Karasu: The people are resisting and all over Turkey there is a significant resistance
the people are resisting and all over Turkey there is a significant resistance
KCK Executive Council member Mustafa Karasu spoke about Gaza, the war in the South Kurdish Medya Defense Areas, and the latest political developments in Turkey.
The first part of this interview can be read here
While the world is speaking about the war in Gaza, the war in Kurdistan is also continuing. What can you tell us about the progression of war?
Since February 2011, there has been a widespread war in the South Kurdish Medya Defense Zones [regions controlled by HPG and YJA-Star guerrilla forces]. Since then, the Turkish army has used all the means at its disposal, both in terms of technology and in terms of its relations with international forces as well as with local Kurdish collaborators, but it has not been successful until today. Such a long time that they have been waging war, and they are still not successful. Yes, they have built positions on some mountain peaks, but they are isolated and cannot control their surroundings because there are many tunnels that have been built in the last years by the intense work of our comrades there. On the one hand, the guerrillas are fighting the enemy. On the other hand, they continued to work on the expansion of the tunnels. They are answering the attacks of the Turkish army with the tactic of moving teams. These teams are a very essential part of the resistance.
Today there is also a large tunnel war being waged in Gaza. Comrade Cemal spoke about this a few days ago. It is now three years that the Kurdish people are waging such a war against the Turkish state, but there has never been an international outcry about the Turkish army’s use of poison gas and chemical weapons. Everybody remained silent. Right now there are protests all over the world, exposing the war by Israel. At the same time, international institutions and the international public opinion remain silent about the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish state in Kurdistan, although there are so many continuous attacks.
It is said that the state of Israel has used so many bombs in the Gaza Strip until now, which together would be the power of two atomic bombs. It can easily be said that the Turkish state has used ten times the number of bombs in the Medya Defense Zones. The war between the state of Israel and Hamas has been continuing for about a month. The war in the South Kurdish Medya Defense Zones has been being waged for three years. Every day without a break. Still, the resistance was very widespread and it was essentially the moving teams that prevented a further approach by the Turkish army.
The Medya Defense Zones are resisting, the people are resisting and all over Turkey there is significant resistance. Lately there have been some actions by the guerrillas in the North Kurdish area of Serhed. Although the Turkish state is attacking on every front, they still remain without success. It is now dozens of years that they are waging a dirty war and are getting support by multiple international forces of Europe, America and of the whole NATO. They say that the war that Turkey is waging is a ‘legitimate interest in self-defense’.
This struggle and resistance were formed by the people. It has created a new reality for society, which is the most significant achievement of the resistance. Out continuing struggle and resistance will break the Turkish state and on the basis of free Kurdish people, the democratization of Turkey and the Middle East will evolve.
In the ongoing war, the KDP is playing a crucial role as a collaborative force. What are the latest evolvements on this front?
There is no point in highlighting what the KDP has done again. It is obvious what they are doing, what kind of policy they are pursuing. The evidence is openly available. What is needed is the appropriate attitude. It depends on the attitude of the Kurdish people and democratic intellectuals. Recently, there have been calls for both the KDP and the PKK to make peace. By doing so, the actions of the KDP are normalized. This must be prevented. The current situation needs to be well understood and analyzed.
The KDP has been helping the Turkish state in every possible way for a long time. What the KDP is doing now is to provide new opportunities for the Turkish state. The KDP is also mobilizing its forces in these areas so that the Turkish state can dominate these areas. This approach must stop. Those who do not intervene show their real interests. We should learn from our history. I would like to ask all Kurdish political parties, intellectuals and artists: “If the KDP is not stopped today, when will it stop? If any other party had approached in the same way that the KDP is doing now, what would have been the reactions? What attitude would have been taken?”
The other day, someone who knew nothing but PKK enmity went to England and held a meeting. He said that the PYD stole the revolution in Rojava. What a shameless guy. Of whom did they ‘steal the revolution’? The people mobilized, and the Kurds controlled the areas where they lived, then when Daeş [ISIS] came, they fought it and spread the system of self-government. The fact that a KDP member stands up and says that the PYD ‘stole the revolution in Rojava’ and says that on the basis of this, the Turkish state is right in its attacks, its legitimization reveals what the reality is. Therefore, I don’t want to say much more than that.
You have already mentioned the ongoing war in Gaza; how does the Kurdish Freedom Movement evaluate this war? How do you analyze the position of Turkey in this war?
The war in Gaza is really being waged in a very ugly way. What Hamas is doing is surely unacceptable, but what Israel is doing right now is really inhumane. It is burning and destroying everywhere without even caring about women, children or the elderly. This is unacceptable. Of course, it is necessary to stand against this. But we need to be consistent in standing against it. Those who do not accept crimes against humanity need to oppose it correctly and should do so consistently.
