Tuesday, July 31, 2007


"The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief."
~ Jacques Ellul.

Turkish Press Shields the Military's Deadlock with Lies

1. Recently in Turkish media there was news of the organization's internal conflicts and disagreements. Could you please give an explanation of this issue?

Our leadership is not allowed to meet with his family and his lawyers for three weeks, military operations are becoming prevalent everywhere. In this kind of situation, news sourced from the Turkish military (such as a suicide bomber) in the Medya Defence Zones is very attractive news. While the meetings of our leadership are blocked, operations are ongoing, people are treated in extremely undemocratic ways--these kinds of agendas and lies aim to worry and demoralize our people. The Turkish press is like the military's press; it wants to create an atmosphere that implies PKK has been finished, by news such as escapes from the organization, or that the military is capturing many guerrillas, etc. However, the situation is not the way that it shows. Our guerrillas, who are currently in an active legitimate defensive position, have sufficient experience to frustrate the military's operations. In order to contribute to the democratic solution, the organization did not have any operations within the election period; thus it showed its willing attitude toward the solution.

Although there have been various positive steps taken and progress made, the military is implementing a psychological war. News like "they fight with each other; they shoot at each other," or "there are escapes everyday; there are various numbers of captures," aims to distort reality, to worry and demoralize people, and to cause tension among them. Earlier, the Turkish general staff had mentioned that very intensive psychological warfare methods must be enhanced, and that they were engaging in this kind of warfare. This recent fake news shows their goals and intentions. Attacks against our administration fall within this framework. Our people must not give credit to these kinds of lies.

2. As a second question . . . Recently there has been an arabization policy implemented in Southwest Kurdistan (Northern Syria) near the border. Would you mind commenting on this?

Recently, in Southwest Kurdistan, there is an arabization policy toward our people in that region, through which Syria plans to arabize the Derik and Dirbesiye regions near the border. Within this plan, Syria wants to change the demographic structure and pacify our people living there. We think that this plan, and its implementation, is the work of certain people in the regime. These factions are the ones who deepen the denial and anihilation of the Kurds. These kinds of plans, in addition to destabilizing Syria, will also lead to infighting between the peoples.

Naturally, our people in Southwest Kurdistan will not accept this policy. The Turkish army has massed its troops since spring and has attempted to create a no-man's land along the Iraq border. It is remarkable that Syria brings up this arabization policy simultaneously. Syria must not take as its example, the approach of the Turkish government toward its own Kurdish question.

HPG Headquarters Commander

Dr. Bahoz Erdal

Monday, July 30, 2007


"The real terrorist threats are George W. Bush and his band of brown-shirted thugs."
~ Sandra Bernhard.

The US wants a piece of what the TSK has been getting from PKK for the last two decades. According to the WaPo, the US is going to assist the fascist Ankara regime with boots on the ground:

While detailed operational plans are necessarily concealed, the broad outlines have been presented to select members of Congress as required by law. U.S. Special Forces are to work with the Turkish army to suppress the Kurds' guerrilla campaign. The Bush administration is trying to prevent another front from opening in Iraq, which would have disastrous consequences. But this gamble risks major exposure and failure.

Oh, yeah. Failure, as in big time failure. Does the US think Iraq is a quagmire? Guess what the Kurdish mountains have been for the Turks since 1984? Quagmire. Failure. Flag-draped coffins.

Apparently this clandestine operation was briefed in secret to Congress last week by former ambassador to the Ankara regime, Eric Edelman. Edelman now serves in Paul Wolfowitz's old job--Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Another former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy--Douglas Feith--was described by General Tommy Franks as "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth." We can now characterize Edelman as the second fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth.

Edelman, a Foreign Service officer who once was U.S. ambassador to Turkey, revealed to lawmakers plans for a covert operation of U.S. Special Forces to help the Turks neutralize the PKK. They would behead the guerrilla organization by helping Turkey get rid of PKK leaders that they have targeted for years.

It's a rather Freudian description there--about beheading--because that's exactly how US special operations types taught the Turks to handle their Kurdish "problem":

Culemêrg (Hakkari) district, April 1995.

More photos and context here.

As Congressman Bob Filner stated in Congress in 1997:

Today Turkish special Comandos actually collect rewards for the severed heads of Kurdish guerrillas and others, casually referring to their victims as Armenians, leaving no doubt as to what is in store for the Kurds and their national aspirations.

Turkish commandos collect rewards for severed Kurdish heads because the US military taught them to do it. Where do you think Islamic extremists learned it? The US trained and supported them in Afghanistan and from there, the training spread. Who, then, are the real terrorists?

More on beheading as the American way of covert warfare:

What were these incredible capabilities of the Turkish commandos sharpened as they were by the members of the SEAL teams that according to the Washington Post may still be training these Turkish soldiers? A while back, the European newspaper, ran some of their photographed work in its front page, with a warning: pictures that will shock the world. Members of the same Turkish Mountain Commandos had posed for camera with the decapitated heads of the Kurdish guerrillas they had hunted in their war against the Kurds.

More from the second fucking stupidest man on the face of the earth:

Edelman's listeners were stunned. Wasn't this risky? He responded that he was sure of success, adding that the U.S. role could be concealed and always would be denied. Even if all this is true, some of the briefed lawmakers left wondering whether this was a wise policy for handling the beleaguered Kurds, who had been betrayed so often by the U.S. government in years past.

Is this the fruit of Deep State planning at the Hudson Institute?

If anything happens to "PKK leaders," we will all know who did it. End the cooperation.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I swear to the Lord
I still can't see
Why Democracy means
Everybody but me.
~ Langston Hughes.

Does anyone remember the kidnapping of Crescent Security Group's mercenaries last November? I always thought it was interesting the way a wall of silence fell over the incident, but now--lo and behold--today there's an article about the kidnapping and Crescent Security at the WaPo. What do all of these mercenary firms have in common? Love of money. Check it out:

Most of Crescent's employees were military and law enforcement veterans willing to accept extreme risk in exchange for fast money and adventure. Crescent handed out monthly pay in envelopes stuffed with Kuwaiti dinars. The guards took the money to currency exchange houses, which transferred the funds into their bank accounts.

"All you're thinking about is the money," said Chris Jackson, 28, a former Marine from Salem, N.H. "You have $50,000 in the bank, and all you're thinking about is, 'Another month and I'll have $57,000, another month and I'll have $64,000.' " By the end of last year, Jackson said, he had saved $55,000, even after splurging on Las Vegas vacations and a $5,000 Panerai watch.

"I hate to say it, but I am so thankful for this war," he said. "I only came over here for the money, and I didn't even know I could do this job until two years ago. I didn't know it was available to me."

Crescent's Iraqi employees were recruited by word of mouth; most lived around the southern city of Basra, a hotbed of Shiite militias, and were largely unknown to the company. Crescent used a two-tiered pay scale. Guards from the United States, Britain and other Western countries earned $7,000 a month or more. Iraqi guards earned $600 -- roughly $20 a day -- but performed the most dangerous work, including the manning of belt-fed machine guns while exposed in the back of the Avalanches.

Picco said the system was not ideal but was necessary to hold down costs. "To put 12 white people on a team, it's not economically viable," he said.

This "economically viable" system led to a deterioration of relations between the Western mercenaries and Iraqi mercenaries--no doubt because of the old-timey colonialist, white-man's-burden attitude at the heart of the mercenary business. Shortly after relations deteriorated, a lot of military equipment used by Crescent "disappeared."

Gee, I wonder where it went?

Read the whole thing. It's an incredible scandal. But don't think Crescent is alone in its quest for lucre; Blackwater USA is guilty of the same and body count be damned.

Hevallo has something on Turkish machinations to keep Sebahat Tuncel, parliamentarian-elect from Istanbul, in prison. Turkish "lawmakers," who specialize in changing laws to maintain a racist regime, are now claiming that Sebahat cannot enjoy parliamentary immunity because she was accused of separatism. If it were true that those accused of "crimes against the unity of the state" cannot be granted immunity then why did they free her from prison a few days ago? If the law were already in place and the interpretation of the law against the accused prohibited immunity, then why did they release Sebahat when they knew she would not be able to claim parliamentary immunity?

