Thursday, November 27, 2008

27 NOVEMBER 1978

"On November 27, 1978 the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was founded in a small village near Diyarbakir."
~ Abdullah Öcalan, War and Peace in Kurdistan.

The legend now stretches thirty years, from one person to millions.

On this day we give thanks for Abdullah Öcalan and the PKK.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"The political power of the pashas would not be so deeply rooted if it did not also draw on substantial economic and financial resources."
~ Eric Rouleau, former French ambassador to Turkey.

Gordon Taylor has an important post up at his place about OYAK: and TSKGV, the business entities of the paşas:

No one is quite sure of the exact rank of the two funds' holdings. Like the tides of finance, they ebb and flow, claiming new divisions while leaving others behind. Oyak Bank, for example, was recently sold to ING of the Netherlands, while they have made other moves with their steel operations. But there is little doubt, as the excerpt I am about to quote will make clear, that together they occupy a place in the very top echelon of Turkish corporations.

Any reader can find out more from this article in Fortune, or simply by Googling "OYAK Group" and scrolling through the vast hit list. OYAK (an acronym for Army Pension Institution) makes steel; it makes cars, roads, and buildings out of that steel; it makes portland cement for concrete, uses that concrete (and of course their own steel) to build hotels and businesses, runs the businesses themselves to make more money, uses their own banks to fund more businesses, builds golf courses, apartment blocks, and vacation villages for retired military officers, sells insurance to those businesses, builds and runs supermarkets, grows food for those markets, makes pesticides for the crops that it makes into food that it sells in its supermarkets--have you heard enough? They even own professional soccer and basketball teams. Oh, and all of their profits are tax-free.

He also quotes Eric Rouleau, who usually writes pretty well on Turkey:

The triumvirate formed by the army, big business and state bureaucracy is protected by a battery of constitutional and legal provisions. Its influence increases when the balance of political power leans in its favour, when opposition in society declines, or when - as has been the case in recent years - politicians are increasingly discredited. Under these circumstances the political parties, parliament, government and media merely acquiesce when the military disregard the rule of law.

Read the whole thing as there are plenty of links throughout for further enlightenment.

Of course, the paşas' business interests are not confined to the "territorial integrity" of Turkey, as mentioned on Rastî in January of this year:

Turkish corporations in South Kurdistan provide heavy financial support to KDP- and PUK-affiliated press and broadcast organizations in order to divert the people from the real face of current military operations, by broadcasting advertisement and variety programs.

Turkish corporations in South Kurdistan began to support KDP- and PUK-affiliated press and broadcasting organizations. At first, the KRG warned Southern media to cut off broadcasting about PKK. Now it has been revealed that Turkish corporations have given over $1 million as "gifts", for advertisement, and as tax.

Immediately following Turkish military operations in South Kurdistan, Turkish corporations which have marketing shares there, such as Oyak, Arçelik, Ülker, Nursoy, and Gürbağ, started to broadcast variety programs on TV, radio, and other satellite-based broadcast media which are affiliated with the KDP and PUK. It is believed that the goal of these attempts is to distract people from Turkish military operations.

KDP General Secretary Fadil Mirani's broadcast organs, such as Vin TV, are heavily supported by Turkish corporations.

Arçelik-Ülker and OYAK corporations organize street competitions and variety programs through Korek Telecom and AsiaCell telephone service operators, which are affiliated with KDP and PUK. These operators promise to give gifts ranging from $100 to $1,000 USD for text messages sent.

Arçelik had promised to deliver large appliances and electronics through the regional and satellite-based TV. As an example, when Turkish military operations began on 16 December, Arçelik started delivering large appliances, such as refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, ovens, and the like, to the people.

In addition, Arçelik is operating a lottery in South Kurdistan. Using the Bayram and New Year holidays as a pretext, it promised to give a brand new car, money, and such gifts to the people.

In addition to this, OYAK, Ülker, and the other Turkish corporations are arranging competitions on the streets where golden Kurdistan flags, made by Southern Kurdish jewelers, are delivered to people.

Note that Arçelik, Ülker, Nursoy, and Gürbağ are Fethullahcı companies, and I'm willing to bet that the leadership of South Kurdistan won't stiff the TSK or the Fethullahcı like it did İlnur Çevik.

Also, take a look at a possible imminent execution of a Kurdish teacher by the evil mullah regime and possible action that can be taken to stop it. I have not seen anything yet to indicate the execution has been carried out. More on Farzad Kamangar, from HRW:

“Farzad Kamangar’s case highlights how human rights abuses have become routine in Iran,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Kamangar was tortured, subjected to unfair trial and now faces execution.”

On February 25, Branch 30 of Iran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Kamangar to death on charges of “endangering national security.” The prosecution claimed that Kamangar is a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

According to Kamangar’s lawyer, this trial violated the Iranian legal requirements that such cases must be tried publicly and in the presence of a jury. He also told Human Rights Watch that court officials ridiculed his requests that they follow mandated legal procedures.

Authorities arrested Kamangar in Tehran in July 2006 and held him in various detention centers in Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Tehran. Kamangar claims that during a period of detention in Unit 209 of Evin Prison in August 2006, officials tortured him to such an extent that they had to transfer him to the prison clinic to receive medical attention. Kamangar also alleges torture and ill-treatment while in detention in the cities of Sanandaj in Kurdistan province and Kermanshah.

Kamangar’s lawyer told Human Rights Watch that the first time he met his client, Kamangar’s hands and legs were shaking as a result of mistreatment during detention and interrogation. Kamangar himself outlined the details of how he was tortured in a letter written from prison. Human Rights Watch has obtained a copy of this letter.

Prior to his arrest, Kamangar worked for 12 years as a teacher in the city of Kamyaran, where he was on the governing board of both a local environmentalist group as well as the local branch of the teachers’ association. Kamangar wrote for the monthly journal Royan, a publication of the Department of Education of Kamyaran. He was also a writer with a local human rights organization that documents human rights abuses in Kurdistan and other provinces.

Just another fine example of why PJAK fights.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
~ Frederick Douglass

Happy Anniversary, Rastî.

Monday, November 24, 2008


"Barack Obama's first appointment, that of Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, is quite frankly unsettling and suggests that voters who had hoped for real change in Washington will be disappointed."
~ Philip Giraldi.

Thanks to the heval who sent me this piece of interesting information, from Reuters:

Russia has evidence that citizens from NATO member states including the United States and Turkey fought for Georgia in the five-day August war, Russia's top investigator said on Monday.

A senior security official in Tbilisi dismissed the statement and said by law only Georgian nationals could serve in the country's armed forces.

Asked to list the nationalities of the foreign fighters it believes were involved, Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Prosecutor-General's investigative committee said: "America, the Czech Republic, Chechnya, the Baltic States, Ukraine and Turkey."


I guess that's why Russian special ops types were joking around about invading Turkey:

"Next time we should invade Turkey. It's nice down there," said the second soldier, who wore a ski mask and drank bottles of beer with Georgian lettering on them.

On the other hand, maybe the Russian wasn't joking. And as for the secretary of Georgia's security council blowing off the information, I wouldn't be so quick to do that. After all, Condoleeza Rice admits that Georgia started the war and that great whore of the American media, the NYTimes finally admitted at the beginning of this month that Georgia started the war . . . in sharp distinction to everything else it ever published on the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia.

So who are you going to believe? The Russians or some Mickey Mouse Georgian security council dude?

I hope the Russians holds everyone's feet to the fire over this Reuters report of foreign fighters doing their dirty deeds for Georgia and the US.

And now, for those of you who wanted change and thought you would get it with a new American administration, you need to spend 36 minutes of your time and listen to a recent interview by Scott Horton with Philip Giraldi, here.

Some of you may remember Philip Giraldi's name from a number of Rastî posts about the Sibel Edmonds case. Once upon a time, Giraldi served as the CIA's Istanbul chief of base. In the interview linked above, Giraldi talks about Obama's pick as White House chief of staff, the congressman from Illinois, Rahm Emanuel.

Like Obama, Emanuel comes from Chicago. Chicago was the hub of Turkish activity in the US on the FBI wiretaps that Sibel Edmonds translated. From the Vanity Fair article:

. . . One counter-intelligence official familiar with Edmonds’s case has told Vanity Fair that the F.B.I. opened an investigation into covert activities by Turkish nationals in the late 1990’s. That inquiry found evidence, mainly via wiretaps, of attempts to corrupt senior American politicians in at least two major cities—Washington and Chicago. Toward the end of 2001, Edmonds was asked to translate some of the thousands of calls that had been recorded by this operation, some dating back to 1997.

