Kalkan: Kurdish people remain resolute in their demand for freedom, equality and democracy

“Everyone should wage a multi-faceted struggle that will save them from the AKP. The struggle against fascism is a common struggle. Fascism is carrying out a total attack.Therefore, the antifascist resistance and democratic resistance must also be total."

Duran Kalkan, member of the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council, spoke to Medya Haber about the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world, including the discussions about Abdullah Öcalan during Turkey’s elections, the current situation of Abdullah Öcalan and the results of the recent elections in Turkey.

Discussions About Abdullah Öcalan During Turkey’s Elections – “No one put forward Turkey’s fundamental problems and offered solutions to them”

“In the current environment of absolute isolation, they also brought up Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] as part of the election debates. They wanted to base the elections in Turkey and the election debates on this issue. Of course, this is understandable in a way. Turkey’s most fundamental problem is the Kurdish problem. As the representative of the Kurdish will for freedom, Leader Apo is being held in Imrali. Therefore, Leader Apo was undoubtedly going to be put on the agenda. Because the Kurdish problem needed to be discussed. And when the Kurdish problem is discussed, there cannot be a discussion without Leader Apo being on the agenda. But this was not the case. The Kurdish problem, its causes and the ways of solving it were not discussed, which is why Leader Apo was also not really put on the agenda. On the contrary, those who have inflicted the greatest terror and genocide on the Kurdish people for 100 years tried to accuse Leader Apo, the Kurds, the Kurdistan Freedom Movement and our party of terrorism. In a very cheap way, they tried to make the domestic and foreign public accept this. They think they will just be able to do this and that the process in Turkey will just continue like this. They expect the Kurdish people to simply do what they want. They think that the Kurdish society will submit to this. They thought they could divide and fragment the Kurds. They are after tricks and games within the scope of the special warfare. This is a very simplistic and immoral attitude. We need to emphasize this again and again. Beyond making a lot of promises, there was no one [during the elections] who put forward Turkey’s fundamental problems and offered solutions to them. Leader Apo was put on the agenda because he has the power and the will for a solution. Indeed, there is no political force that promises a free and democratic future for the society in Turkey. There is no such political mentality and attitude. On the contrary, they think that the Kurds deserve genocide and Turkey deserves fascist oppression and terror. The centuries-old state system works on this basis. The politics of the last period is completely based on this cheap approach of both the government and the opposition.”

“They are very angry. Why has Leader Apo brought the Kurdish question to light? Why does he develop libertarian and democratic ways of solving the Kurdish question? Why does he propose a common solution and life? They are very angry because he is proposing a politics and mentality that is an alternative to the existing politics in Turkey. Because he is clearly showing everyone how false their rhetoric is, and that their true face is marked by fascism, colonialism and a genocidal mentality and politics. Leader Apo’s resistance in Imrali is enlightening. In fact, they understand this well, but they do not approach this issue correctly, humanely and in a libertarian and democratic way. Their approach is fascist, colonialist, genocidal, manipulative, brutal and warmongering. They have an anti-Kurdish, anti-social, anti-woman mentality and politics. Of course, they do all this not because they don’t know, but because they know very well. They do all this on purpose.”

Current Situation of Abdullah Öcalan – “No information about Imrali has been published for 26 months”

“First of all, I would like to salute the historic resistance in Imrali of Leader Apo. His isolation continues. There is absolutely no change. The lawyers also evaluated this situation recently. They stated that the promises made have not been fulfilled. Beyond that, no information about Imrali has been published for 26 months. Because of this, there is undoubtedly a lot of concern. There is a lot of anxiety and anger in the Kurdish society. On the other hand, the struggle for the physical freedom of Leader Apo continues. Women, youth and our people are waging an uninterrupted struggle together with our friends all over the world. I would like to greet them all once more and wish them success. I want to emphasize once again that all of these struggles are very important.”