The answer is because Turkish "lawmakers" have only now come up with this brand-spanking-new interpretation in order to keep Kurds out of parliament and cut them off from the political process. This is consistent with the racist nature of the regime.

Another point: Turkey defended its right to host the HAMAS leader last year in Ankara, even though HAMAS is widely recognized as a terrorist organization by the US and EU, because it's on the same List as PKK. But Turkey defended the right of HAMAS leader Khaled Mashaal to sit down with Abdullah Gül for talks in Ankara. Gül defended the visit thusly:

Gul said that since Hamas won a democratic election, from now on it must act in a democratic way.

Yet Gül's--and AKPs--support for Sebahat Tuncel, who won her parliamentary position in a "democratic election," appears to be non-existent. Additionally, she is merely accused of membership in a "terrorist" organization whereas Khaled Mashaal is the acknowledged leader of a "terrorist" organization. Why is AKP not as eager to settle the problems its predecessors created in its own backyard, but it has to travel the world over to rescue others under repression?

Well, again this is consistent with the racist nature of the Turkish regime.

And, from the Who Cares Department, the Paşas are planning to stage a walk-out when all the new deputies are sworn in, in order to protest the presence of DTP in the parliament. It seems they don't like the idea of the support given by DTP constituents for the Kurdish freedom movement and Abdullah Öcalan.

It's pathetic to be so out-of-touch with reality. Either the Paşas are suffering from a collective case of dementia or the taste of sour grapes has given them a bad case of indigestion. Either way, too bad.

There's one more thing I've been meaning to draw attention to, and that's the recent encounter between Western archaeologist and JITEM in Sêrt (Siirt) at Samarkeolog:

It should be borne in mind at all times that this is only what visiting Westerners are subjected to; the plight of those who live there is immeasurably worse. Unfortunately, there are a range of sources that simplify the situation to the point that they hinder the struggle for human rights and democracy of all of the communities in Turkey, but particularly the Kurds.

[ . . . ]

This is an inordinately long post, for which I can only apologise; I'll try to make a summary of it, but I felt it was important to have as full an account as possible, to help other researchers and people concerned with northern Kurdistan/south-eastern Turkey understand the realities of the situation there (and to show the people there that some foreigners are trying to help).

These notes were largely written during those days and those immediately afterwards, but because of the conditions during the visit and the lack of time and the continuing search for information afterwards, some of them were written more recently.

I ought to make clear, now, that they are summaries of prolonged, stressful encounters, the conversations held almost exclusively in Turkish: some of the conversations were hours-long; sometimes, afterwards, I was still under surveillance, or the threat of it, so I couldn't make notes; my fieldwork diary was repeatedly read by the intelligence services, so I didn't want to make notes.

The conversations presented were written down, albeit sometimes a long time afterwards; they are summaries of the conversations, but the sentences and exchanges included are accurate translations, give or take the difficulty of translating Turkish to English semantically.

If you don't know anything about the situation, believe me, this post will be an eye-opener. In a perverse sort of way, I'm relieved to know that someone besides Kurds sees just how troublesome these JITEM vermin are.


"Postmodernists believe that truth is myth, and myth, truth. This equation has its roots in pop psychology. The same people also believe that emotions are a form of reality. There used to be another name for this state of mind. It used to be called psychosis."
~ Brad Holland.

From American comedian George Carlin, here in its entirety, from good old Mother Jones [paragraph breaks and emphasis by Mizgîn]:

"There's a reason education sucks and will never, ever, ever be fixed. Never get any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got. Because the owners of this country don't want that--the real owners, the big, wealthy business interests that make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have OWNERS. They own you. They own everything. They own the land. They own all the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Congress, the Senate. They have all the judges in their back pockets. They own all the big media companies. So they control all the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls.

They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. We know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of well-informed citizens capable of critical thinking. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart sitting around the kitchen table talking about a system that threw them overboard 30 f***ing years ago.

What do they want? They want obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paper work and just dumb enough to accept jobs with lower pay, longer hours, reduced benefits, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you collect it. Now they're coming for your Social Security money. They want your f***ing retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know that they'll get it. Cause they own this f***in' place.

It's a big club. It's the same big club they beat you over the head all day when they tell you what to believe, what to think, and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. Nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good, honest, hard-working people continue to elect these rich c*ck s**kers who don't give a f**k about you at all. At all. At all. At all."

OUCH!! Truth can be so painful.

Friday, July 27, 2007


"It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting."
~ Tom Stoppard.

I want to do a little bit of a wrap up of interesting odds and ends. These are things I've come across during the week that need to be noticed by Kurds.

First off, Dr. Kristiina in Finland offers her congratulations to the new Kurdish parliamentarians and expresses her happiness on their achievement. She has written something in Finnish for Finland's biggest daily paper and promises she will post some comments on the elections in English on Monday, 30 July. It will certainly be something to watch for.

Hevallo keeps hammering away at ExxonMobil. Apparently the corporation that racked up the greatest annual profits of any corporation in history (last year) has suffered some loss of profit. Give me thirty minutes and I'll see if I can squeeze out a tear for them--but don't hold your breath.

Stress is carrying an interview on Antiwar Radio with Joshua Frank, who talks about the danger of Deep State-funded Hillary Clinton becoming president. Some of the points in the interview include an acknowledgement of Hillary's meddling in foreign affairs and wars while she was merely First Lady. This may be an indication that she will be far more war-mongering and bloodthirsty than her philandering husband.

That's no small matter because Bill Clinton provided more weapons to Turkey toward the end of his administration than the US provided to Turkey during all the combined previous years of the Cold War, and he managed to have the American taxpayer foot the bill for most of it. Check a report by the Federation of American Scientists and an earlier report by HRW which documents how American weapons were routinely used against the civilian Kurdish population of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.

Now if Hillary gives indications of being more bloodthirsty than her husband, do you think that's a good thing for Kurds?

What may be even more alarming is the fact that there has been talk of appointing mass-murderer Richard Holbrooke as Secretary of State in a possible Hillary administration. Since the guy had been to Maxmur earlier this year, and since the guy is tight with Turkish business interests, namely the Sabancı gang, this doesn't look good for Kurds either.

Why? Well, check out an excellent article by Edward S. Herman (co-author with Noam Chomsky on Manufacturing Consent) earlier this year titled "Richard Holbrooke, Samantha Power, and the 'Worthy-Genocide' Establishment":

It follows that a man like Richard Holbrooke, who has been a part of the U.S. foreign policy establishment for over 40 years, is likely to have been a participant in the genocides that have taken place during that period. Thus, while Holbrooke regularly speaks and gets a warm welcome from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard and from Human Rights Watch, [2] we should recall that he was an official of the U.S. government during the Vietnam war era, from 1962 through 1969; he was the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in charge of Indonesian relations during the Carter administration, and during the worst and most genocidal phase of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor in 1977-1978. He was also an official of the Clinton administration, and eventually the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, in the years when the United States was enforcing the “sanctions of mass destruction” on Iraq.

If we measure “genocide” by the numbers deliberately and intentionally killed and the threat these actions pose to the survival of the target population, all three of these episodes in which Holbrooke was involved qualify for inclusion.

This means that a possible future Hillary administration could be dubbed "The Genocide Gang 2."

There's a good commentary at Harper's about the American Enterprise Institute:

To hear President Bush tell it, all he does is sit back and patiently take the advice of his generals in the field and in the Pentagon. But every field commander to return from Iraq and put on his civvies has told a different tale: the White House hammers ridiculous strategies down their throats, doesn’t listen to a word they say, and instead takes direction from a group of juveniles in their fifties over at Neocon Central Command, the American Enterprise Institute.

Read the rest.

Finally, Özgür Gündem has a couple of articles (here and here) about more election corruption in Culemêrg (Hakkari). Apparently, people voted in Culemêrg who were out of town on election day for various reasons--like they were in the military in other parts of Turkey, or they were teachers off to spend the summer with relatives--and voting was held in the graveyard . . . by dead people. Not only did the military cast votes in Culemêrg, even though the military is not permitted to vote by Turkish law, but the military also forced 317 villagers to vote openly. In other words, the military violated their right to a secret ballot.