[ . . . ]

. . . Vanity Fair has established that around the time the Dickersons visited the Edmondses, in December 2001, Joel Robertz, an F.B.I. special agent in Chicago, contacted Sibel and asked her to review some wiretaps. Some were several years old, others more recent; all had been generated by a counter-intelligence that had its start in 1997. “It began in D.C.,” says an F.B.I. counter-intelligence official who is familiar with the case file. “It became apparent that Chicago was actually the center of what was going on.”

[ . . . ]

In her secure testimony, Edmonds disclosed some of what she recalled hearing. In all, says a source who was present, she managed to listen to more than 40 of the Chicago recordings supplied by Robertz. Many involved an F.B.I. target at the city’s large Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associates.

The Turkish "cultural" crowd in Chicago would appear to be problematic. The Turkish "cultural" crowd in Chicago has been active in fundraising for other politicos besides Dennis Hastert, including one Mehmet Çelebi. Çelebi was a big time fundraiser for the politico who's been nominated to become Obama's secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. From Luke Ryland:

In the meantime, another important angle to Edmonds' case has opened up. Earlier this week, the New York Post ran a Page 6 piece, ODD FILM BY HILLARY BACKER, which highlights the close relationship between Hillary Clinton and Chicago-based Turkish businessman Mehmet Celebi.

Celebi, "one of the national leaders of the Turkish-American community in the US," is a key fundraiser for Clinton, and is one of Clinton's Chicago delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Celebi was also heavily involved in the controversial 2006 movie "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq" which has been widely regarded as "anti-Semitic, anti-American, conspiratorial agitprop."

Mehmet Celebi is also a key figure in the Sibel Edmonds case - he is heavily involved in the narcotics trade in the US and the corruption and bribery of high-level US officials.

According to Celebi's bio:

"He has been serving as the President of the Turkish-American Cultural Alliance (TACA) since 2000, and as Member of the Board/Vice-President of the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA), a Washington, D.C. based umbrella organization representing 57 organizations."

The Chicago-based Turkish-American Cultural Alliance (TACA) and the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA) both figure prominently in Sibel Edmonds' case. Both are reported to be front groups for criminal activity involving illegal weapons sales, narcotics trafficking, and the bribery and corruption of high level US officials.

Mehmet Celebi first came to my attention in my first interview with Sibel in January 2006. My notes from that interview read:

"Sibel mentioned the mafia nature of the Turkish business establishment - in particular she mentioned Celebi as one of the key players - apparently they are involved in an arms trading cartel, and they ship narcotics in the cargo of their planes as they zoom around.

"One of the Celebi family members (Mehmet Celebi) is chairman of the Turkish American Cultural Association (TACA) in Illinois. (Sibel has often pointed to both Chicago, and also to 'cultural exchanges')."

TACA and the ATAA were both targets of an FBI counter-intelligence operation investigating the corruption and bribery of high-level US officials from 1997 onward, including the period when Celebi had high level positions at these organizations.

But Clinton wasn't the only one Çelebi has raised funds for. He's fundraised for Rahm Emanuel as well (The photo below shows Emanuel, center, and Çelebi, far right):

Well-versed in international policies, Emanuel acknowledges the importance of Turkey in such a strategic part of the world. "I encourage the continuation of strong ties between Turkey and Israel and would urge European governments to admit Turkey into EU as soon as possible," he said. "Such a move would benefit the U.S. which is highly appreciative of Turkey's membership in NATO."

Emanuel said he would support the construction of the pipeline to go through Turkey. He also touched upon the Cyprus controversy as a difficult challenge and said he did not know enough about the Turkish point of view dealing with the Armenian conflict of 90 years ago

Mehmet Celebi, TACA's president promised to send him material on the Ottoman-Armenian conflict and encouraged him "to keep politicians out of the debate and analysis of historical events that took place during the demise of the Ottoman Empire." Historians, not politicians, should research and write about this subject, was the consensus of those attending the meeting.

Here's a photo from Yeni Şafak, which shows Clinton on the left and Çelebi on the right:

Remember that the Clinton administration gave more arms to Turkey than anyone else in US history. I do mean "gave" because those arms were funded 80% by the US taxpayer, meaning they were virtual freebies for Turkey.

Remember that in February, Bill Clinton left no doubt as to Hillary's support for Turkey:

"Turkey is a very significant country for us. We need to have good relations with Turkey. The biggest contribution to this will come from Hillary. There will be great progress in relations if Hillary is elected."

He went on to thank the many Turks who "contribute a lot to Hillary's election campaign" and assured readers that relations with Turkey will prosper under a Hillary administration.

She can do all of that as the head of the State Department.

Remember the Clean Break Strategy of the neocons, specifically Perle, Feith, and their International Advisors, Inc., which have also been brought up in connection with Sibel Edmonds' information. More on that can be found at The Nation.

Remember, too, that they're all running together--Hillary Clinton, Mehmet Çelebi, Rahm Emanuel, and the American Deep State.

Is that the change you voted for . . . chumps?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


"Today we have nearly 10,000 men and our response capability is greater than ever. Neither Alexander the Great nor Saddam Hussein could ever control this region, and it is clear that Erdogan and his generals will not get it either."
~ Bozan Tekin, Commander-in-Chief, HPG.

Please take note of a recent post from Hevallo that documents more war crimes and atrocities by the TSK. You'll find it here, with a link to Zinar Ala, who is carrying the images. Also in Zinar Ala's post is a link to an interview with HPG commander-in-chief Botan Tekin. The interview was carried on what appears to be a Basque site and is in Spanish. The following is a translation of the GARA interview:

Trip to the heart of Kurdistan

"Europe must see with their eyes what's happening in Kurdistan"

Bozan Tekin
Commander in chief of the guerrillas of the PKK

From the mountains of Qendil, the guerrilla commander Bozan Tekin said that the struggle of the PKK against Turkey has succeeded in imposing a change of mentality in the Kurds, which previously were ashamed of their culture and that thanks to Abdula Ocalan Kurds have learned to feel and also people. In this interview, he lamented that "unfortunately, no European government has offered us a hand yet."

[by] Karlos Zurutuza

The commander Bozan Tekin greets us with a smile and a friendly handshake at our arrival at one of the humblest villages in Qendil. He is interested in the operation that has enabled us to overcome the information blockade imposed by the Kurdish autonomous government of South Kurdistan, and then invites us to sit down to carry out the ritual of tea. In this adobe house with a roof of wood and straw, Tekin confessed himself an admirer of the Russian classics and, especially, George Orwell, all of whose work he [Tekin] claims to have read. Probably he had much more time during the 20 years that he spent in Turkish prisons.

Soon he turns on his laptop. He wants to give us some pictures taken by Turkish soldiers that he has recently obtained. He does not specify whether they [the photos] had reached a Kurdish conscript or if they [the guerrillas] have snatched them from a Turkish soldier, dead or alive. In them appear tanks and helicopters in the military quarters; young soldiers posing with heavy weapons near the Turkish flag or next to bodies of guerrillas of the PKK, whose guts they have emptied and whose intestines were entangled in the undergrowth. "May the whole world see it," Tekin asks us (Soon they will be displayed in

For the interview we move away from the village and so that it avoids being identified and then bombed by Turkish aircraft. Two guerrillas accompany us, a Kurd from Damascus and a Kurd from Sirt (North Kurdistan). We take the camera and tripod, and they do the same in an almost simultaneous manner. We record the commander and they us. That's the deal.

"They say that internationalism died with Che Guevara, but this interview is good evidence that it is not true," says Tekin, with a smile that imprisonment and life in the mountains have not yet been able to erase.

The Turkish army has escalated attacks on Qendil in recent weeks. What do you think is the reason?

Erdogan's AKP has lost its prestige, for that reason these operations are carried out. They [the AKP] have disappointed the Islamists, the Turks and the Kurds who voted for them, and now they want to seek support among the nationalists. Moreover, the PKK has carried out numerous operations successfully and this has undermined the morale of the Turkish army. On the other hand, we are just a few months from the elections in Turkey, so the party in power will be used thoroughly so that there be no doubt about the strength of its "fight against terrorism."

But you say they are completely deployed and away from the camps.

