Kalkan: We are continuing to struggle for a democratic nation and democratic confederalism
Kalkan said that it is necessary to continue to struggle for a democratic nation and democratic confederalism.
KCK Executive Council member Duran Kalkan spoke about the anniversary of the Turkish Republic and said: "We care about Turkey and take its development seriously. Our struggle is also for the democratization of Turkey."
The Turkish Republic was founded one hundred years ago; how do you evaluate the development of the country in the last one hundred years? What is your approach as KCK?
As long as the AKP-MHP government continues, as long as the fascist, colonialist, genocidal attacks against the Kurds and the system of torture, isolation and genocide of Imrali continue, the resistance will continue, this war will continue.
There was a very meaningful call by 78 intellectuals, which we appreciate very much and which I mentioned before. But let’s take this opportunity to say that we did not start this war, these attacks. I mean, everyone refers to 2013-14 and calls this period the ‘period of the solution process’. It was not us who broke this process. Rêber Apo made it clear and stressed that the state prevented the meetings. Since then, they have not let him speak. The aggressor is the Turkish state, is the fascist, colonialist, genocidal AKP-MHP government. Everyone should focus on them and struggle against this genocidal occupation aggression. If everyone fights on their own front, if the results of the struggles are united, this fascism will collapse. It is already collapsing. That’s where all this aggression comes from.
Our leadership, the Co-Chairs of the KCK Executive Council, made a centennial statement. It was comprehensive and important and showed our stance. We care about Turkey, and take its development seriously. Our struggle is also for the democratization of Turkey.
There is no change in the state administration, in the fascist dictatorship of Tayyip Erdoğan and the so-called “People’s Alliance”, but I don’t want to say it like that. Because I don't want to imply that there is an expectation that there will be any different by changing the leaders of the regime. Of course, we don’t have that expectation. We are not saying that there is no change at all in Turkey, but if you look at what has been done, you cannot see any light on the horizon. It is the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey and the day after, on October 30, 2014, the so-called ‘çöktürme planı’ [which means something like “plan to force them to their knees” and is the plan of the Turkish state to deny the existence of the Kurdish question and to try to destroy everything Kurdish] was prepared. An attack plan that is actually a genocide against the Kurds. This fascist dictatorship of Tayyip Erdoğan is implementing this plan. He has been in an all-out attack for 9 years. He says that he is attacking the PKK. Of course, they are attacking the PKK, but not only them. They are increasing the pressure and isolation in Imrali, they are increasing the attacks on the guerrillas, but they are attacking all Kurds. And the collaborators take part in this. It is especially the KDP and Hüda Par who support the Turkish state. They have lost everything that makes them Kurdish.
The centenary of the founding of the Republic should have been an occasion to question itself and demand accountability for the past century. The state says that it has done so, but what are the results of its research? Tayyip Erdoğan stands on stage every day, but he doesn’t talk about the problems in the history of the Republic. Does he remember that he once said against Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, “There was a genocide in Dersim”? There was a genocide in Dersim committed by the Republic, whose 100th anniversary is supposedly being celebrated. Did genocide take place only in Dersim? No. There were many massacres and genocidal attacks in Amed, Urfa, Bingöl, Serhat, Koçgiri and many others. Blame the world, blame Israel for their attacks, but don’t forget that you are the pioneers of such attacks.
They say that Israel is expelling the Palestinians. This is undoubtedly true, but at the same time, Tayyip Erdoğan is denying the existence of the Kurds. He says, “Anyone who considers himself a Kurd should leave our country”. And also, he once said about all the Kurds living in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey: “Let them go to hell”. The Kurdish society does not forget this.
Staying there for a moment, what can you tell us about the historical relations between the Turkish and Kurdish people? And would you say is necessary for the next century?
A good account of the last century should be based on the account of the last thousand years, because the Turkish people arrived in this region a thousand years ago. It was Alpaslan himself who first established relations with the Kurdish tribes and communities and sent his own soldiers to the Kurds. Sultan Sencer also talked about Kurdistan. Rêber Apo was the first to do research into it. The Turkish people who broke away from Central Asia first came to Kurdistan and Arabia. Today they say that they fought in Anatolia and made it to their homeland. But how did this happen and who did they rely on when they fought? There is a widespread denial of history. They are trying to rewrite history and cut out the Kurds. For example, they produce a lot of TV series that propagate this storyline.
Kurds and their ancestors have been the ancient people, the ancient society of this geography in these lands for thousands of years, maybe even tens of thousands of years. The Turkish people were supported by the Kurds and Arabs of the region and also received support from many Christian communities, especially the Armenians and Assyrians. There is no problem in having a homeland and a nation, but it should not be forgotten how it was achieved. There are many questions in this regard: From whom and what kind of support did they receive? How did they arrive in Anatolia? What did they rely on when they created their homelands in Anatolia? Who did the Ottoman Empire rely on when it became an empire? How did it take over the entire Middle East in the first quarter of the early 16th century? Now they talk about the imperialist occupation. It was the Kurds who fought against this imperialist occupation. The Kurds were the most effective force in the congresses of Erzurum and Sivas. Mustafa Kemal relied on the Kurds as they were again the strongest force in the parliament opened in Ankara. There was no Kurdish denial in the parliament.
When the Republic was established, the Turkish nationalists seized the state power and started to punish all those who supported them as if they had committed a crime. They did this both internally and externally. Starting with the Circassian Ethem, they shot the guerrillas of Anatolia and continued with the liquidation of all the Ottoman generals, all those who participated in the war, who kept the army alive and enabled it to fight. It was the Kurds who defended Turkey and fought against the British and the French.
