Karasu: The struggle of the Kurdish people is also a struggle to democratize Turkey

Karasu said that the "trustee policy is the policy of denial of Kurdish implemented by the AKP-MHP alliance."

In the second part of this in-depth interview, Mustafa Karasu, a member of the KCK Executive Council, spoke about theAKP-MHP policy against Kurds and how the struggle of the Kurdish people is also a struggle to democratize Turkey.

The first part of this interview can be read here

You express at every opportunity that the AKP-MHP fascism is in an all-out attack on the Kurdish people in order to realize the Kurdish genocide. One of the dimensions of these attacks is the trustee policy. How do you evaluate the people’s resistance that developed after the appointment of a trustee in Colemerg (Hakkari)?

The trustee policy is the Kurdish-denial policy of the AKP-MHP alliance. It should be known that Kurdish denial continues in Turkey. This is the state policy. Whoever says there is no Kurdish denial is lying to hide the Kurdish genocide policy being pursued. Calling Kurds brothers and sisters, broadcasting TRT Kurdish to prevent Kurdish politicization, and allowing some cultural institutions to broadcast in Kurdish is solely to cover up and legitimize the genocide policy. In today’s world, where communication and information technology are so advanced, without education in the mother tongue, such policies are nothing but a cover-up of this genocide. In short, the Kurdish genocide is being carried out in a planned manner. If the Turkish government has its way, this policy will not stop until the Kurds are Turkified as a majority. This is the current state policy.

Regarding the question of why trustees are appointed, this is about the denial of Kurdish existence. The policy applied against the Kurds is not because of their political views. It doesn’t matter whether they are right-wing, left-wing, religious, or nationalist; this policy is carried out against whoever is actively objecting to and struggling against the policy of Kurdish denial at the time. Other Kurdish political forces that were weak at the time are also used against those who are actively fighting against genocide. If municipalities express themselves through Kurdish identity, if they work on Kurdish identity and culture and keep Kurdish identity alive, they are blocked from running municipalities because they are also against the policy of genocide. All laws in Turkey are based on Kurdish denial. No rights can be claimed in the name of Kurdishness in Turkey. This is the plain reality.

In its early years, the AKP needed the support of the democratic forces and the Kurds in order to stay in power, so it used soft rhetoric. However, since it did not have a democratic mentality, it embraced Kurdish hostility against the Kurdish people’s demand and struggle for freedom and democracy in order to stay in power. For this, they have formed an alliance with the MHP for nine years. It is clear that the policies of a political party that has allied with the MHP for nine years will always be characterized by Kurdish hostility. All its practices have pointed in this direction.

The genocide policies of the Turkish state cannot be compared to any other colonialist or genocidal policies in the world. In South Africa, different policies were applied to black people. For example, there was a threat to their existence but the South African people eventually won their rights.

Kurds have been resisting this policy of genocide for a hundred years. Again, the democratic forces, especially socialists, are struggling for the democratization of Turkey. The struggle for democracy is also a struggle against the Kurdish genocide policy.

In Wan (tr. Van), the struggle of the Kurdish people and democratic forces against the appointment of trustees, which is an implementation of the genocide policy, has yielded important results. There is also a significant struggle against the trustee policy in Colemerg. The people of Colemerg have made it clear that they do not accept trustees. The trustee policy no longer has as much legitimacy as the colonial governor. There is still a struggle against this. However, the desired result cannot be achieved with piecemeal struggle. In this respect, it is important that all Kurdish cities, especially Amed, Elih (Batman), and Wan, rise up. The mobilization of these cities will mobilize the entire Kurdish people, which will make the struggle on the Turkish front more effective.

Right now, the struggle in Kurdistan and Turkey is important. It was shown that the trustee policy was not accepted. If not for this resistance, they would have appointed new trustees after Colemerg. If the government thought that it will not face a bigger struggle, it would have already appointed more trustees. Tayyip Erdoğan has already openly expressed this.

The support of the socialist, revolutionary and democratic forces of Turkey in the struggle against the appointment of trustees in Wan and Colemerg gave the Kurdish people significant strength. How will this situation accelerate the joint struggle of the Kurdish people and the democratic forces of Turkey?

It is clear that the struggle for freedom and democracy of the Kurdish people and the struggle for democracy of the peoples of Turkey must be united. Because the freedom of the Kurds and the development of democracy are intertwined. Democratization in Turkey depends on a democratic solution to the Kurdish question. The reason for the raging hostility toward democracy in Turkey is the fascist approach that if democracy develops, Kurds will benefit from it. In order to be free, Kurds must struggle to defeat this anti-Kurdish mentality and politics. In short, these two struggles must be united, not only because of ideological affinity, but also because of political necessity. Whoever thinks that Turkey will democratize without the struggle for a democratic solution to the Kurdish question is deeply mistaken.

The struggle of the Kurdish people is also a struggle to democratize Turkey. It is a struggle to keep the democratic forces alive. If the Kurdish people had not waged a struggle, especially since the military coup of September 12, 1980, the democratic forces would have been further crushed and neutralized. Although there is oppression, force, and fascism in Turkey today, it is clear that there is also a strong resistance against it. In fact, fifty years of Turkish political history have clearly demonstrated that the Kurdish and democratic forces must wage a joint struggle. If the democratic forces of Turkey and the Kurds do not see this reality, they do not understand the reality of Turkey.

