HPG Press Spokesman: The initiative and superiority lie with the guerrillas

Currently, more Turkish fighter and reconnaissance aircraft fly over Kurdistan than Russian fighter jets over Ukraine, explains HPG press spokesman Serdar Yektaş.

With the arrival of spring, the intensity of Turkish attacks is also increasing. There is talk of a new large-scale Turkish attack on the guerrilla-held Medya Defense Zones in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) in the slipstream of the Ukraine conflict. The spokesman for the People's Defense Forces (HPG) Press Center, Serdar Yektaş, looking back at the failures of the Turkish state over the past year, states, "So what is the result of all these operations? A great nothing for the Turkish state. When our friends retreated to fortified positions in Dersim and Mardin in the winter of 2021, there were some casualties. We have already communicated this to our people. Nevertheless, the operations in the spring and winter were unsuccessful. We had no casualties. The initiative and superiority lie with us."

In an interview with ANF, Serdar Yektaş gives a perspective on the 2022 fighting year.

Before Newroz, the meeting of the HPG Command Council took place. It was said that the Turkish state was preparing new operations for the spring. What is the current situation in the guerrilla areas?

The guerrillas celebrate the Newroz festival every year with the same feelings. The difference this year, however, was that the Newroz celebrations were more visible and featured in the media. Newroz festival was even more splendid and enthusiastic for our people this year. The guerrillas celebrated Newroz in the spirit of victory and enter the new year of struggle with determination. For us, Newroz is the festival of resurrection and resistance and the beginning of the new year of struggle.

With the beginning of spring, information has been received that the Turkish state could launch an invasion attack on the Medya Defense Zones or, if it can, on various other parts of Kurdistan. But this does not mean that there is no war or attacks at the moment. Anyone who thinks that is completely wrong. There have been non-stop intense operations and attacks in northern Kurdistan and on the Medya Defense Zones since the fall. The all-out state of war continues unabated.

The Turkish Interior Ministry says that more than 8,000 military operations have been carried out in northern Kurdistan in the last three months alone. The army has withdrawn from some areas in the southern Kurdish regions of Zap, Metîna and Avaşîn because it has been unable to advance. However, the Medya Defense Zones are under constant attack by armed drones and fighter jets. Almost every day there are airstrikes. After all, we share that through our statements. Currently, more Turkish fighter and reconnaissance aircraft are flying over Northern Kurdistan and the Medya Defense Zones than fighter aircraft are flying over Ukraine. Some may consider this statement exaggerated, but if you look at the civilian and military radar services, you can see that it is true. Currently, there are permanent attacks and operations against the guerrilla areas. However, the guerrillas have reached the level of neutralizing all that. Since the Turkish state is not getting results, it seems that there are no attacks or operations, but this is not the reality.  

How do you view the likelihood of a Turkish invasion with ground troops?

Of course, it is very likely. We are dealing with an enemy who wants to commit genocide. The question is why he had to wait so long to attack from the ground. Last year, the enemy was hit hard in many places, from Bakur to the Medya Defense Zones. The invading forces could not carry out what they had announced; they could not achieve their objectives. Starting from Gare, they experienced a series of defeats, repeated from Avaşîn to Zap to Metîna. The Turkish state wants to attack, but in order to muster the strength to do so, it must prepare its armed forces. All this shows what a bad situation it is in. Look, the Turkish state has been preparing for weeks to launch an attack on our movement and our people, it is holding intensive talks with external forces and asking them for help. They are trying to build their own traitorous column inside the Kurds and get new weapons technology. If they can achieve even some of this, of course they will attack. If the Turkish state could not continue the invasion offensive that began on April 23 last year, if it launched offensive after offensive but failed to advance, it was because it was helpless and weak in the face of guerrilla resistance.

What are the preparations of the guerrillas against an upcoming ground operation?

The statement after the meeting of our Command Council adequately answered this question. The restructuring of the HPG and the new guerrilla tactics have been implemented to an important degree. However, this is a process that is constantly evolving. The guerrilla is a force that continues to educate itself every day, questioning its practices, learning from its shortcomings, and renewing itself accordingly. In light of this reality, important lessons have been learned and ideological and military preparations have been made for the 2021 war. The guerrilla is both ready and already active in the war. It is not in a waiting position, as the enemy thinks. The enemy says it has conducted thousands of operations in the last three months in Bakur alone. If we include the fall, the number of operations is in the tens of thousands. So what is the result of all these operations? A great nothing for the Turkish state. When our friends retreated to fortified positions in Dersim and Mardin in the winter of 2021, there were some casualties. We have already communicated this to our people. However, the tens of thousands of operations that took place in the spring and winter were unsuccessful. We had no casualties. The initiative and superiority is ours.

Contrary to what you say, the Turkish state is exaggerating information about guerrilla casualties. What can you say on that?

In a word, it is a lie. The Turkish state gives exaggerated figures about our losses. Let them say where and when how many fighters of ours were killed. The Minister of Interior, who counts himself among the most important elements of the special war, has spread so many lies and has been refuted so many times that he does not even dare to appear himself at the moment. Therefore, the institution of a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior was created. We now have a bureaucrat spreading these statements by order. I think this solution is to avoid being a liar. The enemy brags about how many Kurds it has slaughtered. The representatives of the state compete in spreading their success stories. When the Turkish Defense Ministry released a statement about fallen guerrilla fighters, the Interior Ministry immediately issued one as well, so as not to fall behind. These statements are usually not only directed against us, but at the same time they reflect their competition and internal contradictions. We can concretely say that since the beginning of 2022, the news of seven martyrs in Medya Defense Zones has reached us. On January 23, as we have already explained, three friends fell, and in the past few days four friends fell in two different places. In Northern Kurdistan, we have no casualties at all. Therefore, what the Turkish state declares about our casualties both in Bakur and in the Medya Defense Zones is completely far from reality.

