Kalkan: Today's festival in Europe is very important, cultural events should be organized every day
Kalkan said that the Kurdish Culture Festival that will take place today in Germany is very important and added that in Europe "there should be cultural activities every day."
The 31st annual international Kurdish Culture Festival will take place in Germany today and KCK Executive Council member Duran Kalkan said in the last part of his interview that, indeed, in Europe, "there should be cultural activities every day."
The first part of this interview can be read here
The second part here
This year, the Kurdish Culture Festival is dedicated to the three martyrs of Paris: Evîn Goyî, Mîr Perwer and Abdurrahman Kizil. What is your opinion about the festival according to the latest political developments?
Firstly, I would like to state that it is a very important festival that has been taking place every year since 1992. It represents the identity, culture and tradition of the Kurdish national community in Europe. It is significant in this aspect because we see that on the other side, military attacks, arrests, tortures, murders and persecutions continue in Kurdistan, all with the aim of conducting a cultural genocide against the Kurdish people. The Turkish state is killing some Kurds and trying to assimilate and Turkify the rest. For this reason, in addition to economic pressure, military pressure, police pressure, it is mostly carrying out cultural attacks, by developing language assimilation, cultural assimilation, historical assimilation. It does this through propaganda, through art, through literature.
In this regard, it is very important to organize Kurdish cultural festivals, to develop cultural events, to carry out cultural work. It is without any doubt very important to develop Kurdish art, literature and language. But it is necessary to do these things together with the freedom struggle, by integrating values that are being created through the resistance of the guerrillas. Only in this way will Kurdish culture further gain real and deep meaning. In this respect, cultural events are important and meaningful, but I would also like to take this opportunity to criticize. In fact, I have already criticized our people in Europe a little bit, but still there is a need to add something to it.
Culture cannot be lived just on one day a year, not with one festival a year. In Europe there should be cultural activities every day. A cultural festival at the national level can be held every few months or once a year, but in the regions, there should always be cultural activities. There should always be something happening, as it used to be. For example, I remember Newroz, which was never before, just one day. It was celebrated for at least two-three months. Also, other days like August 15 and November 27 were celebrated. All kinds of artists ran to these events and the art of them was developing at these events. That was a development that especially started and always promoted by Rêber Apo. But when we look at it now, we see that most of these activities have been reduced to an absolute minimum. Artists do not come together face to face anymore and are not any longer in direct exchange with society. They call themselves cultural associations, but cultural activities are not carried out by them. Children were actually being educated in these places with their own culture and language some years ago. It seems like the system developed by Rêber Apo has been changed by the people in Europe. We need to go back to the old system and the way that Rêber Apo showed us.
Both being a member of a people under genocide, and being abroad living within other societies, but trying to live the Kurdish culture. This is not possible. This can only be achieved if you adopt a real cultural stance and expand the cultural work. As a matter of fact, the Kurdish community in Europe could become the nucleus of Kurdish democratic nationhood. We also saw this when the breakthrough of August 15 took place and there was a broad basis of support. The spirit, consciousness and will of this breakthrough were formed into organizational power. We have to regain this attitude, spread it further, develop it, and make it a part of our daily cultural activities.
I would like to congratulate everybody who took part in organizing the festival. On behalf of the leadership of our party, I would like to wish them great success. I send my respectful greetings to everyone participating in the festival. At the end, I just want to say to all artists and other workers, let’s unite in more festivals!
In the last days there has been heavy fighting going on in North and East Syria, which is an indication of the developments of the last months and years in the region. What can you say about the clashes right now and differing interests in the region?
In fact, after the presidential and parliamentary elections of May 14 in Turkey, Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration embarked on a search. Therefore, Erdoğan went to Astana and tried to organize support for his politics there, as well as to get support from NATO through the negotiating of Sweden’s entry into the alliance. In the focus of the talks, was Erdoğan’s interest to find more support for the attack on the Medya Defense Zones. His aim was to get these forces to encourage the KDP to get more involved in the war. Secondly, it was to launch a new offensive against North and East Syria. But the final results of the diplomatic moves have not been satisfying for them. At that moment, the way for a new invasion attack against North and East Syria remained blocked. So, instead of a new invasion in the form of a ground offensive, they attack every day, with airplanes and combat drones, as well as constant artillery shelling. The Turkish army hits cars every day and night. Also, it turned out, that Islamistic groups have been organized and encouraged underhandedly, to create fake conflicts from within the region. These have been new methods instead of a direct Turkish invasion. Also, a trip to Sochi could be called a search for support, as they are constantly probing Iran. So, for example, right now it is said that the Turkish Foreign Minister will go to Iran.