In Riha (Urfa), seventeen ballot boxes are missing and no one seems to know where they are, when they went missing, or what happened to them. YSK will have to make a determination on the matter of the missing election boxes, but even if they are eventually recovered there will still have to be another vote because the boxes have been out of any official chain of custody. This means that the contents of the boxes are tainted and should no longer be legitimate. Or at least that's the way it should work in a democracy.

But I guess that's a bit of a stretch.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


"The official view in Turkey is that the Kemalist movement led the first anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist national liberation struggle, lighting the way for all oppressed nations. This ideological proposition, however, is refuted by the fact that the states formed in the region collaborated with French and British imperialism in dividing and subjugating the Kurds. Why do Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria have their separate Kurdistans today?"
~ Ismail Beşikçi.

Below I am reposting the interview conducted by Vineyardsaker at his blog, The Vineyard of the Saker, because there are a number of comments from others which help to round out the interview and give it more depth. The Kurdish situation, in the details of its history, is very complex or somewhat resembles a fractal, I suppose. There are any number of points which could serve as tangents for hundreds of other aspects of Kurdish history, so this interview is by no means an exhaustive piece on the matter, but both Vineyardsaker and I consider it a pretty good intro to some of the current issues surrounding the Kurdish people.


Today I am publishing an interview which truly gives me great pleasure: my Q&A email exchange with Mizgîn, a Kurd who has studied in the West and who generally supports the PKK. That is all I can say about her as in fact that is all I know about her. And that is how it should be. On my blog, names do not matter, not even self-evidently nonsensical ones (like, say, "vineyardsaker"). Only ideas are important here, and Mizgîn has a lot of very interesting things to say, things which are almost never heard in the West or, as far as I know, anywhere else in the world. This is, in fact, how I "met" Mizgîn: she posted some rather interesting replies on Scott Horton's blog and I decided to contact her and to request an interview. To say that I was not disappointed would be an understatement: I was delighted.

Mizgîn is the kind of person which I most enjoy listening to: passionate, strongly committed to her values, and willing to take the time to explain them to those who, like myself, know very little about her reality. In a time when Neocon propaganda is maskarading as "objective reporting" it is truly refreshing to hear a voice which concerns itself not with (pseudo-)"objectivity", but with the truth as she sees it.

I would encourage those who are interested in the topic of the Kurdish people to use the comments section to post questions for Mizgîn. You can also email me the questions and I will forward them to her.

Mizgîn preceded her answers with the following disclaimer:

"I have written PKK as "PKK" in the replies, because PKK does not exist as a party anymore. It is an ideological school. Neither is it or PJAK synonymous with KONGRA-GEL. KONGRA-GEL is an organization under the overall umbrella of KCK (Koma Civakên Kurdistan--roughly, Confederation of Kurdistan Societies), under which everything else falls, including HPG, the armed wing which is the successor of PKK's ARGK. If you see statements from the leadership at Qendil, you will see that it's coming from KCK. So the leadership at Qendil is in charge of more than just HPG or PJAK (including its armed wing, the HAK)".


Very little is published in the Western media about the developments in Turkish-controlled Kurdistan. Recently, Dahr Jamal has claimed that since the beginning of the year over 70 Turkish soldiers have been killed there by Kurdish fighters coming from Iraqi Kurdistan and that, in response, the Turks have deployed about 100'000 soldiers right on the border and that they are ready to invade Iraqi Kurdistan. According to him, only Washington's opposition has prevented this, but the risks of the Turks actually going ahead with this invasion are very real. Is this information correct and what is the current situation in Turkish-controlled and Iraqi-controlled Kurdistan? Do the Kurds fear an invasion and do you think they are ready to deal with one?

Very little about Turkish-occupied Kurdistan is published in the West because the West has to protect the genocidal regime it has supported for decades, and continues to support today.

It's very easy to find out how many Turkish soldiers have been killed. HPG publishes a monthly body count on its website. They have just published year-to-date totals and are showing 446 enemy forces killed, with a yearly total of 96 HPG martyrs.

How does Dahr Jamail know if the guerrillas are conducting operations from Iraqi Kurdistan? Has Dahr Jamail, or anyone else, taken out a map to actually look at the region to get an idea of what it takes to walk from Iraqi Kurdistan, specifically Qendil, to the places where clashes with the Turkish army have taken place? Bear in mind the topography of the region; mountain peaks reach approximately 12,000 feet (3700 m). Bear in mind the nature of guerrilla warfare; guerrillas move on their feet. Not in trucks, not in helicopters, not in armored personnel carriers, but they move on their feet. So it will take two to three weeks to walk from Qendil to, say, Dersim (Tunceli) province, Çewlik (Bingöl) province, Erzirom (Erzurum), Mûş (Muş), or Gümüşhane.

On top of the two to three week walk, they have to stop at times, make camp, do reconaissance and other patrols, and set up posts and machine gun defenses. By the very nature of guerrilla warfare, HPG's guerrillas are constantly on the move within Turkey itself, because it's not effective to spend the time walking to one operation in, say Dersim, and then walk back to Qendil. Such a thing would be sheer stupidity and, apparently, it's the kind of thing that Western media regularly expects us to believe. The majority of guerrillas are not at Qendil and have not been for some time. Even the Turkish regime is aware of this fact, as indicated by Erdoğan's statement in mid-June:

"Has the struggle against 5,000 terrorists inside Turkey come to a close, so that we can now start dealing with the 500 in northern Iraq?"

If the Turkish regime decides to invade Iraqi Kurdistan, it will be for some other reason and not because of "PKK." They may decide to do it to gain control over the oil at Mûsil and Kerkuk, or to secure their many business interests, or for both reasons. In the last 80 years, Turkey has engaged in a continuing genocide against the Kurdish people because the ideological foundations of the regime is based on denial of the existence of the Kurdish people, so there is also the problem that Kurds in South Kurdistan and in the Baghdad government are not holding true to Turkey's idea of Kurds as "Mountain Turks," as savages who are inherently incapable of the slightest degree of sophistication or ability, particularly as regards politics. As a result, it's also possible that Turkey invades for the purpose of saving its own ideological roots which are the very foundations of the current regime.

Has Washington's opposition prevented a Turkish invasion to this point? Well, that's a very simplistic view. First of all, every act of aggression carried out by the Turkish regime has had the approval of Washington, as well as the rest of the international community.

At the end of April 2006, just after the Turkish regime murdered a number of Kurds, including children, in the wake of the series of protests throughout Turkish-occupied Kurdistan known as the Amed Serhildan (uprising), Condoleezza Rice made a visit to Ankara. This was at the time that the Turkish army began massing hundreds of thousands of its troops in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and began shelling Iraqi Kurdistan. Her presence in Ankara while there were ongoing TSK operations is proof that the US encourages Turkey in its aggression against the Kurdish people.

By the way, notice the time frame of the massive deployment. It wasn't just recently that "100,000"--or whatever number the current propaganda quotes--Turkish troops deployed. They have been there since April of last year. This is similar to the Western media's other propaganda which said that "PKK" had suddenly called a ceasefire in mid-June, when the fact is that "PKK's" ceasefire went into effect on 1 October 2006. The American media warmongers were all over that. Plus there was some garbage that DebkaFILE picked up from its Kemalist friends at Cihan News Agency, stating that there had been a massive invasion of South Kurdistan.

On the other hand, no one, absolutely no one, in the Western media wrote so much as a syllable about Iran shipping weapons to Syria with the help of Turkey--and it was HPG that derailed the train. Yaşar Büyükanıt, the chief of the Turkish general staff, permitted this information to penetrate Turkish media for a brief period before it was finally censored.

Now another Kurdish blogger has speculated that the Turkish military is cooperating with Washington, acting as Washington's tool to threaten all of Iraq, including South Kurdistan, over rapacious oil laws that would permit an equitable distribution of oil revenue among Iraq's ethnicities after Western Big Oil takes its 75% cut of the profits.

So, is Washington the only thing preventing an invasion of South Kurdistan? Insofar as Washington itself is the lapdog of Big Oil, yes. Is it coincidence that the Turkish regime begins a new round of shelling of South Kurdistan as Iraqis--across the board--dig in their heels in opposition to the oil laws? I don't think it's a coincidence.

