Bayık: Erdoğan started the coup process with the isolation of Öcalan
KCK's Cemil Bayık stated that Erdoğan started the coup process after the June 7 elections and imposed a genocide against the Kurds, in response to which self-rule resistance was developed.
KCK Executive Council Co-President Cemil Bayık pointed out that Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan wanted to assure his own ruling by staging coups. Bayık stressed that Erdoğan had a deal with Ergenekon by starting the isolation against Öcalan on April 5, 2015, which he described as the beginning of the coup process.
According to Bayık, Erdoğan started this coup process by using the Ceylanpınar incident as an excuse after the June 7 election.
KCK Executive Council Co-President Cemil Bayık's interview with Med Nuçe TV has been translated by ANF English service below.
There took place talks between the Turkish state and the Kurdish movement for as long as three years. Yet, a war concept was initiated after July 24 last year. What were the conditions and reasons that led the process to that point?
Global powers tried to weaken the PKK through the international conspiracy against Leader Apo, but their attempt failed. The freedom movement led by Leader Apo then began to influence all peoples of the Middle East, which changed the balance of power in the region. Also, the end of the Cold War created cracks within the global order, and the US tried to expand its influence through these cracks.
THE INTERVENTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST BEGAN WITH THE INTERVENTION AGAINST ÖCALAN
Why the Middle East?
Because the Middle East marks the beginning of many phenomenon including civilizations. It is impossible for any global power to establish its hegemony without taking control of the Middle East. The regimes in the region had nothing to offer to the regions’ people, and the US was aware of this as it intervened in the Middle East. Leader Apo was taken hostage and they thought that the PKK would not be able to stand up on its feet again.
IT WAS THE US AND NATO THAT CARRIED ERDOĞAN TO POWER
Was Erdoğan put in power in Turkey in connection with this development?
Yes, Erdoğan was put in power right after the international conspiracy against Leader Öcalan, and it was the US and NATO that carried Erdoğan to power. Turkey was a NATO country and had to be prepared for their intervention in the region. Many people thought that Erdoğan and the AKP would democratize Turkey, and some people including Kurdish collaborators even thought that the capture of Leader Apo had something to do with the conspiracy. All of these efforts actually aimed to break the resistance of our organization.
Was this policy successful? Did it help them reach their goals?
No, the opposite of what they wanted took place. With the efforts of Leader Apo, the PKK stood up on its feet again and the forces behind the conspiracy failed to reach their goals. Then we were able to initiate some developments.
What kind of developments?
Their goal was to weaken and eradicate the PKK because they saw us as an obstacle, but then the PKK’s intervention in Shengal took place. The forces in Shengal had abandoned the city without any resistance, and ISIS had occupied the city. The guerillas’ intervention in Shengal became successful, and was furthered by Rojava revolution and the Kobanê resistance.
THE PERCEPTION OF THE PKK AS ‘TERRORIST’ WAS DESTROYED IN SHENGAL
So in a way, the Kurdish movement not only protected itself but also succeeded in carrying out certain developments?
Yes, and nobody was expecting this. The perception of the PKK as ‘terrorist’ was destroyed in Shengal, and the Kurdish issue became known across the world. They saw that the PKK is more of a humanitarian movement, and the world began to see the PKK’s role in the liberation of women in the Middle East. More and more people discussed PKK’s leading role in democracy and freedom in the region, and the attempt to weaken the movement failed.
THEY TRIED TO FINISH US BUT THEY WERE FACED WITH DANGERS INSTEAD
They tried to finish us but they were now faced with dangers. They saw that the Kurdish Freedom Movement consolidated its leading role in the region, and tried to prevent this through the war they launched.
ERDOĞAN COORDINATED THE WAR IN KOBANÊ
The attack on Kobanê was part of this war, and Erdoğan coordinated it. Rojava revolution was the revolution of the century, and could have important consequences. Both Turkey and capitalist powers tried to end the revolution, and this had to happen in Kobanê, which is where the revolution had begun. This is why Erdoğan said “Kobanê is about to fall, Afrin is next.”
TURKISH STATE DECIDED FOR WAR WHEN KOBANÊ DIDN’T FALL
In that case, is it possible to say that Erdoğan’s statements weren’t just an evaluation or a wish?
They certainly weren’t. They were a move that aimed for the disbanding of the Kurdistan revolution personified in the Rojava revolution, and the independence, freedom and democracy movement of the Middle Eastern peoples. But the people of the North supported the Rojava revolution personified in Kobanê. Seeing this, Erdoğan and Turkey deduced that the Rojava revolution couldn’t be disbanded until the North revolution was.