In parallel, there are developments in North and East Syria. The [Syrian Democratic Forces] SDF announced that it had started an operation under the name of ‘Strengthening Security’. Now some circles with close ties to Turkey claim that there are clashes between the SDF and some tribes of Deir ez-Zor, but the SDF has stated that they will fight against gangs and ISIS remnants.
On the other hand, simultaneously, Turkish forces and gangs affiliated with them immediately attacked Manbij, where children have been massacred in the villages. If those forces get the opportunity, they will continue with their misinformation campaign and their attacks.
The Turkish state is seeking a possible way for a new invasion that it can carry out without air strikes. It spreads its intelligence network, agents, and affiliated gangs everywhere and, by this, tries to disrupt and provoke the situation. It is Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration that is controlling these forms of attacks. It should be seen, that Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration has supported both ISIS as well as other Islamistic gangs in Syria for a long time. The fascism of AKP-MHP supports these forces at the highest level.
Especially since the battle of Kobanê, a revolution of freedom is developing in North and East Syria, and in order to suffocate it, Tayyip Erdoğan has been carrying out these planned attacks. They tried to disrupt the evolution of the system of the democratic nation. The relationship, friendship and brotherhood between the Kurdish and the Arabic people are developing and strengthening. That is what the Turkish state is afraid of and why they attack. If Kurds and Arabs manage to live in pure solidarity, if they become a democratic unity within the framework of their own principles of freedom according to the system of democratic nation, there will be no possible way for the Turkish state to further carry out its fascist genocidal attacks. In this case, it would of course not be possible for the Turkish fascist state to survive any longer.
In regard to Deir ez-Zor, there are currently various plans and interests being pursued by the various global, as well as regional forces. There are essential energy resources in the region, energy transport routes run along it and, not to forget, the Shiite crescent [Territorial connection project of Shiite-dominated areas from Iran to Lebanon]. Virtually all forces that are in some way present in the Middle East are in the region, making it an area of conflict. Also, Deir ez-Zor is historically a really difficult region to govern. It was once a place of exile for the Ottomans where they also committed massacres [especially the Armenian Genocide]. Whoever opposed the palace or stood against it was immediately exiled there. The region is such a social accumulation.
Now, with so many provocations, everyone has their hands in Deir ez-Zor. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria should take a calmer and cooler approach. They should try to understand better what is happening and should not fall for provocations. They should understand the games, take precautions and act carefully and sensitive against them. There has to be complete control over this issue.
I would also like to make a call to Arab society, and to their tribes. The biggest development in North and East Syria is the development of a democratic nation. It can be seen here how different ethnic groups organize themselves on the basis of their own principles of freedom and establish a democratic unity and brotherhood. This is an historical and very important situation. It has been proven that the concept of the democratic nation developed by Rêber Apo is the path to freedom, democracy and liberation for everyone. For this, a good understanding is necessary, as well as it is necessary not to fall for simple, cheap calculations and for the many provocations. There are many who are afraid of and against the development of the Kurdish-Arab alliance.
Let’s protect and develop this area of freedom, this area of democracy, which was created and developed on the basis of fighting against IS and defeating it, given more than ten thousand martyrs. Let us work, discuss, talk and join forces to develop this. Everyone, especially the Autonomous Administration, has to understand and approach things more correctly and all such games will be foiled.
A few days ago it was the first of September, the World Day of Peace. Among others, the people of Amed took to the streets to demonstrate for peace. However, the day was not without controversy and so it was on this day that serious fighting broke out. What can you tell us about it? And what is the responsibility of young people in this time?
On September 1, the day of peace, while people were taking to the streets, the administration of Tayyip Erdoğan launched its most widespread attacks. From [the South Kurdish regions of] Asos to Qandil, all over Behdînan and in northern Kurdistan, all the way to Rojava and Manbij. September 1 is not a day of peace; September 1 is the day Hitler’s fascism attacked Poland. In other words, the day the Second World War started. It is actually a day of war. Today’s fascists are also attacking and, in fact, they are acting in accordance with that day by doing so. One can see the ideological bond between Erdoğan and Hitler.
From the point of view of Kurds and democratic forces, how much can we talk about peace today? A European lawyer said clearly that it is meaningless to talk about peace until Rêber Apo is physically free. In other words, even to talk about peace under these circumstances is meaningless and wrong. Which peace? What peace? There are so many attacks all the time.
From this point of view, how necessary and meaningful was it really to hold a peace rally in Amed? One could say because the Kurds are not at war, they are not attacking, but they are under fire of a war. They are facing a massacre and a genocidal attack. There is not really a war, but a fascist genocidal attack and massacre developed and carried out by Tayyip Erdoğan and the [governing] ‘People’s Alliance’ in order to crush the guerrillas, liquidate the PKK, and complete the Kurdish genocide on this basis.
