Karayilan: Is there room for the Kurds in the 21st century?

The Turkish state wants to restore the borders of the Ottoman Empire, said Murat Karayilan (PKK) exploring the question of whether there will be room for the Kurds in the political system of the 21st century.

Murat Karayilan, member of the PKK Executive Committee, spoke on current issues on Dengê Welat radio. We publish an excerpt from the interview, which deals with the effects of the successful resistance of the HPG guerrillas against the Turkish invasion in the South Kurdish region of Gare last February. Karayilan discusses relations with the KDP and the PKK's perspective in the context of the Third World War in the Middle East. For him the question arises as to whether the Kurds will be able to create space for themselves in the new political system of the 21st century.

Has the KDP's attitude towards the Kurdish liberation movement changed after the resistance in Gare? Are there any discussions between you and the KDP?

The victory in Gare was a success for the entire Kurdish people, because the enemy wanted to achieve results there and expand their rule in the region. It failed. In addition, the Turkish state had gone to far saying that it could conquest any place it wanted and no one could stop it. The defeat of the Turkish army in Gare has shown that this is not the reality. When the Turkish army is faced with a strong will, its soldiers and its technological means are not that strong after all. This fact became clear in Gare. Of course, this has also strengthened Kurdish politics. The same had happened in 2008, when the enemy in the Zap region was repulsed and Kurdish politics were strengthened. The success in Gare played the same role. The resistance there is beneficial to all sides, not only for the Kurds, but for all forces in the region. All base their policies on the new reality created in Gare and make changes accordingly. We find ourselves in a very important and sensitive time with regard to the results obtained in Gare.

To come to your question: At the moment there are no contacts with the KDP that are worth talking about, but this issue is not just about conversations and relationships. It is more important that the atmosphere created is understood by everyone. We believe that a certain level will be reached on this subject.

Even after the call for unity made by your movement, the KDP continued to attack guerrilla areas. What does it mean?

First, we need to understand the time we are in. We are faced with the Third World War taking place in the Middle East. This war is intended to change the political system of the 20th century and replace it with the system of the 21st century. As is well known, the Kurds had no place in the 20th century system. With the Lausanne Agreement, the existence and rights of the Kurds were denied. Of course, our people did not remain silent. Therefore, wars have been going on in Kurdistan for a hundred years. Blood has been spilled and very tragic incidents have taken place. Our people are still resisting and are at the forefront today.

The important question is whether the Kurds will have room in the political system of the 21st century. The forces that exploit Kurdistan and keep it under occupation are making great efforts to prevent this. The country of the Republic of Turkey is leading the way.

Of course, we must not remain passive in this situation. It is not good when the Kurdish movements withdraw into their own corner and act without a strategy. As Kurdish people, we need a common strategy and we have to make our efforts. Should there be a second Lausanne, nothing will be left of the achievements in South Kurdistan, Rojava and anywhere else.

The Lausanne Agreement has a validity of a hundred years. In two years, i.e. 2023, it will lose its validity, according to Erdoğan. Erdoğan has previously said that he does not recognize the agreement. Now his party is holding congresses and is preparing for a new era. Why? Because he wants to reoccupy the areas in the Misak-i-Milli borders after the Lausanne Agreement has expired. This is what all current preparations are aimed at. It is a very important issue with strategic importance. Accordingly, all Kurdish politics must think strategically and act sensibly. It must not allow itself to be restricted.

This does not only affect the Kurds. The occupation attacks by the Turkish state will also cause great damage to the Arab and Christian peoples in the region. Both the Kurds and all other peoples must pay attention to this situation and behave accordingly. Nobody is allowed to handle the situation according to the slogan ‘small but mine’. That is the wrong attitude. It is not time to try to save small things with a narrow political understanding. It's about the overall situation. If you only ask for small things for yourself, you will lose everything. We are in such a time today. That is why we say that everyone has to interpret the developments correctly.

You mentioned the attacks. It is correct there have been some attacks. For example, at Newroz, there was an attack on a small unit of ours in Berdesor. It's good that the incident didn't get out of hand. In addition, there are incidents here and there, like roadblocks, but we look at time from a larger perspective and we want everyone else to do the same. If we do not achieve a comprehensive thought in this historical time, we will all lose. Calculations are made with regard to Kurdistan. Even if unity cannot be established, Kurds are not allowed to help the enemy and work against each other. If the people comes to unity, that's good. If it doesn't come to that, at least one shouldn't fight one another. There must be no mutual weakening. This is important. It would of course be better to work together with a common strategy during this time. At this point I would like to appeal to all political parties, institutions and organizations in Kurdistan: Let us keep this sensitive time in mind. It is a time affecting us all. Let’s take on the responsibility to promote national unity. Everyone has to make efforts on this subject from their own point of view. As the PKK, we read these times within this framework. We will take our responsibility to do our part for the establishment of a common policy and national unity.