It is true. The situation has not affected us but we have adapted to it. Today we have nearly 10,000 men and our response capability is greater than ever. Neither Alexander the Great nor Saddam Hussein could ever control this region, and it is clear that Erdogan and his generals will not get it either.

In addition to the guerrillas, it seems that people have been mobilized also in major cities of northern Kurdistan. Is this a new uprising of Kurds in Turkey?

Without a doubt. People on the street have responded to the torture inflicted on our leader, Abdullah Ocalan. He was tortured both physically and psychologically, and has said repeatedly he prefers to die than be insulted. He's been 10 years locked up and deprived of all his rights. But our people continue to support him and increasingly mobilize themselves more. Following the most recent torture, Erdogan traveled to Amed (Diyarbakir) and found a city paralyzed by the strike. The response has been massive in Wan (Van), Colamerg (Hakkari), Mus ... People have said "enough" and went into the street. Any Kurd that reacts now is a guerrilla.

However, Erdogan is co-chair of the "Alliance of Civilizations' together with Rodriguez Zapatero. What do you think about this?

It is at least ironic that someone who complains about the assimilation of peoples as an 'aberration', ignores, deprives of all rights and represses 20 million Kurds in their own country. Zapatero is therefore complicit in the barbarity suffered by our people and that should make you think about both him and the other European leaders. Zapatero and Erdogan are leading a false project with which false Turkey seeks, in turn, to deceive the EU. Simply, they agreed to exterminate the Kurds.

The PKK has been fighting for decades. Did it get something?

The PKK has been fighting ideologically for 35 years and for 30 with arms, under the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan. We have offered a hand towards peace on more than one occasion but, far from negotiating, Turkey has responded to us with a state of emergency. There is no difference between the Turkish generals and Franco or Salazar. We are fighting against Turkish imposition and it is more than evident that there has been a significant change in the mindset of the people. The Kurds felt ashamed of their culture, of being Kurds. Until we learn to be `best Turks' at school. But Apo (Ocalan) taught us to feel ourselves not only Kurds but also persons. Our people have become aware of their own existence and that we owe in great measure to our leader, Abdula Ocalan. He opened the way and we will support him until the day of his death.

Do you dream about an independent Kurdistan?

We are pursuing a democratic confederalism. The PKK is an internationalist movement and has in its ranks fighters of many other nationalities. Among us there are Kurds, but also Russians, Germans, Armenians ... and even Turks. We are not nationalists, not fighting for statehood but for our rights and our freedom. We fight against imperialism and we believe in real democracy based on socialism and coexistence between peoples. We have always lived alongside Persians, Turks and Arabs, and we think that we can continue to do so but in a peaceful manner.

But the Kurds have fought among themselves until recently and are still divided.

It is true. The PKK was at war against Barzani's KDP and it, in turn, with Talabani's PUK. We have created the KCK (Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan) to bring together the Kurds of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran into a single body that promotes democratic and socialist ideals. PJAK in East Kurdistan is one of its components and struggles to replace the theocracy in Tehran with a federal government that respects the rights of all the peoples of Iran. There is also the PYD, the most important party among the Kurds of Syria, that shares the ideals of Ocalan. Furthermore, both Barzani and Talabani are aware of the support that KCK's ideas are having in South Kurdistan.

What is the first step towards a resolution of this conflict?

The Turkish government has to withdraw or negotiate peace with us. The PKK became very powerful in the 90s and today it's not only the guerrillas but [it's] the entire community. We have 22 deputies in the parliament in Ankara and the Turks still remain determined that there are no Kurds in Turkey. The laws are of no use in Kurdistan because the state of war continues.

Would Turkey's entry into the EU improve things?

If Turkey had to import the European model of democracy, of course. Unfortunately, no European government has offered us its hand yet. Turkey interests Europe and the United States by the potential of its market and, above all, for its strategic location, which gives it a predominant role in NATO. Without going much further, Ankara bombards us using the information about our situation that the United States offers it. Until this changes, we will continue to be victims of the disastrous Western policy in the Middle East.

For now, both the EU and United States considers you "a terrorist group."

The Turkish Constitution makes no mention of the Kurds. Arrests and torture occur on a daily basis. Ankara's repression during the last decades has claimed thousands of destroyed villages and four million displaced. Among the multitude of Kurds murdered there are about 5,000 dead through "bizarre circumstances", many of them victims of the dirty war of Ergenekon, orchestrated by the same Turkish state. You had Guernica; we have Diyarbakir, Mus, Sirnak, Wan ... And the remains of the missing still continue to appear. Europe considers us as "a terrorist organization" since 2000, since the Turkish government controls the means of Western information, it "drinks" from them then. The people, the European parliamentarians, would have to come here and see what is happening with their own eyes.

I have placed three new links in the blog column on the right-hand margin. They are Bersiv, a Kurdish blog from Sweden, Kurdistan Commentary, which reads like it's coming from the US, and Zinar Ala's Kurdish blog in Spain. Please take a look at those and, if necessary, avail yourself of Google's translation tools to help you out if you need it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


"They will not go to courts, they will not send their children to schools, they will not register their names and they will not register their houses. What would happen? The system would go bankrupt. Civil revolution without fighting with the police, the military. Get ready for those days."
~ Mahmut Alınak.

Before it gets too late, let's take a look at HPG's October war balance:

The war balance for the month of October

To our people and the public!

During the month of October there were 31 contacts from 28 operations that were initiated by TSK against our HPG forces. As retaliation against these operations, our HPG forces initiated 23 operations including Bezele, the operation against police in Amed, Kato and Dersim. Within the month of October 148 enemies were killed, whereas 18 guerrillas were martyred in the clashes that occured.

While there weren't any casualties among our guerrilla forces through aerial attacks, artillery, and mortar fire, several residential areas and gardens belonging to civilians were damaged and more than 150 animals were killed. In addition, Kurdish land was burned through such attacks.

Operations: 28

Joint Turkey-Iran operations: 1

Air attacks: 11 (Zagros - 4; Xakurkê - 3; Xınerê - 2; Zap - 2)

Artillery and mortar attacks: 8 (Haftanin - 2; Xakurkê - 2; Zap - 2; Zagros - 1; Metina - 1)

Contacts: 31

[HPG] operations: 23

Enemy forces killed: 148

Lieutenants: 2

Special team: 2

Police: 7

JITEM members: 2

Soldiers: 135

Identified enemy wounded: 86

Lieutenants: 1

Soldiers: 54

Police: 30

Special team: 1

Destroyed military vehicles: 2

Downed aircraft: 1 (F-16)

Downed helicopters: 1 (Sikorsky)

Damaged aircraft: 1 (F-16)

Damaged helicopters: 1 (Cobra)

Confiscated materials

HK 33 individual weapon: 17 pieces

HK 33 Raxtı: 2 pieces

Body armor: 1 piece

Military bag: 2 pieces

Satellite phone: 2 pieces

Our martyred comrades: 18

Also in October, new fighters join HPG, from Özgür Gündem:

32 new fighters joined HPG

Thirty-two guerrilla candidates, who joined the new fighter training cycle under the guerrillas' control, qualified to join HPG.

Thirty-two guerrilla candidates finished their training successfully in the "Şehit Gulbahar - Selma Kaya" new fighter training cycle.

Zelal Ceger, from the People's Defense Center, who spoke at the graduation ceremony, said: "The joining of the guerrilla candidates [to HPG] is the most meaningful response to the fascist Turkish state and its fascist army."

Ceger mentioned that with such a meaningful joining and successfuly completed training, guerrilla candidates promised a practice that will fit into the Kurdish people's heroic struggle.

After the graduation ceremony, the new HPG members sang songs and danced; then they went to their practice areas.

Finally, it looks like former DTP Kars Provincial Chairman Mahmut Alınak may go back to prison, this time for calling for mass civil disobedience:

“Think what would happen if we did not regiser our children . . . Imagine millions from Amed to Istanbul, from Dersim to Kars, to Iğdır, to Ardahan are on the streets. Who can hold back this huge power? . . . They will not go to courts, they will not send their children to schools, they will not register their names and they will not register their houses. What would happen? The system would go bankrupt. Civil revolution without fighting with the police, the military. Get ready for those days.”

Earlier this year, Heval Mahmut went to prison for 50 days after refusing to pay a fine for praising heroes:

Alınak, who will stay in jail about fifty days, describes entering prison as one’s duty in Turkey in the fight against the existing anti-democratic practices.

