kurds and ISIS was crushed.
The Kurds in Syria are repeatedly put under pressure by false reports, threats and blackmail. The Turkish state feeds ISIS and opens its territories to it. It creates instability, insecurity, fear and panic in Syria and Rojava. It forces people to flee and migrate. It tries to create confusion and destroy peace in the region through assassinations, sabotage and espionage. In other words, the Turkish state does everything to destroy society. It does everything that can possibly be done to a neighbour. It is unjust, one-sided, cruel. The Kurds want nothing from Turkey. They have no demands. The Turkish state stands for destruction and annihilation. It is a source of evil; its mindset is built on evil and it spreads it in its surroundings.
While the resistance continues in the mountains, the towns in northern Kurdistan are under siege. Can you tell us something about the situation there?
Yes, the guerrillas play a role on the battlefield and carry a heavy burden. There is severe repression against the people of northern Kurdistan. The state has massacred hundreds of people in the urban war. Every law has been disregarded. It leaves people no air to breathe, no possibility to organise. Universities, non-governmental organisations and anyone who moves in any way is imprisoned. Meetings, demonstrations and protests have been banned for years in places like Hakkari and Van. Officially, a state of emergency has not been declared in these regions. Martial law has not been imposed either. But constitutional rights and laws have been de facto suspended. The governor keeps extending the bans for 15 days. Drugs, prostitution, espionage, expulsion, exile to the West, the village guard system, organised crime, all these are put at the service of hostility towards the Kurds. This hatred is not limited to killing. Actually, more people die in the cities than in the mountains.
When you throw people into prostitution and drug addiction, you kill them. That person cannot adapt to society and loses social ground. In this way, society is destroyed from within. This is how the Turkish state wants to complete its genocide. It wants to destroy and annihilate Kurdish society and nation by killing them, expelling them, impoverishing them, dismissing them, driving them into emigration, forcing them into surrender and submission or otherwise turning them into spies, luring them into prostitution or plunging them into the drug swamp. In this way, the state wants to break social cohesion. Mental bonds, human solidarity, cooperation, the pursuit of rights, justice, conscience - all these are undermined in this way. The targets of psychological warfare are hearts and brains. The aim is to create people whose consciences are dulled, who confuse right with wrong and wrong with right, who are incapable of thinking and making the right decisions and resisting. Billions of dollars are spent to prevent society from knowing the truth, to prevent it from acting according to truth and justice.
In this sense, Turkey is also suffering great damage. If the Turkish state wants to destroy and oppress the Kurds and uses all its resources for negative goals, if it tolerates those who commit crimes because they act against Kurds, then there can be neither a functioning Turkish nor a Kurdish society. Everything will rot. Erdoğan is letting everything rot everywhere. International relations are also in decay.
Why are organisations like the KDP in South Kurdistan silent in the face of this?
There are also collaborators among the Kurds, and the KDP is an example of this. That in itself is a problem. Now Turkey is raging daily in southern Kurdistan. Turkey is actually implementing the 30 kilometre deep "security zone" announced for Syria in Iraq. It wants to bring all border lines under its control and has established dozens of military bases. The Turkish state is making civilian areas uninhabitable. People are being driven out of their villages - and the KDP is supporting this. The KDP blames the PKK. It does not say a word about Turkey. So many civilians are massacred, but not even a condolence message is published.
The operation is called "Claw Lock". In other words, it is about sealing off the borders for the Kurds, separating the north from the south, breaking up the guerrilla areas. They say they will attach a lock. If we look closely, the real lock is attached to Barzani's mouth. He does not open his mouth. Not a word for the benefit of the Kurdish people. Instead, he opens the whole area to Turkey, counting on it to wipe out the guerrillas. In doing so, he is de facto paving the way for the occupation of southern Kurdistan.
Now the Turkmen political organisations are being armed. These organisations have been working for the Turkish state for years anyway. Turkey is stirring up unrest in Iraq and reckons that it might take Kirkuk and Mosul if it can eliminate the Kurds, dissolve Rojava and establish itself in the south. That is actually the plan. It is not announcing it officially, but that is behind the attacks. If the Turkish state succeeds with these attacks, it will have established itself here. It will realise the annexation of Kirkuk and Mosul with the help of the Turkmen. The fascist leader Erdoğan already said: " Kirkuk is Turkish." A Kurdish presence there will not be tolerated. So, Kirkuk has already been taken from the Kurds. With the independence referendum initiated by Masoud Barzani in 2017, Kirkuk and Germiyan were taken from the Kurds before the eyes of the entire population. Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran had agreed on this. Now others are being settled in the Kurdish areas in Kirkuk and the Kurdish population is being displaced.