Davutoğlu said, “When the developments in Kobanê came up, I ordered the Turkish police and military to be ready for war.” Because Kobanê hadn’t been disbanded and the Kurdish freedom movement had gained greater momentum from Kobanê and important developments occurred. They tried to disband the revolution with Kobanê, but the revolution grew even bigger. They deduced that Leader Apo and the North revolution was behind this growth. So they changed tactics. They decided to disband the Rojava and the Middle East revolutions by disbanding the movement led by Leader Apo in the North. That’s why Davutoğlu gave that speech. And after that, the Turkish army developed the plan of attack and a simulation. They presented this to the National Security Council on October 30. The council accepted this war plan and implemented the first practice over Leader Apo. Erdoğan wanted to smother the revolution. He wanted to develop war. But Leader Apo wanted to democratize Turkey and to solve all issues, including the Kurdish question, in a democratic way. He was working for that. As Turkey had decided for war, led by Erdoğan, of course the efforts of Leader Apo were to be prevented first.
Is the denial of the Dolmabahçe agreement and the implementation of the isolation because of this?
Yes. Isolation was developed according to this. Leader Apo developed the Dolmabahçe agreement in one hand and carried the forces of democracy in Turkey to the parliament with the HDP in the other to democratize Turkey, solve the Kurdish issue and democratize the Middle East. These were complimentary developments and were accepted by the public in Turkey as well. Even the international powers accepted this. Because it would have led Turkey to democratization, and it would have resonated in the Middle East. Thus, important developments were underway. Erdoğan and Turkey rejected all this because they decided for war. Erdoğan saying he doesn’t accept the Dolmabahçe agreement, that there is no Kurdish issue, there is no table, no negotiations, no two sides was him trampling on democratisation and solution to the problems. He carried out a coup there as well. He crushed all peaceful, democratic efforts and brought war instead, and then he made a deal with Ergenekon.
The dismissal of the Silivri Cases, the release of Ergenekon prisoners developed over this, then?
Exactly. They met with Ergenekon members in Silivri and gave them missions. They both dismissed the cases and passed the domestic security bill in the parliament so they wouldn’t ever be tried again. It was a bill focused on protecting them. All of these were of course steps of war.
They launched a controlled war on the HDP and all the democratic forces in Turkey over HDP. They planned to win the June 7 elections with all these. If they had been successful in stopping the HDP and the entrance of democratic forces to the parliament - he had already denied the agreement, they had already imposed isolation on the Leadership, he had already made a deal with the Ergenekon..., and if they had been successful, then the PKK and the guerrilla would have been hit very hard with a military coup on June 8.
That was the plan. But June 7 brought a result opposite to what they wanted. HDP getting 80 seats in the parliament was a fresh breath of air for the public and the international area. Everybody started saying that there can’t be war anymore, that the problems would be solved via democratic means, via the parliament and the constitution, and an expectation arose that Turkey would further the democratisation. But as the nation state regime fell apart on June 7 and all forces feeding off of this system were in danger, Erdoğan went into an alliance with these forces. Bahçeli said there would be another election in November just a couple of hours after the elections on June 7. That actually exposed everything.
CIVILIAN COUP DEVELOPED AFTER JUNE 7 ELECTIONS
Why did they think another election was necessary?
Because the AKP government had fallen and it opened the way for Erdoğan to be put on trial. The nation state regime had failed. What should have been done was to develop Turkey into democratisation. But because these people don’t have democratisation and solving issues via democratisation on their agenda, they had decided for war, and they had also trampled the steps developed by Leader Apo on the way to a democratic solution, they carried out a coup in the name of saving the regime, but it was actually to save themselves. They carried out a coup in the guise of a civilian coup on June 7. All fascists, MHP members, nation statists, the likes of Perinçek, the Ergenekon, the political Islamists, Kurdish co-conspirators, the warmongers... all came together in an alliance around Erdoğan. This way, they would save both themselves and the regime. Of course, saving themselves is tied to saving the regime. Because these are the people who benefited most from the regime. If there had been democratisation, they would all be put on trial and made to answer. To stop this, they came together around Erdoğan in an alliance.