The court punished him for the crime of praising the crime and the criminal when he proposed to give the names of Deniz Gezmiş, Vedat Aydın and Musa Anter to various streets and parks. While Deniz Gezmiş, one of the leaders of Turkish People’s Liberation Army, was hanged in 1972 for his political activities, Vedat Aydın and Musa Anter were murdered for their political activities conducted in the name of the Kurdish people.

Alınak was also fined for his speeches about the prison conditions of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

He says he refuses to buy his freedom. That is why he chooses to go to prison instead.

According to Alınak, while he is punished for proposing to give the names of Deniz Geçmiş, Vedat Aydın and Musa Anter to streets and parks, the names of Mustafa Muğlalı, a four-star general sentenced to life in prison in 1944 for executing 33 peasants by shooting, and politicians Adnan Menderes and Celal Bayar, who were found guilty by the courts, are given to many facilities and places.

You go, heval! I love this guy.

Monday, November 17, 2008


"Without law and order our nation cannot survive."
~ Adolf Hitler.

After six years of Islamist AKP rule, everyone should ask themselves if they're better off. Turkish columnist Semih Idız--not as consistent as, say, Gülay Göktürk, Hasan Cemal, the Altans, or Taraf's staff, but still on the mark with this particular piece--has some comments on that in the face of EU silence over AKP's misrule:

It should be much more apparent to European diplomats today, that the relative leniency with which the European Union is approaching the Erdogan government's sins against democracy and human rights, is being used to the advantage of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

We have been trying for weeks to warn that selective criticisms leveled at Turkey by EU officials are disheartening pro-EU elements in Turkey. For example, the same officials who made negative remarks against the AKP over the closure case, have not been vocal in the face of some highly telling, and to that extent worrying, salvos from government quarters.

[ . . . ]

However [AKP's] "sins against the Copenhagen Criteria" are increasing, yet no one, other than European deputy Joost Lagendijk that is, appear to have much to say on this front. Just a look at the government's recent record should send shivers up European spines. Especially among those who invested so much hope in this government.

* Prime Minister Erdogan calls for media boycotts because of the way it reported the Deniz Feneri corruption case in Germany, an extension of which clearly existed in Turkey and involved quarters very close to the AKP.

* Prime Minister Erdogan justified the use of sawed-off shotguns by individuals against pro-Kurdish demonstrators, saying citizens have the right to protect themselves. The fact that he is inciting armed violence does not appear to concern him much.

* Prime Minister Erdogan started to play the ultra-nationalist and told pro-Kurdish politicians to either respect the flag and nation or leave the country. He conveniently forgot there were times his party had been attacked for being "Islamist" by opponents who said, "Either respect secularism or go to Saudi Arabia."

* In the same vein, AKP Yozgat deputy Abdulkadir Akgul while arguing with pro-Kurdish deputy Hasip Kaplan in Parliament, went as far as saying, "I would of course take pleasure in shooting those who are against their own state and nation."

* State Minister Nimet Cubukcu is more concerned with slinging mud at Sarah Ferguson and the ITN network for exposing abuse in centers for disabled children in Turkey, than explaining what she intends to do to bring these centers up to EU standards. Having been caught out two years ago in a similar incident in Malatya, exposed by the Turkish media on that occasion, she clearly has done little in the meantime to improve standards in these centers.

* Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul came out with remarks justifying what amounts to ethnic cleansing by saying that if Greeks and Armenians remained in Anatolia, Turkey would not be a national state today. He totally disregarded the pain and suffering of Greek, Armenian and Turks alike in the past, and left open the question of his opinion on the Kurdish problem in this country, relative to his despicable views.

* The government continues to be reluctant to act in the face of mounting police brutality, torture, and abuse of women, which continues unabated, with impunity, and remains committed to the tradition of protecting those guilty of the crimes. When it does act, on the other hand, it does not do so on its own initiative, but because the issue has caused a major public outcry.

* The Prime Ministry tries to ban "undesirable reporters" from covering Prime Minister Erdogan by canceling their accreditation, even though it can not accuse the banned reporters of writing untruths or of fabrication. The government followed the lead of the General Staff in this respect, showing once again how much of a defender of the traditional status quo it has become. The bottom line here is that Mr. Erdogan wants "AKP friendly news" and loses control, both verbally and otherwise, when he does not get it.

[ . . . ]

The whole idea behind the EU perspective is positive change under the umbrella of lofty ideals, which include human rights and press freedom. If this does not happen, then the EU will start to lose its meaning, even for Turks who have supported this perspective strongly hitherto.

Let me add to the list:

* The acquittal of the murderers of Uğur and Ahmet Kaymaz.

* The cover-up of the Şemdinli bombing.

* The Ankara regime's use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish freedom movement.

* The Amed Serhildan, when Katil Erdoğan sanctioned the murder of women and children.

* The Amed bombing.

* The refusal of HPG's ceasefire.

* The Beytuşşebap massacre.

* Attempts to repress DTP and Kurdish voters prior to and during the elections.

* Imposition of new OHAL zones and increased human rights violations in them.

* Murder of a Kurdish infant for supporting PKK.

* The Güngören bombing.

* Newroz and police torture of children on city streets.

* The murder of Hrant Dink.

* Murder of Christians.

* Öcalan's poisoning and torture.

* The hypocrisy of concern for Kurdish children

I could go on and on and on . . . But I certainly won't hold my breath waiting for the Europeans to develop a conscience.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


"Our efforts for peace have wrongly been interpreted as weakness. There is no other explanation for statements like the PKK and Ocalan are practically finished or, our initiatives were only tactical. So they claimed that they only needed to proceed a little bit tougher in order to smash the PKK. So they increased their attacks on the Kurdish liberation movement. Nobody asks, however, why they never succeeded?"
~ Abdullah Öcalan, War and Peace in Kurdistan.

Here is the final section of Öcalan's War and Peace in Kurdistan:

The present situation and suggestions for a solution

The Kurdish-Turkish relations in Turkey play a key role with a view to a solution of the Kurdish question. In this respect, the Kurds in Iraq, Iran, and Syria have only a limited potential and can probably only support a possible overall solution. The Kurds in Iraq give a very good example. The semi-state Kurdish autonomy is indirectly the result of worldwide efforts on the part of Turkey, the U.S. and their allies to denounce the PKK as a terror organization. Without consent by Ankara this “solution” would not have been possible. The chaos caused by this solution is obvious, and the result unforeseeable. It is also unclear, which direction the feudal-liberal Kurdish national authority in Iraq will take in the long run and how it will affect Iran, Syria, and Turkey. There is the danger of a regional escalation of the conflict similar in shape to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A flare-up of Kurdish nationalism might even radicalize the Persian, Arab and Turkish nationalists further, making a solution of the problem more difficult.

This prospect needs to be contrasted with a solution free of nationalist aspirations, which recognizes the existing territorial borders. In return, the status of the Kurds will be put down in the respective constitutions thus warranting their rights concerning culture, language, and political participation. Such a model would be largely in accordance with the historical and societal realities of the region.

In the light of this, making peace with the Kurds seems inevitable. It is highly improbable that the present war or any future war will yield anything else but a Pyrrhus’ victory. Therefore, this war must be put to an end. It has been lasting too long already. It is in the interest of all countries of the region to follow the example of other countries and take the necessary steps.

The Kurds only demand that their existence be respected; they demand freedom of culture and a fully democratic system. A more humane and modest solution is impossible. The examples of South Africa, Palestine, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Corsica demonstrate the ways in which different modern countries have been able to solve or handle similar problems in the course of their history. Furthermore, these comparisons help us to find a more objective approach to our own problems.

Turning our backs to violence as a means of solving the Kurdish question and overcoming the repressive policy of denial at least in part, are closely connected to the fact that we upheld the democratic option. The ban on Kurdish language and culture, education and broadcasting is in itself a terrorist act and practically invites counter violence. Violence, however, has been used by both sides to an extent that goes clearly beyond legitimate self defense.