“There is also great support from external circles. The struggles of international friends, academics, trade unions, laborers and intellectuals are important. We need to increase this even more. Both the struggle for the physical freedom of Leader Apo is growing and the participation in this struggle is getting stronger among our international friends. Because as the thoughts of Leader Apo spread, people increasingly demand that the author of these thoughts should not live in a torture and genocide system like Imrali, that he should have physical freedom and that he should be able to develop his thoughts further and put them at the service of humanity. Leader Apo has the most comprehensive and systematic power of thought that offers solutions to the problems of humanity. With the new paradigm, he has put forward such a systematic way of thinking. Therefore, the more these ideas are spread and the more the struggle increases, the more people feel their responsibility and support the struggle even more. This means that we need to expose the Imrali torture and isolation system, this genocide system, and we need to spread Leader Apo’s thoughts even more. As we do this, the struggle against the Imrali torture and isolation system on the basis of the freedom of Leader Apo will grow. There is no doubt about this. Most recently, a delegation called the ‘International Imrali Peace Delegation’ came [to Turkey], visited the related institutions, exchanged views and held discussions. On the basis of the opinions they heard, they said that they will strengthen the struggle against the Imrali torture and isolation system in the international arena. This is a very altruistic and consistent attitude. We therefore expect important work from their side.”

“Leader Apo has been held in the Imrali torture and isolation system for 25 years. This 25th year is a year in which the situation of Leader Apo needs to be evaluated legally. Yes, the Turkish state is responsible for creating and running the Imrali system. But NATO and the European Union are also responsible. All its institutions, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the CPT are also responsible. Politically, various states are responsible. The US administration, the UK, Israel and all European states are responsible for the international conspiracy and therefore for the abduction of Leader Apo and his 25 years in the torture and isolation in Imrali. No one can escape this responsibility. In this 25th year of the Imrali torture and isolation system all these powers have to make a new assessment. This is a legal requirement. But there does not seem to be any movement from anyone in this direction. Three months have passed since February 15th [anniversary of abduction of Abdullah Öcalan on February 15, 1999] but there is no attention for this issue. This is not acceptable. The legal circles concerned with the defense of Leader Apo need to be more sensitive. They need to make more efforts and investigate more. It is necessary to put this situation on the agenda more through struggles that expose the Imrali torture and isolation system. If they do not approach the Kurdish problem and its solution ideologically and politically on the basis of Leader Apo’s ideas, they should at least take legal initiatives to address the situation of his detention in Imrali. They need to start an initiative immediately. We cannot accept this silence. Our people, humanity and the oppressed will not accept this.”

“Understanding the Imrali resistance correctly means understanding the Kurdish problem and the Kurdish reality correctly. Therefore, it means understanding the reality of Turkey, the Turkish state system, the global system of capitalist modernity that created this state and the general power and state system correctly. This means understanding correctly what is being imposed on the Middle East and humanity today. All these issues are closely intertwined. In this sense, this means leading a conscious, organized and successful struggle against all forms of oppression, exploitation, tyranny, fascism and massacres. Only if such a struggle is led successfully, the Imrali resistance and the thoughts of Leader Apo will be understood correctly and their requirements will be fulfilled.”

Elections in Turkey – “Despite all the oppression and persecution, the Kurdish people remain resolute in their demand for freedom, equality and democracy”

“An election has taken place recently. Of course, it is debatable how fair, free and equal this election was. It is well-known that it was not fair or free. What kind of pressure, arrests and obstructions took place during the election? Everyone is discussing this now. It is debatable how much of an election there really was. On the other hand, what kind of fraud took place during the election process is also being discussed. But with all that said, there was indeed an election on May 14th which has led to certain results. Even though the results are not yet official, many circles are already making evaluations. Because these elections were very important. It was said that Turkey would start its second century and the results of these elections would determine the mentality and politics by which this century would be shaped. The leadership of our movement is currently evaluating the results. It will undoubtedly publish its views and the policies it will pursue on this basis very soon. We have not reached such a conclusion yet. Therefore, I can only state some individual observations here.”