The Kurds are resisting this. They have to resist. They want to eliminate them and they are resisting this. The people of Amed are not on the side of the attacker, so they don’t have to give peace advice somewhere, saying not to attack. Whoever is attacking, wherever they attack, in whose name these attacks are being carried out, to them advice has to be given. If they do it in Ankara, if they do it in Izmir, if they do it in Istanbul… They are doing it, but it would be more meaningful if they did it more. Because these attacks are carried out on that basis.
I would like to underline that what we want is peace. Looking back on September 1st, we wish that those who went out on the streets of Amed on September 1st had also gone out on August 15th [anniversary of the start of the armed struggle of the Kurdish movement] and if they had celebrated and greeted the 40th anniversary of the breakthrough by the guerrillas in 1984. Because the breakthrough of August 15, 1984 is one of the most meaningful acts of freedom and democracy of humanity and is in this sense, also an act of peace. Not only in words, but also in practice.
After August 15, just a single person sentenced to death was executed. After that, nobody was executed. They even had to erase it from the constitution. It can be easily said, that the breakthrough of August 15 served peace in a very essential way. Just calling it a guerrilla offensive and immediately calling it a war will get us nowhere. We need to be careful with the concepts we use and the words we say.
We are also approaching the anniversary of the fascist military coup of September 12, which, by the breakthrough of August 15 was foiled. Instead of being executed or killed, people were released from prisons alive, the torture was reduced, and small steps towards democratic practices were developed. On the other hand, the anniversary of the ISIS attack on Kobanê, which took place on September 15 is approaching. Those who sealed the downfall of IS and saved humanity from the scourge of IS were the guerrilla fighters shaped by August 15.
It is a matter of a fact, that we as Kurdish people are under heavy attack of annihilation and genocide, which started under the involvement of global political powers with the Treaty of Lausanne [Treaty from July 24, 1923 that split up the Ottoman Empire and formed the borders of today’s Middle East]. On July 24, 2015, there were massive bombardments of our positions, conducted over several hours by about seventy Turkish warplanes. On April 25, 2015, the Tayyip Erdoğan administration knocked over the table of the so called peace talks in Imrali, which is why Rêber Apo clearly stated, that it was Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration who initiated those attacks. The attack that began on that day and continues till today is an attack on our free existence with the aim of destroying our freedom and annihilating our country. Since then, we have been resisting and fighting, as we have to hit and defeat the enemy with the only language he understands. There is no alternative at this time and no other way out. It is clear what we have to do, as we won't make ourselves act like sacrificial lambs. When there are heavy attacks on us, we won't just say “Stop, I want peace!”, because by doing so the aggressor won't stop.
We will fight with the clearly defined goal of breaking these attacks and this aggression. By doing so, we will use every possible method for our struggle. For more then 40 years now, nothing would have developed without the guerrillas. If it weren’t for the guerrilla forces in Zap and Avaşîn, who endured and resisted in those tunnels for months, at a level that no normal human being could endure, Kurdish identity wouldn’t even exist anymore. One should stay away from Hamaset literature [literature style about heroes and legends] and support the guerrillas instead. One cannot get anywhere by standing in such fear and dread. That is why I especially call on young Kurdish people. We more or less know what kind of anti-propaganda is being spread about us and what some people try to say about us, but to make it clear, as the PKK, we are fighting against this fascist, colonialist, genocidal war with the guerrilla style. Our strategy is to fight, because we are forced to do so if we want to protect our sole existence.
The ones that can’t reach these guerillas should go to Deir ez-Zor and join the war against IS. The only way that we can win against these reactionary forces of AKP, MHP, IS, KDP and so on, is by resisting and fighting in a guerrilla way. The Kurdish young people should be very attentive and conscious of this situation. They should see that there is a special warfare of the state that is being fought against by revolutionary war. It is our responsibility, especially as a youth movement, to build up the force behind the concept of revolutionary war.
Rêber Apo once said, “You say peace, peace all the time, but fighting for peace is the most difficult fight in the world. Peace is only achievable through struggle.”Peace cannot be achieved solely by talking. It can only be achieved through a comprehensive struggle, which, at the same time, has to be a struggle for freedom and democracy. Like our great martyred commander of our resistance in Şirnex [Turkish name Şirnak], Comrade Zeryan, said, “May it be your peace, we want our freedom.” In this sense, I would like to once again call on the youth to join the guerrilla especially in this period, and to develop the revolutionary war against the fascist regime of AKP-MHP in every field.