Kurds welcome a delegation in Nusaybin, February 2016
1 March 2016
by Duran Kalkan*
The AKP government’s total-war offensive on North Kurdistan’s cities and towns since 24 July 2015 is continuing with savage massacres. Against this, the Kurdish people’s resistance based around declarations of democratic self-rule is also on-going. The peak of the AKP’s massacres occurred in Cizre, a town known for its history of resistance, but the resistance also reached its zenith in this town. It is evident that the war in Kurdistan is going to continue escalating.
It is also well known that the AKP’s attacks on Kurdistan in the past seven months have had very dire consequences and have been genocidal attacks, constituting war crimes. So much so that 1,028 academics signed a petition stating that, “We will not be a party to this crime.” Similar statements have spread across different circles. Many groups who have seen that the AKP government is committing crimes against humanity have taken a stand.
The AKP’s attacks constituting crimes against humanity are formed of the following; they do not differentiate between civilians and activists/militants and target civilians including Kurdish children and elderly. Consequently according to official figures from several organisations over 500 civilians including almost 70 children have been killed. Furthermore 300,000 civilian people have been affected by state attacks and more than 100,000 displaced in the middle of winter. Not to mention the state of Kurdish cities and towns, which have been turned into completely inhabitable areas by tank and artillery fire.
The AKP’s fascism and practices against Kurds do not adhere to any moral or legal law and are not in compliance with any international laws including the UN’s laws of armed conflict. For example they bomb and destroy the cemeteries where Kurdish fighters are buried. They attach the bodies of Kurdish fighters shot in battle onto armoured vehicles and drag them through streets. They strip naked the bodies of women fighters and expose them in photographs. And they declare round-the-clock martial lockdowns and curfews in Kurdish cities turning these areas into prisons for the civilians living there.
Another contravention of international law was added to the examples above at the beginning of February when almost 200 people were massacred in Cizre. It has become clear that the wounded were gunned to death execution-style while more than 70 people were doused with petrol and burned alive. This is not an accusation or claim, it is fact. The corpses of these people are being held in morgues across Kurdistan and cannot be identified without DNA testing.
Although the attacks and massacres of the AKP regime are inhumane, they are being resisted against and countered by the courage and sacrifice of the Kurdish people and its freedom forces. Just listening to the last words of murdered Silopi People’s Assembly co-chair Pakize Nayır, “We are going to resist until the end for freedom and fraternity,” shows us what is at stake. Again the words, “We did not and will not kneel down in the face of fascism,” by Cizre People’s Assmbly co-chair Mehmet Tunç, who was killed in a Cizre basement, have taken the resistance to new heights.
Despite the severity and inhumanity of the state’s attacks in Cizre not a single resistance fighter has surrendered. Therefore the war of wills between the AKP’s fascism and Kurds’ local democracy has ended with victory for Kurds and freedom. Similar to the resistance in Diyarbakır Prison in 1982, the victor of this phase is the Kurdish resistance.
Now however, the AKP’s massacre in Cizre and the Kurdish resistance have created a benchmark, a measure, which is demanding a response from us. What the situation is saying to us is this: Are you on the side of the AKP’s massacres or are you on the side of Kurdish resistance for self-rule? Everyone needs to answer this question. To overlook this reality or not answer this question in practice is not acceptable.
For example what is the response of some individuals and institutions to the massacre in Cizre? The political parties in Parliament – the AKP, CHP and MHP – are supportive of this massacre and its perpetrators. It is evident that green (Islamist), white (CHP-middle class) and black (MHP-Nationalist) fascisms have joined forces in their hatred for Kurds. Unfortunately Europe, the USA and Russia have not reacted to the AKP’s massacres either. These powers have not been as sensitive to the massacres of the AKP as they have to those perpetrated by the Islamic State. Their interests with Turkey have meant that they have turned a blind eye to the Turkish government’s savagery.
The resistance based on democratic self-rule in Cizre is also a milestone for democracy today. It is a litmus test to see who is a democrat and which institutions are democratic. Unfortunately many have failed in this sense as their approach and solidarity has been weak. For example the people of Turkey have not seriously opposed the AKP’s fascism and supported the Cizre resistance. It’s certain that the Suruç and Ankara massacres have had an effect, the message was, “Stay away from Kurds,” and it has worked.
This lack of support for the self-governance resistance in Cizre has also spread to Europe and the US. In fact EU and US state officials, as if awarding the AKP government, were quick to declare, “Turkey has a right to defend itself.” What can one say against this? Why should the self-governance of the people of Cizre be considered an attack on Turkey so that Turkey has the right to defend itself! Rather than question this, statements made in support of the AKP’s massacres makes them party to the savagery. Sadly the policies of European states and the US is still the same when it is the people of North Kurdistan in question.
It is clear that the AKP government is hostile and feels enmity towards Kurds; and not just Kurds in North Kurdistan but also Rojava and South Kurdistan too. Its negative approach to the PYD and YPG, the most organised and best fighting force against the Islamic State in Rojava and Syria, and the fact that it has declared it a ‘terrorist organisation’ and is pressuring Europe and the US to do the same is proof of this. Not to mention the lengths the government and President Tayyip Erdoğan will go to, to smear and conspire against Kurds, as witnessed in the attacks against Afrin and the attempts to implicate the YPG in the Ankara bombing.
Erdoğan’s hatred of Kurds is not limited to North and Western Kurdistan; as he made clear recently when he said it had been a mistake and they regretted not preventing the autonomy in South Kurdistan (N.Iraq) thus admitting that given half the chance they would try and destroy the Kurdish government there. Therefore the AKP and KDP’s relationship and interests are not mutual but based on false-hood; similar to Erdoğan constantly saying, “My Kurdish brothers and sisters,” and then massacring Kurds in Cizre.
Now the AKP is the CHP of the 1930s: authoritarian, monolithic, nationalistic and fascistic. The AKP’s policies have one principle: being anti-Kurd. Everything has become attached to its animosity and hatred of Kurds and it is not afraid to show this as it did in Cizre. The AKP government is openly carrying out genocide in North Kurdistan and committing war crimes. It is soiling humanity once again with the stain of genocide in the first half of the 21st century and is gaining the courage to do this because of the world’s silence.
The Turkish government has changed Kemal Ataturk’s words, “Peace at home, peace in the world” to “Emnity against Kurds at home, enmity against Kurds around the world.” Every single person who defines him or herself a democrat needs to be aware of this and take a stand. Otherwise congratulating the Kurds on their struggle against the Islamic State will mean nothing. Those supporting the Kurds’ democratic resistance against fascism in Syria and Rojava need to do the same in North Kurdistan against the AKP’s fascist terror and massacres.
*PKK Executive Committee Member