TEV-DEM co-chair: The KDP has left the basis of Kurdish identity
TEV-DEM co-chair Rûken Ehmed stated that KDP and ENKS are finished in Rojava and South Kurdistan because nobody believes their lies anymore. With a national congress, the KDP's propaganda will collapse completely, she believes.
"We will consider any attack on Kurdistan as an attack on Rojava," says the co-chair of the Northern Syrian Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), Rûken Ehmed. "The Turkish state is looking for opportunities for new attacks. The KDP wants to participate in these attacks. As a people and as a movement, we will never accept these attacks."
In an interview with ANF, Ehmed spoke about the current situation in Kurdistan and in particular the role of South Kurdistan’s KDP and its offshoot ENKS (Kurdish National Council) in Rojava, which collaborates with the Turkish state. She also commented on the situation of Abdullah Öcalan.
There has been no contact with Abdullah Öcalan on Imrali for a year. What do you as TEV-DEM do about it and what is necessary to do now?
In fact, the negotiations with Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] have not gone as desired since 2015. We can say that the negotiations were completely broken off. The last time he was able to talk on the phone was a year ago with his brother. But that was also interrupted. The idea is to prevent Rêber Apo's ideas from getting out. He has been imprisoned for 23 years and does not even have the rights of a prisoner. This is a great injustice. The responsible institutions are not fulfilling their duty, especially the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).
As TEV-DEM we follow this situation closely and fight in this sense. We are participating in the "Time for Freedom" campaign for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan. TEV-DEM's Human Rights Committee held rallies and seminars and issued statements on the issue of isolation. The CPT must respond. We continue our actions against this denial of talks with Rêber Apo and we must expand our activities. The aim of this year's Newroz was to enforce the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. This is our goal. We are fighting and we continue our actions.
"The Turkish state is preparing for war"
In the last few days, we kept hearing that the Turkish state is preparing a new full-scale invasion. What kind of information do you have on this issue?
The Turkish state has never stopped its attacks. For years, it has never paused in its attacks on the mountains of Kurdistan, the Medya Defense Zones, Southern and Western Kurdistan. The Turkish state is trying to profit from the war in Ukraine. It is preparing accordingly. As soon as it sees a gap, it will strike. We have some information on this.
How are embargo, ISIS attacks and attacks of the Turkish state to be considered? What is behind them and how can this development be stopped?
Turkish attacks on the region have failed in most cases and have not brought any result. But the attacks on the people continue. On one hand, there is the existing embargo against the region, on the other hand, there are many attacks by mercenaries of the Turkish state. The Turkish state, which has nothing left, does this to prolong its life. These attacks are aimed at preventing stability in the region and society. There are preparations in society against these attacks. The thing that will stop attacks is the organization of the people and the reliance on their own strength. We have plans for this. We are working at the social level to thwart the plans of the Turkish state.
The ENKS and the KDP try to spread propaganda and intimidate people. What is the division of labor between these organizations?
Organizations like the ENKS and the KDP have nothing to give to society. The ENKS does not have the power to do anything in northern and eastern Syria nor to organize society. It spreads propaganda among the population according to the wishes of the enemies of the Kurdish people. The aim is to neutralize society and take away its will. In our view, it is following orders from outside. Because the ENKS has no roots and no medium to carry out this policy on its own.
The collaboration of KDP and ENKS with the Turkish state is at the highest level today. Our people should know this. If they know the truth about the KDP and ENKS, their propaganda will be ineffective. For Afrin, the ENKS spreads propaganda and claims, " Afrin is now paradise." In Afrin, women are raped and kidnapped daily. Children are shot by mercenaries in schools. The flag of the Turkish state is hung in front of schools in Afrin, and the trees of Afrin are cut down. Where is the "paradise" here? On what basis does the ENKS make its propaganda? The ENKS can no longer achieve its goal through propaganda. Society no longer believes him because ENKS and KDP have done nothing for society. If our society organizes itself strongly, then the propaganda of ENKS and KDP will fail completely.