The Turkish state is saying that they take the side of the Palestinians, but it embraces Hamas. Of course, the attack on the Palestinians needs to be opposed. But the Turkish state’s ‘support for the Palestinians’ actually weakens the support for the Palestinian struggle. It does not support the Palestinian struggle, because it looks like a fascist, a mass murderer who is standing by the Palestinians. This is, of course, a situation that weakens the Palestinian struggle. Can a people wage a just struggle like the Palestinians side with a fascist government? What did Turkey do during the time of self-governance resistances? Didn’t it destroy whole cities? Didn’t it demolish Nusaybin, Cizre, Şırnak? Didn’t the Turkish state burn people alive in basements? Didn’t they kill women and children in the streets? The bodies of murdered children were kept in refrigerators. Now such a state goes and claims to defend the Palestinians. They say that they are doing the same thing. This is not embracing Palestine, this is overshadowing the Palestinian cause. Today, the Israeli state kills children and women. But let’s look at Erdoğan for a second. A few years ago he said, “We will do what is necessary, whether it is a woman or a child”. He said it with great anger and later showed that it was not just a saying. They killed both women and children. Hundreds and thousands of civilians were massacred.
In this respect, of course, this reality of the AKP government must be well exposed. Erdoğan goes and speaks about ‘defending the Palestinian cause’. In reality, he is destroying it. What did Erdoğan do in Rojava? He occupied Afrin. 500 civilians were martyred in the resistance and so many fighters were also martyred in this time. If they hadn’t withdrawn the population, the Turkish state would have leveled the whole of Afrin to the ground. This is certain.
The AKP’s embrace of Palestine is a situation that weakens the Palestinian cause, it weakens its credibility. Israel is already saying “What are you talking about, you are doing the same thing yourself”. Can it be right that a force that is itself so immoral puts itself before you? There are many people and a lot of democratic forces defending the cause of the Palestinian people, but the AKP government is not one of them. They are not interested in the cause of the people, they just follow their own interests. In fact, by doing this, the Turkish state wants to get the support of various Arab powers in the Middle East and genocide the Kurds. In the end, Erdoğan is doing all this to genocide the Kurds. Everyone should be aware of this. Otherwise, the AKP’s problem does not care about Palestine. It is looking at it for justification. It will carry out all kinds of attacks on Rojava, and then it will come out and say, “Those people did it, and I am doing it too.”
The AKP government, the Turkish state, lives such a reality of dirty war. There is no credibility in anything they say. It is not to defend the peoples, not to defend human values. It is purely to gain political advantage for itself, to put pressure on the Kurds based on it, to put pressure on the democratic forces.
Talking about the politics in Turkey, it can be said that there are some changes regarding internal affairs. Does this have any influence on the movement?
This Minister of Interior has been in office for 5-6 months. Under his responsibility, twenty thousand operations were launched in this short period of time. Among these operations, the war in the Medya Defense Zones was never mentioned. These are operations carried out by the gendarmerie and police and 98% of these operations were against civilians, HDP members, youth and women. They oppressed the villagers, all the peoples.
The interesting thing is that 20,000 ‘operations against terrorism’ are carried out and at the same time they say ‘there is no terrorism anymore, we have ended it’. How can you say you have brought an end to terrorism when you carry out 20,000 operations in 5-6 months?
In Turkey it is said that Süleyman Soylu was the bad cop, and that now this Ali Yerlikaya has become the good cop. The reason why Ali Yerlikaya has become so prominent is because of his covering up of gang organization. He just focuses on the oppression against the democratic forces and the Kurdish people. Some opposition forces were also instrumental in this. The Turkish state is a state of special warfare. Everything they do is in favor of special warfare. Special warfare means deceiving society, deceiving the world, turning the truth inside out. Now the Saturday Mothers have been released. Who was preventing their actions until now? Erdoğan was preventing them. On Erdoğan’s instructions, the Saturday Mothers were prevented from entering the streets to protest. Erdoğan said, “We are getting too much exposure, it is not a big deal, let them be allowed.” There is also the resistance of the Saturday Mothers to this. Because when they are persistent, the government is exposed.
The policy against the Saturday Mothers was really harsh for a long time. Now they release a little bit of the pressure. The repression in the first place was clearly a message.
They waged so much war against the Kurdish people, against the democratic forces, that they forbade even the most basic forms of protest. In this way, they created a deterrent pressure and fear in society, to prevent them from struggling. But because of the continued exposure of this policy, they had to take a step back.