“There is talk of fraud and pressure, but there are also various evaluations concerning the election results. Some say there was no winner, some say that they won and others say the election was unfair. Many things are being said. But first of all, I would like to salute our patriotic people who worked for the election on the basis of the calls of our leadership, who went to the polls on May 14th and cast their votes, who voted in favor of the libertarian and democratic forces and women in line with our interests. I congratulate them on their success. I would also like to wish success to the MPs that our people have elected to fulfill their duties. This election has clearly shown that there is no change in the stance and attitude of the Kurdish people. In almost all of Kurdistan, the level of votes is more or less the same as in the previous elections. There were very few ups and downs. Despite all the oppression, persecution, massacres and imprisonment, the Kurdish people remain resolute in their demand for freedom, equality and democracy. There is absolutely no regression, no weakening. This is very important. This is the case in Kurdistan as well as for the Kurds who have been displaced to Turkish cities. This deserves a big thank you. This attitude of our people reveals that no persecution and torture can weaken them. This is the greatest success. Some circles say that the votes have decreased. Certain parties and organizations say they will make self-criticism. Of course, they are one thing, the stance of the people is another. Society and political circles should not be confused with each other. Those who made mistakes should undoubtedly find the reasons that led to this with the help of criticism and self-criticism. But there is absolutely no regression in the stance of the Kurdish people. In fact, there is even more anger and combativeness. If this has not been translated into sufficient actions, those in charge of educating and organizing the people should evaluate their own situation. The fault lies with them. Therefore, there is no mistake or deficiency in the stance of society which needs to be saluted and celebrated. On this basis, we salute and congratulate the entire Kurdish people for their correct and successful stance in the elections.”

“The result of the presidential election is not clear yet. Tayyip Erdoğan and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will compete in the second round. The results of the parliamentary elections are more or less certain. The general picture is this: All the parties that had taken part in previous elections have lost votes. There is no winner, no one who increased their votes. Some new parties have entered the scene. They got one and a half, two, two and a half percent of the votes. Parties like the TIP, the Welfare Party or the Zafer Party. They got the votes that were lost due to attrition. The other parties have lost votes compared to the previous election. Of course, everyone is questioning the reasons from their own perspective. It was the People’s Alliance that most skillfully compensated for this decline. For example, the AKP has witnessed the biggest decline. It has dropped from 42 percent to 35 percent, 7 points. There is a slight decline in the votes for the MHP. But by adding new parties to their alliance, they reduced the loss of votes for the alliance. They are the alliance that has the most MPs in the parliament and actually won the election in terms of the parliamentary arithmetic. In fact, such a result was expected for the National Alliance. But the National Alliance was not able to show this strength. The reasons for this need to be discussed.”

“They themselves will undoubtedly discuss this in a better way. Many parties had come together. They were showing a democratic stance and were expressing their agreement with each other. Obviously, they were not able to explain this well because they couldn’t stand firm. I guess they made a mistake in the alliance. Entering the elections jointly did not yield many results for them. They should have had the political maturity to understand that. Entering the elections on the basis of the CHP led to losses for both the CHP and the other parties. This did not lead to a plus. They focused too much on their own supporter base in their propaganda. They were not able to show clear solutions to Turkey’s problems beyond the AKP’s practices. They focused a bit on the economy and justice, but not on the war. They did not dwell on the Kurdish problem. They mostly stayed under the influence of the People’s Alliance and simply tried to respond to it. They were not really able to show their differences which basically means that they were not different. It also turned out that they were not very organized.”

