Karasu: The paradigm of Rêber Apo is an example for Turkey, an example for the world
Mustafa Karasu said that "the paradigm of Abdullah Öcalan is an example for Turkey, an example for the world."
Mustafa Karasu, member of the Executive Council of the KCK spoke about the responsibility of the AKP-MHP government in dealing with the earthquake that struck in North Kurdistan and Turkey last year and in the economic crisis faced by Turkey.
One year ago, a devastating earthquake struck Northern Kurdistan, Turkey and Syria. Tens of thousands, probably even hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives, many more were injured and lost everything they possessed. Now, after one year, the impact of the earthquake and the failing of the state can easily be observed, and the people are taking to the streets to hold the failed policy of the government to account. How do you assess this situation, and what do you want to say to the people? Also, especially in regard to the upcoming local elections in Turkey.
First of all, I would like to commemorate those who lost their lives in the earthquake west of the Euphrates in Northern Kurdistan and in Hatay, Syria. I wish condolences to their families.
It was indeed a severe earthquake. Especially the Kurds west of the Euphrates were very much affected. Alevi Arabs in Hatay and of course the Turkish people were also affected. It was a big earthquake. I can say this; if such an earthquake had happened elsewhere and the government did nothing during the first four to five days, the government there would have lost power. The people would have destroyed that state.
The earthquake was of high magnitude. If we add up the statistics for provinces west of the Euphrates and Syria, over twenty million people were affected. It caused great trauma and pain. As always, the Turkish state played with numbers. They played with numbers during the Corona epidemic, they played with numbers during the earthquakes, they play with numbers during the war. This is disrespectful. Supposedly, if the government released the real numbers this would create bad publicity or demoralize the public.
The more the facts are revealed, the more caution will be taken, the more accountability there will be. If the facts are not revealed, of course, the accountability and evaluation will not be on an effective level. Now there are estimates that around 200 thousand people have died. The other day, Murat Kurum blurted it out; he said 150 thousand died. He tried to conceal this later, but the words had already left his mouth. They said it themselves; they called it “the biggest earthquake of the century”.
The person responsible for such a high death toll during the earthquake was the Minister at the time. Erdoğan was praising him, he was doing this on TV. They claimed to have made zoning amnesties in Maraş, Malatya, Adıyaman and in Hatay. They sold coffins to the people. The Minister caused the death of between 150 to 200 thousand people. And then he just left, he didn’t take responsibility. They just left the people to die. There was appropriation in some places, but of course they only took care of ten percent. Nearly eighty-ninety percent of those effected were out in the open, and in some places this still has not changed. This is why the earthquake has become so painful.
One feels great anger seeing the attitude in Turkey against the earthquake. Anger at seeing the pain of those people. Is it possible to not hear their cries? In Turkey, twenty million people were affected. The entire population in many states are only four to five million. The severity of the situation is of such magnitude.
During the time, the people showed solidarity. Some civil societies took upon themselves to provide aid for those in need. Young people stepped up. Here in Kurdistan, a large percentage of people went to help. They went from the east of the Euphrates to help the Arabs and Alawites in the west. They protected the Kurds and the Arabs once again.
The Kurds really suffered a lot from this earthquake west of the Euphrates. In this respect, this earthquake should not be forgotten. To make the people forget, the government promises to build more houses, mocking the sufferings of the people. The people are being mocked. What’s important is that is to prevent deaths, to not leave people to die or to not put them in danger because of the houses that are being built, as we have seen in the past. Are preventative measures not being taken everywhere else in the world?
The AKP government is responsible for the losses in the earthquake
The AKP government is responsible for the losses in the earthquake. An earthquake may occur naturally, but precautions are taken against natural disasters, precautions are taken against floods, precautions are taken against fires, precautions are taken against earthquakes. Today, precautions against earthquakes have become very advanced. There was an earthquake in Chile too, but they built an urban system that is resistant to all kinds of earthquakes. It is the same in Japan. They have taken measures in places where the most severe earthquakes occur. Turkey is also on the fault zone, but the AKP government, as I mentioned earlier, uses even earthquake taxes to its own benefit. It has distributed these taxes to its own cronies making them rich. They distributed these funds to contractors, saying “We have built this road and that road.” First, take measures to save people’s lives. In this respect and of course, this government is guilty, Erdoğan is the main culprit.
