Cemil Bayik: Kurds want their questions answered

Cemil Bayik spoke about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world.

In the second part of the interview, Cemil Bayik, KCK co-chair, spoke about the general elections scheduled for 2023, as well as the role of the HDP and the Turkish plunder of the environment in Kurdistan.

As we enter the election process, the role of the Kurds can no longer be ignored. Those who did not see the will and demand of millions of Kurds – including the press that calls itself oppositional – during this year´s Newroz celebrations, now organize rallies in Kurdistan, supposedly to listen to the demands of the people. HDP, on the other hand, has taken a clear stance by saying ‘we are the force of solutions’. What can you say about this contradictory situation?

HDP’s stance is appropriate, it needs to understand itself as the force of solutions. It needs to say ´We are the ones who must solve all the problems that exist in Turkey´. With this aim, they need to announce their program and do politics accordingly. This will strengthen both the HDP and the socialist forces of democracy and freedom, as well as Turkey as a whole. This is the right thing to do. Despite the spectacular Newroz celebrations that took place this year, politicians and the press in Turkey ignored them. This does not mean that they did not see it, in fact, they saw this very well. That is the reason for their fear. Because they had claimed, ´We have put an end to the PKK, the HDP can no longer take to the streets, the Kurdish people will now be at our service´. This is what they thought. But during this year´s Newroz, they saw that this was not the case and that in fact the opposite was true. Therefore, they tried to hide this fact. But by doing this, they will not achieve anything. This will only bring about their end.

Everyone says that the Kurds are playing the key role in the upcoming elections. This is true. However, the main parties are not acting according to the correct things they are saying. They are again approaching with the old mind, the old politics; they are calculating on how to deceive the Kurds. They want to win Kurdish votes in the election to complete the massacre of Kurds. But today, the Kurdish people are aware of this. The Kurds have been struggling and paying the price for years. No one can deceive the Kurds like that. That era is over. Therefore, everyone must approach the Kurds correctly. Kurds want answers to their questions from everyone: What will be your approach to Rêber Apo? Do you accept the injustice Rêber Apo has suffered or not? What do you want to do about the Kurdish problem? Will you continue the Kurdish genocide, or will you abandon this policy and accept Kurds as a people and give them their rights? What will you do about democracy? The Kurdish people are waiting for answers to these questions. No one can treat the Kurds like they used to. The Kurds have their own principles, goals and values. No one can get support from the Kurds with the help of money, deception, tactics and lies.

Certain circles in Turkey have realized that the AKP-MHP era is over and they want to replace them with someone from the ‘Table of Six’. Some people from the ‘Table of Six’ hope that they will come to power. Therefore, they say ‘we will make peace’. However, they do not explain how they are going to do this. They cannot fool the Kurds with this. You have committed so many massacres and atrocities, and you are still continuing this on Rêber Apo and the Kurdish people. You stand behind the decision of war, you support isolation, you support the extermination of the Kurds, how can you deceive the Kurds in this situation? They are saying, ´Forget what happened, let’s make peace and just serve us´. Such a reconciliation is not possible. They think they can deceive the Kurds by going to Roboski again and by pretending that they are friends of the Kurds. Those who are friends of the Kurds should stand against isolation, oppose the war, accept the Kurdish people and give the Kurds their rights. When they say, ´The politics we have been doing until now was wrong, we have been hostile to the Kurdish people, we want to accept the Kurdish people and give them their rights´ then they can make peace. Otherwise, they are just deceiving themselves, but they cannot deceive the Kurds. Kurds should openly say to those who make such propaganda: ´Are you against the politics of genocide? How do you want to solve the Kurdish problem? How do you want to end the isolation? How will you open the door to the prisons? Have you decided to do all this or not? Say these things openly.´ This is how pressure should be created. Either they need to take steps or they will continue to carry out the politics of genocide. We think it is important that everybody understands this.

Lately, another development that truly hurts has been the politics of destruction and plunder against the nature of Kurdistan. This issue has been on the agenda, especially on social media. What can you say about the reaction against ecological destruction and the hypocrisy displayed against the nature of Kurdistan?

The Turkish state is anti-Kurdish, it wants to eliminate everything that is called Kurdistan or Kurdish. It does not hide this but says openly that this is its goal. It is completely focussed on this goal and has tied its fate to it. The Turkish state says, ´Either I maintain my power by destroying the Kurds or I will disappear´. Those who have come to power in Turkey in the past remained in power on this basis. Those who were in favor of the continuation of the Kurdish genocide came to power and stayed in power on this basis. Otherwise, it would not have been possible for them to stay in power. The AKP-MHP promised to continue the genocide. But despite using all the means at their disposal, they failed to achieve results. That is why their power is now coming to an end. This is the reason for the limitless enmity the AKP-MHP exhibits. It is cutting down trees, bombing everywhere, building dams, forcing people to flee their homes, arresting and torturing, killing people in prisons and doing everything it can to eliminate the possibility of Kurdish life.