After the establishment of the Republic and the seizure of state power, a definition of Turkishness was developed and written in the constitution of 1924. The constitution that is still in force today. It says: ‘The one who is bound to the state of the Republic of Turkey by the bond of citizenship is a Turk. Now, when and where does a Turk exist? According to this, it is only within the borders of the Republic of Turkey. There are no Turks outside the country because they are not bound to the Turkish state by their citizenship. Then there is no such thing as the Turkish world, which they often fantasize about. The Turkish Republic was founded on October 29, 1923, so there were no Turks before that date, because their existence is bound to the existence of this state. Now, to deny the Kurds, to deny other peoples, to deny Turkish history, culture and reality. Such denial is not only very wrong, it has many bad results.
So it is very important to look at the last century. It is a process that actually began in the 18th century and has continued ever since. But there is a basic contradiction. They say, ‘We come from Central Asia, we are the continuation of the Seljuks and the Ottomans’. But you have to ask: What were the Seljuk-Kurdish relations, the Ottoman-Kurdish relations? What about Kurdish relations in the Republic? Are they the same? Why are they not studied? Why have there been so many political changes? The logic of the nation-state, the fascist, colonialist and genocidal logic, and the Turkish mentality that was developed with the Turkish Republic, this colonialist, genocidal mentality and policy, especially in the approach to different languages, cultures and peoples, must be broken. In this way, Turkey can democratize and find itself.
Why do they feel the need to ignore and destroy others, to commit genocide? If, in the past, it was because of national weakness, that has also been overcome. But this century is really not like the previous ones. It is a century of tragedy, a century of bloodshed. The Republic must be evaluated. It must be seen for what it has created, but it must also be seen for mistakes and negativity, for what it has destroyed and damaged. Self-criticism is necessary. Tayyip Erdoğan blamed Kılıçdaroğlu for this, but he has been in power for 22 years. It is the longest government of this republic. He has been the ruler for a quarter of a century. He has practiced this government mentality and policy. So he must be held accountable. He is responsible for the mistakes and errors, he has to correct them. But there is no such approach, there never has been. There is a strange mentality of always seeing oneself as right and seeing others as wrong and blaming them. This does not allow others the opportunity or the chance to live. Such an absolutely hegemonic, power-oriented approach, which sees everything as its own right and does not see others as having any rights at all, is a bad approach, a dangerous approach. It is absolutely necessary to get rid of it.
The fascism of the AKP-MHP has poisoned society. They have washed the heads of people. They have brought out hordes of anti-Kurdish fascists and gathered them in the squares. How can this society get rid of them? It is a difficult situation. In some parts, they are even trying to imitate what Hitler did. It is known how much German society suffered to get rid of Hitler’s mentality even after his fall.
Now, they are imitating Hitler blatantly in Turkey. Turkey’s intellectuals, politicians, revolutionary leftists, socialist forces, women’s and youth organizations, workers and labourers should understand this reality well. Social chauvinism is very strong and there is such a fascist bombardment that people cannot get rid of the influence of this mentality. There can be no democratic mentality unless we get rid of it. In that case, the democratic movement cannot develop and a democratic society cannot be formed. In order to democratize the mentality and politics in Turkey, a very intensive struggle and education is needed.
This reality needs to be well understood by the socialists and democrats of Turkey. Intellectuals should take this as the basis of a big struggle. In other words, the field should no longer be left to the AKP-MHP fascism.
We made a lot of efforts, and had hopes that there could be a radical change; still it didn’t happen. Many times we have brought this fascist mentality and politics in Turkey to the point of collapsing, but the global hegemonic system has always supported and protected it. They are doing it right again now, because they benefit from it. They carry out their exploitation of Turkey based on this. Now it would be right, preferable, to enter a new century with renewal, democratization, criticism and self-criticism, to make a new beginning. We have not been able to do this, as we also have shortcomings in this regard. As one of the forces waging the struggle for the democratization of Turkey, we failed to do so. This is clearly a shortcoming. We see this, and give our self-criticism accordingly. Our movement bore the burden of the struggle against fascism of September 12. The Kurds, the PKK, and the movement, bear the biggest burden in the struggle against the AKP-MHP fascism.
What is needed in the new century? Yes, we couldn’t make sufficient change, but fascism was very weakened, it was exposed. It has been exposed both internally and externally, and has entered into a state of isolation. While they were saying that they would join the ranks of modern nations, they are now isolated from the world. The government under Tayyip Erdoğan has brought this about. So, if the mentality and policies of this government do not change, Turkey will face even greater disasters. Everybody should take responsibility and we as a movement are doing the same.
We have explained our position, we have made our evaluations, we have given criticism and self-criticism accordingly. Everyone should do this. In particular, the socialists, democrats, intellectuals, politicians, women and youth organizations of Turkey should do this. Of course, the rulers and those who are involved in state politics in different ways must also be forced to do this. This mentality and way of politics must be destroyed. The approach of ‘one language, one nation, one state, one country’ is fascism at its worst. These are the basic characteristics of nation-state fascism.
Tayyip Erdoğan considers fascism as greatness and, at the same time, he accuses others of being fascists. He has reached this level of unconsciousness. His principles are fascist principles. When he reached the state power, he became like this; an unrecognizable Tayyip Erdoğan emerged. So much so that they call him a world ruler, a statesman, they flatter him. There are many sycophants and he is very susceptible to them. In fact, he has put himself in the most negative situation. The second century did not begin with a radical change, but the ongoing process cannot be prolonged. This fascist mentality and policy will be destroyed. What could not be done in a century will develop in a few years on the basis of a new democratic Turkey, ‘democratic nation’ and ‘democratic confederalism’. This is our belief and hope. We will continue our struggle on this basis.