TEV-DEM’s Koçer talks about possible scenarios for Syria

Koçer: “America's strategy in Syria is entering a new phase. They are closing the DAESH strategy. They are trying to develop a new war strategy in Syria.”

TEV-DEM (Movement for a Democratic Society) executive board Member Hesen Koçer spoke to ANF about the isolation imposed on Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan as well as the US decision to withdraw from Northern Syria and the Turkish state’s threats to invade.

Recently, there has been a growing movement against the isolation imposed on Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Leyla Güven’s hunger strike is on its 50th day. But the Turkish state ignores this and again the world opinion and states are silent. How long can this silence continue for?

The main purpose of the isolation imposed on the Leader is to weaken and neutralize the Kurdish freedom movement. Therefore, the isolation on the Leader was further deepened. If this is correctly interpreted, this isolation is actually an attack against the free Kurds and free Kurdish society. This isolation is not only an isolation used by the Turkish state. The international states, which have been involved in the conspiracy from the very beginning, have a role too in this isolation.

The European Court of Human Rights and the CPT are responsible for it. The Turkish state cannot maintain this isolation alone. Their primary aim is to isolate the Leader from the society. Today the attack on Bakur (Northern Kurdistan) is part of this wider plan. Again, the attacks on Bashur (South Kurdistan) and the closure of the Azadi movement centers as well as the attacks and occupation of Afrin ordered by Erdoğan are part of this wider plan.

And today, as a result of Erdoğan-America agreement, we can see how Erdoğan's attacks on the east of the Euphrates and the withdrawal of America are also part of this plan. We need to understand the concept of isolation well. Here, the will of the peoples is targeted. After the isolation on the Leader was deepened, they began their massacres in Bakur. They began to destroy cities in Northern Kurdistan. After Cizre, Sirnak, Sur and Afrin, now the target is the east of the Euphrates. All this is done according to a single system and with the support of international states.

So what should the Kurdish community do against such a wide conspiracy network?

Of course, international states will conspire for their own political and economic interests. What is important is how we are going to take measures against it and how to fight it.

In other words, as a Kurdish society and as peoples in the region, how we will resist this conspiracy and how we will fight against it... In fact, the conspiracy has been partially defeated from the beginning of the arrest of the Leader. The decision to issue an arrest warrant against the three most senior executives of the PKK actually shows that the conspiracy is failing. Because when they organized a conspiracy against the Leader, they said, 'the freedom movement won't last six months’. But it has been resisting for 20 years. This showed that the Leader’s philosophy was vital. They also started attacking parts of Kurdistan this time to prevent this. They attacked Northern Kurdistan, attacked Afrin, now they want to attack the east of the Euphrates.  

We need to look at all this with a wide perspective knowing that all this requires great resistance. As a matter of fact, a war of existence-non existence is being carried out against the Kurds. At the same time, this war is being conducted against the Middle Eastern societies. For this reason, we must give a struggle of existence- non existence against this conspiracy.

The hunger strike initiated by Leyla Güven is a very honorable action and stands against this conspiracy. It has spread in Kurdistan and Europe. We need to expand and diversify our actions so that we can defeat this conspiracy.

The resistance of the Leader in İmralı, the resistance of the people in Kurdistan and the strength grown thanks to Leader Apo, led to the frustration of this conspiracy. Therefore, these forces began to implement the conspiracy in a new way. They set up traps to prevent the projects of the Leader from being implemented.

In particular, the occupation of Afrin was not a geographic invasion. This attack was carried out to destroy the system that the Leader developed within the framework of the brotherhood of peoples and the democratic nation project.

For this reason, today the attacks on the four parts of Kurdistan and Northern Syria are linked to the isolation imposed on the Leader. In this sense, the more we raise the struggle against isolation, the more it is possible to vitalize the projects we want to develop. Isolation against the Leader is an isolation against the will of democratic nations and peoples. Therefore, it is wrong to limit isolation only to that imposed by the Turkish state. Because America's system is the system of international states. Turkey is acting as a guardian here.  

Even international courts are not approaching the issue correctly. The CPT has done nothing again until now. It visits the leader and then says there is ‘No torture’. Is there a torture method greater than isolation? You keep a person in a cell and he can't see his family or his lawyers. Turkey is their partner and they don’t want to renounce to this partner. They want to break the will of the Kurdish people and democratic peoples with this conspiracy. The situation in the east of the Euphrates shows this clearly.

While the fight against DAESH was approaching its final stage and on the other hand the Turkish state increased its threats, the United States decided to withdraw its forces. How do you interpret America's sudden decision?

