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.


Anonymous said...

One wonders where Bozan Tekin was when PKK was fighting for an Independent Kurdish State? Or, am I the only one who remembers that?

I don't think I can take this much hypocrisy.

Fine, you don't want statehood anymore. But, why conflate statehood with nationalism? There's many nation states that guarantee their citizens rights and freedoms.


Anonymous said...

One wonders what you have read. Where does mr Tekin state that PKK never fought for an independent state? I cant take the hypocrisy from the arm chair revolutionaries like you. You are sitting and demanding that other people should pursue your personal dreams.

The equation is simple. PKK has less ambitions than you, but they fight and are actually making some change. Your ambitions are much higher, but you are doing virtually nothing. Have you ever tried to multiply one billion with zero?


Mizgîn said...

Where was Bozan Tekin? Prison . . . ??

kürtçe müzik said...

Bozan Tekin is one a PKK's commandante in middle east mizgin...

Anonymous said...

@ Aram:
I will take your comments as an ingrained reaction to criticism. Did you “cut and paste” from previous responses or was it formulated just for me?

Let me ask you, how much do you value the actual-fighting revolutionaries? I’m sure you perceive they are valued, but think again...What if they disagree? What worth is a PKK cadre if he disagrees? Aren't even arm chair revolutionaries prized if they have the “correct opinions”? There’s a reason why it has been said that the revolution devours its own children so dwell on that if your constitution permits.

Also, I’d like to add that PKK Supporters are not a homogeneous entity, neither are PKK cadres, and neither are those who are anti-PKK. It is, in fact, possible to support the efforts of the PKK without agreeing whole-heartedly with every individual within the PKK, with the specific policies of the day, etc...if one can elevate the bigger Cause from the rest.

Having said that, within the PKK cadres there has always existed the “internationalist” group who believed in international socialism and for the removal of borders; but it cannot be denied that PKK was never simply a communist or socialist organization. Had they been, they would have fought a common struggle with the Turkish communists & socialists.

When I asked where Bozan Tekin was during the time the PKK asked for an independent Kurdistan, I wanted to know how a PKK cadre could reconcile his internationalist roots with the concept of a Kurdistan with full fledged borders? Was he living a lie then?

I suspect not because Kurdistan as a concept was not submitted as a product of nationalism. The way I understood it, it was viewed as a tool to guarantee essential rights and freedoms for the Kurds that could not have been protected in any other way. Once Kurdistan’s people had enshrined rights and their neighbors respected those rights, surely, borders would become less relevant. Stated in another way, statehood was not simply a fight for “borders” or “land” – which could be perceived as ethno-nationalism – but a means whereby rights & freedoms could be protected.

I suspect Bozan Tekin knows this as well. So, why does he state "We are not nationalists, not fighting for statehood but for our rights and our freedom"? Was he and others nationalists when the PKK was fighting for statehood? Is anyone who asks for a Kurdish state a "nationalist"? I know of some Turks who also support a Kurdish state. Maybe I am a Turk. Are you an ipso facto "nationalist" when you ask for a Kurdish state while racist conditions persist in the Middle East?

Since when is expecting intellectual honesty a personal whim to be attacked?


Anonymous said...

To Nistiman:

You got the comment you deserved. You lashed out in a short comment that was based on you feelings and not on reason. If you had formulated yourself in the way you did in your last post we would be able to have a discussion at once.

You ask me ”What worth is a PKK cadre if he disagree”. First of all, ”he” is quiet often a ”she”, secondly PKK cadres diagrees quiet often...Some disagree so much that they leave. I have met 2 persons (former guerillas) that left PKK. Both did so without problems.

Lets summarize your last post.

1) PKK-supporters, cadres and those who do not like PKK are not a homogenous group.

2) There is a ”internationalist-group” within PKK

3) You do not have to be a nationalist to ask for your own country.

There are few parties that are homogenous. Change PKK to PUK, Labour Party or BJP and you can draw same conclusion. I think it is good that PKK is not homogenous. And then we have this ”internationalist group”, or like some other people call it ”the leftist group”. You simply state that such group exists.

I do not think that Tekin regards PKK solely an internationalist movement. PKK have a high degree if interntioanlism in their ideology and this is something that Tekin simply brought up in the interview, and problably also something that the journlist enhanced when he chose what to take from the interview. The vast majority of those who want a state today are ethno-nationalists, and that is probably also a reason why Tekin is expressing himself as he do. He is simple putting a clear line between and PKK and ethno-nationalism. I think this is correct, although I agree with you that you do not have to be a ethno-nationalist to ask for your own country.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Aram. I suppose we can all benefit from restraining ourselves from "lashing out". I feel like I've discussed with you before so I'll keep my comments short(er).

I disagree with you about the treatment of ex-PKKs and the PKK's general difficulty in encouraging debate and voicing of differing view points. This may seem at odds with my earlier statement that PKK cadres are not a homogeneous group but in my opinion, at different times a majority group has prevailed over the rest and homogeneity was maintained through the masking of the true leanings of the minority groups and not through an open co-existence.

I doubt the PKK will ever admit to being pragmatic in its nature since it has viewed ideology as a unifying factor.

I also wanted to briefly comment on your "what's a billion times zero?" question because I do very much agree that one cannot stand aloof or constantly criticize simply because a Kurdish party does not reflect our mind's exact replica. The PKK is the only party that the Kurdish people have in Turkey and I would hate for anyone to think that my criticisms here and there amount to a rejection of the PKK.

As my father says, if you live in the sea, you can either swim with the fish or be the seaweed in the bottom of the sea.


Anonymous said...


We have not discussed before as far as I know. If Rasti opens an forum we would be able to discuss these issues further.



zuru said...

As the author of the interview, I´m delighted to check that somebody bothered to translate it into English. My goal was to give voice to those who hardly get any chance to get heard, at least not in the Western world.

Gelek spas for translating and posting!