Many movements today take to even more extreme methods. However, we have declared unilateral ceasefires several times, we have withdrawn large numbers of our fighters from Turkish territory, and thus refuted the accusation of terrorism. Our peace efforts, however, have been ignored over the years. Our initiatives never met a response. Rather, a group of Kurdish politicians sent out as ambassadors of peace was detained and handed long prison terms. Our efforts for peace have wrongly been interpreted as weakness. There is no other explanation for statements like the PKK and Ocalan are practically finished or, our initiatives were only tactical. So they claimed that they only needed to proceed a little bit tougher in order to smash the PKK. So they increased their attacks on the Kurdish liberation movement. Nobody asks, however, why they never succeeded? It is impossible to solve the Kurdish question by means of violence. The attitude described above also contributed to the failure of the ceasefire that began on October 1, 2006. I had called on the PKK to offer this ceasefire. Some Intellectuals and non-government organizations had demanded such a step. However, again it was not taken seriously. Instead, racism and chauvinism were stirred up creating an atmosphere of confrontation. Besides, we must not forget that the AKP also uses this issue to play down their own problems with the Kemalist elite by making compromises with the Army and speculating on the escalation of the Kurdish problem. Presently, the government restricts itself to some half-hearted measures in order to wrench some concessions from the EU. They are trying to win time with the help of the harmonization laws enacted in the context of the EU accession process. In reality, these supposed reforms are just waste-paper.

The exacerbating conflict is cause for concern. Nevertheless, I will not give up my hopes for a just peace. It can become possible at any time.

I offer the Turkish society a simple solution. We demand a democratic nation. We are not opposed to the unitary state and republic. We accept the republic, its unitary structure and laicism. However, we believe, that it must be redefined as a democratic state respecting peoples, cultures and rights. On this basis, the Kurds must be free to organize in a way that they can live their culture and language and can develop economically and ecologically. This would allow Kurds, Turks, and other cultures to come together under the roof of a democratic nation in Turkey. This is only possible, though, with a democratic constitution and an advanced legal framework warranting respect for different cultures.

Our idea of a democratic nation is not defined by flags and borders. Our idea of a democratic nation embraces a model based on democracy instead of a model based on state structures and ethnic origins. Turkey needs to define itself as a country, which includes all ethnic groups. This would be a model based on human rights instead of religion or race. Our idea of a democratic nation embraces all ethnic groups and cultures.

Against this background let me summarize the solution I propose:

* The Kurdish question is to be treated as a fundamental question of democratization. The Kurdish identity must be put down in the constitution and integrated in the legal system. The new constitution shall contain an article of the following wording:

“The constitution of the Turkish republic recognizes the existence and the expression of all its cultures in a democratic way.” This would be sufficient.

* Cultural and language rights must be protected by law There must not be any restrictions for radio, TV, and press. Kurdish programs and programs in other languages must be treated by the same rules and regulations as Turkish programs. The same must be true for cultural activities.

* Kurdish should be taught in elementary schools. People who want their kids to get such an education, must be able to send them to such a school. High schools should offer lessons on Kurdish culture, language, and literature as elective courses. Universities must be permitted to establish institutes for Kurdish language, literature, culture, and history.

* The freedom of expression and organization must not be restricted. Political activities must not be restricted or regulated by the state. This must also be true in the context of the Kurdish question without restriction.

* Party and election laws must be subjected to a democratic reform. The laws must warrant the participation of the Kurdish people and all other democratic groups in the process of democratic decision-making.

* The village-guard system and the illegal networks within the state-structures must be disbanded.

* People who have been evicted from their villages during the war must be allowed to return without impediments. All administrative, legal, economical, or social measures necessary must be met. Furthermore, a developmental program must be initiated In order to help the Kurdish population to earn a living and improve the level of living.

* A law for peace and participation in the society shall be enacted. This law shall enable the members of the guerilla, the imprisoned, and those who are in exile, to take part in the public life without any preconditions.

Additionally, immediate measures on the road to a solution need to be discussed. A democratic action plan must be formulated and put into practice. In order to reconcile the society truth and justice commissions shall be set up. Both sides must find out what they have done wrong and discuss it openly. This is the only way to achieve the reconciliation of the society.

Whenever states or organizations cannot make progress anymore, intellectuals may serve as mediators. South Africa, Northern Ireland, or Sierra Leone has made positive experiences with this model. They may take the role of arbitrators, with the help of whom both parties can be moved in the direction of a just peace. The commissions may include intellectuals, lawyers, physicians, or scientists. When the day comes that we put down our arms, it will only be into the hands of such a commission, provided it is a commission determined to achieve justice.

Why would we surrender our arms without the prospect of justice? The beginning of such a process also depends on goodwill and dialogue. Should indeed a dialogue come about, we will be able to begin a process similar to the last unlimited ceasefire.

I am prepared to do all I can. The government, however, needs to show its will for peace. It needs to take the initiative. This is what they need to do, if they do not wish to be responsible for the consequences all on their own.

In case our efforts for a peaceful solution might fail or a sacrificed to day by day politics, power struggles or profit-seeking, the present conflict will exacerbate and its end will become unforeseeable. The chaos following will see no winners.

At last, Turkey needs to master the strength to recognize its own reality, the reality of the Kurdish existence and global dynamics. A state which denies reality will eventually and inevitably find itself on the brink of existence.

It is crucial, therefore, to take the steps that will lead this country to a lasting peace.

Abdulla Ocalan
One-person-prison, Imrali Island

The previous sections of War and Peace in Kurdistan can be found here and here. The document is available for download from the International Initiative Freedom for Öcalan as a .pdf document.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


"The very intense operation against the three hills began at 1300 hours and lasted until 1700 hours. Meanwhile the Bezele garrison was fired upon with heavy weapons. After the intense and severe conflict, the three hills belonging to the enemy were destroyed and finally captured by our guerrilla forces."
~ HPG-BİM Statement on the Bezele Operation.

HPG has released the video our guerrillas shot during the Bezele operation at the beginning of October, as promised:

The video may also be viewed at GerilaTV:


Friday, November 14, 2008


"The Kurdish liberation movement is working for a system of democratic self-organization in Kurdistan with the features of a confederation."
~ Abdullah Öcalan, War and Peace in Kurdistan.

Öcalan's War and Peace in Kurdistan: Perspectives for a political solution of the Kurdish Question, continues (Part 1 here):

New strategic, philosophic, and political approaches of the Kurdish liberation movement.

A comprehensive treatment of the main strategic, ideological, philosophical, and political elements at the base of the process of change cannot be accomplished in this essay. However, the cornerstones can be outlined as follows:

* The philosophical, political and value-related approaches that the newly-aligned PKK embraces find adequate expression in what is called “democratic socialism”.

* The PKK does not derive the creation of a Kurdish nation-state from the right of self-determination of the peoples. However, we regard this right as the basis for the establishment of grassroots democracies, without seeking new political borders. It is up to the PKK to convince the Kurdish society of their conviction. This is also true for the dialogue with the hegemonial countries exercising power in Kurdistan. It is to be the basis for a solution of the existing issues.

* The countries that presently exist here need democratic reforms going beyond mere lip service to democracy. It is not realistic, though, to go for the immediate abolition of the state. This does not mean that we have to take it as it is. The classic state structure with its despotic attitude of power is unacceptable. The institutional state needs to be subjected to democratic changes. At the end of this process, there should be a lean state as a political institution, which only observes functions in the general field of security and in the provision of social services. Such an idea of the state has nothing in common with the authoritarian character of the classic state, but would rather be regarded as a societal authority.

* The Kurdish liberation movement is working for a system of democratic self-organization in Kurdistan with the features of a confederation. Democratic confederalism understands itself as a coordination model for a democratic nation. It provides a framework, within which inter alia minorities, religious communities, cultural groups, gender-specific groups and other societal groups can organize autonomously. This model may also be called a way of organization for democratic nations and cultures. The democratization process in Kurdistan is not limited to matters of form but, rather, poses a broad societal project aiming at the economic, social, and political sovereignty of all parts of the society. It advances the building of necessary institutions and creates the instruments for democratic self-government and control. It is a continuous and long-term process. Elections are not the only means in this context. Rather, this is a dynamic political process which needs direct intervention by the sovereign, the people. The people are to be directly involved in the decision-finding processes of the society. This project builds on the self-government of the local communities and is organized in the form of open councils, town councils, local parliaments, and larger congresses. The citizens themselves are the agents of this kind of self-government, not state-based authorities. The principle of federal self-government has no restrictions. It can even be continued across borders in order to create multinational democratic structures. Democratic confederalism prefers flat hierarchies so as to further decision finding and decision making at the level of the communities.