No one should fall for their special war. The government opposition is cutting its own branch. By doing so, they normalize the attacks against them. We have already heard what this one man said on TV. Who does the Ankara Security Directorate report to? Ali Yerlikaya said to this. “If there was a riot like July 15th, we would simply kill them”. This is Ali Yerlikaya’s approach. He spends all his efforts on the Kurds and the democratic forces. If he went against the gangs he should start with Süleyman Soylu.
The democratic forces and the left forces in Turkey cannot fight against fascism without understanding the Turkish state’s special warfare. The PKK wages a successful struggle and survives because it understands the special war. Otherwise, if the special war is not understood, we would also be dragged into its tail, we would also fall for its tricks, and those who fall for them can easily be destroyed.
Looking at the Constitutional Court. They make decisions, but then do not comply to it. The Constitutional Court receives 100 decisions, but does just accept one or two of them. The Constitutional Court in Turkey will become a part of the fascist power and will be known as such if they continue like this. In order not to be perceived as such, it objects in one or two cases. However, recently it approved an even worse article, an article that criminalizes incitement, encouragement and propaganda. It is a very elastic law. Anyone can be imprisoned.
The Constitutional Court overturned the decision about the Member of Parliament Can Atalay (TİP). They wanted him out. In response, the Court of Cassation took a very harsh stance, even blaming the Constitutional Court and demanding that its members be put on trial. This is an interesting thing, unprecedented in the world. This actually shows the crisis and chaos in Turkey. Fascism is having so much difficulty in its struggle against the democratic forces and the Kurdish people that it has come to this situation. If they did not have difficulty in the struggle, they would not have taken such an attitude.
I remember our Constitution teacher at school was Mümtaz Soysal. Mümtaz Soysal today is very important in Turkey. He was known as a professor of the Constitution. In his lectures, the decisions of the Constitutional Court were clearly evaluated. Everyone had to abide by them back then. How many universities are there in Turkey? There are 100, I don’t know how many, faculties of law, political sciences. Today these are just a few minutes in a lecture.
All professors have said that the decisions of the Constitutional Court are final. Interestingly, now they say, no, the decisions of the Constitutional Court are not final. The state has come to such a situation. Now Erdoğan is saying that the constitution is contradictory, we need a new constitution. Not only on this issue, but also on other issues, you didn’t implement the article of this constitution that you say is bad. The reality is, that they will make an even worse constitution. When the AKP came to power, they softened some laws in order to harmonize with the European Union and to show themselves as democratic. Now they will probably reverse them and make them worse. The new constitution will not be more democratic or more liberal than the old one. Neither will it be more liberal than the 1961 Constitution, nor will it be more liberal than the others. In this respect, everyone is already saying; either you implement a bad one so that we can see the new one. You don’t even implement the bad one.
In this respect, a very interesting situation has emerged. Even this reveals what the crisis in Turkey is. This is again related to the struggle by the democratic forces and the Kurdish people. The reason why they are in this situation is because they are worried that the Kurds will benefit from the smallest democratic right. If the problem was not the Kurdish problem, if there was no genocide policy being carried out against the Kurds, they would not be in this situation.
The democratic forces in Turkey do not understand. They want to eliminate and suffocate even the crumbs of democracy in Turkey for fear that the Kurds will benefit. Because, they say, if it happens, the Kurds will benefit. They are already saying, what will happen if Duran Kalkan becomes an MP? Will the Supreme Electoral Council give its approval? Is that how it is? They are in such an approach that deceives society and deceives the world. They really don’t know what to do anymore. But as I said, they don’t see the reasons. This is, of course, very important. These reasons need to be seen. Why are they doing this? Why don’t they comply? Why don’t they release Kavala? Because the Kurds will benefit if there is a stretch. They are doing it so that the Kurds don’t benefit. They even put the Saturday Mothers under such pressure.
In this respect, whoever wants to fight for democracy, whoever wants to fight for freedom must see this reality and fight for democracy together with the Kurdish people. Without raising the struggle for democracy together with the Kurdish people, nobody can be a democrat, nobody can fight for democracy, they deceive themselves. Even if they say they do, they cannot get results. Because as long as the Kurdish question is not solved, as long as the genocide policy is implemented against the Kurds, this oppression regime will continue. Because they will put all kinds of pressure on the Kurds, they will put all kinds of anti-democratic policies into effect in case the Kurds are injured. This reality really needs to be grasped. We repeat it very often. But we repeat it because it is a subject worth repeating. On this basis, everyone needs to better grasp this fascist reality that has emerged, what this situation is.