In Wan, it was seen how effective and fruitful the unity of the resistance of the Kurdish people and all democratic forces in Turkey was. The joint struggle against the appointed trustee in Colemerg also had a significant political impact. Especially in a period when the AKP-MHP fascist government is in decline, it is very important that radical democratic or revolutionary democratic forces in Turkey come together in a common struggle. Both the democratic forces in Turkey and the Kurdish people will profit from such a struggle. Those who want to profit will organize and carry out this struggle; those who want to lose or who only stick to their own small reality will stay away from this struggle. Or they stay away from this joint struggle, saying that if they waged a joint struggle with the Kurds, they would attract the enemies of the state. It must be said that these are the ones who have no interest in struggling and winning.

On June 29, the joint rally of all democratic forces against the trusteeship and all forms of oppression and exploitation in Kartal, Istanbul, is very important. It is necessary to further develop such collaborations. The common goal should be to oust fascism from power. When the revolutionary democratic forces develop a common struggle and defeat AKP-MHP fascism, their political influence in Turkey increases, which will bring about a process that will ensure the democratization of Turkey and the solution to the Kurdish question. The Kartal rally should not be seen as just a rally, but as an important step in the joint struggle platform to be developed. Kurdish people should flow to Kartal from all over Istanbul, from near and far. After the June 29th rally, the march to Colemerg from all over Kurdistan and Turkey is also important. The stronger this march is, the shorter the life of the trustee will be.

The AKP-MHP, while insisting on war, continues to discuss ‘normalization‘ in the environment of severe destruction in Turkey. In recent days, there have been discussions that there are some problems internally, within the AKP-MHP fascist alliance. How do you handle these discussions?

After the municipality elections, the CHP called for ‘normalization’ and the AKP called for ‘softening’. Indeed, an unprecedented polarization has been created in Turkey. At the hands of the AKP-MHP government, politics in Turkey has been turned into a political civil war. The AKP-MHP alliance aimed to complete the Kurdish genocide and create a Turkey that they thought was theirs. For years, the MHP defined this as the Turkish-Islamic synthesis. Already in the 1970s, the MHP, with the support of NATO’s gladio and foreign powers, declared war on the democratic forces in Turkey, especially socialists and Kurdish revolutionaries. In order to complete the Kurdish genocide and crush the leftist forces, a military fascist coup was carried out. As a matter of fact, Alpaslan Turkes summed this coup up as follows: “We may be imprisoned, but our idea is ruling government”. This is the AKP-MHP alliance in Turkey. In order to crush the struggle for freedom, fascism was built to prevent the Kurdish people from breathing. Not even the smallest democratic right was left. Every sector and everyone who struggles for democracy was declared separatist. The AKP-MHP alliance sees everyone who is not with them as traitors and enemies and goes after them. Marginalization and polarization have become a daily policy as a means of war against democratic forces. Kurds and Kurdish political power were not only targeted as traitors and separatists every day; everyone who was not hostile to Kurds was also marginalized and excluded, creating a sharp polarization. The Kurds felt this the most. From this point of view, we are the most vocal about these polarizing and marginalizing policies of AKP-MHP fascism. We have expressed at every opportunity that it is a government of evil. There is no torture, persecution, or evil that this government has not inflicted on the Kurdish people and democratic forces. It has already repeatedly revealed their character by saying, “These are your good days; what more will you see?”.

The AKP-MHP government even accused the CHP of treason in order to fully build its fascist dictatorship. They also see the CHP as a threat to their survival. Such a polarizing, marginalizing, and abnormal power has emerged, which is an enemy of humanity and democracy, unprecedented in the world political arena. It has attacked without considering itself bound by any moral, conscientious, social, or legal values that have been formed throughout human history. Undoubtedly, this immoral, unscrupulous, and unjust political understanding must disappear. Every person wants a normal, democratic political life. They want the polarization in Turkey to end. For years, the Kurdish people and the democratic forces in Turkey have been struggling for the end of inhumane practices. As a result, the AKP-MHP government lost. The people made the CHP the first party because it opposed the policies of the AKP-MHP government.

Of course, politics and life must be democratized and normalized. But how this will happen is important. It is equally important that this crucial question is answered correctly. The MHP leader, Devlet Bahceli, has said that no one can soften them or make them abandon their policies. He has repeatedly emphasized that he will insist on the old policies. It was because of these policies that he formed an alliance with the AKP and supported it for years. Even without the so-called People’s Alliance, he said he would support the AKP’s policies. Tayyip Erdoğan repeated what the MHP said in his own way. “We will not compromise on our tenets”, he said. His red lines are those stated by the MHP.

Trusteeship is one of the most fundamental policies of the AKP-MHP government. They appointed a trustee in Colemerg and legitimized it with the demagogy that they were just applying the law. Erdoğan made an unprecedented statement, portraying that which is legal as illegal. In fact, in this way, he admitted that all Turkish laws may not be legal. Can normalization be expected from such a political understanding?