The guerrillas seem to have been in action since the beginning of the year. What can you tell us about these actions and the Turkish state's losses?

The pace of guerrilla actions sometimes varies depending on seasonal conditions, but actions take place without interruption. As you have already noted, the guerrillas have continued their actions from the beginning of this year despite the harsh winter conditions. The guerrillas struck in January as well as in February. The actions increased on March 8, on Newroz and during the Week of Martyrs. We are convinced that they will continue to increase within the year. Since the beginning of 2022, the Turkish state has carried out 312 airstrikes by fighter jets and 30 times by helicopters. So, the total number of airstrikes is 342. There have been ten attacks with howitzers and mortars. These attacks are the attacks that our fighters saw and could confirm. Since most of the time the terrain is simply bombed aimlessly, there are also attacks that we did not even notice. In contrast, the guerrillas carried out twenty actions. In these actions, at least 23 occupiers were killed and two were injured. Apart from these, there may be occupiers who were killed or injured in actions, but whose deaths could not be determined with certainty by our forces. We publish only confirmed information. The Turkish state spreads special war lies to hide its own weakness and to conceal the effect of the guerrillas' actions. Since our units carrying out the actions know this fact well, they record all their actions as much as possible and send them to us. We then put these recordings on Gerîla TV. We say what we do, nothing more, nothing less.

The recordings on Gerîla TV are followed with great interest. In your opinion, what role does Gerîla TV play?

The system of capitalist modernity and the colonialists are doing their best to close all channels through which the freedom movement and the guerrillas can express themselves and reach society. Gerîla TV is a form, through which these efforts of the enemy are broken and the reality of the guerrilla reaches the society. Gerîla TV effectively answers the Turkish state's efforts to spread special war lies and pretend that there are no guerrilla actions, initiative or presence. At the moment, our access to all digital media is closed under the control of the hegemonic forces, and Gerîla TV is banned. But Gerîla TV was opened on the basis of the guerrillas' own efforts and is the area where they express themselves. Those who want to know the truth about the guerrillas and the war in Kurdistan turn their eyes to Gerîla TV.  

The Turkish state can spread as many lies as it wants. Let it subject society to a bombardment of lies. If we record our actions and bring them to the public, their lies will no longer have any meaning. When a guerrilla unit carries out an action in an area, it hits the enemy once. But when we broadcast this action on Gerîla TV, it hits the enemy a thousand times. This is because the faces of the chiefs of Turkish special warfare, who use their media to foment the wave of fascism and distort the truth, are hit by it as if by a slap in the face. That is why there are many attempts to block or restrict Gerîla TV. But all these attacks, intense as they may be, remain fruitless.

We are the guerrillas and we are at war. We do not make Gerîla TV to present ourselves. But it has become clear that Gerîla TV is a necessity of the revolution and our struggle. Gerîla TV plays an important role at the moment and has a significant function. Of course, our main task is to better communicate our reality and carry more of it to our people, to the peoples and to all those who want to take our guerrilla struggle as an example. The entire guerrilla has done a lot in this regard and has taken great pains, and will continue to do so. Because Gerîla TV is not only a medium through which guerrilla actions are broadcast. At the same time, we share how the freedom guerrillas of Kurdistan live, what they do, what they think, how they educate themselves, what they feel, and how they express their feelings in what songs. So it is a comprehensive archive, a mirror of the guerrillas, an attempt to give an overall picture.

Speaking of which, I would like to point out that while our friends have made such efforts for Gerîla TV and there is great interest from our people, other bodies do not give enough importance to it. The guerrillas are able to document their own actions and activities in a few minutes of footage and present them to the public. However, for these few minutes of action to take place, it takes days of planning, effort upon effort, and great perseverance. The foundation of these few minutes of footage is built on blood and sweat and the utmost sacrifice. That is why we wish that the films are not simply watched for a short time and forgotten. We want people to know the effort with which they were created and that everything should be done to spread the reality of the guerrilla.

The KCK Foreign Relations Committee has reported that South Kurdistan’s KDP will participate in the war alongside Turkey. What do you say to this? What is the situation on the ground?

Our movement has already given enough advance warnings so that there will be no catastrophe. In this regard, a lot of information reaches us from local sources. But we do not know how much of it is true, how much of it is disinformation and aimed at provoking a war. Therefore, we are cautious about all information. What is important is what the practical situation is in the field. The KDP took up position in the guerrilla area last year, and it is still there. Its hand is on the trigger against the guerrillas. There is no retreat of any kind; instead, it continues to fortify its positions. It is well known what this means. It is a very dangerous situation and there is a possibility that there could be dire consequences. Last month, the KDP took up positions in several places in the Heftanîn area. After that in Kela Qumriyê in Metîna. We also receive information that KDP forces are pressuring and seriously threatening the population in Metîna, Şîladizê and the villages around Amêdî not to establish relations with the guerrillas. It is already known what position the KDP took against the guerrillas last year and what they did. We wish that the same thing does not happen again this year. Because while our people are determined to win the freedom struggle as a whole, all kinds of provocations are taking place from inside and outside to weaken this struggle. The people oppose these attempts and have had enough of them by now. We act with this awareness and responsibility.