PKK Culture and Art Committee pays tribute to Halil Dağ

15 years ago, film director Halil Uysal died in an ambush by the Turkish army in Besta. The Culture Committee of the PKK paid tribute to the revolutionary filmmaker from the mountains of Kurdistan.

On the 15th anniversary of his death, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) commemorated film director Halil Uysal (Halil Dağ). The filmmaker died on 1 April 2008 in an ambush by the Turkish army in Besta in the province of Şirnak.

The PKK Committee for Culture and Arts said: “Halil Dağ lost his life on 1 April 2008 in an ambush by the occupying Turkish state. With great energy and unbridled passion, he has done great work for 13 years. He was a comrade, guerrilla fighter, author, photographer, director and revolutionary. He was the friend of the mountains. Halil means closest friend in Arabic. He was the closest friend of the mountains.”

The PKK committee said that Halil Dağ lived according to his name: “He has been in the hottest war zones and opened up a new front with his recordings and reports. Through his photos of the mountains and the guerrillas, he has immortalized their memories and feelings. With his films he brought their stories to life. He wrote poetry and transformed the aesthetics of guerrilla life into very emotional literature. Halil loved the mountains and the mountains loved him. He roamed high rocky landscapes and deep gorges. He searched for hidden and incomplete guerrilla histories on the mountain peaks reaching into the sky. He was there in war, in action and in moments of victory, as well as in dance and guerrilla songs. He lived with the water, the earth and the fire of the mountains and loved nature. Halil Dağ created the ‘mountain cinema’. In difficult and almost impossible situations, he produced a work of historical importance.”

With his films from the mountains of Kurdistan, Halil Dağ created a new form of Kurdish cinema, explained the PKK Committee for Culture and Art, adding: "Heval Halil was an exemplary comrade. In his texts and films, he always gave special space to the free Kurdish women and the women's movement. He was in love with free life, with the guerrillas and the mountains. He loved Rêber Apo [Abdullah Ocalan] and gave everything to fulfil the promise made to him. The moments he spent with Rêber Apo he described in his lyrics. Heval Halil fought for years in the open mountains with an Apoist attitude. His last project was called The Travelers to Mount Ararat. He went to the north of the country with the guerrillas and fell a martyr. Our task is to continue to follow his path and free Rêber Apo. Heval Halil is immortal.”

Halil Uysal

Halil Uysal was born in Germany in 1973 to a Turkish father and a Kurdish mother. When he finished elementary school, the family went back to Turkey. After graduating from a private school in the western Turkish city of Izmir, he returned to Germany in the early 1990s. He was one of the co-founders of the first Kurdish television channel MED TV, which began broadcasting in 1994. Here he also gained his first experiences as a cameraman.

In 1995, during a planned short visit to the Syrian capital Damascus for filming at the PKK party school, he was so impressed by the Kurdish liberation struggle that he decided to stay and join the guerrillas.