Karayilan warns against inter-Kurdish conflict

Murat Karayilan of the PKK warns against attempts to ignite an inter-Kurdish war. Addressing the KDP, he warns against being drawn into Ankara's war plans.

Murat Karayilan, a member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has warned against attempts to spark an inter-Kurdish war. Addressing South Kurdistan’s ruling KDP party, Karayilan warned against being drawn into Ankara's war plans.

“The partnership existing between the Barzani-dominated KDP and Turkey, as well as political and intelligence relations between the two sides, serves neither the government in Hewlêr (Erbil) nor the Kurdish people. On the contrary, they expose all Kurds to a great danger, because Turkey is exclusively concerned with the Pan-Turkish doctrine,” Karayilan said in a special program broadcast on Stêrk TV.

In the autonomous region of South Kurdistan, the conflict with the Kurdish liberation movement is again intensifying. The background is the recent concentration of Peshmerga special units in the guerrilla-controlled Medya Defense Zones. Karayilan, who is also supreme commander of the headquarters of the People's Defense Forces (HPG), considers the deployment of troops to regions such as Metina, Gare and Behdinan to be preparations for war.

"We observe serious military activities. At almost all points of our guerrilla forces, there are attempts by the KDP to station its own forces. If one route connects two of our positions, they are trying to set up military guards exactly there."

According to Karayilan, provocations recently occurred in the Zebari region when KDP forces attempted to install a site not far from a guerrilla post. "There were almost serious clashes. We intervened and defused the conflict. But if this continues, there is a high probability that a conflict will develop from these provocations. Personally, I would like to refrain from giving the order to target Kurds. Nobody within our movement wants this. It is important that this is understood by our counterpart. We are not afraid of war, after all, we fight the enemy every day. But to start an inter-Kurdish war is not what we want."

Karayilan went on to explain that the Turkish regime is pursuing a continuous strategy of causing internal Kurdish unrest and discord in order to assert its own interests. He said that this includes in particular influencing the public through targeted misinformation and propaganda. As an example, Karayilan cited manipulation by some officials from the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) that the PKK saw itself as an "alternative" to the regional government and wanted to take over Hewlêr.

“This manipulative narrative is now also being taken up by representatives of the KDP government. Whether they actually believe in it or want to convince anyone with this 'argument' is a mystery to us. In any case, we have no interest in being an alternative to the government. The establishment of the autonomous region is an achievement of the Kurdish people. It is an achievement that has emerged from decades of struggle. It stands for the will of the people," Karayilan said.

The HPG commander also criticized the persistent KDP media reports and accusations by the security forces that the guerrillas carried out the fatal assassination of the director of Asayish at customs at the Serzere border crossing on October 8. "Immediately after the incident was it said that the PKK was responsible. We were surprised by these certain statements, so we started our own investigations. In the meantime, we can definitely rule out any involvement of our members. If KDP could back up its claims with evidence, it would have done so long ago. What I mean to say is that the enemy is trying to turn us against each other with this strategy.

None of the inter-Kurdish wars carried out so far brought success, said Karayilan and continued; "In the 1990s, some groups may have profited from the fratricidal war, but these opportunities no longer exist today. Why is this so? We are in the 21st century and in the midst of discussions about a re-designation of the entire region. This also includes the question of what position the Kurds will take. We are in a phase that will be decisive for the further fate of the Kurdish people. An inter-Kurdish war at a time like this would mean our strategic end. This is our opinion. We as the Kurdish freedom movement are making sacrifices for the Kurdish cause day by day. If we suffer a defeat now because of internal conflicts, it means the loss of all the achievements we have made so far. This applies to the south as well as to the north, east and Rojava. Against this background we do not take the current situation lightly.”

Karayilan cited the example of Abdullah Öcalan to illustrate that the PKK is sticking to its goal of Kurdish national unity: "Rêber Apo [Leader Öcalan] made a single phone call in the 22 years of his imprisonment on Imrali. In this twenty-minute conversation with his brother Mehmet, he spoke for a quarter of an hour about the importance of national unity.”

Karayilan also expressed doubts whether the concentration of troops and political-military developments in Southern Kurdistan are taking place with the knowledge of Massoud Barzani, the chairman of the KDP; "We do not know his point of view because he has not yet spoken. However, we urge that Kek Mesûd [Massoud Barzani] speak out soon on why his own forces are set to be positioned along the connecting routes of our companions. We are in favor of eliminating conflicts and problems through dialogue. But if a military force like the guerrilla is gradually restricted and surrounded, this will inevitably lead to a conflict.”

Karayılan pointed out that the tensions between the PKK and KDP do not affect only two parties alone since it is a "national affair" that concerns all Kurds. He added; "Therefore everyone must contribute to solving the problem. We are ready for talks and other actions because we do not want negative developments to happen. The matter is very delicate. We want stability and peace in Kurdistan.”