* The model outlined above may also be described as autonomous democratic self-government, where the state-related sovereign rights are only limited. Such a model allows a more adequate implementation of basic values like freedom and equality than traditional administrative models. This model need not be restricted to Turkey, but may also be applicable in the other parts of Kurdistan. Simultaneously, this model is suitable for the building of federal administrative structures in all Kurdish settlement areas in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Thus, it is possible to build confederate structures across all parts of Kurdistan without the need to question the existing borders.

* The decline of real-socialism was also a result of how the socialist countries used their power both internally and externally, and in the fact that they misconceived the importance of the gender issue. Women and power seem to be quite contradictory things. In real-socialism, the question of women’s rights was a rather subordinate issue, which was believed to be resolved anyway once the economic and other societal problems would be solved. However, women may also be regarded as an oppressed class and nation or an oppressed gender. As long as we do not discuss freedom and equal treatment of women in a historical and societal context, as long as no adequate theory has been devised, there will not be an adequate practice either. Therefore, women’s liberation must assume a main strategic part in the democratic struggle for freedom in Kurdistan.

* Today, the democratization of politics is one of the most urgent challenges. However, democratic politics need democratic parties. As long as there are no parties and party-affiliated institutions committed to the interests of the society instead of fulfilling state orders, a democratization of politics will be hardly possible. In Turkey, the parties are only propaganda tools of the state enjoying public alimentation. Their transformation into parties committed exclusively to the interests of the society, and the creation of the necessary legal basis in this context, would be an important part of a political reform. The founding of parties bearing the word Kurdistan in their name is still a criminal act. Independent parties are still obstructed in many ways. Kurdistan-related parties or coalitions serve democratization and are not advocates of separatism or the use of violence.

* There is a widespread individual and institutional subservient spirit, which is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of democratization. It can only be overcome by creating an awareness of democracy in all parts of the society. The citizens must be invited to actively commit themselves to democracy. For the Kurds, this means building democratic structures in all parts of Kurdistan and wherever there are Kurdish communities, which advance the active participation in the political life of the community. The minorities living in Kurdistan must be invited to participate as well. The development of grassroots-level democratic structures and a corresponding practical approach must have top priority. Such grassroots structures must be regarded as obligatory even where basic democratic and legal principles are violated as in the Middle East.

* Politics needs independent media. Without them the state structures will not develop any sensitivity for questions of democracy. Nor will it be possible to bring democracy into politics. Freedom of information is not only a right of the individual. It also involves a societal dimension. Independent media have also always a societal mandate. Their communication with the public must be marked by democratic balance.

* Feudal institutions like tribes, sheikdom, aghast, and sectarianism, which are essentially relics of the Middle Ages, are like the institutions of classic nation-states obstacles in the way of democratization. They must be urged appropriately to join the democratic change. These parasitic institutions must be overcome with top priority.

* The right to native language education must be warranted. Even if the authorities do not advance such education, they must not impede civic efforts for the creation of institutions offering Kurdish language and culture education. The health system must be warranted by both state and civil society.

* An ecological model of society is essentially socialist. The establishment of an ecological balance will only be accomplished during the transition phase from an alienated class society based on despotism to a socialist society. It would be an illusion to hope for the conservation of the environment in a capitalist system. These systems largely participate in the ecological devastation. Protection of the environment must be given broad consideration in the process of societal change.

* The solution of the Kurdish question is attempted within the framework of the democratization of the countries exercising hegemonial power over the different parts of Kurdistan. This process is not limited to these countries, though, but rather extends across the entire Middle East. The freedom of Kurdistan is tied to the democratization of the Middle East. A free Kurdistan is only conceivable as a democratic Kurdistan.

* The individual freedom of expression and decision is indefeasible. No country, no state, no society has the right to restrict these freedoms, whatever reasons they may cite. Without the freedom of the individual there will be no freedom for the society, just as freedom for the individual is impossible if the society is not free. A just redistribution of the economic resources presently in the possession of the state is eminently important for the liberation process of the society. Economic supply must not become a tool in the hands of the state for exercising pressure on the people. Economic resources are not the property of the state but of the society.

* An economy close to the people should be based on such redistribution and be benefit-oriented instead of exclusively pursuing the accumulation of surplus value and turnover increase. The local economic structures here do not only damage the society but also the environment. One of the main reasons for the decline of the society lies in the effects of the local finance markets. The artificial production of needs, the more and more adventurous search for new sales markets and the boundless greed for ever growing profits lets the divide between rich and poor steadily grow and enlarges the army of those living below the poverty line or even dying of hunger. An economic policy like this cannot be tolerated anymore. This is therefore the biggest challenge for socialist politics: implementing an alternative economic policy, which is not exclusively oriented by profit but rather by a just distribution of resources and the satisfaction of natural needs.

* Although the Kurds assign the family a high value it is still a place where freedom does not abound. Lack of financial resources, lack of education, lack of health care do not allow for much development. The situation of women and children is disastrous. So-called honor-killings of female family members are a symbol of this disaster. They become the targets of an archaic notion of honor, which reflects the degeneration of the entire society. Male frustration over the existing conditions is directed against the supposedly weakest members of the society: women. The family as a social institution experiences a crisis. Here, too, a solution can only be found in the context of an overall democratization.

Tomorrow: The present situation and suggestions for a solution.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


"In April 1973 a group of six people came together in order to form an independent Kurdish political organization. They acted on the assumption that Kurdistan was a classic colony, where the population was forcibly refused their right to self-determination."
~ Abdullah Öcalan, War and Peace in Kurdstan.

Since I have posted the complete English version of DTP's Democratic Autonomy Project, which was brought before the TBMM, I now have another political document, portions of which I will serialize over the next few days.

This document is titled War and Peace in Kurdistan: Perspectives for a political solution of the Kurdish Question by Abdullah Öcalan. It's available online as a pdf document from the International Initiative Freedom for Öcalan.

The first half of the document discusses background information of the Kurdish situation, including the ideological bases of colonial oppression and power politics in Kurdistan, as well as a short discussion of Kurdish identity and resistance. For those needing a brief introduction to the Kurdish Question, the first half of Serok Apo's document will be useful.

The portions I will post here begin with a discussion of the PKK because, as I noted in the closing of yesterday's post, the DTP is able to engage in politics because of the sacrifices of PKK fighters. Understanding the foundation and evolution of PKK is critical to understanding Kurdish political activity in Turkey today.

Without further ado, Serok Apo may speak for himself:

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Short outline of the history of origins of the PKK

In April 1973 a group of six people came together in order to form an independent Kurdish political organization. They acted on the assumption that Kurdistan was a classic colony, where the population was forcibly refused their right to self-determination. It was their prime goal to change this. This gathering may also be called the hour of birth of a new Kurdish movement.

Over the years, this group found new followers who helped them spread their conviction in the rural population of Kurdistan. More and more they clashed with Turkish security forces, armed tribesmen of the Kurdish aristocracy and rival political groups, which violently attacked the young movement. On November 27, 1978 the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was founded in a small village near Diyarbakir. Twenty-two leading members of the movement took part in the inaugural meeting in order to set up more professional structures for the movement. In an urban environment the movement would not have survived, so they focused their activities on the rural Kurdish regions.

The Turkish authorities reacted harshly to the propaganda efforts of the PKK. Detentions and armed clashes followed. Both sides experienced losses. The situation in Turkey, however, was also coming to a point. The first signs of the imminent military coup were already visible in 1979. The PKK responded by withdrawing from Turkey into the mountains or into other countries of the Middle East. Only a small number of activists remained in Turkey. This step helped the PKK to secure their survival. On September 12, 1980 the Turkish military overthrew the civil government and seized power. Many of the PKK who had remained in Turkey were imprisoned by the military junta.

In this situation, the PKK had to determine whether they wanted to become an exile organization or a modern national liberation movement. After a short phase of re-organization a majority of members returned to Kurdistan and took up armed resistance against the fascist junta. The attacks on military facilities in Eruh and Semdili on August 15, 1984 proclaimed the official beginning of the armed resistance. Although there were deficits, the move towards becoming a national liberation movement had been made.

Originally the Turkish authorities - Turgut Ozal had just been elected prime minister – tried to play down the incident. The state propaganda called the guerilla a “handful of bandits”, which is telling about the mindset of those in charge there. A political approach to the conflict was not perceptible. The clashes grew into a war, which demanded numerous victims from both sides.