Cutting down trees in Dersim and Botan [regions in North Kurdistan/East Turkey] cannot be explained simply by the fact that these trees are being sold and money is being made with them. This is the result of the politics of genocide. It is important for everyone to understand this. The reason why they attack the environment of Kurdistan is because they want to commit genocide. Because the Kurdish people can survive based on their natural resources. Nature is the source of life. If you dry up this source, there is no such thing as life. This is one of the reasons why the Kurdish people live in a difficult situation and face obstacles today. Because there is destruction, death and elimination everywhere in Kurdistan. A people living in such a situation will, of course, experience difficulties. Our people need to overcome these difficulties, and the way to do this is to reject the policy of the Turkish state in Kurdistan and to stand courageously against it. The Turkish state can kill, but it already does this every day. It is destroying the basis of life of the Kurdish people. Thus, it wants to kill the entire Kurdish people. To stand against their politics and pay the price means to prevent genocide. This will give you your homeland, your land, your values, your freedom and your identity. There is silence when women are killed, silence when forests are cut down, silence when everywhere is bombed, silence when dams are built, silence when people are executed in prisons. But this is unacceptable. This silence needs to end, our people need to say “enough”. Cutting down all the trees is a justification for an uprising, killing women is a justification for an uprising, attempting to plunder a place with the excuse of building mines is a justification for an uprising. The plundering of land should not be allowed. If everyone comes together and joins forces, the Turkish state will not be able to do any of these things. If it is doing these things, it is doing them because of the silence. Everyone is waiting for each other. But this is wrong. No one should wait for each other. Everyone should see what is being plundered as their own property and oppose it. They should see the murdered women as their own daughters and wives and stand up for them. They should make all these events a reason for an uprising. If they do this, the enemy will not be able to continue its politics.

There is chaos in Iraq. Of course, one of the reasons for this chaos was the protests that emerged after the massacre committed by the Turkish state in the South Kurdish village of Perex in the Zaxo area. How do you evaluate the latest situation in Iraq?

When the massacre in Perex happened, there was a strong reaction among the Iraqi people, and it seems that this reaction will only get stronger. This will affect the Kurdish people, the Arab people in other regions and will create a very strong movement against Turkey. Certain forces saw that the Kurdish people would benefit from this situation and that the concept against the Kurds and the PKK would be dealt a serious blow. Therefore, they intervened and changed the agenda. They turned the reaction against the Turkish state into a reaction against Iran, and took Turkey and the Perex massacre off the agenda. They created a completely different agenda in Iraq and the Middle East. However, the Perex massacre is not an issue that can be removed from the agenda just like that. This massacre needs to be kept on the agenda constantly. This was not an accidental massacre. With this, they wanted to scare the people of South Kurdistan, those who stand against Turkey, to ensure that no one stands against Turkey. But Turkey has clear goals: It wants to take over Mosul, Kirkuk and all of South Kurdistan. If they seize these places, it means becoming very powerful in the politics of Iraq, so that the whole of Iraq will be at the service of the Turkish state. In order to achieve this, they seek to force the local population to flee. Because in order to develop the occupation and take power in Iraq, there they want to have no one left who is against them. The Turkish state sees that Iraq is weak and that it does not have the power to stand against them. Barzani is also on their side, and even some parts of Iraq are acting together with the Turkish state. Since Turkey is a NATO member, NATO does not oppose this policy, in fact, it supports it.

After the elections, they wanted to form a government with Barzani, Sadır and others. They thought that they would take over the presidency as well as the government of Iraq, and they were planning to take new steps on this basis. Even Erdogan himself said, ´A new situation will emerge in Iraq after the elections´. Turkey, Barzani and the new government, with the support of NATO, were going to eradicate the PKK and then complete the Kurdish genocide. But this plan has failed. Those who are friends with Iran and who wanted to take over the government thwarted their plan. In short, the US-related contradictions continue in Iraq. After the elections, the process did not go as they had planned. Since this plan did not materialize, Iraq has been increasingly pushed towards a civil war. It is not yet clear whether a civil war will break out or not. Those who are not in favor of civil war are trying to form a government, and they are planning to go to elections after a period with this government. However, this will not work either. Because in the last election we saw that 80 percent of the people did not vote. This shows the dissatisfaction of the people with the current parties and these kinds of politics.

