Kalkan: Special war can be stopped with revolutionary war

"The main reason the AKP-MHP fascism suffered such a defeat in the municipal elections on March 31, is the success of the guerrillas," said Duran Kalkan.

In the second part of this interview, Duran Kalkan, a member of the KCK Executive Council, spoke about the role of guerrillas in successfully countering the special war carried out by Turkey.

The first part of the interview can be read here 

In recent months, the guerrilla forces of the HPG and YJA Star have been able to inflict heavy blows on the Turkish military. As a result, not only the government but also the army has been battered. How do you assess this situation, and what can you tell us about it?

Firstly, I commemorate with respect, affection, and gratitude all the martyrs of the HPG and YJA Star and all the martyrs of the freedom struggle, particularly comrade Eser Warşîn, our most recently declared martyr in Dersim. April 16 marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hozan Sefkan and his comrades, and April 17 is the anniversary of the martyrdom of comrade Arab Aziz. I commemorate all our martyrs, and particularly all our Arab martyrs, with respect, love, and gratitude. It is also the anniversary of the Anfal Massacre. Therefore I would also like to commemorate those who were martyred in the attacks by Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in South Kurdistan and all the Anfal martyrs in particular.

The current period has been greatly influenced by the guerrilla. The foundation for the current political climate was established with the revolutionary actions that were carried out by the guerrilla throughout the winter. The guerilla is the force which contributes the greatest to the freedom movement. The main reason the AKP-MHP fascism suffered such a defeat in the municipal elections on March 31, is the success of the guerrilla. The guerrilla’s military losses and blows against AKP-MHP fascism cleared the path for the party’s electoral defeat too. This should be known to all. These revolutionary efforts were effective, significant, and of the utmost importance. It was unlike anything that had ever been done before. Nobody can fight like the HPG and YJA Star guerrillas, as we’ve already said. In the areas where the guerrillas are fighting, no other force could survive. Under the conditions that the HPG and YJA Star guerrillas faced, no other army could survive, let alone fight victoriously. With their networks of tunnels and teams, the guerrillas of Zap, Avashin, and Metina see the power in themselves to defeat any military force. The guerrillas have achieved successes that the US, Chinese, or Russian troops could not match. One could look at the situation of the Turkish army to understand this.

In the past, the Turkish army, as NATO’s second-largest army, was regarded as the army that supposedly gave energy and spirit to NATO. Now we see what has become of it. This was reflected in the press the other day. They were discussing the impact of the defeat on the Turkish army, calling it the ‘Mount Amediyê Syndrome’. In fact, the Turkish army has had its share of syndromes, whether in Zap, Nusaybin, or Kurdistan altogether. Generally speaking, they stumble from one syndrome to the next. For 40 years, the Turkish army has been suffering defeat after defeat. There is a Turkish idiom for this situation: “a defeated wrestler can never have enough of wrestling.” This describes their situation the best. Over and over again, they carry out operations and promise to destroy the PKK and end ‘terrorism’. Every summer, Tayyip Erdoğan says, 'This summer, I will bring the PKK to an end'. How many summers have passed? He has been in power for twenty-two years, twenty-two summers have passed. What have you done? Who still believes your words? No one does.

In fact, some of them went as far as to claim that Turkish soldiers wanted to come to fight on Mount Amediyê. But in reality, hundreds of them preferred to resign. Some even committed suicide and shot themselves. Others use illness as an excuse to not fight. Nevertheless, the Erdoğan government does not want to stop. This is clear. So, their soldiers became the unfortunate pawns of something which resembled a vivid war movie.

Who can stand against the guerrilla, a force so enthusiastic and determined? The insubordination of those Turkish soldiers is only natural. It is not those people who should be vilified but the ones who sent them there. They are responsible, they should come to fight themselves if they are so brave. Let Tayyip Erdoğan’s children come. Most of them have not even completed their mandatory military service. Who are they fooling? They use money to buy individuals, then send them to kill others, which ends up with their deaths. Do they ever wonder what its like for those so-called soldiers? They really went through hell during the winter. Zap became a grave, a hell for fascism. This is the plain truth.

