Karayılan: The Turkish regime imposes war and bloodshed, aiming to achieve results through killing

“The people of Turkey should know that we are not enemies of Turkey and its people. We are also waging this struggle on their behalf. We do not want to break Turkey into pieces, we want to transform Turkey and turn it into a democratic country.”

Murat Karayılan, Commander of the People's Defence Centre (HSM) Headquarters, spoke to ANF about the desperateness of the Turkish state in its war against the Kurdistan freedom forces in the guerrilla areas in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) and its efforts to cover up the deadlock it finds itself in.

We publish the third part of the in-depth interview with Karayılan below.

Historically, the Turkish state has an approach of concealing its losses in war. Very rarely has it been seen to announce its losses. Of course, looking at the statements made by the HPG, it is understood that it still hides most of its losses. What is the reason for the Turkish state's recent losses?

Yes, up to now they have always meticulously concealed their losses. There are undoubtedly many reasons why they have disclosed some of their losses in these recent actions. I can mention a few of them:

The first reason is that the number of casualties in the actions carried out in the last move is very high. When the number of casualties is so high, they are forced to publicise a few people. Because these bodies are taken to hospitals and morgues; from there they are delivered to other places, to their families. In other words, when there are too many, it becomes necessary to publicise them, even if only a few of them.

The Turkish army was able to take their bodies with the help of the KDP

In addition, the Turkish state could not take the bodies of the soldiers who died in these said actions by its own means. Only with the help of the KDP was it able to take the dead and wounded from Amediyê to Turkey. This was also the case in the two previous actions. In the last action, they were able to take the bodies with the help of the KDP. They even got the villagers involved. The villagers found the soldiers who had scattered and disappeared in the field, and handed them over to the KDP, who then handed them over to the Turkish troops. In other words, there is a picture that cannot be hidden. In that respect, they are forced to confess some things.

Again, in the action in Xakurkê, a soldier told his commander on the phone, "We have at least 6 losses, and there may be more", and this was posted on the internet. At first, they had announced 3 casualties; then they increased the number to 6. However, the number of casualties was not 6. The soldier who spoke on the phone had already said, "at least 6, which is what I saw". However, there were 27 casualties and those bodies remained there for 3 days. Only after 3 days were they able to take the wounded and dead from there. When such situations happen, they cannot hide it, and they have to announce some of them.

Trying to polish up MİT with false news

On the one hand, it hides its own casualties, and on the other, it resorts to false reports about guerrilla casualties...

Yes. In the current situation, the regime is not only lying to Turkish society and public opinion; it is also making many people liars along with itself. It is making almost all media organs and politicians in Turkey liars. Because the information it provides is not true, but false. Everyone repeats this wrong over and over again in their news and comments, saying "this is the official statement of our state". Every time they suffer casualties, they create desktop news. For example, after the 12 January action, they also made news about our very valuable commander Peyman (Hülya Mercan), who had been martyred in 2019. However, comrade Peyman’s martyrdom had been announced by us long ago. Speeches and statements were made by our movement. Despite this, they reported that "MIT (Turkish intelligence service) destroyed one of their commanders in Metîna, where our soldiers died, in a retaliatory operation". And all their channels reported this as breaking news. Not only this, the same is repeated for many other comrades of ours. With such false news, efforts are made to polish up the MİT. They are putting together false scenarios by saying "MİT found them and carried out an operation". This shows their weakness, nothing else.

These actions of the Kurdistan Freedom Guerrilla caused the colonialist-genocidal Turkish Republic system to question the operations, especially the one they called Claw. There are also discussions about the withdrawal of the operations. In a past interview, you also said 'either they will withdraw, or they will all die'. What would you say about these discussions on the agenda?

Firstly, I must say that we are a movement that keeps our word. Personally, I would not say something that cannot happen, that we do not aim and cannot do, just for propaganda. Those words I mentioned were said for the soldiers who came to Girê Amediyê in the middle of 2022. Later on, the Turkish army withdrew from Girê Amediyê and left, but in September 2023 it came back again. And this time it tended to become permanent. For this reason, the guerrilla tends towards that area. Our aim is not to kill more soldiers, on the contrary, it is to prevent bloodshed. We are certainly not responsible for these deaths. The ones responsible for this are those who have decided to continue the war to this extent and come all the way to Amediyê and want to develop a permanent occupation here. As comrade Abbas pointed out, the main responsible parties are Tayyip Erdoğan and Bahçeli.

There is also a wrong strategy applied in practice, the attitude of sacrificing soldiers. In other words, there are practical acts that risk losses, as if to say, ‘you are military contractors, you should die if necessary.’ Maybe they are not in a situation of extreme impossibility as stated in the Turkish press. They have a certain level of armament, but the practices of directing them to risky areas, risking losses, almost disregarding the life of the soldiers is a fact. In this regard, we have repeatedly seen in practice that some commanders sacrifice dozens of soldiers for their own personal careers.