Then Murat Kurum, the Istanbul mayoral candidate, is also guilty. But the opposition has also taken a very weak approach. They should raise hell against those responsible. They should have made it louder, clearer and more explicit that this government is responsible for these deaths. They should have made it clear that the people should hold them accountable. The opposition failed. And when the opposition was threatened, they softened their criticisms even more. In this respect, the memory of those who lost their lives in this earthquake was not honored. As a requirement of being loyal to their memory, those responsible should be held accountable for their crimes.
Tens of thousands died under the rubble, under rocks and concrete. Not knowing whether they would die one hour or six, they suffered there, waiting for death. And no one came to their aid. Because there was no organization to save them. AFAD was never there and no one even criticized this. There is still a very slack approach. This issue should not be taken off the agenda, it should not be let go. It needs to be grabbed by the collar. It was not exposed well even in the May elections. Even in the May elections, this was the issue that would expose the AKP government the most. It was not done. This question still needs to be addressed.
Now we are nearing the local elections. What has been done to the localities? The government forced a centralized system, leaving no local administration. Everyone should think about this when going to local elections: What is their understanding of local governance? Does such a system give the people a will? Do the cities act on their own will? Does the municipality have a will? Is society organized there? Authorities will not come from Ankara to save Maraş or Hatay. This should also have been questioned.
One of the reasons for the many deaths is this centralized, statist system in Turkey. Turkey used to have this system in the past. This AKP-MHP government has worsened it, making it become even more centralized. Almost every official looks to Erdoğan’s mouth. The opposition also failed to embrace people in this earthquake.
The Kurdish people were tormented and destroyed. In a way, after the implementation of the ‘Eastern Reform Plan’, this earthquake served as a final blow. With the Eastern Reform Plan, it was aimed to completely expel the Kurds from the west of the Euphrates, to remove them from Kurdistan, to make the west of the Euphrates completely Kurdless. After the massacre in Maraş, the policy the government had been carrying out aimed to force the people west of the Euphrates to migrate to metropolises, especially England and generally Europe. It paved the way for demographic change. The MIT allowed smugglers to be set free, allowing them to freely take people away. They convinced people out of the west of the Euphrates and took them to Europe for supposed economic problems. There was no such economic problem. That’s not true. If the reason for driving people away was economic hardship let this be investigated. Many Kurdish villages west of the Euphrates are more beautiful and fertile than Turkish villages. But there was no population decrease in any of the Turkish villages. But Kurdish villages have been emptied. So this has nothing to do with it. It has nothing to do with the economy. It is purely a state policy, a policy of de-Kurdification. This is clear.
AKP-MHP government encouraged migration after the earthquake
Now, with this earthquake, Alevi Kurds have started to migrate more to metropolises and to Europe. The state has taken this as an opportunity. Even from this, one could understand the character of this state better. The government has encouraged this migration. The Alevi Kurds west of the Euphrates and the Alevi Arabs in Hatay need to be protected. Taking advantage of the earthquake, the state is implementing a policy of de-Kurdification and de-Arabization, this must be prevented. This is part of the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom. Otherwise, this is a policy of genocide. Changing demography, de-Kurdification, expelling Kurds from their homeland and dividing them by distributing them around the world is the state’s policy.
From this point of view, I believe that all Kurds, both here, in Europe and around the rest of the world, should help the Kurds and the Kurdish villages west of the Euphrates that have been damaged by the earthquake, revitalize those villages and protect their Kurdish identity. This is everyone’s duty, conscientious duty, moral duty, patriotic duty. On this occasion, I also think that those who left their villages because of the earthquake should return to their villages.
The other day I heard that Tacim Baba died in Ankara. He went to Ankara after the earthquake and died there. This is the reality of the earthquake. I wish him God’s mercy. He sang really beautiful Kurdish songs. By singing Kurdish songs, he was taking a stance within the Kurdish question, against the Kurdish genocide. After the earthquake, he left his village where he had lived for 80 years despite all the pressure he had faced and passed away in Ankara.
