Karayılan: PKK has nothing to do with the Zakho massacre

PKK Executive Committee Member Murat Karayılan stated that a Kurdish and Iraqi national stance could be developed against the increasing Turkish colonialism and aggression in South Kurdistan.

The PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) Executive Committee Member Murat Karayılan remarked that the Turkish state wanted to intimidate civilian people in order to dominate South Kurdistan and Iraq, adding that as a requirement of this concept, it strikes without distinction between soldiers and civilians. Karayılan pointed out that since there has been no reaction to Turkey, its forces saw no harm hitting the picnic area in Perex deliberately.

PKK Executive Committee Member Karayılan answered the questions of Dengê Welat Radio about the latest developments in Kurdistan territory. We publish the first part of the interview below.

The Turkish state attacked the village of Perex on July 20. Nine Iraqi citizens were killed, and dozens were injured. Why is the Turkish state targeting civilians?

Firstly, I would like to express my condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in this attack and wish all the injured a quick recovery. May God rest their souls. Our innocent people were martyred by Turkish colonialism. I strongly condemn this massacre committed by the Turkish state. Without a doubt, we should not only condemn it, but also carry out a struggle against this bloodsucking and occupying mentality.

This issue is being discussed intensely in Iraq, South Kurdistan and throughout Kurdistan. First of all, it should be noted that the village of Perex is located in Heftanîn. The village is one and a half kilometres away from the official border of Turkey. There is the Kiryaresh area, where a large Turkish military base is located. The Turkish state has currently occupied 23 hills in Heftanîn, which is to say, it has built military bases in 23 places, and most of them are located around Perex. Behind Perex, there are Turkish colonial forces, and there is a border line to the west. In fact, it is a region under the control of Turkish troops. It is true that there are the Iraqi Border Forces on the Kerê line in Perex’s south. There are also some peshmerga forces, but they are mainly under the control of the Turkish state.

Now it is necessary to express the following very clearly:

* The PKK has nothing to do with this incident. The Turkish forces dominate there.

* As the Iraqi authorities said, this attack was carried out by the Turkish state. This is certain.

* The Turkish state did not carry out this attack by mistake; it did it deliberately. This is also certain, because the Turkish troops are directly opposite the village, and 400-500 Turkish military vehicles are deployed there. There are generally about a thousand tourists over there. The Turkish state also knows that it is a touristic place. While the Turkish state can see a person under a tree and assassinate him with its advanced technology, how can it possibly hit a picnic area accidentally? There is no mistake here and the Turkish state did not shell the area just because a commander in the region wanted to do so.

This is Turkey’s official approach in politics. Turkish power elites want to establish their dominance in South Kurdistan and Iraq. They want to intimidate and kidnap people and seek domination by putting psychological pressure in this way. This is not the first attack. For many years they have been killing our civilian people in Southern Kurdistan, Rojava and Northern Kurdistan based on this policy. They want to intimidate people. And it seems that they don't want it to remain a picnic area; they rather want the area to be left to them.

Especially in the areas occupied by the Turkish army in South Kurdistan, they pursue such policies. The same is true in Metîna and Xakurke. In other words, Turkey does not want people in those areas and seeks to establish a complete military domination. In short, the Turkish state carried out this attack on purpose.


Maybe Turkey didn't expect such a reaction to its attack. They did not expect that much reaction, because they committed many massacres before that, and no country ever reacted. For instance, several massacres took place around Qandil, in Sheladize and most recently in Bamerne. Last year, they hit a hospital in Sikeniyê in Shengal and 8 civilians were martyred. If the Iraqi state and al-Kadhimi government had reacted to Turkey at that time, this latest massacre would not have happened. In August 2020, the two top military commanders of the Iraqi army, Zubayir Hali and Muhammed Rashit, were deliberately murdered by the Turkish state, but the Iraqi Prime Minister submitted to Erdoğan. They didn't react at all. That’s why the Turkish government is acting comfortably, but this time, especially the Iraqi people showed a very valuable response to Turkey. The Iraqi people said that 'enough is enough'. The latest attack was the last straw in this sense. A serious reaction has thus developed. When the people showed such a response to Turkey collectively, both Iraqi and South Kurdistan officials made statements, and there has been reaction on the part of the governments.

Although there are some shortcomings, there is a certain level of reaction that has emerged. If they had shown this reaction before, the Turkish state would not have been able to commit such massacres. If the Turkish state is not halted, it could do anything because it wants to establish its dominance over the area. They have such a purpose, and when necessary, they strike without making any distinction between soldiers and civilians.


The Turkish state has denied committing this massacre. It even claimed that the "PKK did it". Although Iraq proved that this massacre was committed by the Turkish state, Turkey denied it. This denial causes the world to see Turkey’s reality. What is this reality? This is what Turkey always does. Turkey promotes terror in Kurdistan, but it accuses us of being 'terrorists'. It kills our people but says that 'I don't kill civilians'. It completely denies and ignores the Kurdish people anyway. The reality of the Turkish state is denial, massacre and lies. The Turkish state is practicing state terrorism. This is what the Turkish state is. It has denied this last incident as well. Iraqi authorities have confirmed that Turkey did it, but they don't even take it into account. For example, Turkish authorities did not even reply to Iraq. They even said that "Don't fall into a trap, let's cooperate " as if they were talking to a child. They don't even have respect. Therefore, the massacre showed the true face of the Turkish state a little more.