We are not enemies of Turkey

The public opinion and people of Turkey should know that we are not enemies of Turkey. We are not enemies of the Turkish people at all. We are also waging this struggle on behalf of the people of Turkey. We do not want to break Turkey into pieces, we want to transform Turkey and turn it into a democratic country. A democratic republic in which Kurdish and Turkish and all other cultures can live freely and fraternally is a fundamental goal. Leader Apo (Abdullah Öcalan) has made this clear. Leader Apo is the architect of the democratic republic strategy. It is the AKP-MHP regime that imposes war and bloodshed and aims to achieve results through killing.

Another thing is to empathise. Kurds are a people and want to exist. If Turkish, the language of Turkey, was to be banned today, wouldn't resistance be legitimate? This applies to every people. If a people's language and values are banned, the right to resist arises. The Kurdish people are also resisting on this basis. This must be recognised. On the other hand, Northern Kurdistan was not enough and now Southern Kurdistan is being occupied. You are in the position of an occupying power. You are not going to pick roses wherever you go, but to kill people. If you go to kill a man, you might even die. So those soldiers did not go up that mountain to ski in the snow. Therefore, those who implement this policy are responsible for these deaths. What was that soldier doing there? This is the question that should be asked.

In short, there is very intense disinformation. The truth is being distorted. The voice of the revolution, of course, cannot reach the whole society in Turkey. There is such a problem. Therefore, they are trying to engage and direct the society by arranging everything on the desktop as they wish. The reality is not like that. They are the ones who want war. What did Leader Apo say to his lawyers when they visited him a few times 5 years ago? "If I am given the opportunity, I will solve this issue within a week," he said. But despite this, why so much war, why so much material expenditure, why so many tanks, cannons and aircraft! Why are so many attacks being developed against the Kurdish people? How will they explain this in the face of history tomorrow?

Special warfare's search for foreign hands

There is also talk of continually putting forward foreign hands in the face of the rising guerrilla actions and basing these actions on the support of America, Israel, Iran and many other countries. The relations between the Rojava forces and the USA are constantly cited as an example. What do you think about these evaluations?

Yes. This is a generalised approach of the colonialist mindset of the Turkish state. In every period, they have always looked for an external finger to the Kurdish people's attempts to demand their rights. Whether so or not, they have always said "foreign powers". It is the same thing now. In the face of their own wrong strategy and the reality of defeat, they are looking for justification in the intervention of foreign powers. No, your strategy is wrong. You consider a whole society, a whole people as terrorists and want to destroy them. This is not possible; you cannot achieve it. But they insist on it. For example, they do the same thing in an effort to link our movement to drugs. For 45 years, the Turkish state authorities have been accusing us of drug-related offences. To date, there has never been a drug case against any PKK member in Turkey or anywhere else in the world. If it were as they say, there would be thousands of cases now, wouldn't there? But are there any at all? No. There may be some Kurdish citizens involved in various activities, but the PKK organisation's philosophy, morality and manners is based on the fight against all kinds of drugs. But despite this, they constantly make accusations based on this. These are all distortions of the facts.

We see many people with the word "Prof." in front of their names appear before the cameras and say "America, Israel, Iran are behind these actions". This is just outrageous. One can make sense of some special war propagandists, but we see even some people we follow, who defend some truths, say the same things. In other words, they are saying that this is a project, that there are foreign powers behind it, etc. Is this the truth? No, it is not. It has nothing to do with it.

Yes, America may have a Kurdish project. More precisely, it is said to exist. But it is not clear what it is. But there is no PKK in it. America has not only put us on the terrorist list, but also put a bounty of millions of dollars on our heads. Moreover, for 40 years the Turkish state has been waging a war against us with the political, military and technical support of America and NATO. If there was no foreign support behind the Turkish state and army, this war would not have lasted this long. Because the interest of global capital is not in the solution of problems, but in their unsolvability. That is why they support it and why they are waging it.

Can Turkish UCAVs and aircraft enter so far into Iraq and Syria without America's approval? Not even a bird can fly in Iraq without America's permission. Is there anyone who doesn't know that there has been a cease of aerial bombardments in Southern Kurdistan for years? Are these attacks being carried out here without approval? The support of the USA is clear. America says, "I support you", but when they are in front of the screen, they forget all this and say the opposite. If the US really supported the SDF and other forces in Rojava, if it had the intention of developing a project through the forces there, as the Turkish media circles claim, could it have kept silent about the attacks of the Turkish state in Rojava, in Northern and Eastern Syria, which are trampling on the laws of war and are directed against the basic sources of life of people? It would have prevented it. It can prevent it if it wants to.

Yes, there is a relationship between the forces in Rojava and America, but the American officials themselves explain what this relationship is. SDF officials also emphasise it from time to time. But the Turkish state uses this as an excuse to claim that there are international powers behind the just Kurdish cause in a very brazen and persistent manner. However, what they want is for America to support them just like it supports Israel. In other words, they criticise America so much because it does not support them as it supports Israel. This is the essence of it, and it is very clear that it has nothing to do with us.