There have been many earthquakes in Turkey. What is the cause of these earthquakes? We need to know why these earthquakes happen. Why do social earthquakes happen? In order to suppress the freedom of the Kurdish people, to suppress the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom, to put the Kurds through genocide. The fabric of society is being played with. Society is being made anti-Kurdish, anti-human. There are little social values left in society, little moral values left. They are turning the whole society into a mass that will carry out the Kurdish genocide. This is the cause of the social earthquake, crisis and deterioration.
There is a cultural earthquake in Turkey. While people of culture should be humane, democratic, oppose injustice and oppression, even artists are being oppressed so that Kurds are brought to a stage where they cannot breathe. Artists are prevented from opposing oppression, persecution and injustice. Artists are being silenced. An artist is a person who expresses their conscience. One who will oppose oppression, oppose persecution, oppose injustice, stand by those who are wronged. Now they are suppressing the artists who oppose injustice. There really is a cultural earthquake in Turkey right now. There is a cultural earthquake and crisis.
There is no real art or artist. Art and artist means speaking out against the rulers, objecting, rebelling, revealing the conscience of the people. Now art and artists have become the trumpet of the government. This is where problems stem from.
The cause of the economic earthquake is obvious. It is the war, the war against the Kurds. So is the judicial earthquake. The reason is to suppress the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom. They don’t leave the slightest crumb of democracy so that the Kurds do not benefit. The problem is not Can Atalay, if the Kurdish freedom struggle was not at this level or if the state did not have such an antidemocratic understanding to suppress the Kurdish people’s freedom struggle, there would not be such an approach to Can Atalay.
An earthquake is still rattling the state, it does not recognize its own constitution. The reason for this is that if there is the slightest democratic right, if there is a breath of air, the Kurds will benefit. This needs to be understood. All intellectuals, democrats and politicians in Turkey need to see this reality. Without seeing this reality, correct politics cannot be done. Correct politics cannot be produced. The right words cannot be spoken. The truth will be avoided. If the truth is not to be avoided, if the truth is to be told, it must be revealed that the source of all these earthquakes, all the problems, all the crises is the lack of a solution to the Kurdish question, that these crises have emerged in order to suppress and crush the Kurds.
There is a judicial crisis, there is no judiciary right now. I can say this; the judiciary of today has something which the fascist courts of September 12th did not have. Even during the fascist coup, the soldiers paid attention, to some extent, to certain measures. Now it is not like that. Now everything is done through orders. There is no court, there is no constitution. There is only a palace with a special warfare center inside, and there is a certain circle ruling. Whatever they say will happen, and it does. There is no such thing as a court deciding, a court evaluating, nothing like that. Maybe there are some crimes in ordinary society, for example theft. Maybe the court may be functioning in those cases. But on very important issues, there is absolutely no judiciary or court in Turkey.
Local elections are important. Democracy starts from a local level. If there is local will, there is democracy. If there is a democratic administration, democratic behavior and democratic culture in the localities, we can talk about democracy. In this respect, local elections are important. Local governments, which will be the source of democracy or the foundation of democracy, will be elected. Undoubtedly, the law on local governments in Turkey is very limited. Despite having very little authority, local governments are still important in terms of expressing the will of the people. Because in the past in Kurdistan, elected local administrators, co-mayors of municipalities have played an important role. They demonstrated democratic culture and democratic belief. They did not seek profit, they listened to the voice of the people. Of course, although it had not reached the desired level yet, a very important local government experience has emerged. It is important in this respect.
Very important to hold primary elections in Kurdistan
Addressing the current election process, let me state that it was very important to hold primary elections in Kurdistan. This was important for the development of the understanding and culture of local democracy. It was also important for people to take ownership of politics. Politics is about people taking ownership of their own affairs and thinking about their own affairs. Otherwise, politics is not about letting someone you don’t know be elected as an MP or president. Democratic politics is about the people taking ownership and being involved in their own affairs. This is how democratic politics should be understood.