The people of Iraq want fundamental changes, and they have expressed this many times. Therefore, renewing the elections will not solve the problems Iraq is facing today. There is also the possibility of civil war. If such a situation occurs in Iraq, it will lead to the disintegration of the country and lead to great dangers. Turkey is in favor of Iraq’s instability. The most important reason for the lack of stability in Iraq is Turkey. It uses its relations with Barzani and some Sunni groups. Iraq is already weak and Turkey puts Iraq under pressure and prevents a solution to the current problems. Turkey is trying to realize its goal, that is to seize Mosul and Kirkuk, by keeping Iraq weak. They are already working to achieve these goals in Iraq.

In fact, if Iraq is dragged into a spiral of civil war, they may attack Şengal and Maxmur together with Barzani, and launch more comprehensive attacks against the Medya Defense Zones. All of this is a possibility, and everyone should take precautions accordingly. If a civil war does not take place, this does not mean that this danger has disappeared and the problems have been resolved. The new government to be formed will continue the policies of Turkey, the KDP and the Barzanis. This will create new problems. Therefore, Iraq is an important field for everyone. Everyone has their hands in it. This causes new dangers for both Iraq and the Middle East. Preventing the disintegration of the country and developing a democratic Iraq will also affect the Middle East. It cannot be known exactly how either of these situations will evolve. Undoubtedly, we want the forces of democracy to prevent the disintegration of Iraq and to lead Iraq towards democratization. This can only be realized with Rêber Apo’s paradigm. What has been put in place so far has not solved Iraq’s problems, but it is making the problems worse, deepening the contradictions and dragging Iraq towards disintegration. It is important that we make everyone understand this reality.

In addition to Iraq, there have been important developments with regards to Syria in recent days. The Turkish state announced that it would start talks with the regime in Damascus, which was sharply criticized by the Islamist proxy forces allied with Turkey. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria also declared a state of emergency against the Turkish attacks. How do you see this new situation in Syria?

Yes, the Rojava administration has declared a state of emergency. They have not taken such a decision without a reason. Because everybody knows under which conditions a state of emergency is generally declared in a country. They saw that there was a great danger and declared a state of emergency to prevent it, to defend their territory and their gains. This was a good decision. Because they saw that a policy and a plan were being carried out. They took such a decision to prevent this plan from being realized and to protect their freedoms. But as far as we can see, they are not acting according to the decision they themselves have taken. There is, for example, the recent martyrdom of Jiyan and other friends. They have declared a state of emergency, but are organizing meetings and conferences as if nothing has happened, as if they are in a normal phase. That friend had attended a meeting open to everyone, had made a speech there, and after leaving the meeting, she was attacked by an armed drone of the Turkish state.

Since they have declared a state of emergency, they need to live accordingly and take precautions. In such a process, there is no need for a public meeting with broad participation. If they have to hold meetings, they should do it in a different way. This is what leads to paying a big price. I believe they have learned a lesson from these recent events. They should act and work in complete secrecy. Because a death sentence has been passed against the executives and cadres there. And the Turkish state is carrying out this sentence and will continue to do so. Therefore, executives, cadres and patriots who are popular among the people should not live and act as before. They need to go completely underground, they must work underground and in secrecy. They must also make the revolutionary people’s war well-known among the people and carry out this strategy in practice. For this, they must constantly review all their preparations, thus eliminating mistakes and shortcomings. They must make themselves ready for the revolutionary people’s war in every way possible. The Turkish state is using its technology very effectively against them and will continue to do so. Therefore, they must protect themselves against this technology. Underground preparations must be made. In cities and villages, defense and underground preparations need to be made. They must reach a level where they can establish connections among themselves underground. The Turkish state cuts off their water.  They should take measures for this, e.g. dig wells. They should store supplies and medicine. They should train the people in the use of weapons and make them ready for war. The people should be able to defend themselves, for this they should undergo trainings and drills. They must act with a single coordination. I guess they have learned lessons from the experiences in Efrîn. Those mistakes should not be repeated. As far as we can understand from the statements, they are making preparations for the revolutionary people’s war. This is a good development, but they also need to quickly complete the missing aspects. Have full confidence in yourselves, fight with your own means, don’t pay attention to the outside. All the different powers are part of the plans against them, they are all calculating on how to deceive them and take control of them. They may be in contact with these powers, but they should not act according to their wishes. Always listen to your self, predicate yourself on how you can defeat the plans to maintain your freedom and on how you can protect your revolution.

