Gulistan Gulhat: Beritan laid the foundation for the women's army

A commander of the YJA Star, Gulistan Gulhat, emphasises the important role Beritan played in the emergence of the women's army and states that the women's guerrilla force is a role model for internationalist women worldwide.

Gulistan Gulhat from the central headquarters of the YJA Star (Free Women's Troops) spoke to Stêrk TV on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the death of ARGK guerrilla fighter Beritan (Gülnaz Karataş). Commenting on the level reached by the Women's Army, Gulhat said, "We congratulate all the women of the world on the 30th anniversary of the Women's Army, especially the Kurdish women. In the past 30 years, the history of women's armed struggle has been written". Beritan was from Dersim, and although she was educated in the education system of the Turkish state, she always lived in the consciousness of being Kurdish and recognised the reality of the enemy, Gulhat said: "After learning about the ideas of Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], Beritan took to the mountains of Kurdistan and joined the guerrillas. The aspiration for freedom became Beritan’s own and she lived every moment in the guerrilla with great enthusiasm. Comrade Beritan played an important role in the formation of the women's army, she laid the foundation."


Gulistan Gulhat noted that the freedom fighter Beritan set new standards for the women's liberation struggle with her attitude, actions and dedication, and pointed to the difficult circumstances in 1992, the attempted extermination of the Kurdish freedom movement with the support of local collaborators and NATO. During this difficult time, Beritan did great things, noted Commander Gulhat, adding, "She fought until the last moment against the traitors and the Turkish forces, saved her friends, then destroyed her weapon and jumped off the cliff. Comrade Beritan’s attitude and devotion touched all women and became an example to them."

Gulhat explained that Beritan’s death brought forth the leadership role of women in the liberation struggle: "Comrade Azime became a follower of Beritan; with her faith, attitude and struggle, she showed how women will fight. These pioneers formed a strong unity around the women's army. Women's organising also became a light, a signpost for many internationalist women. To name a few examples: Canda Türkmen, Helîn Çerkes and Ronahî (Andrea Wolf). Other intelligent and pioneering women friends such as Meryem Çolak and Gurbetelli Ersöz also followed in the footsteps of Comrade Beritan."


Gulistan Gulhat remarked that the Women's Army came about through the efforts of Abdullah Öcalan: "Rêber Apo was behind us at every single moment. We owe the level we have reached to his efforts. He not only showed us women ways and methods of militancy, but he also accompanied us throughout the process. He was our companion, he taught us how to live freely. Self-knowledge and free living are an essential part of his ideas and philosophy."

The Women's Army has breathed a new spirit, a new life into Kurdish society, Gulhat concluded: "The Women's Army and the YJA Star forces represent a strength that is directed towards a specific goal. For six months, a heavy war has been waged against us in Kurdistan, but despite the intense attacks, they have not succeeded in breaking the will of the guerrillas of the YJA Star and the HPG (People's Defence Forces). As women guerrillas, we are fighting in the footsteps of Beritan, Zilan, Egid and Mazlum. In these 30 years, Beritan taught us resistance, Zilan taught us devotion, Sara taught us socialisation and struggle. As YJA Star, we promise victory on the path of our pioneers."