Karayılan: This is a historic period of settling accounts
“If the Turkish state advances towards the inner parts of Southern Kurdistan, that would turn into an opportunity for us. We won’t be basing ourselves on a defense tactic against them with our current forces.”
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Executive Committee Member Murat Karayilan spoke to Yeni Özgür Politika on the Turkish army’s strategy for war and goals, and the guerrilla’s style of resistance and action. Second part of the interview, the first part of which can be found here, is as follows:
The Turkish state claimed they were about to plant a flag in Qandil before the elections. What do you think the Turkish state’s strategic military goals are in Southern Kurdistan? Which regions are currently invaded?
As it is known, the Turkish state’s new concept for war isn’t just limited to the borders of Northern Kurdistan, but also encompasses fighting in other parts. This is what lies under the alliance between the AKP-MHP-Ergenekon and Al Qaeda lines. In this context, a certain level of war has developed in Northern Kurdistan, and with the changing style in the guerrilla, they know they can’t achieve much of a result anymore. However much they utilize intelligence and technology in Northern Kurdistan, they may be able to deal some blows to the guerrilla, but they can’t rip the guerrilla away from the bosom of Kurdistan. That is, they can’t actualize a war that will achieve results. I’m guessing they know this as well.
They have a concept they want to implement in Rojavaye (Western) Kurdistan, and it has been met with great resistance in Afrin. They experienced a serious military and financial wear and tear. They failed to extract the morale doping and political gain they were hoping for from there.
And, the current conjunctural system in Syria and Rojava doesn’t allow for the Turkish state to do more. They said so many things about Manbij, but actually what happened in Manbij was them fizzling out. Organizing a patrol on previously known common borders is not a true gain for them. But they do use it for propaganda. The Turkish state has entered sinking sand in Syria in essence, let alone being able to advance in Rojava, and they feel it in every step.
Turkish troops have been making efforts to cross the border and gain new positions in Southern Kurdistan. They first got stationed on Hill Koordine in Zap region, which is only 500 meters to the border. Then they got positioned in Xeregol 500 meters or 1 kilometer inwards, and at the Hill Xwedê in Govendê hamlet, which is at a 2-3 km distance to the border. Most recently, they held the Kanireş hillsides in spring. This location is an area we can call a buffer zone close to the border. Turkish troops moved southwards through that line which is located in between Deşta Heyatê and Xakurkê. It is not the main area of Xakurkê region, but just front lines we can call entrance. However, this is an empty area, with guerrilla control on one side and peshmerga control on the other side. There is Hill Kevortê in Deşta Heyatê area. They held this hill and then headed towards Lêlikan, an area they entered by means of aerial bombardments and artillery attacks. There is a 20 km distance between the border and Lêlikan. However, the Turkish army has not advanced 20 km into our zone. They advanced only 3-4 km from Kevortê. These are the areas they are holding at the moment.
The Turkish state has been in waiting in the areas they are present in since spring. Actually, they can’t dare completely, so they are trying to decide. If they withdraw from the area it would be a defeat for them, and they don’t want to do that. Especially their propaganda throughout the elections period and the discourse they kept pushing was based on more war and more advances. They again have to target Southern Kurdistan in accordance with the concept. They will supposedly push the guerrilla out and weaken and nullify the guerrilla this way. In reality, they are trying to implement the invasion they failed to in the past. They handle this concept with a more extensive planning than the international plot in 1999. Supposedly, they will rip out the PKK’s immovable encampments (which they couldn’t do even then) and settle there themselves. If that is truly what their concept is, they should be advancing.
They can’t dare advance alone, because they know they will face a serious resistance by the guerrilla. They can calculate that in the up and close of that landscape, there can be various dangerous issues and surprises for them. In this sense they are searching for something. We know that they have held meetings at various levels with Iran and Iraq. These three states even met in Baghdad together. These meetings occasionally take place still. The main thing the Turkish state puts forth in these meetings is, “Let’s have a joint operation against the PKK and completely eradicate them, then we can resolve this Kurdish issue in Southern Kurdistan which has given us all headaches and remove the Kurds’ status there, and thus achieve total control over them.” That is their fundamental goal.
That is why their primary target is the PKK. For Rojava, they say “Kurds must never achieve a status, if the Kurdish population of 3 million there achieve status the 25 million in Northern Kurdistan would of course ask for one too. If the Kurds have a status in Rojava, be it a federation or autonomy, if that system -whatever it would be called- comes to pass, there is also the possibility of the 6 million Kurds in Southern Kurdistan turning into a federation, and these two achievements of status would directly mobilize the people in its reflection in Northern.” Thus they aim to prevent the Rojava Revolution achieving status and to disband the status in Southern Kurdistan supposedly starting with the disbanding the PKK first. But they don’t talk about their goal to remove the status in Southern Kurdistan and include our people and political forces in Southern Kurdistan in their war against the PKK, and strive to win through that. In the current situation, that is not possible. If they did have the strength to make that happen, they would have long ago.
Our decision is this: If the Turkish state advances towards the inner parts of Southern Kurdistan, that would turn into an opportunity for us. We won’t be basing ourselves on a defense tactic against them with our current forces. Undoubtedly we will protect our forces, but our main tactic is to turn Southern Kurdistan into quicksand and a hell for the Turkish army in a historic settling of accounts. If they come, our goal is to turn this invasion attempt on its head and into a victory through the historic defeat of the Turkish state.
What kind of a cooperation is there between the KDP and the Turkish army in terms of the attacks and invasion attempt?
The Turkish state is trying to make the Iraqi and Iranian states support them to implement their concept. So far, it seems like they haven’t been able to reach a deal. Now the colonialist fascist Turkish state is more focused on Southern Kurdistan forces. Among these forces, it can be seen that the KDP is in a certain agreement with the Turkish state, but the extent of this is not entirely clear. What can be seen in practice is that they are opening up space for the Turkish state politically, remaining silent in the face of their invasion attempts and not standing against them, and sharing information and intelligence. In the current situation, the Turkish state and the KDP have taken on an approach of reconciliation to a certain extent. It is possible to explain what happened up to now. It is unclear whether the KDP will go on like this, if they would further this relationship or withdraw. The Turkish state wants to include other Southern organizations, not just the KDP, in this extent and further their relationships to use them against us in the war they are developing. Because the KDP can’t further the partnership with the Turkish state in Southern Kurdistan on their own, that would be politically risky for the KDP. That is why they focus more on the PUK. We occasionally receive word that the Yekgurti Islami leaders act as intermediaries between the Turkish state and various organizations, and that they have been pressuring Goran in this context. Hakan Fidan frequently visits Southern Kurdistan for this. They hold meetings with various forces and pressure them.
In short, the MİT is running rampant in Southern Kurdistan, meeting with one organization one day and another the next. By banning the foreign planes that come into the Sulaymaniyah Airport from using Turkish airspace, the Turkish state wants to make the PUK surrender through extortion, threats and embargos.
The Turkish state has taken full advantage of the lack of unity among Kurds in Southern Kurdistan, and is trying to form relationships with various groups, pressuring them to do their bidding.
In actuality, the conditions for the Kurdish people achieving important results in the Middle East have presented themselves. If a national unity approach is developed and fragmentations are ended, the Kurdish people have the infrastructure to achieve a strongest position in the Middle East today. All should see this and approach the matter with responsibility. Those who turn towards Turkish colonialism rather than national unity despite all these facts won’t be able to avoid answering for their behavior in the eyes of history tomorrow. Despite all, we need to insist on dialogue for national unity and aim to achieve results through dialogue and discussion.