When I was in South Kurdistan two years ago, friends told me then that if Turkey invaded, everyone in South Kurdistan would take up arms against the invaders. Since then, the situation has evolved to the point where Kurds under Turkish-occupation would also rise up against an invasion of Southern Kurds, and a Kurdish DTP politician, Hilmi Aydoğdu, recently got himself in trouble with the regime for speaking this fact of life:

"The two sides in this war would be Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq. There are some 20 million Kurds in Turkey, and the 20 million Kurds would regard such a war as an attack against them," newspapers quoted Aydogdu as saying.

"Any attack on Kirkuk would be considered an attack on Diyarbakir."

Everyone knows this. Everyone. And when it is spoken out loud in public, the one who says it goes to prison. But prison does not negate truth. If anyone wants to engage in guerrilla warfare with 20 million Kurdish guerrillas in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and 5 million Kurdish guerrillas in South Kurdistan, then let's get on with it.

Are Kurds afraid of an invasion? No. This would not be the first Turkish invasion anyway. The Turkish regime has invaded several times in the recent past, even during the so-called "safe haven" in which the British and Americans permitted Turkey to bomb Kurdish civilians in the South--the very people the UK and US claimed to be "protecting." What did Turkey get from these invasions? "PKK" is still there. "PKK" is still fighting. Southern Kurds, ordinary people, are willing to fight the invader, too. Kurdistan will become Turkey's graveyard once again.

A basic background question: What are the differences between the KDP and PUK and what is their relationship to the PKK? Is this just a conflict between Barzani and Talabani or are there deeper, ideological, political differences between these to parties? Whom, if any, did Ocalan support?

The KDP is more conservative, more tribal or "feudal." The PUK is more progressive and oligarchic. The PUK was created from the KDP when there was a split among them back in the 1960s. The PUK was the first Kurdish group to side with Saddam against another Kurdish group, the KDP. They have been at each others' throats since then and they would still be if not for the fact that the heat is on and they are going to have to make South Kurdistan work.

The "PKK" and Öcalan have supported neither of these parties against the other, except during one, specific event. In 1997, the KDP brought in Saddam Hussein's army to help them recapture Hewlêr (Irbil) and the surrounding area, which had been under PUK control. The "PKK" went in to set up defensive positions in the Soran areas (PUK heartland) to help contain the KDP. The KDP had also captured Hero Talabanî, the wife of Iraq's current president, Celal. They were using her in anti-PUK propaganda which showed Celal as the "honorless fleeing husband." Celal Talabanî had, in fact, fled to Iran, leaving his wife behind. Ocalan called for her release and threatened to become actively involved in the fighting if KDP did not comply.

That was the only time that "PKK" sided with either group.

"PKK" has had its focus elsewhere, mainly in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and now there is a sister organization under the KCK which focuses on Iranian-occupied Kurdistan, both politically and militarily. "PKK" has always had guerrilla members from all parts of Kurdistan, as well as Europeans and guerrillas from other parts of the world. It is the same today. "PKK" is always open to anyone who wishes to fight with them, both politically and militarily, for the cause of freedom.

As for ideological differences, both KDP and PUK are far more conservative than "PKK." "PKK's" outlook is socialist/green and it is far more progressive than either KDP or PUK. A core value of "PKK" is gender equality which can easily be seen by the women's guerrilla army, YJA-STAR, and the training they give other women's rights activists in the Kurdistan region.

The general goals of the "PKK" are outlined pretty well in their Declaration for the Democratic Resolution of the Kurdish Question, which was propsed to the Turkish regime in August of last year.

From the outside, the capture of Ocalan by the Turkish MIT seemed to have crippled the PKK. First, where can one get somebody get good information about the details of his capture? Second, what has the effect of his capture been on the PKK? Is he still considered the PKK's leader and, if not, who has replaced him and how did that succession happen? Does the PKK consider Ocalan's call for a truce genuine, or has it been coerced out of him or outright faked?

Turkish MIT did not capture Öcalan. Öcalan was the first victim of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program and after his capture was arranged by the US--some say with the help of MOSSAD--he was handed over to Turkish MIT. In fact, the MIT undersecretary who was involved with the CIA in the capture is now a "consultant" for a Turkish mercenary company, Black Hawk Security, Inc. This company is based in Maryland, has a training facility in Silopî (at the Habur border crossing), and they are now serving as mercenaries in Iraq, including Kerkuk.

Ocalan wanted to change many policies when he arrived in Europe after being forced out of Syria and he, as well as the Kurdish people, hoped that his arrival in Europe would be the first step in a peaceful solution of the Kurdish situation. Both the US and Turkey applied pressure on the governments of Europe to prevent Öcalan from staying in Europe and to prevent a wider international discussion of the gross human rights abuses and atrocities that Turkey, with full American backing, had inflicted on the Kurdish people since the US-backed coup of September 12.

As an aside to this, the fact that US special operations types trained Turkish special teams is widely known and has been documented by Desmond Fernandes, Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Serdar Çelik, and Kendal Nezan, among others. Late last year, Desmond Fernandes published the results of his most recent research into US-backing of Turkey in the so-called "War on Terror."

It was a shock to see Europe behave with such arrogance and ignorance when Öcalan arrived in Europe. The policy changes that Öcalan wished to implement were stalled as the political side of the Kurdish freedom movement fought for Öcalan to be taken seriously by European governments. Some policy changes did go into effect, such as Öcalan's call for a unilateral ceasefire in 1998. Since this ceasefire was proclaimed when Öcalan was free in Italy, then why wouldn't "PKK" take it seriously? Or how does that prove that "PKK" was crippled? I mean, if "PKK" is crippled, why are there some hundred thousand Turkish soldiers deployed against "PKK" at this very moment?

While Öcalan fought to bring the Kurdish case to the attention of Europe, it was in the interest of the Kurdish people to uphold and support the ceasefire, so this is not coercion nor is it fake. The same goes for the current ceasefire.

It should be pointed out that those of the time who were calling for retaliation were the very same people who had ignored Öcalan when he came to Europe to solve the Kurdish situation by peaceful, political means. These people did not have Kurdish interests at heart but rather acted as agent provocateurs for the American and Turkish regimes. These were the political Left of Europe, the same ones who stand behind the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. These agents, the non-Kurdish leftist grassroots apparat in Europe and North America, cut all ties with the Kurdish freedom movement as soon as they saw there was no retaliation forthcoming, calling "PKK" "defeatist" and "Kemalist," and accused the Kurdish freedom movement of having "betrayed" the cause of the "proletariat" for not fighting for their "socialist revolutionary war."

Kurdish hope in Europe as a bastion of democracy and justice was destroyed with the international conspiracy against Öcalan and the Kurdish cause, and the response to the capture was intense, furious, and personal. Greek embassies were targeted because they were initially seen to blame. Many set fire to themselves in protest. Israeli embassy personnel in Berlin murdered four young Kurds protesting Israel's hand in the capture.

Öcalan is still considered the leader of the "PKK," but there is also an executive council of the KCK which also makes decisions for the movement. One has to consider the love that the Kurdish people have for Öcalan and the politicization of the people that has come about as a direct result of the "PKK." Whatever minor concessions the Ankara egime has granted came about only as a result of the blood of "PKK's" martyrs. The "PKK's" political wing has enlightened the Kurdish people under Turkish occupation and this enlightenment can be seen today throughout the region, in the efforts of the DTP in overcoming obstacles to the political process in Turkey, or in organizations such as the Peace Mothers. In this respect, the Kurds under Turkish occupation are much better off than Kurds in South Kurdistan, because they are much more politically aware and act on their awareness. As an example of that, all one has to do is follow the activity of the DTP mayors. This is the result of the blood of "PKK" martyrs.

It has been reported in the Western media that the "Kurdish Peshmerga" had offered the Iraqi government to eliminate the Sunni militia in Baghdad (according to some reports they wanted to do this with the support of Shia militias) but that that offer was rejected. Is this information correct? More generally, would it be correct to say that the Kurds are closer to the Shias than the Sunnis because the Shias are less set on opposing an largely autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and because the Sunni militias have a lot of former Baathists in them?