“How did the AKP get these votes when it really suffered so much attrition? They say it has lost a lot of votes. Of course, it will, but the fact that it still received so many votes under these conditions should not be taken lightly. We need to focus on the reasons. One important reason is the pressure. One reason is that they influenced people with money. But there are two other fundamental reasons. First, the AKP is an organized force. It really has a party organization. As part of one’s election activities, it is not enough to go to the press and say a few things, or to gather your own base of supporters and talk to them. An organized and planned effort to go to people who are not your own is very important. In this sense, one can consider the AKP and MHP as the most organized parties. Another thing is that they have really formed a community. They have created a mass of people based on racist, chauvinist, nationalist and Turanist ideas and an understanding of the history of the MHP, which brainwashes people in Turkey with money, education, art and literature. They get their votes from these people. In this sense, the AKP and MHP have carried out very dangerous and serious work. They have created a new understanding of history, a new form of relationships, a new capital, class and community by destroying what the Turkish state had created until the 1970s. In this sense, Kemalism is over. Since September 12 [1980], a new community has been formed, especially in the form of the AKP-MHP. This means that the racist, Turanist and genocidal mentality and politics of the Committee of Union and Progress has reached its peak today. The Kurds are suffering from this, but this is actually harmful for everyone. This constitutes a danger for everyone. Everyone needs to understand this well. There should not be a simple approach to the AKP.”

“We also made mistakes. We do not hide them. We make self-criticizm and evaluate the mistakes. The Alliance for Labor and Freedom says that they will also make self-criticism. They should. Of course, these results cannot be seen as a complete success. They set goals, but these goals have not been achieved. But people should not be held responsible for this. There is not the slightest regression among the Kurdish people. They are against fascism, colonialism and genocide. They continue to struggle for freedom, equality and fraternity by paying any price needed. They have clearly shown their stance once again in the May 14 elections. But the organizations and parties were supposed to organize beyond this and make this even bigger. Why didn’t this happen? They should question themselves on this basis. There is a very important reason: they made mistakes in the way they formed their alliance. Yes, they turned a lot towards left and revolutionary democratic organizations. This was not wrong, but they were still not able to achieve complete unity with them. On the other hand, a distancing from the anti-capitalist democratic and Islamic circles took place. Yes, there should have been more orientation towards the left democratic movement, but there should have also been an alliance to embrace all democratic circles, including the Islamic circles. On the other hand, they are not really organized. When it comes to elections, it is not enough to make propaganda and cause excitement only in their own circles. Instead of going to circles outside their own, they only promoted the enthusiasm and excitement of their own base. They mostly made these circles go to the polls. That was also insufficient. They lack organized work. On the basis of mass work, party organization, party work and women’s and youth organizations, they lack a work that constantly reaches out to the masses who are unaware of them. They will probably evaluate and question this more.”

“The AKP has lost the most votes. But the election results were a bit different from what had been predicted. We have to accept that too. There was not a very serious change in Kurdistan. We can say that clearly. On the contrary, the anger and protest of society was very high. But society’s leaders and pioneers were not able to transform that anger into organization and action. The mistake was made by those who should have achieved this. On the other hand, the fact that the AKP still managed to get so many votes should make the entire opposition self-critical. The demand for change was there among everyone, even among foreign circles. Not being able to achieve this change is, of course, a serious shortcoming. So, the opposition in particular should question the reasons for this shortcoming more accurately and seriously.”

“We cannot say anything about the presidential election. Obviously, someone has recently given certain directions to Tayyip Erdoğan with regards to this issue. He has been open to this. He sees it as empowering. His last speeches before the election showed this a bit. So did his attitude after the election. This is how it is, and he will obviously continue to do so. The opposition says that they will resist, but its chances have decreased compared to before.”