We had warned them that this would be the case. We told them not to bring the situation to this. But no one wanted to listen or understand. Now the guerrilla are fulfilling their duty. As a movement, we evaluated the past, learned our lessons, and adapted accordingly. We did not stop but continued working and preparing undisrupted. On the basis of the successes of this political-military struggle, an even greater enthusiasm, excitement, and energy has emerged. The initiative is in our hands, and we are ahead in our preparations.

I can state that we are currently engaged in the most critical phase of the struggle. The Erdoğan government has no other choice left, as we have previously stated. It will collapse even if it accomplishes this final war, though it will still fight with whatever it has left to be able to extend its existence. Erdoğan is behaving quite similar to Saddam. By looking at Saddam, Erdoğan sees how he himself will die, since this is the fate of all dictators. This makes him terrified, so he emphasizes the homicidal war against the Kurds, his anti-Kurdish mentality, and fosters nationalism, racism, and chauvinism in Turkey in an attempt to bring about a fake unity between himself and the people.

I want to send a warning to the political circles in Turkey, especially to the CHP: they ought not to be a part of this war. They should not share the same fate as the AKP. What is the Turkish army doing in Iraq and Syria? They should ask these questions. Questioning this does not make them renegades or traitors. On the contrary, a patriot would not allow the children of their country to be sent here and there to be killed for the interests of one person. A true patriot would put an end to this situation, save these people from disaster.

Also, no one should be fooled by special warfare propaganda. Some people appear in the press claiming how victorious the Turkish army and war industry is. The truth is hidden in the battlefields. The HPG headquarters already shared the necessary information during Newroz. The world saw that the much-vaunted Turkish technology has no chance against the modern and capable guerrilla. Their so-called sophisticated technological equipment was shredded to pieces. It is a pity that the money and income of the people and laborers of Turkey is wasted like this. It is also incomprehensible and unacceptable that this is being done in order to kill Kurds, the same people who they call “one of us.” Anyone who does not oppose this under the pretext of patriotism has fallen prey to nationalism.

In that respect, what comes next is more important. Everyone who is in favor of democracy, freedom, justice, and equality should approach this critical phase with caution. Everybody must participate actively in the duty to get rid of this fascist regime that has been hanging over Turkey like a nightmare for 20 years. This is the beginning of the end of fascism. Let’s achieve this together under the leadership of the resistance of the guerrilla.

Let’s take one more look at Wan and what has happened there in recent weeks. Among your movement, how do you internally evaluate the situation there?

Our leadership has evaluated the situation in Wan and described it as a new spirit, a new style. I agree. I agree on the basis of self-criticism: this should have emerged much earlier. In the face of such fascist, colonialist, genocidal special warfare attacks, this determination and spirit should have spread everywhere. That courage and sacrifice should have been encouraged before. Of course, fascism was always going to attack. But if you are organized and prepared, fascism is not omnipotent. The state, the power is not omnipotent. This was proved in Wan, it was proved in Sirnak. These places were insulted so many times, the special warfare attacks increased so much. All kinds of torture, injustice and disrespect were inflicted on these places. There is no dirty method left which this government has not already opted for. They even destroyed cemeteries, they even exhumed corpses, they built apartment buildings on cemeteries, they tied corpses to the back of their cars and drove like this through the streets, they banned funeral ceremonies. Under this fascist regime, neither the people nor the dead are at peace. They inflicted all the repression and pain they could.

Now Turkey’s prisons are full. There was great resistance conducted in the prisons against this pressure and persecution from November 27 to April 4. This resistance now continues with new methods. Why this resistance? Both outside and within the prisons, there is great anger. There is no possibility for young people, women and children to live. They invented a concept called ‘Torture and Child Abuse,’ which they are inflicting on prisoners. Here, what they refer to as ‘abuse’ is in fact rape. They act too shamefully to use the word ‘rape’. Then why are they so shameless to do such things? They do such indescribable things and try to legitimize their crimes against humanity by playing with words and concepts. This is what is happening under the rule of the AKP. They force imprisoned Kurdish mothers under torture to say the following words about their daughters: 'It is better to become a prostitute than to go to the mountains'. Is there a bigger insult than this?