Most of the statements made by the Iraqi state officials on this issue are right, but there is some incompleteness in the numbers they provided. Maybe their information is not complete. It is true that the number of military points established by the Turkish state in South Kurdistan is around 100, but the number of soldiers currently deployed and active on Iraqi territory is at least 30 thousand. Furthermore, the Turkish state's special forces, commandos, etc. all expert brigades are currently based in South Kurdistan, that is, in Iraq. It would be good to know the numbers properly. Another issue is that in the three-month period from April 14 to July 14, the number of Turkish bombings by fighter jets on Iraqi territory is 2,574, and the number of attacks by helicopters is 1,933.


I don't want to talk too much about who is responsible for the Turkish state acting so recklessly. This is already obvious, but the important thing is that now the Iraqi people, the Iraqi state and government have adopted a stance against Turkish state aggression. I think that this is an opportunity for the Kurdistan Regional Government and the KDP to make a fresh start. If they want, an opportunity has arisen for them, and they can adopt a new attitude towards Turkish colonialism. In other words, they can develop a Kurdish and Iraqi national attitude and make a fresh start against the increasing Turkish colonialism and aggression in South Kurdistan. Some political groups in South Kurdistan politics have already adopted a stance. However, those who have not taken a stand yet, even those who cooperate with Turkey, can also make a fresh start. While this is possible, there are also expectations for them to realize this opportunity and start over anew. We hope that a development may emerge thanks to the current situation.

Some criticize the PKK, saying that it has carried its war with the Turkish state to South Kurdistan. Is this the case?

There were also some discussions in the Iraqi Parliament over this issue. Some allege that the PKK enters the territory of North Kurdistan (Turkey) from South Kurdistan, strikes the Turkish forces there, and then returns to South Kurdistan. There is no such a thing in question. Nothing like this has happened in the last 10 years. Ten years ago, there was a ceasefire between us and the Turkish state. The ceasefire lasted two and a half years. According to the agreement, we were set to relocate all our forces to South Kurdistan. We had already withdrawn some of our forces, but when we saw that the Turkish state did not have good intentions, we stopped the withdrawal of our troops. At that time, the Kurdistan Regional Government was also involved in the relocation of our forces to South Kurdistan; they knew and confirmed it. Iraq also confirmed it de facto. Everyone knows this. Guerrilla forces had to withdraw to South Kurdistan to continue negotiations with Turkey. Then Erdogan, that is, the Turkish state, halted the peace process even though a memorandum of understanding was signed at Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul. Nowadays, we are marking the anniversary of this termination of the peace process. On July 24, 2015, Turkey launched a direct attack on South Kurdistan. Since then, the Turkish state has been unilaterally mounting attacks wherever we have forces. We are just defending ourselves and the lands of South Kurdistan in a legitimate way. This is how the current war is taking place. We have not brought the war to South Kurdistan. Turkey has brought this war here. It's not that we go and shoot them, and they respond. They attack us unilaterally and want to occupy the lands that comprise the territories of its National Pact. We are also against this. We are defending the lands of Iraq and South Kurdistan. They want to occupy these regions. This is the current situation.


Well, if we are the cause of the attacks, then why does the Turkish military have a base in Bashiqa? Why did the Turkish state not withdraw its troops from Bashiqa when the Iraqi government asked them to do so 3-4 years ago? Turkey has never withdrawn its forces, and now secretly deploys its troops to Kirkuk. It also wants to occupy Kirkuk through its troops that it deploys as civilians and the MIT (Turkish intelligence service) elements. It builds up a force and trains its forces over there. The Turkish state has plans for these lands. This needs to be seen. Maybe a part of the issue concerns the PKK, but the PKK is not the whole problem. This is a reality, too, and must be seen.

Haven't some truths been exposed after the reaction of the Iraqi people?

Of course, the reactions of the esteemed Iraqi people have had such an effect. Against Turkey’s Neo-Ottomanist policies, all the peoples of the region, especially the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian-Syriac peoples can and should form an alliance. The Turkish concept is anti-Kurdish, but at the same time it targets the Arabs, Assyrians-Syriacs as well. It is against all the peoples of the region. Therefore, the ground of an alliance among peoples has also been strengthened in this way. An alliance has already been formed in North-East Syria based on the Democratic Nation perspective, but in general, an alliance of peoples should be formed against the attacks of the Turkish state. This requirement reveals itself once again.

Moreover, despite the current internal problems, the Iraqi state holds a strong position against the Turkish state. For example, if Iraq closes the border gate for two months and does not trade with Turkey, it could even cause the AKP-MHP government to collapse. Currently, South Kurdistan and Iraq are like a lifesaver for the Turkish state. Turkey sells its products in these lands. If the Iraqi state halts trade with Turkey now, Turkey cannot endure this economic crisis and will collapse. In other words, Iraq has an economic card which strengthens its hand. Iraq can take a stance and give the necessary answer to the Turkish state in this way. In this manner, not only the people who were killed in Perex, but also 138 of our people who were martyred on Iraqi soil as a result of the Turkish attacks in the last 7 years, including those who were martyred by colonialism in South Kurdistan, Iraq and Rojava, can rest in peace. Therefore, such an attitude needs to be developed.