"A source of inspiration for the National Congress"
What kind of stance will you take in the event of a full-scale attack on Southern Kurdistan or the Medya Defense Zones? Are you in contact with organizations and movements in the other parts of Kurdistan about this?
Whether it is attacks on Shengal, the Medya Defense Zones, Rojava, Rojhilat, or any other place in Kurdistan, we will not accept the attacks and will take a stand. The guerrilla fighters in the Medya Defense Zones are the children of Rojava, Bakur, Başûr, Rojhilat and Shengal. Those who divided us into four parts are the ones who are attacking us again today. For this reason, we as a people and as a movement never accept these attacks. All the peoples of Kurdistan, especially the brave people of Başûr (South Kurdistan), should make these attacks fail as one. We must insist on this point. As TEV-DEM and Rojava, we need a national congress. A national congress will not defend the Kurdish people alone, it will be a source of inspiration for the Middle East. It will provide unity for the Arabs, the Syriacs, the Circassians, the Turkmen and all the other peoples of the region. By building this congress, we will bring down the whole plan for the Middle East. Thus, we will destroy the partnership of the KDP with the Turkish state.
As TEV-DEM, we are in contact with other movements in order to take a joint stand against the attacks. We maintain these contacts in order to take a joint stand. If Shengal falls, Rojava falls. We are all one and everything affects everyone. When Rojava wins, it also affects Shengal. Without the intervention of the people of Rojava and the guerrillas in Shengal in 2014, there would have been a much bigger massacre. 5,000 women fell into the hands of ISIS. The youth from Rojava did not recognize the borders. The guerrilla fighters in the Medya Defense Zones mobilized against the attacks. When Hewlêr (Erbil) was attacked, guerrilla forces rushed to help and protected Hewlêr. The same thing happened during the attacks on Maxmur. This is the created national spirit. This spirit is not broken by the attacks of the Turkish state nor by the propaganda of KDP and ENKS. All of them fought in one position and they fell together. This spirit cannot be broken. Therefore, we consider every attack on other places in Kurdistan as an attack on Rojava.
What does it mean that the KDP, as a supposed "Kurdish force," is determined to participate in or support the Turkish attack?
One must question whether they are a Kurdish force. The Kurdish people have stood against massacres, attacks and occupation for centuries and crushed them with the Serhildan (popular uprisings). It has stood against treason and collaboration. The KDP is an accomplice of the Turkish state. The Kurdish people and all organizations must accept that those who collaborate with the enemy and try to break our strength through attacks have left the basis of Kurdish identity. The KDP is attacking the guerrillas in the Medya Defense Zones together with the Turkish state. It is attacking the guerrillas, the only force that protects the world from the attacks and brutality of the ISIS gangs. This is inhumane. The guerrillas have 40,000 casualties who lost their lives defending Kurdish gains in Bakur, Başûr, Rojava and Rojhilat. If the KDP cooperates with the occupiers, then it has dehumanized itself.
I would like to address our people in Southern Kurdistan, especially the women. The attacks are directed against the entire society, especially against women. In order to stop this war, we have to create unity, both in general and as women. We must take a stand to protect the gains we have made.
"A success in Hesekê would have heralded the conquest of Rojava"
How do you organize society against attacks? There is always talk of a revolutionary people's war. Will this be the answer to the attacks?
The society is organizing against all-out attacks on the basis of the revolutionary people's war. It does not only mean taking up a weapon. All should see themselves as fighters in their fields. Whether a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer, all must behave as fighters in their unity. There are many works in this regard. But in terms of the revolutionary people's war, there are still deficiencies in our organizing. The defense against the attack on the prison of Hesekê was a small revolutionary people's war. If the people had not surrounded the mercenaries with their fighters, ISIS would have entered Hesekê. The attack was a part of the concept to conquer Rojava.
Despite the great danger, no one left Hesekê. Society came to the conclusion that the country could not be protected by fleeing. We must prepare our people together to defend our country against all-out attacks.