Our social culture and our principles of free life must be taken into account. That is why I say that it is unavoidable to react or to resist. Such attacks must be resisted everywhere and at all times. There is no power that can break the power of the people. There is no power greater than the people, the youth and women. The youth nullified the attackers in Wan and caught the experts of special warfare red-handed in Sirnak. They are like an organized army. Most military forces are equipped with money; they use all kinds of lies and deceit to fool people. With pressure, lies, and money, they deceive people and insult young people and children in all kinds of ways. We must never give them the opportunity.

On that note, the spirit created in Wan and Sirnak really is contagious. These people have shown a righteous, honorable, and patriotic attitude. This is the attitude that everyone must show at all times, everywhere. From now on, this attitude must be shown everywhere. Wherever there is the slightest attack, we must immediately demand that they hold its perpetrators to accountability. Nothing changes by just complaining. Some people complain, saying that the Turkish state puts pressure on them, tortures them, and so on. But the question is, what have you done against it? Why do you put yourself in such a miserable and helpless position? Don’t you have a mind, hands, feet, and power? You too, can organize, become conscious, and be able to fight. While your opponent is organizing and attacking you, desiring so much to destroy you, why don’t you resist? Why don’t you feel responsible? Patriotism and democracy mean responsibility, consciousness, organization, and freedom. It means taking responsibility for your own life and ensuring your own defense and security in the face of any attack on your life. This is called the consciousness of self-defense. We practice this. Self-defense will only develop if it is conducted in an organized manner. Waiting for someone else to save you and always complaining will not work. The attitude of waiting and asking from others is the attitude of a slave, not a fighter, not a free person. A free person struggles and succeeds. They become the power they need. Rights are not given, they are taken. Everything is won through struggle. In that respect, we will struggle.

I would like to congratulate the people of Wan and of Sirnak. They have created a new situation. All the cities, towns, and neighborhoods of Kurdistan and Turkey should be inspired by this. The result is clear: only if one fights can one win. Anyone, anywhere, anytime, can do this. This is the reality. From now on, the right attitude to show in the face of all kinds of attacks from AKP-MHP fascism, is this attitude of resistance. Everyone must take to the streets, and the squares must be filled by people. Whoever is attacking must be confronted. We must confront with all our means; we must be organized. Of course, there should be no solo efforts. We must act carefully, plan, and be prepared. Like this, we can handle attacks.

At this point, our people know the reality of special warfare. But awareness of its remedy is still too weak. The youth wanted to act, but we said that the most appropriate response against special warfare is the revolutionary peoples’ war. And what we see right now in Wan and Sirnak, is the revolutionary peoples’ war. It is a people’s war, the people’s resistance. Everywhere, the people ought to resist and struggle. There is nothing that can impede the struggle of the people. For this, we should really renew ourselves based on strong self-criticism, especially regarding the approach of the youth and women. We must put aside those passive, submissive moods and attitudes. Whether it is the ideology of the petite bourgeoisie, the middle class, or any class; we must let such understandings go. We must struggle for freedom with a Apoist consciousness and will.

On this basis, we will educate and organize. We will do this by living in a communal way and resisting all kinds of attacks. As Rêber Apo said, “Even if we have the power to defeat the world, we will never attack anyone, but even if the world unites and comes against us, we will never compromise our legitimate democratic rights.” We will never give up the cause of free life. This is our philosophy. This is the philosophy of Kurdish women, young people, and free Kurdish people. From now on, we will work on stronger organizing and struggling according to this philosophy. There is nothing else that counts. It was these great resistances that reminded us of who we are. Once again, I would like to salute the spirit of resistance in Wan and Sirnak and call on everyone to internalize this spirit of resistance and to show such an attitude of resistance and victory against all kinds of special warfare attacks.

