"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.
~ 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"
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 zinarala.blogspot.com).
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.