Now Russia and Iran are trying to dominate the whole of Syria. Turkey wants to eliminate the Kurds and is trying to develop relations with Syria on this basis. These attempts are being carried out openly and are already openly discussed in the press. However, the relations between Turkey and Syria cannot be developed so easily, the problems are not easy and cannot be solved quickly. There are very big problems. The Turkish state has pulled millions of people out of Syria, brought them to Turkey and organized among them. Now it is trying to settle them in Syria and take over the whole of Syria. They built gang [Islamist proxy forces] organizations within them, created fake armies and used them everywhere. They are also using them against Syria. Again, an Islamic government was established in Idlib by the Turkish state. They have occupied many parts of Syria and changed the demography there. These are big problems and they cannot be solved easily. Maybe Russia has put something in front of both Turkey and Syria and wants some steps to be taken. But it is doubtful how much Turkey and Syria agree with this. Syria is well aware of Turkey’s practices and politics. Turkey is giving up everything and trying to befriend Syria and Syria accepting it as if nothing happened – this is not possible. Turkey is playing politics, trying to fool everyone, but it wants to achieve its own goals. I guess everyone knows this and Syria knows it too. I don’t think Syria will join hands with Turkey and become an enemy of the Kurds. If it does that, Syria will lose, there will be no Syria left. If Syria does not want its country to disintegrate and if it wants there to be a country called Syria, the way to do this is through friendship with the Kurds. When it solves the Kurdish problem, it can avoid all dangers. Turkey knows this and is trying to foster enmity between Syria and the Kurds in order to achieve its goals there. The only situation that can protect Syria and defeat Turkey’s plans is friendship with the Kurds. Syria is already saying, ´We can solve our problems if Turkey withdraws from the territories it occupies, dismantles the organization it has formed from gangs and does not give weapons to these structures.´ Syria’s statement that it will not start the process of relations with Turkey if these conditions are not met is appropriate in our opinion.

In short, the problems in Syria will continue. Therefore, our people must complete their preparations for war in order to defend themselves in every way possible. Whether Turkey attacks alone or together with Syria, our people can defend themselves. There is no other way. They must believe in this and prepare themselves in every aspect. They must make this a way of life for themselves. They will live their lives in war, they will be able to defend themselves and they will get their rights. Nobody will give them their rights, only they themselves can take them.

Youth organizations with different names have emerged in Kurdistan and Turkey to fight against AKP-MHP fascism. They are carrying out attacks against the politics of genocide. How do you see these organizations and attacks?

Yes, some attacks have taken place. I salute and congratulate those who are carrying out these attacks. They need to carry out even stronger attacks. What they have done so far is not enough. There is a fascist government which is conducting a heavy politics of oppression. But this does not mean that there cannot be strong attacks against them. No matter how much injustice, oppression, torture, plunder, death and injustice there is in a place, there must be strong actions there. This is the right thing to do. There are many examples of this in the world. The stronger fascism was, the stronger the resistance against it was which finally brought an end to fascism. This is what is required of democrats and socialists. Those who stand against fascism should take this as a basis. Everyone can organize actions against fascism according to their own means. These actions can be marches and protests, or attacks against the government and state institutions, agents and police.

Not only young men but also young women are carrying out these attacks. I salute and congratulate them. They need to make their actions and attacks stronger. They are not enough. Our friends in Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna are showing great heroism under very difficult conditions. These young men and women have better opportunities and conditions than our friends in Zap. They can carry out stronger actions and attacks. This is what is asked of them. They should not leave those heroes alone.

This regime is on the verge of collapse, they don’t have the control they used to have, they are struggling with many problems among themselves. When one thinks about it, one can carry out very good actions. Also, almost all of the attacks so far have been similar to each other. One can carry out many more different actions and attacks. There are opportunities for this. We want them to carry out actions and attacks so they can reach the guerrillas for this. If they cannot reach the guerrillas, they should be able to defend themselves. But they can increase the level of their actions and attacks even more. The state has promoted informers, maybe that’s why they are afraid. However, it is possible to take precautions. There are those who know each other well, who are good friends with each other. Thus, they can protect themselves from agents and informers. Those who know each other well can carry out actions and attacks secretly in small cells. They don’t need to openly say ´we did this´ and thus expose themselves. It is enough if they inform the press. Thus, they can deal a huge blow to the enemy. Agents and informers cannot get in and denounce them, and in this way they can protect themselves.

Part One of the interview here