ERDOĞAN PUT POLITICAL ISLAM TO THE SERVICE OF DENIAL AND DESTRUCTION
There were efforts on the side of the nation state before as well, they had put all the peoples who were hindering this through massacres, but the Islamists were outside the system. Likewise, the Kurdish co-conspirators had shown limited compliance with Kurdish massacres in other parts of Kurdistan. But Erdoğan included political Islam to the denial and destruction for the first time. He also included all co-conspirators in Kurdistan. Thus he created a certain base for the state’s denialist, destructive policies. Also, up to that moment, “Turkishness” was in the service of “Islam”, and Turkishness had not gained anything for it. Erdoğan put Islam to the service of Turkishness. MHP had tried to do this in the past. But MHP wasn’t very effective because they tried to combine Shamanism and nationalism. So, with Erdoğan, the uniting of Islam and Turkishness for the first time created a very dangerous situation.
Did Erdoğan’s policies resonate in the public?
Surely it did. Because there was a foundation for it. MHP couldn’t find the foundation because they were based on Shamanism. Because the religious element was strong, these policies of Erdoğan resonated with the Islamic community in Turkey. Erdoğan united religion and nationalism and used the denialist, desctructive policies of the state more effectively. The international powers also supported these policies of Erdoğan.
NATO SUPPORTED ERDOĞAN TO PROTECT ITSELF
Because Turkey is a NATO member state. The failure of NATO was harming the capitalist modernity system. That is why they decided to support Erdoğan. Erdoğan needed NATO after the June 7 election results too. The results had opened the way for Erdoğan to be put on trial. It wasn’t possible to carry out a coup again, to take power back and to wage war without securing certain international supports. Up to then, he had waged war on our movement and all opposition forces with the support of NATO and the capitalist modernist system. The international forces saw AKP’s defeat on June 7 as an opportunity for themselves, and decided to take it. They offered certain supports to control Erdoğan even further. As Turkey is a NATO member, they wanted to protect NATO, thus their system.
THE US GAVE SMART BOMBS TO TURKEY TO USE AGAINST PKK
For example, Europe was to publish the human rights report, but they postponed it until after the elections. If it had been published, it would have affected Erdoğan and AKP negatively. Likewise, the US had a ban on giving Turkey smart bombs up to that point, but they removed this ban in that period. The goal of them giving these bombs to Turkey was that they would be used in the war against PKK and the Kurdish people. In this way, Erdoğan was actually supported under the guise of “NATO interests”.
MERKEL’S VISIT WAS TO PROTECT NATO INTERESTS
Then there was Merkel’s visit to Erdoğan. A lot of people criticised Merkel for coming. But Merkel didn’t only visit in the name of Germany, the visit was also for NATO. Because NATO put Germany in charge of protecting Turkey in 1986. Germany tried to protect Turkey against the struggle for democracy by PKK and opposition forces. Of course Germany has its own interests in this as well.
Germany-Turkey relationship goes way back. General Moltke had trained Ottoman soldiers and had led the army in the suppression of the Bedirhan Pasha movement in Botan. So, they have a duty to protect Turkey, with both anti-Kurdish and anti-socialist sentiment, and in the name of NATO. Merkel held the visit representing all these. The June 7 coup was implemented with these supports and alliances in the country and outside.
CEYLANPINAR INCIDENT WAS MADE A PREAMBLE FOR THE PLANNED WAR
In this period, it was seen that the controlled war didn’t produce results and an open, uncontrolled war was developed. They tried to create rationales for this as well. Kobanê and Suruç massacres were carried out and then the incident where two police officers were killed in Ceylanpınar occurred. PKK was made to look like the perpetrator of the Ceylanpınar incident. They started the propaganda that PKK had ended the peace process with this, and Turkey had a right to protect itself in the face of the police officers’ deaths. This incident was made a preamble for the war. Likewise in Kilis, the scenario that ISIS had killed Turkish soldiers was developed. And thus, with a deal with the US over İncirlik Base, immediately after this, a very extensive aerial attack was launched on our movement on July 24. By Davutoğlu’s account, 400 HPG positions were hit in one night.
There was talk that the July 24 attacks were the most extensive operation in the history of Turkey.
Yes. They presented it as “We carried out the most extensive operation, we hit PKK very hard”. They boasted. They trampled all laws, the constitution, all legislation and developed a deepening war against PKK this way. They used every means available to implement the genocide against the Kurds and our movement and to disband us.
THE POLITICS OF AKP AND ERDOĞAN AREN’T UNDERSTOOD COMPLETELY IN TURKEY
AKP and the yellow press tried to give the impression that your movement had started this war. Some circles did buy into this propaganda. What did AKP aim for with this perception operation? And, how were the circles outside AKP affected by this?
Actually, AKP and Erdoğan’s style in politics haven’t been understood completely in Turkey. Because AKP and Erdoğan are waging the psychological war very strongly. There had been a special psychological war waged on the Islamic circles. As they experienced it, they know this war very well. That is how they managed to develop that war even stronger when they took power.