If anyone should soften, it is the AKP-MHP government. In order to do so, it must abandon its past discourses and practices of marginalizing, polarizing, accusing, antagonizing and many other similar discourses and practices. Are the AKP and MHP ready for such a step? Can there be normalization just because Ozgur has changed his vocabulary? They have not stopped using the judiciary as an instrument of politics, thousands of politicians are imprisoned, dozens are arrested every day, but they expect people to believe that there will be normalization because they released a few known people from prison?! While enmity against the Kurdish people and the forces of democracy continues, how will there be normalization! Those who do not accept a ‘normalization’ of such, cannot be portrayed as anti-normalization. At the moment, those who do not accept this form of normalization, are the ones who are most persecuted by the AKP-MHP government: those who struggle for the democratization and normalization of Turkey.

AKP spokesperson Omer Celik gave a speech after the Erdoğan-Ozel meeting, in which he spoke about the methods of “softening”. They are the ones who should soften and give up their evil deeds. If there is polarization, if there is marginalization, if there are the harshest attacks on society, it is the AKP-MHP government that needs to soften. But they expect others to soften. If the AKP-MHP government would stop all the evil it has done, that is, if it would give up the policy it has been pursuing for the last nine years, then a process of normalization and softening would automatically begin.

The AKP government, more precisely Tayyip Erdoğan, thinks that he has been weakened by his alliance with the MHP. Therefore, he wants to show that he thinks differently from the MHP on some issues. In order to do this, he wants to create perceptions of changes without actually abandoning the policies he has been carrying out together with the MHP for nine years. That is why he jumped on Ozgur Ozel’s normalization discourse. He saw this as a legitimate guise to cover-up that the AKP is being controlled by the MHP. Erdoğan wants to buy time by using this rhetoric, without making any changes in basic policies. The MHP has expressed some discomfort on this issue as it has locked itself in the Kurdish genocide and does not want the slightest change in its policies.

Indeed, when both Devlet Bahceli and Erdoğan say that their alliance will continue, that it is very important for them, it can be understood that even though some changes will be tolerated it terms of methods, they will continue to conduct their fascist policies. Even though there are differences between AKP and MHP as a result of the election results and the political environment, it seems that they will continue to pursue common policies on the basis of accepting these differences. In short, they should not be expected to give up their common policies because of the existing differences. However, it is clear that these differences will grow if the struggle against them continues. In fact, Tayyip Erdoğan is seeking new alliances with the external support of the MHP. If he succeeds in this, he will prefer to maintain his power through new alliances in which he will receive the support of the MHP in a different way. However, no one should expect Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP to give up its anti-Kurdish and anti-democracy policies.

What attitude should the Kurdish people and democratic forces take in the face of such discussions?

The Kurdish people and democratic forces should not expect that the CHP’s softening policy will lead to a democratic political environment in Turkey. These approaches serve the continuation of these fascist policies with some formal changes. These approaches will only strengthen the policies that polarize Turkey, marginalize others, make enemies of ‘others’, and shape Turkey according to this mentality. Fascism is the result of this mentality. This mentality and the policies based on it can only be regressed through struggle. In this respect, the policy pursued by the CHP is naive to say the least. Either what they have been saying about the AKP government for years is wrong; or what they are saying today. They cannot both be right. If the previous statements are true, what normalization can be expected from this fascist government and dictator? Or what is the normalization the CHP refers to? Is it the democratization of politics as a whole, or is it only the softening of the discourse against the CHP? If it is the latter, it means softening the CHP. It would result in the CHP not struggling against AKP-MHP fascism, but compromising with their policies.

Those who vote for the CHP are those who have suffered greatly from the AKP-MHP policies. They voted for the CHP as the first party to stand against this government and fight for democratization. Undoubtedly, it is understandable that the CHP wants to appeal to the AKP base. This is not wrong by itself. However, this should not mean that the CHP becomes a part of AKP policies.

In short, the Kurdish people and the democratic forces must see that these normalization debates do not mean anything for democratization, on the contrary, they create a situation that normalizes undemocratic policies. From this point of view, they should not get caught up in this policy, but should see the danger of this and raise the struggle against the AKP-MHP policies. The people of Turkey have also strengthened the grounds for struggle against the AKP-MHP government. They should develop the struggle for democracy and freedom without giving the CHP the opportunity to eliminate this ground. It should not see any attempt by the AKP government to retouch its image as a normalization and softening. Having lost the elections, Tayyip Erdoğan is now waging a special war against the peoples of Turkey who stand and struggle against him. None of his statements is a step towards democracy in the real sense. 23 years of Erdoğan’s rule and politics have revealed this reality. This man has only one concern; that is to stay in power and benefit his cronies. Now he sees the way to do this by leading the way in Kurdish hostility.

The Kurdish people and democratic forces must make good use of the political environment that has emerged after the elections and develop organization and joint struggle. The forces of democracy have such a historical responsibility ahead of them. They must focus on organization and struggle. By overthrowing this fascist government, the way must be paved for the democratization of Turkey and the democratic solution to the Kurdish question.