In this respect, the pre-elections were important. The people took ownership, created excitement and enthusiasm. Of course there were some shortcomings. It is understood that there was a lack of preparation. But we saw that the Kurdish people have a democratic culture, that they embraced such a democratic experience, that they were excited and participated in the elections with enthusiasm. This is an important achievement for the Kurdish people, for the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom, for the democratic future of the Kurdish people. In this respect, we congratulate them for their efforts in this direction. It was a good experience. It was really important, it was also an example for Turkey.
Kurdish politics, Kurdish democratic politics is already setting an example for Turkey. The paradigm of Rêber Apo (Leader Abdullah Öcalan) is an example for Turkey, an example for the world. There was the co-presidency project, half of the MPs are formed of women. These have set an example for Turkey, putting pressure on classic Turkish politics. While the Kurds who are being portrayed as backward are becoming so democratized, having a co-presidency system, while half of their MPs are women, it is clear that male-dominated politics are still precedented in Turkey. I was listening to Özgür Özel a while ago. He said, “We have appointed so many women mayors in Izmir. There were none in the past, we are taking this many young people into the administration, we are taking women into the administration.” All of these are the fruit of our struggle. It is the effect created by Kurdish democratic politics.
In this respect, it was an important effort. The importance of politics for Kurds in parliamentary elections, presidential elections and local elections is this: will it develop democratization or not? Will it strengthen democracy? Will there be a struggle against genocidal colonial fascism or not? Will it push them back or not? This is an attitude for the development of democracy. It is a struggle against the Kurdish genocide policy of genocidal colonial fascism. For Kurds, this is the measure of politics. This is the measure to be considered.
The solution to the Kurdish question develops through democratization
The right attitude is to evaluate how much they are developing democratization and how much they are developing democracy. Because democracy is as necessary for Kurds as bread and water. The solution to the Kurdish question develops through democratization. Every day democratic solutions and democratic politics are being discussed. How will a democratic solution come? It will come with democratization. It will come with the development of democracy. Otherwise, someone will not suddenly think of a solution to the Kurdish question. If there is democratization, steps in this direction will develop. We need to see it like this. Of course, this election will also be part of the struggle for democracy.
For the Kurdish people, it is very important to be in alliance with the people of Turkey and the democratic forces of Turkey and to act together with them. It must be known that the solution to the Kurdish question lies here. In this respect, for a long time, especially within the framework of Rêber Apo’s approaches and perspectives, Kurds have always formed alliances with democratic forces, socialist forces, and social segments that have an interest in democracy. Recently, the 'Labor and Freedom Alliance' was established. These are important. We need to embrace them. This is how democratic politics and democratization will come.
By allying with democratic forces and socialists, the struggle for democracy will develop with a joint attitude, struggle and alliance of the two most dynamic democratic forces in Turkey, the Kurds and the Alevis. We must pay attention to this during the elections. Kurds should pay attention first and foremost. Everyone should be sensitive about alliances and partnerships. Mostly the Kurds because the Kurds need it. Kurds need democratization and the development of democracy the most. They are paying a great price for this. For 50 years a great price has been paid.
In this respect, of course, both the democratic forces in Turkey and the democratic forces in Kurdistan should cooperate, strengthen their alliances, embrace the existing alliances, and carry out this struggle by valuing the existing alliances.
Some circles may block alliances, they may denigrate alliances. Kurdish people should not listen to them. Those who denigrate the alliances are not friends of the Kurds. They do not want the well-being of the Kurds, they do not want Turkey to democratize. They want the Kurds to be left alone. The Kurds have never benefited from nationalist approaches that are not democratic, that are not in favor of democracy, that do not have a democratic understanding, that do not think about the brotherhood of peoples. In this respect, Kurds should develop their main approach in democratic politics and in this election process in line with the development of democracy and democratization.
Historical actions were carried out by guerrillas in January. After these actions, the devastation of the Turkish state was evident on the partisan channels of the AKP-MHP government. After the actions, the people on those channels did not know what they were saying. They were so out of balance! They were arguing about who gave the guerrilla information, who supported them, who gave them this and that. They were really showing themselves by talking such nonsense. Then we realized that they were very surprised. They were devastated, they suffered a big blow.