The essence of psychological war is to create perceptions, obscure the truth, cause fragmentation in society, militarising the supporters, creating opportunities for attack for the supporters and take the remaining public prisoner by intimidating them. Along with this, they create hope and expectancy. They distort the agenda and cheat people. Sometimes they just drop some subject and occupy everyone’s time and meanwhile go about their way. This is what Erdoğan does.
ERDOĞAN USED FETHULLAH GÜLEN AND STOOD AGAINST HIM ONCE HE WAS DONE
Erdoğan used several forces as he was developing his power in this manner. For example, he used Fethullah Gülen like this. Then he stood against him once he didn’t need him anymore. Some intellectuals, writers, academic supported Erdoğan as well. Because he gave false, engaging and hopeful promises like “I will democratize Turkey. There won’t be military coups in Turkey anymore, there won’t be state of emergency, no martial law, no military tutelage.” Erdoğan had seen that all groups had a yearning and a hope for democratisation. He used the international area like this as well. He created hope in them as well to secure their support. He actually secured his own power step by step like this. As he solidified his power, he started excluding his allies. Then when he felt powerful enough and didn’t need others any more, he cut them off completely. He even did this inside the AKP. He disbanded the founding members of the party like this.
ERDOĞAN REALITY IS COUP REALITY
Could it be said that he also deepened the co-conspirator vein among Kurds?
Definitely! He wanted to create a co-conspirator vein in Kurdistan loyal to him. He wanted to create monopolies and certain business circles. He wanted to create a middle class with these. He aimed to reinstate his hegemony in Kurdistan by uniting the co-conspirator nationalist Kurdish circles with them.
In fact, the Erdoğan reality is the coup reality. If one looks closely, one can see that he has constantly built and kept his power through coups. This is a tradition from the Ottoman Empire. An inquiry will show that histories of both the Ottoman Empire and Turkey are in this line as well.
In Ottoman history, sultans have repeatedly staget coups in their own palaces, and they have been toppled with coups stemming from the palace. The Janissary organisation is almost constantly in insurgency. Viziers have lost their heads. Fathers have had their sons strangled to keep their power. The Ittihat Terakki also staged coups.
Governments in Turkey are always shaped by coups. The constant power struggles create this. That is why there are constantly coups and counter-coups. Erdoğan’s past is based on this culture and tradition. Remember that Erbakan’s party was also neutralized by a coup. AKP came out of that. They built their own power on that coup.
Their international relations show this reality as well. He said he was brothers with Gaddafi, Asad and Maliki, they held joint government meetings. Then he discarded them all, he eliminated them. He eliminated Davutoğlu inside the party last, and he eliminated IHH to develop their relationship with Israel.
WHEN THE KURDISH ISSUE ISN’T SOLVED, THE COUP MECHANISM CONTINUES RUNNING
If there’s no freedom, democracy and justice, these kind of things happen all the time. Leader Apo said “The coup mechanism will activate in Turkey if the Kurdish issue isn’t solved.” The coup mechanism in Turkey is always running, although it does slow down at times. Look at Erdoğan, he stages a coup the instant he sees a threat to his power. This is exactly what he did against the Dolmabahçe agreement, the June 7 election results, and in November 1 elections.
Erdoğan played the victim all the time and managed to make himself look like a democrat and lover of democracy. How can this resonate among the people? How is it possible that he can convince them and garner support from political parties in Turkey, from certain democracy forces, and from international powers? He always talks about camaraderie, but he constantly eliminates his brothers in arms.
His constant talk about camaraderie is to deceive the Muslim groups in Turkey. He keeps saying everything he does is for Islam and Muslims. Because the Muslims were pushed out of the system in the Republic era. They had been persecuted by the system and they were humiliated. This created a certain spirit among them. Erdoğan supposedly stepped forward for Islam. He spoke to those groups and secured some gains for them too. That is why he keeps talking about camaraderie. He wants to keep these groups with him. Then he mobilizes them as he sees fit. And with the fear that they will lose whatever gains they have, they support him even though they don’t agree with most of his politics because he brought them those gains after the victimisation they suffered in the past.
KURDS ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE BEFORE ERDOĞAN'S RULE
One other issue mainly discussed during that process was the declaration of self-rule. Why did there happen a need for such a thing and what made this necessary?
Actually, the PKK and Kurds are the biggest obstacle before Erdoğan who always made an effort to eliminate this obstacle because he knows very well that he will not be able to achieve what he wants otherwise.
