‘The Turkish government is experiencing its last winter’ – PART I

Nothing has been the same since the Turkish army's failed military operation in Gare in early 2021, says guerrilla commander Zozan Çewlik in an assessment of the past year.

Zozan Çewlik, a commander of the Free Women's Troops (YJA Star) headquarters, assessed developments in 2021 in an extensive interview with ANF. The guerrilla commander points out the intensity of the fighting that took place and remembers the martyrs of the liberation movement. Looking back on the past year from the perspective of the Kurdish women's guerrillas, Zozan Çewlik says the following:

In the 21st century, and thus in 2021, injustice, inequity and oppression have intensified and appear in a more refined form worldwide. Oppressed humanity continues to lose strength and will every day through poverty, hunger, disease and unemployment. The victims of this system of domination are above all women and children. The peoples and women cannot defend themselves against this fascist system because they have not been able to unite their means of self-defence and their capacity for organised action on a global scale.

Global and regional intensification of conflicts

2021 was an intense year both globally and in the region and in Kurdistan. The ruling policy that has marked the year is characterised by an approach that adds new conflicts to the existing unresolved problems. Also with regard to the Kurdish question, which is treated by our movement as a question of freedom, annihilation has been chosen within this hopeless violent structure. On this issue, those in power in Turkey and the regional elements, as well as the USA and NATO, do not develop new political approaches, they insist on the denial and annihilation of our liberation movement. The international conspiracy against our leader and our movement continues in a broader and deeper form. Of course, the resistance against this reactionary-fascist alliance has also continued this year. The Apoist spirit and will does not capitulate to the plot of annihilation and has not retreated one step.

Women's guerrilla as an elementary component

We started the year with sound planning and implemented much of it. As commanders and fighters of the YJA Star, we have fought in the past year in a form that corresponds to the strategy of the revolutionary people's war and the guerrilla of democratic modernity.

The development of a free life in Kurdistan is as important for women as it is for our people and other peoples. Therefore, our perspective of struggle envisages women taking an active and leading part in the liberation struggle. We consider women's guerrilla struggle as elementary for the emergence of a free women's identity and its organisation and further development as a historical responsibility.

Wounds caused by colonialism

2021 was an exceptional year in our history of struggle and the enemy attacks were also different from previous years. Of course, there has been a colonialist concept of destruction against our movement for a long time, but I believe that in the history of a people, a revolutionary movement and even a nation state, no belligerent power has ever used technology at this level and with such intensity. In Kurdistan there is no soil, tree, stone or rock and no living being that has not been hit by projectiles, rockets, bombs and parts of weapons. In our region, almost everything lives with a wound caused by colonialism.

The target of the attack was the guerrilla headquarters

For this purpose, on 10 February, the fascist colonial army of Turkey attacked a camp of ours in Siyanê in the region of Gare with a special operation, where prisoners of war were. This was not only an operation. The attack had a multi-layered objective. The target was the headquarters of the guerrilla movement. It was the first time that the Turkish army carried out such a military operation. Under the leadership of Heval Şoreş Beytüşşebap, an effective blow was dealt to the occupation forces. The victory of the guerrillas in Gare was a bitter defeat for the AKP/MHP government.

The occupation attack on Zagros, Avaşîn-Basya, Zap and Metîna on 23 April was aimed at breaking the psychological superiority created by the victory in Gare among our forces and the people. Of course, this was not the only aim of the invasion. It was planned beforehand, but the defeat of the enemy at Gare led to the occupation attack being postponed to an earlier date.

After Gare, nothing was the same

After Gare, nothing was the same for the enemy as it was for the guerrillas. The willingness to sacrifice, the Apoist spirit, the comradeship, attachment, conviction, passion, trust, love and revenge from our 43-year history of struggle have reached a higher level, a peak. A resistance has taken place that has never been seen before. It is difficult to describe, words lose their meaning. This resistance provides material for novels, songs, poems and films. Starting with Gare, we have witnessed concrete actions and the hawk-like power of the modern guerrilla in Mamreşo, Girê Sor, Zendura and Werxelê.

The enemy was not able to force the guerrillas to surrender and poisoned them with chemical weapons. If you examine our war history, you will see that the fascist Turkish army has already used chemical gas at Cûdî, Amed, Geliyê Teyarê and many other places in previous years. However, in the recent occupation attack, it was pushed into a corner by the resistance and used chemical weapons several times out of helplessness. This unbridled fascism has been defeated in the war tunnels of Werxelê. It has also suffered defeat in Zendura and Girê Sor. It has seen once again the invincibility of the Apoist spirit of sacrifice.

Guerrilla offensives with powerful performance

The revolutionary offensives launched by our forces are called Bazên Zagrosê (Falcons of Zagros) in the area between Zap, Avaşîn, Gever and Xakurke and Cenga Xabûrê (Battle of Khabur) in Metîna and Heftanîn. These are not just about self-defence, they are carried out with offensive and effective actions and a powerful performance. Most recently, in November and December, actions using the new-style guerrilla tactics took place in Heftanîn, Zap and Serhed, which were a shock to the enemy. In the course of the year, the enemy's concept of annihilation has not been completely undermined, but temporary and day-to-day political plans and tactics have been averted.

The planned elimination in Northern Kurdistan failed

The most strategic importance within this concept is our areas in the north. The operation conducted there under the name of Eren has gained continuity. Due to seasonal conditions, we do not have sufficient contact with our forces there, but nevertheless, apart from the Dersim area, these operations aimed at eliminating the guerrillas have failed. The use of chemical weapons is also reported in the media from Dersim.

Rojava and Şengal

In our country, Rojava and Şengal are areas where the greatest resistance by our people and their defence forces has been put up and where the values of the revolution have emerged in the fight against ISIS. In order to complete the policy aiming at genocide, friends were attacked who, like Sosin Efrîn, Rênas Rojhilat, Sêid Yusif, Apê Yusif and Merwan Bedel, did not deviate from the line of a free life and took a fundamental stance against liberalism creeping into us.

Because the fascist AKP/MHP government wants to disguise its defeat with military victories, such attacks on our leading cadres and our people are possible in the coming period as well. We have to be careful and awake on this issue. Our people must realise the need to transform war into the reality of a fighting people. It must organise and broaden its self-defence.

Tomorrow: The struggle against femicide and the importance of guerrillas