KDP has been closer to the Sunnis historically, and PUK has been closer to the Shi'a. Only the Western media and its consumers would be stupid enough to circulate rumors--no doubt started in Arab media--that Kurdish pêşmerge would "offer" to eliminate Sunni militias in Baghdad. If anyone would have wanted someone else to eliminate Sunni militias, it would have been the US, and they would have had to make the "offer" to Kurds because it's obvious that the US can't do anything about any militia in all of Iraq.

If anyone at all can hold Iraq together, it's Kurds because they have tried to work with both Sunni and Shi'a, even though 98% of the Kurdish people in South Kurdistan don't want to be part of Iraq at all. Of course, democracy requires a complete disregard of the wishes of the demos.

According to definition of the word "pêşmerge," and according to popular view, pêşmerge are not aggressors. The word "pêşmerge" is the name of a defending warrior, someone who stands before death. If you're an aggressor, you don't stand before death, you are death. Those who stand against you, to defend themselves, are pêşmerge, or those who stand before death.

Those Kurds who make up the majority of the Iraqi army are no longer pêşmerge because their loyalty is to Iraq, not Kurdistan, and they're no longer serving in a Kurdish army.

Additionally, Kurds are not interested in invading anyone else. There are enough problems to deal with inside Kurdistan itself without having to look for more problems in someone else's house.

What do you make of Ahmed Chalabi? It is often written that he began his career as a Kurdish politician but that he also has close ties to Shia factions. Where are his loyalties? Does he matter in the Kurdish political life? There also is the persistent rumor that Chalabi was an Iranian agent who acted as an "agent provocateur" for Tehran who wanted the USA to get rid of Saddam Hussein and bogged down in Iraq. According to this thesis, the Iranian actually used the clueless US Neocons to get them to push the USA into a war which would serve Tehran's interests? Does this thesis make sense to you? What is written about all this in the Kurdish media?

How can Ahmed Chalabi get his start as a Kurdish politician when he's not a Kurd? I don't know of anyone who likes Ahmed Chalabi, and the KDP never liked him. He might have had closer ties to the PUK, but I'm not certain about that because I never see anything about Chalabi in Kurdish media. So he's meaningless as far as Kurdish political life goes.

As far as the clueless neocons getting conned by Chalabi, in my opinion it was a mutual con. Michael Ledeen is one of the neocons who's well-known for his close associations with Iranians and their con men. Maybe somebody should ask Ledeen about Chalabi.

General Joseph Ralston, former Vice Chairman of the JCS, has been appointed by Bush as the US "special envoy" to "coordinate" the PKK for Turkey. What does this appointment mean? What is the current US policy towards Kurds and what are their objectives for Turkish-controlled and Iraqi Kurdistan? What will Ralston true role be?

The appointment of Joseph Ralston as the "special envoy" to "coordinate" the PKK for Turkey means that the US and Turkey intend to continue the genocide that they've inflicted for decades on the Kurdish people under Turkish occupation.

Joseph Ralston is not merely the former NATO commander and vice-chairman of the US JCS, he's also a member of the board of directors for Lockheed Martin. He's also a vice-chairman of William Cohen's The Cohen Group, which is a lobby firm among whose clients is Lockheed Martin. In the months before he was appointed, he was listed with the US Senate as a lobbyist for The Cohen Group for the purpose of exporting tactical fighter aircraft. That listing fell under the Lobby Disclosure Act and two of the required documents have been posted online. Within two months of his appointment, he managed to swing $13 billion worth of tactical fighter exports to Turkey as a result of his "coordination of the PKK." The aircraft involved in the deal were F-16s and the new F-35.

He is also a member of the advisory board of the American Turkish Council. Lockheed Martin is also a Golden Horn member of the ATC, something which costs $11,000 per year--chump change for Lockheed Martin.

Out of sheer frustration with getting this conflict of interest presented in the American media, I wrote something on it last October and published on KurdishInfo, with a follow-up on the F-35 deal. Slowly, a friend and I got a few independent journalists interested, including Kevin McKiernan, Chris Deliso, and Ken Silverstein. Luke Ryland, a blogger who has done a lot of research on the Sibel Edmonds case, picked up the Ralston conflict of interest, and from there, Sibel herself picked up the information and added it to hers.

The appointment of Ralston is highly cynical and only serves the interests of the American corporatocracy. Ralston, along with Yaşar Büyükanıt, rejected the PKK ceasefire out of hand and further rejected any political settlement on the IRA model, while the international community obeys its American masters, as with everything. These people do not want peace; they want to continue the genocide. That's the American policy toward Kurds and its objectives for Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and South Kurdistan--Genocide. Kurds are a very inconvenient problem when they exist in a region rich in energy resources.

What is the situation of the Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan and what is the connection of the PDKI and the PJAK to the KDP, UDP, PKK? What has been the role of Iran in regards to the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq and what are, in your opinion, Iran's objectives concerning the Kurds and their future?

The situation of Kurds in Iranian-occupied Kurdistan does not differ very much from the situation in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Kurds there are also repressed by a genocidal regime that denies Kurds as Kurds, prohibits Kurdish language and other forms of cultural expression, imprisons, tortures, and executes Kurds who are politically active or Kurdish journalists who don't reproduce the mullahs' propaganda in their writing, and economically strangles the people to death. If it were not for the limited liberation in South Kurdistan, Kurds in the East would be much worse off than they are right now.

Iran shares Turkey's goal of genocide of the Kurdish people.

PDKI has no relationship with PJAK and as far as I know, it's not even located in Iranian-occupied Kurdistan. I have no idea what its relationship with KDP or PUK is.

PJAK is part of "PKK" and gets all its support from "PKK." Cemil Bayık said as much last November.

In the last few years there has been some cooperation between "PKK" and KDP. At least, there have been no hostilities such as there were in the 1990s, when the KDP fought alongside the Ankara regime against the Kurds of the "PKK."

There was an item in Turkey's Akşam, in which the Turkish general staff claims that their intelligence says that some 1,000 guerrillas will join KDP's special forces and be deployed along the border with Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. We'll have to see how true that turns out to be, but KDP's special forces were founded by a former "PKK" guerrilla and such a turn of events would be the Ankara regime's worst nightmare come true.

The relationship with the PUK may be a bit more stand-offish, especially since Qubad Talabanî, Celal Talabanî's son and PUK's representative in Washington, was recently involved in a scandal at the Hudson Institute, with the Americans and a representative of the Turkish general staff. Among other things, they discussed assassinations of Kemalist members of the judiciary, suicide bombing of shopping areas, and the capture of "PKK's" leadership at Qendil, sort of a sequel to Öcalan's extraordinary rendition.

This was a huge scandal in the Turkish press, and the Islamist Zaman carried two articles in English, "Terrifying scenarios discussed at US think tank," and "More details revealed on scandalous meeting." Given that we know the Turkish regime, with US support, regularly engages in black operations against the Kurdish people and in Western Turkey in order for the Turkish military to keep a death grip on the reins of power. The scenarios discussed at the Hudson Institute are very similar to recent events or are very similar to incidents in the past. Since everyone knows that these things are possible, and that the Deep State carries out such operations, no one was laughing about this scandal.

Of course, Qubad Talabanî's presence at such a planning session is absolutely unacceptable from any honorable Kurdish perspective.

But you read about all of this in the US media, right?

For many years it has been reported that Israelis have been involved in the Kurdish issue and that they have been covertly arming and training the various Kurdish militias. At the same time, the Israelis are also allied with Ankara. What is the current Israeli policy towards Kurds in Turkey and Iraq and what are their objectives in these areas?

Why is it that no one bitched about the Israeli presence in South Kurdistan during Mala Mustafa Barzanî's time? Yes, there's a long history between the Barzanîs and Israel, and apparently there were some Israeli contractors, former military types, training pêşmerge in counter-terrorism tactics a few years ago. As for the details of the current relationship, I don't know.

Yes, Israel is an ally of Ankara, just as the US is, and for that reason, the only policy that Israel could have toward Kurds under Turkish occupation is the same as the US and Turkey--Genocide. I have never come across any stated Israeli policy toward the Kurdish people under Turkish occupation, although Israel's cheerleaders in the US appear to have sudden bleeding hearts for Southern Kurds, Kurds in Iranian-occupied Kurdistan and Kurds in Syrian-occupied Kurdistan.