Turkey wanted to establish a nation state and reached to the point of destroying all peoples other than Kurds, cultures and religions for this purpose. Achieving this goal required to destroy Kurds absolutely and all the domestic and foreign policies were therefore grounded on this intention. This is because destroying Kurds means building the nation state they wanted. They indeed made huge efforts to destroy the Kurds but they have failed. After all their efforts, they faced a growing and strengthening Kurdish Freedom Movement. Kurds revived all the peoples and identities that the state thought it had eradicated, and carried them to the Parliament in June 7 election which was, therefore, not an ordinary one. June 7 is the collapse of the nation state regime and it is the struggle of the PKK, Kurdish Freedom Movement and Turkey's democracy forces that managed this.
FIRST BLOW ON ERDOĞAN INFLICTED IN KOBANÊ
The first blow on Erdoğan was inflicted in Kobanê where Erdoğan had actually planned to eliminate the revolution with the goal of becoming the leader of Turkishness and Islam. Yet, this didn't happen and Erdoğan suffered the second blow on June 7 when he had meant to leave all democracy forces outside the parliament before staging a major coup with a military initiative on June 8 in order for the elimination of all the obstacles. This was their plan which, however, failed also.
In the face of this failure, Erdoğan started a major aggression on the PKK and Kurds by committing a major crime against humanity and war crime in violation of all the domestic and international laws and the constitution. He waged a war against all democracy forces in the person of the Kurds and he wanted to achieve a result until the Newroz. However, Kurdish freedom movement stood against it and responded to the so-called 'collapse plan' with self-rule in order to eliminate this aggression.
SELF-RULE RESISTANCE DEVELOPED AGAINST GENOCIDE
Self-defense and self-rule was a initiative against genocide and aimed to attain freedom and assure the future. Erdoğan suffered the third blow with the defeat of this collapse plan.
THE GOVERNMENT AND STATE IGNORED THE JUNE 7 ELECTION RESULTS
The Turkish government and state rejected the June 7 when the AKP and pro nation-state forces ended up in a very dangerous situation and the regime broke down. They thought they would be able to protect the regime and themselves with this coup. They did not think about Turkey at all. They thought they would be able to protect a failing regime only with a big war without seeing that this war would instead drag the country into a bigger disaster. It was the June 7 results that would save Turkey from that disaster and bring democratization. They were being expected to resolve the Kurdish question but they started an unrestrained war by trampling on the expectations.
The developments since after the Kobanê victory had already revealed that things would end up in such a war as the Turkish government rejected an agreement, ignored the table of talks, denied the Kurdish question and neglected the Parliament. All these did indeed mean a war, a terrifying one, and an open coup. It was unfortunately only our movement to see this as everyone else evaluated these as Erdoğan's election tactics.
In addition, the Kurdish movement was criticized by some circles due to the self-rule resistance...
Indeed. This happened because some believed the perception the state created; that there was no big war coming and there was no need to stand against it. They couldn't see the truth and they therefore criticized and stood against self-rule.
Can we say that this made things easier for the AKP?
True. AKP benefited from this attitude and waged a terrifying war. If those circles had understood the truth about the state, AKP and Erdoğan, they would have taken sides with the self-rule initiative, and we would consequently not face the problems we are experiencing today; things would not have reached this point. Fascism and coups could have been hindered and developments towards the democratization of Turkey could have taken place.
Were the declarations of self-rule for Kurds alone? What influence would it have on Turkey's democracy?
Now that problems are not resolved in Ankara, they should be resolved through self-rule on local basis. This is why self-rule resistance emerged, actually as a response to the central coup and with the goal of democratization in Turkey starting from Kurdistan.
The democracy powers in Turkey served the AKP's acts with their practice, although they didn't mean to do so. They considered the struggle in North Kurdistan as meaningless instead of uniting with it. They thought this struggle endangered the gains, while the struggle in North Kurdistan was actually for protecting and advancing the gains. The Turkish state and Erdoğan had been trampling on these gains and there was no choice other than this to protect them. Instead of supporting the Kurds and their struggle, democracy forces stood against Kurds and thus provided support to Erdoğan who took advantage of this situation, created a confusion in minds through psychological warfare when not seeing the unity of democracy forces before him, and developed the destruction and massacres in Kurdistan over this basis.
One other matter is the attitude of the people and forces in other parts of Kurdistan. How do you evaluate the attitude of other parties during this process? Did they give the necessary support?
As a matter of fact, the necessary support was not given and this had a negative influence on the resistance. The lack of support does actually show how weak national unity and the national spirit is. Northern Kurdistan does immediately act in the face of the developments in other parts of Kurdistan but those in other parts did not fulfill their duty for the North.