“Regardless of who becomes president, the current election results have shown the following: Whoever forms a government will no longer be able to run things alone. For example, if the People’s Alliance forms the new government, it cannot run it as it has been doing so far. Turkey needs change and this change can only be achieved by creating as much unity as possible. Those who impose only their own will on society will yield more protests, suffer more damage and eventually lose. First of all, the message of the elections is that a united approach in which everyone can participate, and which will prevent Turkey from collapsing under the weight of its problems, will be more constructive. Second point: Yes, the election was important, but we reached the elections after a great struggle. The election was part of our antifascist, revolutionary and democratic struggle. This struggle will be shaped by the outcome of this election, but it will not end. It will definitely continue. Therefore, elections alone are not a method of struggle. Fascism cannot be overthrown only through elections. This is only possible with multifaceted methods of struggle. This is a long-term struggle. The elections have provided important proof in this regard. They revealed that there is still a great power of resistance both in Kurdistan and in Turkey. The spread of the antifascist and democratic struggle in Turkey has become clearer. Therefore, from now on, the struggle can be further strengthened in many ways. It will not stop. The struggle will develop and continue. AKP MHP fascism and the People’s Alliance included some dangerous circles, such as the Hizbi-Kontra. If they try to continue their massacre and destruction attacks and occupation attacks on the basis of the ‘Annihilation Plan’ with the help of these circles, of course a great resistance will take place against them.”

“As a movement, we took the decision to halt all military attacks after the earthquake and later extended it until the elections. Our aim was to support the election process. But the AKP and MHP administration did not respond to this attitude. They continued their attacks as much as they could. They attacked us during their election campaign. It almost seemed as if there was an election between the AKP and the PKK. They made the PKK the only target and launched all kinds of annihilation attacks against the guerrilla. These attacks are still going on. The guerrilla had to defend itself against these attacks on the basis of legitimate self-defense. Fascism attacked and an armed resistance developed all over Kurdistan under the leadership of Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna [South Kurdish areas controlled by the guerrilla forces]. If the attacks continue in this manner, the guerrilla, the people, women and youth will continue to resist. The elections have created a very favorable ground for this resistance. They did not cause any damage. The will of the women and youth was revealed. They are in a position to wage all kinds of struggles. Therefore, I can say this: Only a holistic approach can lead Turkey to an exit. Other than that, there is only the option to wage a great struggle. Therefore, the antifascist and democratic struggle will continue. This struggle should not be considered to only take place in the form of elections or an armed struggle. It is necessary to see it as a multifaceted struggle. The fascist attacks are multifaceted. The National Alliance only envisioned the replacement of the current presidential system with a parliamentary system. This is a very schematic approach. This is not really in line with the struggle against fascism. The current administration has reversed all the achievements of the first 50 years of the republic. This opposition has not been able to resist any of this. So many artists, writers and democrats have been put in prisons, attacked and forced to flee abroad. Thus, this administration carries out an intense social genocide against society. It is trying to poison the minds of young people. It is necessary to fight against this poison in every aspect. This poison is harmful to the whole society of Turkey. It also constitutes a huge danger to humanity. If the politics of this fascist, colonialist and genocidal mentality is not stopped, it will cause huge dangers for everyone. So, the struggle will continue. We need to be more versatile and creative in our struggle. The revolutionary and democratic forces need to lead the struggle even more from now on.”

“Where has the AKP come from? Islamic circles should also be careful about this issue. The AKP has turned the Islamic circles into the MHP. It has made them racist, chauvinist and nationalist. It has destroyed the Islamic approaches. Because it is the MHP that determines the ideological line. Today, the AKP has turned into the MHP. In this respect, all of those circles need to stand up for their own identities. Everyone needs to wage a multi-faceted struggle that will save them from the AKP, which has turned into the MHP; from a racist and nationalist AKP whose mentality and politics have declared everybody its enemy. The struggle against fascism is a common struggle. Fascism is carrying out a total attack. Therefore, the antifascist resistance and democratic resistance must also be total. Some circles have joined, some have not. Those who did not participate are now suffering the greatest damage. Therefore, everyone must see the facts and understand them correctly. In the antifascist struggle for democracy, we must be able to succeed in an all-out struggle that will eradicate this racist, chauvinist, fascist and genocidal mentality and politics from Turkey; that will save society, the youth, women and peoples of Turkey from this poisonous mentality and politics. On this basis, I would like to wish everyone success.”