Engizek: From Zîlan to today's YJA Star

Xalide Engizek, a member of the Central Committee of the PKK, spoke about Zeynep Kınacı's action and the leading role that the women's guerrilla YJA Star is playing today.

Xalide Engizek, a member of the Central Committee of the PKK, spoke on the Dengê Welat radio station about Zeynep Kınacı's action and the leading role that the women's guerrilla YJA Star is playing today in the resistance against the Turkish invasion in South Kurdistan.

Zeynep Kınacı was 24 years old when she blew herself up near Turkish soldiers who were singing the Turkish national anthem, killing around ten soldiers while wounding over thirty, on 30 June 1996 in the center of Dersim. With her action, the trained nurse, whose nom de guerre was "Zîlan", set a beacon for the Kurdish freedom movement, especially the women's movement.

When asked about the meaning of Zeynep Kınacı's action, Xalide Engizek explained that a new line was established with it, the line of the Fedai, the fighters willing to make sacrifices, who also accept death in order to achieve their goal. This willingness to make sacrifices has become the ideological basis of the PKK and the women's party PAJK.

“Hevala Zîlan's action marked a change in time and place,” said Xalide Engizek, adding: “Our friends had done Fedai actions before, mostly in prison, but Hevala Zîlan's action was different in nature and style. She identified the target herself, did the necessary reconnaissance as a single person, wiped out an entire military unit. At this point, it's less about the number of casualties and more about the tactical importance of the action. They say that one person can be worth an entire army. Only an army could have done what Zîlan did. At that time, there were liquidation attempts by Şemo [Şemdin Sakık]. Şemo said that armed struggle in Kurdistan was not possible. At that time, tactical repetitions took place in guerrilla warfare. At the same time, the plot against Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] was being prepared. He was supposed to be physically eliminated and there was an attack in Damascus. And Zîlan's action was directed against this. She understood the developments correctly, understood Rêber Apo and saw the existing dangers. On this basis, she chose her target and acted like a commander with her own army against the enemy.

How do we want to live? As women, as people, as a nation, what should our lives be like? We can only live with a spirit of sacrifice because the enemy leaves us no other chance in life. If we want to live, we must live like Zîlan. We must live in sacrifice. For us, life is only possible if we destroy all hostile strongholds in ourselves, in our perception.

For this reason, the life line of Hevala Zîlan has become our ideological line. She stands for our lives. The present has been built in this spirit. The tactics presented by Zîlan are used today in the Zap, Avaşîn, Rojava, Shengal and throughout Kurdistan. If we as Kurds want to liberate the Kurdish people, the region and ourselves from the oppression of the patriarchal nation-state in capitalist modernity, we must live the line of Hevala Zîlan, as is happening today in the fighting in the Medya Defense Zones.

An epochal battle is being waged in Zap. The tunnel war shocked the Turkish state. As early as 2021, Turkey wanted to take the Medya Defense Zones and in particular the Behdînan region. This area represents the peak of the mountains of Kurdistan, the Zagros Mountains. The enemy assumes that if they control the Kurdish mountains, they can control everything. In 2021, it came to the south and claimed to have already liquidated the north. However, the resistance put up in the tunnels was a heavy blow to the Turkish army. If the guerrillas had been defeated as Kurdistan's professional defense force, the whole of Kurdistan could have been occupied, the liberation movement would have been overrun and the genocide of the Kurds could have been completed. That is why the Turkish state has mobilized all resources. It still wants to win this war.

In 2021, however, the Turkish state has made no progress. On 17 April 2022, Turkey attacked again after a three-day bombardment. The goal of this operation was a quick capture of strategically important places in the regions of Zap, Metîna and Avaşîn. The Turkish state used the collaborators of the KDP for this. The KDP has blocked all avenues to limit the guerrillas' freedom of movement. It provides logistics, transports the injured, gives the Turkish soldiers Peshmerga clothing and takes them to the war zone.

The war has been going on for two months and the guerrillas are resisting. In addition, they prevent the invading troops from entering their areas and fight with modern tactics and technology in the tunnels and in small units in the field. She defends the region and attacks the enemy.

The YJA Star organizes itself based on the rules for a free life and demands accountability from the state male system in Zap and Avaşîn. It holds the patriarchal system of rule to account for the rapes of women in all parts of Kurdistan, for death in prisons, for torture and femicides. It represents the guarantee of building a democratic, free and equal life. The performance of the YJA Star in this war was extremely successful. It is characterized by a keen mind at warfare, courage, and tactical and technical professionalism. This scares the enemy, and therefore it attacks massively. Because it cannot defeat the YJA Star, it takes out his anger on the women in society.

It's not about killing a few soldiers. The YJA Star is extremely flexible in its tactics. It is not only fighting physically in this war. With her struggle, it raises the bar for freedom."