Leyla Güven: Chaos is being organized again

Kurdish politician Leyla Güven said that visits to Abdullah Öcalan are no longer regularly approved and a chaos is organized: "If it continues like this, a coup mechanism mentioned by Öcalan could be set in motion again."

Leyla Güven is co-chair of the civil society organization DTK (Democratic Society Congress) and deputy of the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) for Hakkari. In her opinion, Turkey is not developing well at the moment: "Right now we need to raise our voice even louder. In addition, we must show a strong will that these problems can only be solved together. Despite everything, what is right must be named right. To name the right thing is our historical responsibility.”

From hunger strike against isolation to protest against trustees

Leyla Güven started an indefinite hunger strike against the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan on November 7, 2018, in the prison in Amed (Diyarbakir), where she had been held a political hostage since the beginning of the year. This action spread to all Turkish prisons and was then joined by more than five thousand PKK and PAJK prisoners. On the 79th day of her hunger strike Güven was released from prison and continued her fast at home in Amed. On the 150th day of the action, in which people in various countries participated, 30 prisoners turned the hunger strike into a death fast. On the 200th day, the demands were met and the hunger strike was successfully concluded. After this 200-day resistance, Leyla Güven was treated for two weeks in a private hospital in Amed. She still has not recovered completely. Last week, Güven went to talks in her constituency Hakkari and from there on to Amed to support the "vigil for democracy" against the removal of the elected mayors of the HDP.

Güven spoke to ANF about the recent developments and the current situation.

“We needed to hear Öcalan”

Leyla Güven was indicted last year for criticizing the Turkish invasion of Afrin. Anyone who calls the occupation of Afrin as such, faces an attempt of being silenced by the judiciary, says the Kurdish politician.

"Ultimately, however, it is an occupation, because the population was displaced and in their place jihadist militiamen were settled. The time during the occupation of Afrin was tense both internally and externally. At that time, I was under arrest. We started a hunger strike in prison, which quickly spread to all prisons. We all had one goal: the voice of Abdullah Öcalan should be heard outside as crises and chaos reign in the Middle East. The same atmosphere also existed in Turkey. Something had to be done about it. People who know societies well, analyze and investigate them, and study history can change the course of history. And Mr. Öcalan is one of those people. He is both a Middle East expert and connoisseur of Turkey’s politics. And he is someone who has been committed to a lasting and honest peace since 1993.

In that very time, his voice had to leap out and be heard. I started my hunger strike because I believed that Mr. Öcalan would pave the way for politics. All the friends in prison joined the action for the same reason. Whenever there is a glimmer of hope in Turkey, when people cling to this hope and believe in a solution, then the isolation of Mr. Öcalan is aggravated. Viewed in this way, it is clear what the real goal of politics in Turkey is. They don’t want hope to arise. There are circles that live on conflicts and chaos. They do not want the development of the country. They only pursue their individual and party interests. Therefore, they insist on war and incite the peoples against each other.”

“The first meeting proved us right”

The warmongers are countered by groups that defend peace, democracy, human rights and universal values, says Leyla Güven, adding: "Conflicts between these two fronts have always existed. Those who organize themselves within the society come to the fore. And it was at such a time that the voice of Mr. Öcalan had to pervade. On the 200th day of our hunger strike, we managed to crack the gate of Imrali open. We all proved to be right. Mr. Öcalan raised very important points yet at the first meeting with his lawyers. He proposed solutions that could help the Turkish politics draw a breath. We said back then that there would be important developments when Mr. Öcalan is heard. Also now we see attempts to bring the issues back to the same point. Again we experience a state of chaos. Every day there are signals that there will be an attack on Rojava. People are dying in the war and clashes are taking place. Hundreds of people are getting arrested daily in political genocide operations. Three metropolitan municipalities held by the HDP have been subjected to a coup and trustees appointed to their posts. Again, regular visits to Mr. Öcalan are denied and again a chaos is being organized.”

“Our voice has to sound loud”

Güven points out that the attacks on Rojava, the staged protest in front of the HDP party headquarters in Amed, and the appointment of trustees are related. She notes, "At just such a time, our voice needs to sound even louder. Once again we have to show a strong, common will for a solution. Despite everything, the right thing must be called "the right thing" in the name. If we express ourselves accordingly, we are attacked, but it is our historical responsibility to address the happenings. We have to do this. All revolutionaries, democrats, socialists, human rights advocates and groups who are for Turkey's development must have a word to say and raise their voices. It's exactly the time to do this."