Now isn't that a curiosity in itself? The enemies of Israel are guilty, according to Israeli cheerleaders, of severe repressions of Kurds but there is a total lack of concern for Kurds suffering the severe repression at the hands of Israel's good ally, Turkey. What does that tell you? Sure the Israelis engage in tit-for-tat when it suits them, like suggesting that they sit down and talk to Öcalan since Turkey invited the HAMAS leader to Ankara. But they don't mean it and, as far as I can tell, Israel has no interest in justice for the Kurdish people. They ignore Turkey's atrocities and they've ignored Syrian, Iranian, and Iraqi atrocities until they think they can use it for their own cause.

But then, like the US, Israel doesn't recognize the Armenian Genocide either.


On the Kurdish side, the Kurds are the only nation that does not want to annihilate the Jewish people or Israel, and this is consistent across the political spectrum. Kurds don't support the annihilation of the Arab or Turkish people,for that matter. And Israel knows this, which makes its position that much more hypocritical. On the other hand, the vast majority of the Turkish people hate Israel and Jews, and subscribe to every anti-Jewish conspiracy theory that comes along. When I was in Turkey two years ago, what was the bestseller? Mein Kampf. It was everywhere, from the shiny, new modern grocery store in Amed (Diyarbakır)--which was built to serve the local military families--and in upscale bookshops near the Sultanahmet in Istanbul.

What should Israel do, in contrast? Here are the Kurds, a nation trying to rise from the ashes of brutal repression, a nation willing to see others as their equal and never act as an aggressor toward its neighbors. What should be the Israeli policy toward such a people?

According to Wikipedia, various religions are present among the Kurdish people. While most Kurds are Sunni Muslims, others are Shia, Christian and even Yazdani. What role, if any, does religion play in the Kurdish political processes?

Except for the Kurdistan Islamic Union in South Kurdistan, there is no religion in the Kurdish political process. Kurds are overwhelmingly secular.

Insurgencies and political parties need money and support. How do the PKK/KDP/PUK/PDKI/PJAK finance themselves? What are their sources of income? Where do they get their weapons? Who trains them? Most successful insurgencies have outside supporters, does anyone support these groups and, if yes, who? How much money do Kurdish exiles in Europe and elsewhere send to these groups?

The KDP and PUK are part of the Kurdistan Regional Government, a recognized political entity. As such, they are financed like any other government--taxes, loans, interest, trade. I suspect PDKI gets at least some of its funding from PUK, but I will leave that open to question.

PJAK is part of "PKK," so it gets its support from "PKK." Now, even if I knew the details of "PKK's" funding, I would not discuss it because I view it as a matter of national security. However, historically, "PKK" gets its funding from the Kurdish people themselves, mainly by the Kurdish Diaspora in Europe. Europe has historically been the biggest source of funding. "PKK" has taxed smugglers moving through its territory, regardless of what's being smuggled--and "PKK" has neither cared what is smuggled nor has it wanted to know.

"PKK" has trained itself for decades now. It doesn't need anyone else. Besides, who's going to teach Kurds how to conduct a guerrilla war in the mountains? Everyone else is a rank amateur when it comes to this.

I assume that "PKK" gets its weapons in the same way that anyone else would get weapons--from international arms dealers. "PKK" has money; arms dealers have weapons.

The PKK used to have a formidable underground organization in Europe which in the eighties even succeeded in perfectly coordinated attacks on several Turkish embassies in different European countries. What happened to this network? Has it been destroyed by European police/counter-intelligence agencies or is it still out there?

The "PKK" has never had an underground organization in Europe. The "PKK's" organization in Europe is the Kurdish people in diaspora. More aggressive actions have been carried out there by young Kurds who have the will, and are militant and professional enough to carry them out. Even the political wing of the old "PKK" (the ERNK) had offices in Europe,and underground organizations rarely have offices.

There are millions of Kurds in diaspora that support the Kurdish freedom movement--and remember, Istanbul, Ankara, and other Turkish cities are diaspora. Although Turkey is constantly engaged in psychological operations against the Kurdish people and their freedom movement, the people know the justice of their own cause, even while fighting for legitimacy in the "civilized" world. It is the shame of Europe that it has remained silent for so long about the massive, systematic, state-sponsored human rights abuses carried out against the Kurdish people under Turkish occupation. Given US-backing of the same abuses, it is also a shame against the US as well, particularly when activists like Noam Chomsky, John Tirman, or Kevin McKiernan have documented and publicized the US role in Turkey's atrocities, and human rights groups in the US have documented American sales and subsidies of weapons to Turkey, which were used to murder some 40,000 (official figure, therefore most likely on the low side) Kurdish civilians, utterly destroy some 4,000 villages (about the same as Saddam Hussein destroyed in South Kurdistan), and displace some 3 million more.

The information on all of this is widely available on the Internet, so there's no excuse for not knowing about it.

Whoever wants to get rid of the "PKK" must murder the 20 million Turkish Kurds at the very least. That applies to the Kurdish Diaspora in Europe, so if European police/state terrorism agencies want to do that, I guess they can refurbish the ovens they used in their last genocide and put them back in service.

In conclusion, in which country is the current situation of Kurdish people the most likely to result in some kind of peace? How do you see the future of Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and Iran?

Ironically, the country in which the Kurdish people will find some kind of peace will be Turkey. Turkey's elites are going to try to drag the rest of the country into the EU, so even though support for EU accession is at a low point, they will probably continue with it because they are too far along in the process.

There have been those in the Turkish elites who have made remarks here and there that indicate they realize very well that Turkey's future viability lies in full equality and freedom for the Kurdish people. Unfortunately, it has been these very same people who have created a monster of the majority Turkish population through a media and system that are dedicated to perpetuating ultra-nationalistic propaganda. I think it will take a few generations, if they start to undo the damage now, to turn the Turkish people into democrats. But that means they have to end the ultra-nationalist propaganda and change the system now.

There are certain groups within Turkey that are willing to work peacefully with Kurds. Most of these are among the intellectuals or are on the Turkish Left. Also, Kurds under Turkish occupation are not as isolated as those in other parts of Kurdistan.

Finally, the efforts of DTP in the recent election campaign have been Herculean and heroic. If this leadership can continue to grow in experience and maintain its determination--something that I do not doubt--then I,for one, feel great hope. Certainly I think DTP has made mistakes in the very recent past but, on the other hand, they are on the political frontlines and deal with the situation in and up-close and personal way every day, yet they continue to push the boundaries.

As bad as the situation in Turkey has been and can be, including with the recent declaration of a new OHAL (State of Emergency), I feel the most hope for this part of Kurdistan.

In Iraq, the greatest problem is the extreme corruption of the two main parties, the failure to provide basic services to the people, the repression of free speech, and a perverse refusal to invest in self-subsistence. Food is entirely imported, and that's a serious problem for a population that has always been predominately agricultural without going in to the danger of relying on surrounding, hostile regimes for a food supply.

Syria and Iran, the two allies, have the Kurdish regions they occupy virtually cut off from the rest of the world and are ruled by repressive, racist regimes.

The key is the Kurdish population of Turkey, the largest population of Kurds on earth. Equality and freedom for us, within the Turkish state, will transform the entire Middle East for the better.

Serkeftin! (Victory)



Sebastians said...


GREETINGS from Poland.
July 23, 2007 11:22 AM


July 23, 2007 12:10 PM

Hevallo said...

Mizgin leads the online world struggle against the psychological labelling of the Kurdish struggle as 'terrorist'. If we had just 10 or 20 more like her we would have 'Serkeftin' much sooner!

She is Mamosta! (Teacher)
July 23, 2007 2:19 PM

SebastianS said...

Some links are dead, for ex:” They may decide to do it to gain control over the oil at Mûsil and Kerkuk, or to secure their many +++business+++ interests"

I will ask about some things later.
July 23, 2007 2:19 PM

anticapitalista said...

An excellent interview especially seeing how the US/UK have been using the Kurds in Iraq to justify their imperialist occupation.