Our guerrillas have been in this struggle for 50 years. They have 50 years of experience. Which guerrilla movement in the world has 50 years of experience? Is there a guerrilla army that has fought as hard as our guerrillas? Is there a guerrilla force that has been fighting for 50 years against NATO’s second army, especially one like the Turkish state. Of course our experienced guerrilla have the capacity for action.
We also remind them of this. Rêber Apo says: “The greatest technique is human.” The Turkish army have all the techniques at their disposal. The guerrilla, on the other hand, is equipped with limited means. They take from here and there meanwhile the Turkish army get everything they want from all over the world. They gets everything, yet they cannot protect themselves. What are you talking about? Of course the guerrilla, the force of self-sacrifice with 50 years of experience will carry out such actions.
They say America has given the guerrilla information. It’s as if the guerrilla are carrying out such actions for the first time. It is obvious how many police stations have been raided, how many ambushes have been made. I’m saying this because they’ve lost control, the puppets of the Turkish government don’t know what they are saying. Instead of admitting guilt, they point fingers to the outside. If something happens, the cause is ‘others’. Of course, with this mindset, they cannot go anywhere.
Why is this war going on, why are the guerrilla making sacrifice actions? Because our 50-year struggle is the struggle of a colonized people. The mood of these young guerrillas when they go to war is obvious. Who can stand in front of them? The soldier is there out of fear, counting down days until their return from duty. How will they fight? Or maybe he is poor. He came there for money. How could they fight against such guerrillas.
Those actions really shook and stunned the Turkish state. After that they started vowing to do this and that “until not a single terrorist is left.” This is what they say. We have been asking a question for the past 50 years; who can take away the passion of freedom from these people?
The Kurdish people’s passion for freedom, their desire for freedom is obvious. The people’s passion for freedom creates the guerrilla. Could you kill such a passion? It is the result of a struggle of 50 years. All Kurdish people grew up in this war, saw this war, saw the sacrifice, saw their children's struggle against colonialism. The government can shout and call as much as they want; Kurdish youth will resist. They can be prevented, limited, but they will overcome this. ‘Guerrilla’ means to overcome the enemy constantly with precautions. A ‘guerilla’ is someone who fights against a better equipped power with fewer means. As they say, asymmetric warfare, this is what guerrilla is. This is why the guerrilla are writing history.
The greatest technique is the human being. In other words, human effort and labor will and is frustrating the most advanced techniques being used against freedom. The guerrilla has struck and will strike significant blows. The guerrilla is not a force that will surrender to the shouts and calls of the Turkish army. The guerrilla is a sacrifice force, it has 50 years of experience, it has popular support. The hearts of 90 percent of the Kurdish people are in favor of the PKK. The hearts of Kurds in KDP areas are also in favor of the PKK. If they did not apply pressure on the people, the KDP could have seen for themselves that this is true. This is the reality. In the face of such a reality, of course that resistance will emerge.
A great guerrilla struggle continued in 2023
A great struggle continued in 2023. This struggle will continue in 2024. Of course, the Turkish state uses every means and method to suppress this struggle. It has used chemical weapons extensively in the past. It used tactical nuclear bombs. The last time it used chemical weapons again; 5 of our comrades were martyred. I commemorate with gratitude and respect our comrades who were martyred in the chemical attacks, as well as our comrades who were martyred in all actions. Their sacrificial spirit will lead this struggle to success. With their actions, with their spirit of sacrifice, with their resistance, they are already the assurance and guarantee of this success. They demonstrate the invincibility of this struggle. From this point of view, 2023 was the year of the rise of the sacrifice forces. This will continue even more in 2024. We can state it like this.
Of course, the betrayal of the KDP continues. It is again trying to gain control of guerrilla areas, trying to cut the roads that will supply the guerrilla with supplies and ammunition. But the KDP helps the Turkish state, the Turkish army for everything tending even to their wounded soldiers. We are in such a reality. The KDP is working with the Turkish state to end the war with the supposed defeat of the guerrilla. This is not enough, the KDP and the Turkish state are now trying to drag the PUK into this. All these attacks are actually happening partly at the request of the KDP. They are trying to see if they can drag the PUK into this system. In this respect, just as the guerrilla struggle has responded to all pressures and attacks, it will continue in 2014 with the same stance.