It was only in the 1990s that the situation became less gridlocked, when the state seemed to become ready for a political solution. There were statements by Turgut Ozal and Suleyman Demirel, then president, indicating that they might recognize the Kurdish identity, raised hopes for an early end of the conflict. The PKK tried to strengthen this process by declaring a ceasefire in 1993.

The sudden death of Turgut Ozal deprived this process of one of its most important protagonists. There were other obstacles, too. Some hardliners among the PKK stuck to the armed struggle; the situation among the leadership of the Turkish state was difficult and marked by conflicting interests; the attitude of the Iraqi Kurdish leaders Talabani and Barzani was also not helpful in deepening the peace process. It was the biggest opportunity for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question until then, and it was lost.

Subsequently the conflict escalated. Both parties experienced high losses. However, even this escalation did not lift the dead- lock. The years of war between 1994 and 1998 were lost years. In spite of several unilateral ceasefires on the part of the PKK, the Turkish state insisted on a military solution. The ceasefire of 1998 remained without response as well. Rather, it stirred up a military confrontation between Turkey and Syria, which brought both countries to the edge of a war. In 1998 I went to Europe as the chairman of the PKK in order to promote a political solution. The following odyssey is well known. I was abducted from Kenya and brought to Turkey in violation of international law. This abduction was backed by an alliance of secret services and the public expected the conflict to further escalate then. However, the trial on the Turkish prison island of Imrali marked a political U-turn in the conflict and offered new perspectives for a political solution. At the same time this turn caused the PKK to reorient ideologically and politically. I had been working on these points already before my abduction. This was truly an ideological and political cut. What, then, were the real motives?

Main criticism

Doubtlessly, my abduction was a heavy blow for the PKK. It was nonetheless not the reason for the ideological and political cut. The PKK had been conceived as a party with a state-like hierarchical structure similar to other parties. Such a structure, however, causes a dialectic contradiction to the principles of democracy, freedom, and equality, a contradiction in principle concerning all parties whatsoever their philosophy. Although the PKK stood for freedom-oriented views we had not been able to free ourselves from thinking in hierarchical structures.

Another main contradiction lay in the PKK’s quest for institutional political power, which formed and aligned the party correspondingly. Structures aligned along the lines of institutional power, however, are in conflict with societal democratization, which the PKK was declaredly espousing. Activists of any such party tend to orient themselves by superiors rather than by the society, or as the case may be aspire to such positions themselves.

All of the three big ideological tendencies based on emancipative social conceptions have been confronted with this contradiction. When real-socialism and social democracy as well as national liberation movements tried to set up social conceptions beyond capitalism they could not free themselves from the ideological constraints of the capitalist system. Quite early, they became pillars of the capitalist system while only seeking institutional political power instead of putting their focus on the democratization of the society.

Another main contradiction was the value of war in the ideological and political considerations of the PKK. War was understood as the continuation of politics by different means and romanticized as a strategic instrument.

This was a blatant contradiction to our self-perception as a movement struggling for the liberation of the society. According to this, the use of armed force can only be justified for the purpose of necessary self-defense. Anything going beyond that would be in violation of the socially emancipative approach that the PKK felt itself obliged to, since all repressive regimes in history had been based on war or had aligned their institutions according to the logic of warfare. The PKK believed that the armed struggle would be sufficient for winning the rights that the Kurds had been denied. Such a deterministic idea of war is neither socialist nor democratic, although the PKK saw itself as a democratic party. A really socialist party is neither oriented by state –like structures and hierarchies nor does it aspire to institutional political power, of which the basis is the protection of interests and power by war.

The supposed defeat of the PKK that the Turkish authorities believed they had accomplished by my abduction to Turkey was eventually reason enough to critically and openly look into the reasons that had prevented us from making better progress with our liberation movement. The ideological and political cut undergone by the PKK made the seeming defeat a gateway to new horizons.

Tomorrow, new strategic, philosophic, and political approaches of the Kurdish liberation movement.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"Even though the almost thirty years of conflict stands as the major source for the exacerbation of all problems of the country, it is still not analyzed beyond a question of terrorism and security."
~ DTP, Democratic Autonomy Project.

Below is the last part of DTP's Democratic Autonomy document (Part A, Part B):




Following the July 22 2007 general elections, Turkey entered a new phase. Presently, all political forces approach the problems of the country from their own stance and considering their own priorities. However, centers of power able to assume a role in the solution of the problems, unfortunately adopt an attitude of disregard against the most fundamental and poignant problem of our country.

Even though the almost thirty years of conflict stands as the major source for the exacerbation of all problems of the country, it is still not analyzed beyond a question of terrorism and security. In this context, the problem is more aggravated in every sense. The absolute failure of the efforts to solve the problem with the same mentality and measures for decades is now clearly revealed. Consequently, the society experiences incurable losses in every respect. All the people living in our geography now desire a solution to this problem. Not a single person finds acceptable the loss of lives and the pain suffered by a different family every day. The statements “BLESS THE MOTHERLAND”, “BLESS THE MOTHERLAND BUT UNTIL WHEN?” are expressions of it.

The permanency of the atmosphere of conflict gradually grows feelings of enmity, the rehabilitation and reparation of which is very difficult among the people inhabiting the same geography for over a thousand years and collaborating in many areas of life. In recent months, significant signals of warning which were indications of this tendency appeared in many places. Nevertheless, these were unfortunately either disregarded or were exploited as issues in domestic political agenda by various circles.

We find the taking of steps for the establishment and endurance of an atmosphere of non-conflict as a party that attends to all problems of Turkey and seeks solutions to them. We believe that unless concrete results are obtained on the issue, the attainment of internal peace, tranquility and welfare remains an illusion. It is on this ground that we have been struggling for years for the attainment of our internal peace. We paid a high price for this sake. This is only because we are aware of the fact that this is the only way to endorse and uphold the common values created by a thousand years of common life. We know now by the testimony of our near history that all other efforts and ways only serve to plant and grow seeds of enmity among our people. Hence, we insist and we are stubborn.

We are aware that the reconfiguration of the historical commonality through an equal and free relationship of fraternity would benefit this country and its people. Our aim is to bring in an esteem and respectability to our people and country that would set the pace for the whole region.

Until today, we took our steps conscious of our responsibility in the attainment of internal peace and the reconfiguration of relations. We are determined to fulfill our share of responsibility in this tense and critical period Turkey is witnessing. We will intensify our efforts for the termination of clashes and the gradual establishment of a lasting peace. Until this day, our party has made many attempts for the termination of clashes and the emergence of a suitable atmosphere for the solution of the problem. These efforts received, from time to time, positive feedback and engendered the rising of hopes for solution in society. However, each time these attempts were impeded and rendered futile by structures feeding on conflict and tension. As might be expected, this attitude gave way to a shattering of trust and belief among our people. For this reason, as the Party, we will assume our leading role for the development of a solemn and conclusive process. Past experiences reveal the fact the establishment of ceasefire by a single party is devoid of generating enduring positive consequences. Departing from these experiences, practical efforts will be exerted for the commencement and endurance of a process of mutual ceasefire.

To this end;

1. The Kurdish Question lies at the core of the conflict experienced by our country. The development of an inclusive approach regarding the Kurdish Question during the endeavor for the New Constitution entails prospects for the achievement of a peaceful atmosphere. Regarding the issue, efforts will be devoted to the initiation of conventions and collaborations with all related powers and organizations.

2. Attempts will be brought to the fore to exert influence on all related circles for the attainment of a lasting termination of clashes. The assumption of the role of intermediation is a possibility once suitable conditions arise and upon the positive stance adopted by related powers.

3. Attempts at collaboration with civil society organizations, democratic institutions and organizations for the commencement of a lasting termination of clashes, initiatives will be taken for the formation of an appropriate ground and pressure groups.

4. Relations will be developed with the foreign powers able to assume prominent role for the termination of clashes including the civil society organizations working for peace, EU, USA, Kurdish Federal Government and a diplomatic process will be initiated in this context.

5. In order to carry out all these attempts mentioned above, our party assumes profound responsibility and declares its genuine will to work for the formation of a workshop group comprised of the representatives of political parties, peace assembly, civil society and democratic mass organizations and various figures.

November 8 2007


For some commentary on DTP's proposal, see the opinion pieces by Gülay Göktürk at Bugün, Autonomy or Federation? and Even If They Defend the Federation.

Also let me add that DTP is in the position today to openly discuss its autonomy project only as a result of PKK şehîds--whether Kurd, Turk, or others--who have willingly watered the tree of Kurdish liberty with their own blood.