The message we get from America's withdrawal is this: 'I do not address myself to your political administration’. We need to understand the message well. The US says ‘I do not accept your democratic project; I support the Turkish state’s project that supports DAESH and constitutes a threat on the whole world.’ The US say Turkey will continue

However, Turkey itself is DAESH, so how are they going to fight DAESH! We haven’t seen in the world’s history such an organized and systematic terror organisation as Turkey. It is worse than DAESH. Turkey’s occupation of Afrin has been under everyone’s eyes. Its massacres, changing the demographic structure, forbidding a people's language, liquidating its culture. All those crimes are carried out in front of everyone’s eyes and the whole world remains silent.

The only thing we can do here is to resist to protect our honor and will. Is Turkey going to make the operation of the east of the Euphrates to fight DAESH? Nobody believes that. DAESH has its centres in Turkey’s cities.  A ship full of weapons destined to Libya in support of DAESH was stopped. So no one would believe Turkey is fighting against DAESH.

America's strategy in Syria is entering a new phase. They are closing the DAESH strategy. They are trying to develop a new war strategy in Syria. And after this the Syrian war will turn into an international war. It is not wrong to consider that the US withdrawal from Syria is actually a way to renew its intervention and interference in Syria. America will not give up on Syria so easily. America's project is not just about Syria. America's project involves the whole Middle East. As a result of the agreement between the United States and Turkey, it is possible that Turkey would attack the east of the Euphrates. Because America wants to put pressure on Russia.

In fact, it is Russia, the Syrian regime and Iran that is pushing Turkey to the east of the Euphrates. Why is Russia doing so? Because Russia intended to create a war between America and turkey, make them fight each other, weaken the NATO and thus increase its influence on Syria.

Russia's second objective was to make the Syrian regime strong in the east of the Euphrates. According to them if Turkey attacks the east of Euphrates this time we would be dependent on Russia and the regime.

In fact, America's withdrawal was in a sense responding to this policy. It gave Russia the clear message that Russia cannot cause a war between them and Turkey, and that on the contrary there would be a war between Russia and Turkey.

In a sense, the US also sent a message to the European Union. Most of the EU countries are members of the International Coalition, but in practice they do not fight against DAESH militarily. The US needs to get them to share this burden. This is also a possibility. Again at some points, the EU did not support some of America's policies. Especially in the Iran issue and again in some problems with Turkey, as well as some other issues, the EU does not support the United States. In this sense, the US wants to get the EU together and use it within the framework of their own politics.

Within America, some people did not accept this policy. It seems that America is trying to make a new policy but many forces are not keen on this.

America, of course, has also sent Turkey a message. No matter the deal the US made with Turkey, they also sent he following message: Now you have to act within the framework of NATO. You went too far.

If we put all this together, it seems that a new political process will begin in Syria. What is this new politics and strategy? In my view, America is trying to design the Middle East strategy in Syria. In 2019, it will be trying to put pressure on forces close to Russia and to gather forces like Iran, on one side. It can also be interpreted from another point: America is starting to put together NATO once again. Because NATO forces are scattered.

What should the people of the region, especially the Kurdish people, do?

As a result of all this, a new policy, new balances and alliances will be established in Syria. But that's not what's important to us. What is important to us is how we will protect and strengthen these democratic gains that we have achieved as peoples.

Actually, Erdoğan is thinking that if he forces us to the east of the Euphrates, we will forget Afrin. But we won’t forget Afrin and will fight for the liberation of Afrin. At this point, all political balances may change. Turkey is afraid now. Because now, if all foreign forces withdraw, then Turkey will also need to withdraw.

Secondly, as society, we should not rely on other forces. We can develop our relations with foreign powers in the interests of our own society. If our society does not have any interest in these relations, we will end our relationship. We will make our own war. We will continue our work on all fronts, political, military and diplomatic. Because if a society rests on another force, it means that society has lost its own struggle and will sooner or later disappear.

Our Leader makes this clear in his defense. He says, ‘If you leave your own defense as a society in the hands of another force, it will be like throwing a liver in front of a cat’.

A society should not believe such things. Our society must trust its strength and organization. It is possible that we will have to pay a great price and suffer a lot. But we have to trust our own strength.

Again, we will have diplomatic relations with the countries in the region. The purpose of this is to make sure that society does not suffer any more. But we should not rely all of our hope and faith on this.

In every aspect: economical, political, psychological, all our institutions need to adjust themselves to the war. Because the Turkish state will attack. Because the Turkish state is trying to make us lose our gains. And it is possible for some international states to be involved in this.

But we will continue our diplomatic efforts with the countries that are on the Syrian territory. We also know that these are external forces and they are not based on the will and interests of the people. In this sense, we will not trust them either.

Syria is at a crossroad. Either a democratic system will be established or a Salafist system will develop. Is the world ready for a Salafist system? Because if Turkey attacks Syria then this is what will happen.

They will either divide Syria in small parts that many forces will try to put their hands on or a democratic system will be developed in Syria.