A couple of points I'd like to add about Greece's role in the 'capture' of Ocalan. The then PASOK ('socialist') government basically handed over Ocalan to the Turkish MIT in Kenya. This caused absolute outrage amongst ordinary Greeks, who have a good history of supporting the Kurds (unlike the Greek government(s) that were busy deporting Kurds back to Turkey, Iran and Iraq.) Huge demonstrations followed in Athens and Thessaloniki in support of Ocalan and the PKK. I remember going to a solidarity concert held in Aristotle square in Thessaloniki and at least 50,000 were there and on the demonstration earlier about 20,000. It was very clear to the Greek Left that the PKK were freedom fighters not terrorists, just as much as the ANC in South Africa and the PLO in Palestine fighting for their freedom.
At the same time I got to know some young "Turkish" Kurds (they were from Istanbul) who were studying at the University of Thessaloniki and they were very critical of the PKK, but from a Marxist/Trotskyist perspective. They argued that the PKK had basically considered ALL Turks as the enemy and the main aim of the PKK was an independent Kurdistan, whereas these young guys argued the main aim should be unity with Turkish workers against the Turkish state and for equal rights for all those that lived within the border s of Turkey. ie the class question was more important than the national question.

Anyhow, the oppression of the Kurds in Turkey still continues despite the so-called "European path" taken by the present Turkish government, and the "intervention' of the European Union. Until Kurds get their rights, they will, quite rightly, continue to resist.
July 23, 2007 3:00 PM

lukery said...

superb work. Thanks to both of you.
July 23, 2007 10:45 PM

Anonymous said...

I've been reading Hevala Mizgin's comments for a long time, and admire her accuracy, ferocity, and dedication. I'm glad you initiated this exchange with her, and I hope more people will better understand the murky relationships and political betrayals, commitments, and connections she outlines.

The only comment I would raise is about Mizgin's response that the overwhelming majority of Kurds are secular. Having spent several years among Kurds in Amed and elsewhere, I think the relationship between Kurds and religion, particularly Islam (altho' the Yezidi question is salient in S. Kurdistan, as witnessed by recent events between those communities) is much more complicated. Many, many Kurds are deeply pious and committed to an Islamic tradition, even as many, if not most, of those same people also support a Kurdish independence struggle.

Sure, within the 'PKK' and its various political/military entities an explicitly socialist orientation mitigates against religious identification, but I'd say the majority of ordinary civilian Kurds, in Turkey at least, are fairly committed to their faith as well.

I say this only because I think it complicates the picture in an important way. Kurdish friends of mine who embrace a socialist politics have continued to express concern at what they perceive as a growing Islamic movement within the Kurdish community of Amed and the region, a movement aimed at emphasizing religious connections over ethnic divisions within Turkey. There is evidence of a growing Islamic movement in places like Amed that is specifically aimed at Kurds.

And for what it's worth- I have encountered the same anti-semitic, paranoid conspiracy theories and propaganda from Kurds in Turkey as I found among Turks. It makes sense - they are products of a shared ideological system in many ways, for all that Kurds have the crucially different experience of subjugation under an oppressive regime - but it serves to qualify Mizgin's assertion that Kurds don't share Turkish prejudices in this regard. It used to infuriate me, that Kurds, victims of genocidal politics and oppression, would spout the same twisted racist ideologies about another people. The distinction between 'a people' and 'a regime' crucial to maintain - difficult as it is to do sometimes. Otherwise we're not too much better than the others.

That's all for now - mostly I wanted to say Thanks, and Biji Hevala Mizgin!
July 24, 2007 6:10 AM

Anonymous said...

Hey VS, congratulations on all your interviews.

The other day you were asking for Scott's show from Monday. Here’s the show but it’s incomplete. I got the last 70 minutes.

July 25, 2007 4:24 PM


Hey - you are a champ! Thanks a lot. Cheers!

July 25, 2007 4:38 PM


And thanks for pointing our mediafire.com to me - that is *exactly* what I needed for my blog.
July 25, 2007 4:47 PM

berxwedan said...

Excellent interview!

To "anonymous" that commented on the secular issue:

Secularism doesn't mean atheism. Many Kurds in northern Kurdistan are devout muslims, but they would think twice before involving religion into the Kurdish political process. The devout Kurds voting for the Turkish Islamic AKP party does so because they're not interested in the Kurdish political process, so the Kurdish secularism is safe.
July 25, 2007 5:27 PM

Mizgîn said...

First I would like to publicly thank the Saker for giving space to a Kurdish voice, especially one in support of the Kurdish freedom movement. There are not many who are willing to listen. Perhaps if the Saker had been appointed as "special envoy" to "coordinate the PKK," there would be hope for a political solution within the territorial integrity of Turkey at this moment.

Anticapitalista, I have no doubt the Greek people were outraged, as you describe, by their government's collaboration in the extraordinary rendition of Öcalan. It should be noted that the Russian Duma voted to grant asylum to Öcalan, but was overridden by the same enemies of the people. This is the problem of "democracies." People labor under the illusion that their will and their vote makes any difference.

The Istanbul Kurds must not have known much about the founding of "PKK." There were ethnic Turks among the founders and there are ethnic Turks in the mountains fighting for the Kurdish cause today. These ethnic Turks recognize the idea that "if one person ain't free, ain't anybody free," and that by fighting the cause of the most oppressed in Turkey, they are fighting for true freedom for Turks as well.

At the time of the founding of "PKK," the Turkish Left was more concerned with the revolution and felt that once it was achieved, they could then turn their sights toward the Kurdish people. The founders of "PKK" could not accept this, particularly after the 12 September coup. The atrocities of Diyarbakır Military Prison provided the moment of clarity necessary to shape many future lives. When those who survived were released in 1982, they joined "PKK" and were trained and ready to launch their first operations against the regime on 15 August 1984.

"PKK" formed an alliance with DHKP-C in the late 1990s (more on that kind of thing here and today there are socialist groups within Turkey who support the Kurdish people and Kurdish freedom movement. I have never heard that "PKK" had rejected any of this kind of support.

From the beginning, then, to say that "PKK" considers all Turks as the enemy is not correct. However, it's very possible that the Istanbul Kurds were completely unaware of the founding of "PKK." If it's difficult to find correct information in the West, imagine how much more difficult it is to find such information in a society that is completely saturated with the regime's fascist propaganda.

Anonymous, thanks for your comments and your points are well-taken. However I was responding to a question in a political context. I think that Berxwedan has given a good explanation of the position I was coming from in the interview.

Except for the KIU, I do not know of any other religiously-based party. I think there was some talk of another such party starting up in South Kurdistan a few months ago, but I really haven't seen much on that, so I don't want to count it.

On the other hand, when people vote for KDP, PUK, or DTP, I don't think they're doing it from a strictly religious position. There's an awareness of separation of religion and state, so that more religiously-minded people still feel that they can vote for these parties (or the "Kurdish List" as during the Iraq elections) without compromising their personal or social values that stem from religion.

Having spent time in Amed with religious families, the talk in the home centers much of the time on politics. Who do they support? "PKK." Why? Because "PKK" fights for the people. Back in the early 1990s, "PKK" eased it's position on religion because it realized it had to in order to be successful. This change was not disregarded by Kurdish imams, and they are able to accept it because they know "PKK" is concerned with the state and not with religion.

On the other hand, the movements and ideas that you mention that have infected segments of the Kurdish population with anti-semitism or aiming "at emphasizing religious connections over ethnic divisions within Turkey," are not genuine Kurdish ideas or movements. These ideas come from the Turkish-Islamists, especially from Fethullah Gülen. AKP is Gülen's party.

Turkish-Islamic synthesis was the agreement in the 1980s between Gülen's gang (Turgut Özel was a Gülen disciple), which led to the regime's founding and sponsorship of Turkish Hezbollah specifically to combat Kurdish nationalism and "PKK". We all know what Turkish Hezbollah did (and Kurdish imams in Turkey know, too). Turkish Hezbollah slaughtered Kurds, including moderately religious Kurds.

And now we have Gülen's propaganda institutes (i.e. schools) popping up all over South Kurdistan in order to turn Southern Kurds into good Turkish Islamists. Why does KRG allow this? Incredible!

Then there was the presence of Ansar al-Islam in and around Helebçe, which is a very conservative, very religious population. Yet even here, the people despised Ansar, especially after it beheaded pêşmerge of the progressive PUK inside a mosque. Ansar is no different than Turkish Hezbollah.