"Our people are going to get what is rightfully theirs. I am proud to have died for this. Tell everyone we will succeed."




Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"In discourse, almost all political parties emphasize these socioeconomic disparities; however, practical policies fall short of achieving slightest improvement in the situation."
~ DTP, Democratic Autonomy Project.

Below is the continuation of DTP's Democratic Autonomy Project document. The first part can be read here.





The need for fundamental economic changes asserts itself in order to eliminate the underdevelopment and devastation generated by the atmosphere of conflict and statist economic policies implemented throughout the history of the Republic. It is crucial to consider the experiences of those countries successfully implementing regional development focused models that render initiative to the local in the utilization of some sources according to the urgencies and priorities of regions within which the exercise of authority between the center and the local is balanced.

The initiation of effective and comprehensive policies designed for the alleviation of the current socioeconomic problems of the region is most necessary for the establishment of peace on the Kurdish Question. Nevertheless, confronting the historical and political causes of the poverty and deprivation of the region is an indispensable component for paving the way for a sustainable peace and stability through policy formation and activation. However, just as the high level of economic welfare in the Catalan and Basque regions was unable to thwart the emergence of ethnic violence and conflict, economic programs targeting the region would be unsuccessful in establishing a lasting peace unless the political and historical aspects of the socioeconomic problems of the region are confronted.

According to the 2003 data provided by the State Planning Organization (DPT), East and Southeast Anatolian Regions rank last in social and economic development indices.

14 of the 16 most backward provinces in socio-economic terms are in the East and Southeast regions of the country.

As also reflected in other welfare indices, in terms of production in agricultural, industrial and service sectors, Southeast Anatolian Region extremely lags behind other regions. The number of doctors for each ten thousand people in the most developed provinces of İstanbul, İzmir and Ankara in the western part of the country is 20, 23 and 32 respectively. These figures which are below the expected standards, also demonstrate the fact that the numbers are thirteen times higher in capital city Ankara than the eastern province of Ağrı.

In discourse, almost all political parties emphasize these socioeconomic disparities; however, practical policies fall short of achieving slightest improvement in the situation. Official statistics revealing the regional distribution of the law of incentive implemented by the AKP government through developmentalist rhetoric, investment incentives and public investments oriented towards the creation of investment and employment demonstrate that these practices fail to generate a positive outcome for the region. It is obligatory for any social and economic program to confront the political and historical causes of poverty in the region for the establishment of a just and honorable peace.


1. Establishing coordination with local dynamics, -local governments in particular- is compulsory. As revealed in the Southeast Anatolian Project (GAP) case, centralist economic policies, devoid of encouraging local participation and lacking in humanist orientation are completely deficient in their achievement of success. As is true of all social phenomena, effective dialogue between the center and the local is capable of initiating constructive consequences.

2. Some portion of compulsory levies, tax revenues and of the outcome received through local sources at the disposal of local and regional assemblies with increased authority is utilized for the solution of socioeconomic problems of people.

3. In order to reestablish the disrupted economic and social balance of the regions and to abolish regional discrepancies in development, a special incentive law aiming at the development of mining, industry based on agriculture, stock raising, tourism and labor-intensive sectors in particular, is enacted. The previous incentive law promoted all provinces equally. We express our will without hesitation for the development of all provinces regardless of their geographical location. Nevertheless, due to the atmosphere of conflict and violence, the implementation of equal investment incentives for eastern and western parts of the country would most naturally channel investor preferences to the western provinces. Therefore, we strongly emphasize the requirement for a special incentive law regarding the region.

4. The democratic autonomous regions that are established are prepared in infrastructure (transportation, communication, energy and such) for economic investments.

5. The construction of North-South and East-West Highways is the sine qua non for the strengthening of economic and social ties.

6. With respect to economic development, it is of utmost significance that the EU funds are allocated to regions taking into consideration the principle of “positive discrimination” and the establishment of democratic autonomy in the political and administrative model according to the principle of subsidiarity in the utilization of these funds.

7. Provinces such as Trabzon, Diyarbakır, Van, Erzurum are transformed into regional metropolitan areas in order to facilitate regional dynamics which will assume key role for regional socioeconomic development and to hinder outward migration.

8. The capacity of Habur entry point is increased, friendly and commercial relations are developed with Iraq and Kurdistan Federal Government and free zones are created.

9. In order to introduce a general solution to forced migration and to mitigate the pressure on cities generated by migration, suitable conditions are prepared for citizens for their return to villages, economic and social preventative measures are taken for those who wish to remain as urban residents and cooperation with local governments is established to this end. It is compulsory that the implementation of security zones is abolished and rural development projects are effectuated. Urban transformation projects are put into practice for the integration of migrants who wish to remain as urban residents; comprehensive solutions are developed for the solution of social problems including health, employment, education and sheltering.

10. Legal and administrative regulations essential for projects that provide employment in the region are initiated. In this respect, special priority is given to incentives for small and medium sized enterprises (KOBİ) and for investments, credits and subsidies, tax exemption as well as to areas of transportation, energy, information-communication as infrastructural preparation for investments The practice of additional share and positive discrimination is adopted in the allocation of incentives and public investments.

11. Apart from these long-term projects, many other problems require urgent intervention. In this respect, the government, through the utilization of special funds and in cooperation with the Department of Health and Social Services, local governments and civil society organizations, initiates social policies targeting the urgent problems of hunger, violence, sheltering, health, education, encountered by females, children, the youth and sufferers of migration.


The social and economic disaster in the region generated particularly in the last two decades, mass poverty and the traumas they have caused require urgent intervention.

The question of Domestic Displacement is by no means an object of analysis independent of the historical, ethnic and social problems of the East and Southeast Anatolian Region. Additionally, the lack of mutual confidence between the state and the citizen which grows on the “remote” and “martial” presence of the state in the region is much more aggravated by migration, poverty and social problems.

As far as its causes are concerned, the wave of migration between 1984-1999 constitutes, to a great extent a forced migration stemming from the political conditions within the context of the Kurdish Question and security concerns; unlike the migration of 1960’s and 1970’s triggered by socioeconomic conditions. Poverty, deprivation and social problems generated by conflict and displacement not only represent a violation of human rights, but also a breach of many international agreements some of which Turkey has signed as a party. During the course of the atmosphere of conflict, the region has been de-humanized on the one hand, through policies of forced migration implemented on Kurdish people, the numbers of which range between 380,000 and 3.5-4,000,000 and economic activities vital for the inhabitants of the region have been abolished on the other.


1. Return to inhabited lands is a right. All aggrieved victims of migration are entitled to benefit from this right.

2. The state must trust its citizens; the right to view its citizens as potential criminals is not bestowed on any state. For this reason, decisions regarding the specific villages to be returned will be given not security forces, but by citizens registered in that village. Security forces have the duty to provide security in the returned village; other public sectors on the other hand are charged with the elimination of grievances and the provision of necessary support for the emergence of humanly conditions of life in the returned village.

3. The system of village guards that imposes severe obstacles to the return to previously inhabited lands will be abolished. The village guards will be disarmed and employed according to their labor. Expropriated lands will be returned to their owners.

4. Prior to the return, all villages that have been evacuated, their surroundings and meadows will be cleansed of land mines. Mine fields in borderlines will be made use of in conformity with public benefit.

5. Facilities necessary for the fostering of economic activities such as apiculture, commercial growing of hothouse flowers and production of industrial plants will be supplied and encouraged. Technical and legal support will be provided for the establishment of cooperatives and unions by peasants.

6. Citizens returning to the villages will be granted privileges in the implementation of low interest livestock feeding project; a system of guarantee based on the personal assets of the receivers of the credit in question will be developed and surety will not be sought.

7. All material and moral losses caused by the forced migration that has detached millions of people from their living areas and economic relations of production will be compensated with fairness and without delay. Thus, the scope and criteria for compensation of the current Law no. 52331 will be widened; applications will be evaluated respecting efficiency and transparency. The fair compensation of the losses created by forced migration will be effectuated not only to alleviate the economic problems encountered by the people inhabiting the outer fringes of cities, but also, in accordance with the social character of the state, as the realization of the state’s responsibility towards its citizens. The law in terms of method, amount and procedure will function in favor of rehabilitation of the disrupted relationship between the citizen and the state. Unfortunately, the law has hitherto been applied towards the obliteration of the past rather than the provision of justice and solving problems.

Part C tomorrow.