The Erdoğan regime is also trying to reach an understanding with Damascus. What is this all about?
The Turkish state wants to involve all states and neighbouring countries in its hostility towards the Kurds. Would its representatives otherwise meet with Bashar al-Assad? What else will it be about? Will the Turkish state say: "I am sorry, we will pay compensation? We looted your factories, we looted your historical artefacts, we stole the oil. We are looting the olives in Afrin." Will the Turkish state express regret for this? Will it say it is withdrawing its troops, that it made a mistake and is now ending the occupation? Nothing like that will happen. It will be about the following: "We have completely taken Afrin and Serêkaniyê in cooperation with the USA and Russia, but we could not finish off the Kurds, we could not liquidate them. The autonomous regions survived. You from below, we from above, we drive them into a corner and liquidate them." All other issues will come to the negotiating table later.
If we follow it closely, we see that wherever Turkish fascism goes, cruelty and evil sprout. It has no respect for law, justice and the sovereignty of peoples, it does not want an equal life. It always uses its power for oppression. The Arab League criticised Turkey and condemned the occupation of Afrin and Serêkaniyê. Erdoğan reacted strongly to this and told the Arab states that they were worthless. He said that if you add up all the Arab states, they are not even worth a Turkey. These were not just words, because this person is not naive. He has ruled the state for decades and has the entire state apparatus in his hands. When he has weapons and troops to spare, he exports violence and militaristic tyranny all over the world. By gathering criminals around him, he exports terror to the whole world. At present, Turkey is the centre of world terrorism. The sources of terror, the relations, the financing, the training and the shelter are organised by the Turkish state. The terrorists seek shelter in the territories occupied by Turkey; Turkey shelters them. This is a choice. It is not something that happens by accident or by chance.
Erdoğan continues his intensive search for support for his war. How successful is he at this?
He is holding talks with Putin and Iran. He is trying to build alliances against the PKK. He is asking for support for the destruction and crushing of Rojava. New occupation plans are to be made. Erdoğan never mentions the name of al-Nusra. He does not explain why the Turkish army is protecting them in Idlib. When Putin says, "Let's fight together against terrorists and act in a coordinated way", the only thing Erdoğan understands is to act against the Kurds, the YPG, YPJ and SDF. He has never talked about the mercenary groups or al-Nusra in this context. He declares an area extending 30 kilometres into Syrian territory as a security zone. It is supposed to be under his control. There are supposed to be no Kurds there. When he says there will be no terrorists, he actually means Kurds. Are there terrorists in Afrin at the moment? He has filled Afrin with his own mercenaries. So why doesn't he let the Kurdish population return? They have land, property and title deeds. Their forests and trees are being plundered. Afrin has been transformed into an area of rape and pillage for years. Kurds cannot live in the territory occupied by Turkey. Turkey has broken through every restriction and is attacking everywhere. It is gathering forces around itself that do not recognise any right.
When under pressure, Erdoğan says he will "destroy the terror corridor, not the Kurdish corridor". Why then have Kurds always been stigmatised as "terrorists"? Why is the terror that Turkey is carrying out ignored? Is it legitimate? It is tyranny to occupy other countries, to displace their population and to change the demographic structure according to one's own desire.
Turkey is committing these crimes in full view of the world. It is trying to make all kinds of deals within this framework. Secret deals with Russia, NATO and now with the Syrian regime. It is about a common basis for the destruction of the Kurds. After that, all other points could then be negotiated.
The issue of people fleeing Syria to Turkey keeps coming up on the agenda, and there are threats of an invasion of northern Syria. How does this situation affect Turkey's internal and external balance?
At the same time, there are currently repercussions for internal stability. It is said that more than one million Syrian refugees have been granted Turkish citizenship. Erdoğan wants to use them for his domestic political stability in Turkey. The Syrians were not admitted for humanitarian reasons. The admission was politically motivated. The refugees were humiliated and used as cheap labour. They were excluded and despised. This is already well known. If these cheap labourers leave, the Turkish economy will suffer. These people are being used as leverage against Europe. European countries are no longer able to denounce or criticise human rights violations, war, massacres and rapes in Turkey. Turkey was once about to join the European Union. It was supposed to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria. Now the opposite is the case.