The resistance of young people in northern Kurdistan has been particularly remarkable recently, but there are also problems. Many young people are fleeing and leaving their homeland. What can you tell us about this? How do you assess the attitude of the Kurdish youth in this period?

The attitude of young people was good and positive during this period. The youth took an active part in the development of the freedom movement. Starting with the World Youth Conference in Europe. The youth played a leading role during demonstrations both in the diaspora and in the four provinces of Kurdistan. They developed effective actions by themselves, and especially during the month of March, they left their mark on their actions. On 8 March, young women were at the forefront. On Newroz, again, the youth were at the forefront. The will of the youth was also strongly demonstrated in the elections. The Kurdish youth showed that Kurdish society is a young society, that they are conscious, educated, insistent, and determined on a free life, on struggling, and being selfless. They are a Apoist youth. Therefore, no attack can stop them or break their will. They have revealed and demonstrated this. In the past, they did not struggle against special warfare attacks effectively. They failed to grasp organizational unity; they were not so resistant. Many young people were hit or abducted. We observed this in the press. But the youths have to reflect on themselves more. When one gets abducted by the enemy, why was he/she strolling around, alone, in the first place? If they have guns, why don’t you? You live in a world where the enemy is armed and determined to destroy you. What do you expect? That’s how to approach it.

Also, displacement is part of the enemy’s special warfare policy. Special warfare is not always waged using the same methods. This differentiates depending on conditions. Those forces implementing special warfare are practicing genocide; they are changing the demographic structure. They commit massacres, cultural genocide, and assimilation. They attack with genocidal methods, from forcing migration and changing demographics to displacement from the motherland. One needs to be very aware of this: Why do so many Kurdish youths go abroad when there is such a great struggle for freedom in one’s own country? We cannot reduce this to oppression, persecution, and fascist terror. If you are young, you have a duty to struggle. There are so many young people struggling and proving every day that this is possible. I call on the youth. Join the guerrilla, come to the mountains. Organize, organize secretly, and go underground. Do whatever may be necessary, but remain in your homeland and live in your country. If something small happens, if the police want to arrest you, this should not be a reason to immediately leave the country and run away. This is not the way; it is not legitimate.

We shouldn’t expect too much from other places. There are claims that job opportunities are better in Europe, that so and so is better there. We all went to Europe. When I was there, I told my lawyer that if they had deeded all of Germany to me, I wouldn’t stay for even a day. We shouldn’t emulate those places so much. It is important to be able to return to one’s own country. If the youth organize themselves a little bit better, they should be able to return to their country. If they are not working for the struggle for freedom in the places where they are, if they are not playing an important role, of course they should return to the country. If they are in prisons, they should join the struggle, join the guerrilla.

During our last interview, we drew attention to the fact that the German state was fighting the Turkish Republic’s fight. We said that Germany was detaining and trying Kurdish people, later sending them to France or Sweden so they would be deported to Turkey. The Turkish state alone does not have the power to do such a thing, it requires the voluntary participation of the German state. After we said this during an interview, the German state directly deported someone to Turkey. If it is because of us, I cannot say anything.

More than ten years ago, they massacred Sakine in the middle of Paris. Two years ago, they massacred comrade Evîn in the middle of Paris. Everything could be expected from those who commit such massacres in plain sight. We will ensure our own security. We will be careful where we are. We will not entrust ourselves to others, hoping that they will protect us. We will not be comfortable and think that it is safe for us there. This needs to be emphasized.

Why were these massacres committed? Why were they never officially clarified? France is covering it all up. They are cooperating, they are a partner in interest and bargaining. They have turned politics into trade. Their reality must be exposed and fought against. We need to take our own precautions. They have been keeping Rêber Apo in a system of solitary confinement and torture for 26 years. They murdered Sakine in Paris in the middle of the day. Those who do this are ready to do anything. So we must understand what they are capable of and develop our own measures. Especially the Kurdish young people should be more sensitive, organized and know how to approach correctly.

Finally, we want to look at the escalating situation in the Middle East. What do you have to say about the current situation, and what is your perspective?