So the people are able to make the distinction between extremism and normal religion, as well as see the dangers that religion-in-politics brings. Therefore in their voting habits and in their civic ideas, I still think they are overwhelmingly secular. When they vote for DTP, or for the "Kurdish List" during the Iraqi elections, I don't think they were thinking too much of religion or were doing so from a religious position per se.

However, you are correct that in social life there are many people who are religious and that many of them do support the struggle. Therefore I don't think that we have any inherent disagreement on the state of the situation.

Hevallo, Lukery, and Berxwedan--Gelek sipas û Serkeftin!
July 25, 2007 8:55 PM

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
~ Benjamin Franklin.

On Monday Özgür Gündem published a list of the Thousand Hopes (DTP) candidates and the list contained 23 names.

Now, it should only contain 22 names. Here's what happened:

In Turkey, there are 14 customs, or border, stations in which people, mainly guest workers from European countries, can vote. In this recent election, 226,784 valid votes came in from in these customs stations representing 14 different parties with the following percentages:

ATP 0.60 %,
BTP 0.36%,
SP 2.99%,
İP 0.49%,
CHP 17.75%,
HYP 0.35%,
ÖDP 0.46%,
GP 2.29%,
DP 2.73%,
MHP 14.74 %,
AK Parti 56.75%,
EMEP 0.23%,
TKP 0.18 %.

The Higher Election Board (YSK) declared it would divide the customs votes by some kind of mystery math known only to itself --because it's not clearly explained anywhere--and apply the votes throughout the country.

In Culemêrg (Hakkari) AKP got 29.000 votes and independent candidates got 43.000. According to these results Hakkari should have two independent and one AKP parliamentarian. The Thousand Hopes (DTP) independent candidate Sebahattin Suğvacı recieved 14,677 votes and passed the AKP candidate Özbek by 45 votes. Hence the 23-member independent list that ÖG posted on Monday.

However, by means of mystery math and the customs votes, the YSK applied 232 votes to AKP’s Culemêrg (Hakkari) district, so that AKP wins one more seat from Hakkari, unseating Sebahattin Suğvacı.

This means that voters not from Culemêrg effectively voted in and for Culemêrg.

It was AKP that insisted that everyone vote in their hometown in a political move designed by AKP to screw CHP out of votes but now, in a move designed to screw DTP out of votes, YSK applies non-resident AKP votes to Culemêrg, thus undercutting the residents of Culemêrg and their political will.

If AKP were consistent in its policies, it would have insisted that the customs votes be applied to the hometowns of the customs voters.

This means that there are officially only 22 DTP parliamentarians-elect and who knows how many others AKP will try to unseat before the final official results are announced on 27 July.

Ah, well . . . yet another milestone in the long democratic march of the Turkish Republic.

What Berxwedan said:

I’m not an optimist. I’m a Kurd. I believe that the Kurdish independent MP’s will do everything in their power to raise hell in the parliament, and I believe that they will fight for every oppressed voice in Turkey. Will the Turkish ruling AKP party take a brave step to solve the Kurdish question? Well, didn’t Erdogan “try” that in Amed (Diyarbakir?) He did, and we saw increased Turkish military operations where Kurdish guerrillas were killed by chemical weapons and people protesting against this, were gunned down indiscriminately.

Amen, brother. They're already off to a bad start.

Many thanks to the heval who poured through all the Turkish media reports to help clarify this situation as much as possible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Thousand Hopes (DTP) parliamentary deputy-elect for Istanbul, Sebahat Tuncel, is released from prison. Photo at Özgür Gündem.

More on Sebahat Tuncel at Bianet.

There are a total of eight women among the Thousand Hopes (DTP) parliamentarians-elect:

On another subject, in connection with a post from a few days ago about the Turkish lobby, Luke Ryland's made a Sibel connection. Among other things, he has this to say:

I do hope that Crowley writes another article and looks at Turkish lobbying in general - because then he'd be right in the middle of the Sibel Edmonds case. Crowley would have to take a closer look at some of Turkey's other lobbyists - past and present - and he'd find that Douglas Feith and Richard Perle used to lobby for Turkey (although he'd be hard-pressed to identify exactly what they did for their money.) And he'd find that The Cohen Group (former Defense Secretary William Cohen, General Joe Ralston, former State Dept #3 Marc Grossman) is currently lobbying for Turkey, as is Ret. General Brent Scowcroft.

Crowley would probably find that most of these lobbyists are very close to the American Turkish Council (ATC), "a front for criminal activity," according to Sibel. And Crowley would probably find that although these lobbyists purport to be working for the Republic of Turkey, that might not actually be true. Ex-CIA agent Phil Giraldi says:

"The money involved does not appear to come from the Turkish government, and FBI investigators are trying to determine its source and how it is distributed. Some of it may come from criminal activity, possibly drug trafficking, but much more might come from arms dealing. Contracts in the hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars provide considerable fat for those well placed to benefit."

If Crowley takes a closer look at the ATC, home to all these lobbyists, he'll notice that the FBI has been running a counter-intelligence operation against them since the mid-Nineties. And he'd notice that Sibel's case, in part, is about the nuclear black market.

I hope Crowley does some investigation of the Turkish lobby, in particular the ATC, and then writes about it, too. Who knows where it might lead?

Monday, July 23, 2007


"I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger."
~ Mencius

First of all, there's a finalized list of the Thousand Hopes (DTP) candidates at Özgür Gündem:

1- Diyarbakır: GÜLTAN KIŞANAK
2- Diyarbakır: AKIN BİRDAL
3- Diyarbakır: AYSEL TUĞLUK
5- Batman: AYLA AKAT ATA
7- Mardin: AHMET TÜRK
8- Mardin: EMİNE AYNA
10- Şırnak: HASİP KAPLAN
11- İstanbul 1. Bölge MEHMET UFUK URAS
12- İstanbul 3. Bölge SEBAHAT TUNCEL
13- Hakkari: HAMİT GEYLANİ

It looks like we are still waiting to see what happens with the candidate from Adana, but for the time being some 13,000 votes are missing, as in not accounted for in the voting records. This is most likely the result of corruption.

Official results are supposed to be broadcast on 27 July.

There was a good summary of the elections on a map at Turkish NTV/MSNBC.

Shiraz Socialist has a well-balanced post on the elections. I don’t find too many that look at it in a more equitable way. Most on the extreme right-wing, fascist end of the spectrum in the US are hand-wringing over the Islamist thing. They trotted out Soner Çağaptay (of the neocon WINEP and ME Forum) today, on NPR, and he was trying to explain that there was a split in Turkey between Islamists vs Secularists, but it’s more than a split; it’s a crevasse of epic proportions.

One of the more interesting of Çağaptay's flights of fantasies was the suggestion that DTP renounce violence. I'm still trying to figure out how DTP can renounce what it has never engaged in.

I would point out that the ability of DTP to “beat off its previous excluded status”--to quote Voltaire at Shiraz Socialist--is incredible and is a measure of the determination of everyone involved with the campaigning. AKP has not communicated with DTP since the Amed Serhildan in March 2006. DTP politicians have suffered death threats and constant “legal” harassment, have been subjected to the state’s black operations–as has the entire Kurdish population–and finally, has had to function under conditions of “State of Emergency” or OHAL in three Kurdish areas.

If you recall the dirty war of the 1990s, you will know that OHAL, Turkey’s special version of martial law for the Kurdish people, was the period in which the most brutal human rights abuses took place. OHAL was finally lifted in 2002, but now it’s back.

As far as I’m concerned, DTP’s achievement in this election was nothing less than heroic.

Speaking of OHAL, we shouldn't forget that Turkey is planning to increase the number of special commandos to fight the PKK, and these were the same ones who were responsible for most of the atrocities against the Kurdish people in the 1990s. The possibility exists that this will happen again.

I'm not the only one concerned about the future, in spite of the achievement of DTP. Berxwedan at DozaMe has his concerns, too.

Finally, the Vineyard Saker blog has posted an interview with me in order to introduce some of his readers to the Kurdish situation and to help counter the recent propaganda aimed against the Kurdish people and their freedom movement by people like, you know, Soner Çağaptay.