Iran has attacked Israel. Everyone says it was expected, since Iran had announced that it would retaliate. We are observing the situation, gathering information on it and based on this we evaluate and discuss. Our leadership announces the evaluation of our movement to the public when necessary. So that which we express, is our joint evaluation.

In light of the current circumstances, I would like to state briefly that it appears to be the start of a second Gaza War. This process of invading and massacring the people of Gaza was initiated through a variety of provocations and games. Both Tayyip Erdoğan and Hamas played a part in this. However, the USA and Israel are the ones responsible. We’ve said this before. The victims are the people of Gaza. Some of those third parties became involved in order to obstruct the energy route, while others did so in order to remove the obstacles that stood in the way of it. They therefore provoked one another. They therefore paved the way for Israel to invade Gaza, carry out these atrocities, and overthrow its government. It appears that the same thing is being attempted to be done now. Iran is now being used as a pretext, just as Tayyip Erdoğan and Hamas were used back then. I believe that Israel is laying the groundwork for future assaults against specific elements in Gaza and other regions by indulging in tension and conflict with Iran.

Iran carried out the most recent strike, but the Israeli and Turkish governments have prepared a major provocation in an attempt to lure Iran into this conflict, which has lasted for more than six months. Iran was drawn into the war by the Turkish press, particularly that of Erdoğan’s administration and the AKP press. The Israeli government has acted comparably. This was the extent of its most recent attack on the Syrian embassy. In fact, the Iranian leadership has been acting sensibly in response to all of these provocations in the recent past. Put otherwise, he wasn’t too provoked.

Iran handled the consulate attack in Syria with this stance. It has already made it clear that it will retaliate. And it retaliated in the form of a show of force. It did not really matter what the results were in this retaliation attack. Nevertheless, Israel and Iran are now clashing. In this way, Iran is being drawn into the conflict. These parties generally conduct attacks externally, to gain strength internally. For example, the AKP administration, Tayyip Erdoğan, used all the Hamas and Palestine propaganda to gain votes during elections. He did it purely as a tool of domestic politics. Now the Netanyahu administration is trying to draw Iran into the conflict, to create the grounds for further attacks on Gaza. Iran’s attack was a bit like that. It seems to be more about pleasing Iranian society or its supporters, giving them the gift of success, rather than striking a blow against the other side.

We are against this kind of war. We are against imperialist wars, colonialist, occupying, and genocidal wars. Problems cannot be solved on this basis. We believe that democratic politics is the solution to all social problems created and accumulated in the Middle East over the past five thousand years. We underline that the solution project is Democratic Confederalism based on Democratic Autonomy. Rêber Apo developed these concepts as a new paradigm and put it to the service of the people with the program he defined theoretically. He has produced an ideology, politics, project and program that will end all these wars and solve the problems. We want the peoples to develop their own will, to learn organization, to become conscious. Let them have more say in their own lives. Let them bring democracy to where they are. Let them not allow such monist states, nation-state dictatorships to exist and oppress them. Accordingly, it is necessary that the true solidarity of the peoples is established. Therefore, democratic people’s administrations should emerge. On this basis a Democratic Middle East Confederalizm should emerge. This is our solution project. It has become clear that all other approaches will lead to war, conflict, massacre and tears.

Our call is to all the peoples of the region. Let’s face this reality, nationalism, bigotry and other similar concepts will not get us anywhere. Solidarity, a democratic attitude, Democratic Autonomy and Democratic Confederalism form the solution. We can all live in this beautiful region, in the Middle East, under democratic administrations and in solidarity. There is room for everyone to live in these lands where humanity stems from, and where sociality was developed – the place that was once called paradise. We need to get away from this ravenous hunger, this gluttony, this excessive exploitation. This is against the morals, culture and history of the people of the Middle East. So, we say let us turn to our history. Our call is on this basis. With all forces acting on this basis, we will struggle until the end to create the Democratic Middle East Confederalism, the democratic unity of the peoples of the Middle East. On this basis, we greet everyone who joins this struggle and wish them success.