“This document was sent to ZNet by ARAM, a publishing house in Turkey. We are posting it to alert our readers to another possible consequence of a US war on Iraq.”
In 1998, the leader (Mr. Abdullah Ocalan) of Kurdish Liberation Movement called at that time – PKK (Kurdistan Worker Party) has been captured as a result of an international conspiracy.
In his trial, he called the Kurdish Movement to abandon the armed struggle against Turkish state and to pursue peaceful, civil rights struggle in order to obtain the basic identity and cultural rights of Kurds living in Turkey.
The Movement responded to his call positively and the internal war which had continued 15 years was terminated unilaterally by Kurdish Liberation Movement about four years ago. The Kurds focused on civil, peaceful political activities. Kurdish Liberation Movement founded a congress (KADEK) which would be an umbrella structure for promoting peace and democracy in Turkey. They have re-elected Mr. Abdullah Ocalan as their President who is in jail since 1998.
The Kurdish guerrilla forces did not leave the arms, but they have withdrawn beyond Turkish borders and located themselves in Northern Iraq. Since then they called themselves as “self-defence forces” and didn’t attack any military target. They demanded from Turkish state to declare an amnesty and open the channels that would enable them to participate in peaceful political activity in Turkey.
As US became more decisive in attacking to Iraq in last months, Turkish military wanted to use the war atmosphere in Middle East as an opportunity to exterminate Kurdish Liberation Movement. They have pursued a two-fold policy. On the one hand, they have intensified the isolation of Mr. Abdullah Ocalan by not permitting his lawyers and relatives to meet with him. Thus, they intended to provoke Kurdish people who are very sensitive about the living conditions of their leader. Many demonstrations have taken place around Turkey (especially in Kurdish South-eastern region) protesting the isolation policy exerted on Mr. Abdullah Ocalan. On the other hand, they organized a very harsh military operation against Kurdish guerrilla forces around Diyarbakir, in South-east of Turkey. (There are still some guerrilla forces inside Turkey, but their number are very low compared to those who have withdrawn to Northern Iraq.)
We wanted to inform dissident people around the world about the present situation in Turkey and for this purpose, we briefly submit below the considerations of the leaders of Kurdish Liberation Movement concerning an impending civil war in Turkey.
KURDISH LIBERATION MOVEMENT LEADERS’ DECLARATIONS
KADEK President Abdullah Ocalan is isolated from the external world and he is not allowed to see his lawyers and relatives since 8 weeks. KADEK gave a deadline of 15th February for the Turkish state to end the isolation of their leader in prison.
Turkish army launched an operation against HPG (People’s Defence Forces) in the countryside around Lice and Hani. The conflict took place at Guclu (Pecar) village at the Lice-Genc-Kulp triangle, Diyarbakir.
Osman Ocalan, a member of the Governing Council of KADEK and the brother of the captured KADEK leader Abdullah Ocalan said:
“Turkish Parliament wants to use its resolutions as a deceptive tool. This is clear now. Their urge for war has increased and it is made clear that they are not going to move towards a solution. An ambiguous situation has been created, and the Kurdish people wanted to be dragged into war again. The operation against our Lice group had been launched in this framework. It has been known that we have been keeping a peace force there. Previously there were some operations to isolate them from the people. But the latest operation aimed extermination of our forces. By the operation in Lice, Turkey declared a war. And in the South (Northern Iraq) it stated the preparations to attack our forces and to start the war.”
These operations will continue, and in Southern Iraqi Kurdistan, they want to provoke a war between the people’s forces and the Turkish state. [â€¦] Turkey calls this war as “terror” and it carries out this war with all kinds of atrocities. Everyone knows that we made huge steps during the conspiracy period [when KADEK president Ocalan has been captured and tried]. Our president called for a ceasefire in 1999. Our party made consecutive steps to realize this call. It stopped the war and pulled its forces outside the war arena. We wanted that they are not considered as a treat against Turkey. We made a strategy change and we shifted our struggle to the political arena.”
“Now a unprecedented atrocity is exerted on our Leadership [Ocalan]. The isolation of our leadership is literally a declaration of war. Again, the Lice operation is a declaration of war. Turkey must know that if it wants to go for a war, the responsibility is on its shoulders. They are deploying their forces in the South in order to attack Kurds. There is no way left for our people except war.” [Turkish military is deploying a force of about 20.000 soldiers, tanks and other heavy arms in Northern Iraq.]
Cemil Bayik, another member of the Governing Council of KADEK was interviewed by Ozgur Politika, a pro-Kurdish daily paper published and distributed in Europe. Below are some extracts from this interview:
“The time is running out towards 15th of January. Neither the state, nor the government does not seem to respond positively. They will insist on the extended extermination policy. They will try to use the American intervention to Iraq for this purpose. This is what lies behind the bargain the Turkish state is carrying on with the US. The main policy they adopted is to give support to the US in exchange of liquidation of the Kurdish National Movement in the North (Turkish) and South (Iraqi) Kurdistan. Although the economic reasons are sometimes accentuated, the Turkish state conditioned its support to American intervention on the deprivation of the Kurdish people from their basic rights. The heavy isolation against our leadership is showing clearly Turkey’s policy regarding the intervention. In order to prevent the Kurds to benefit from the vacuum that the anticipated intervention may create, our leadership is isolated and the war is put once again high on the agenda. Isolation is, in a sense, a declaration of war by Turkish state on Kurds.”
“To insist on the pure peace policy as a response to the intense preparations for war and the initiation of war through isolation by Turkish state, equals to liquidation [of the movement]. To prevent the liquidation of our Liberation Movement, and to benefit from the conditions that the intervention may lead to, will only be possible if our forces are prepared for war. In an environment of intervention which may lead to a regional war, one-sided peace policy will not lead to anywhere.”
“The intervention to Iraq will lead to unpredictable developments. The intervention will affect the states in the region and will lead to the destruction of the established status quo. A completely new situation in every aspects will emerge. A new status quo will be established in the Middle East. Tremendous energy should be put into political, military and diplomatic arenas. A major struggle is necessary in order to gain a status for the Kurdish people.”
It seems that the Turkish state is preparing to start its own war against the Kurdish people when US will be launched an attack on Iraq. This is another incident that the repressive forces around the world are using the rethoric of “war on terror” to suppress their own populations and to deprive them of their basic rights. The escalation of the human rights violations in Turkey on the eve of a all-round attack to Iraq is worth noting. Turkish state is bargaining with the US to try to secure the best possible terms in case of war. The Kurdish issue is high on the agenda, and the basic item is to prevent the formation of any possible Kurdish federation or any move towards more autonomy for Kurds in Northern Iraq. The fear of People’s Defence Forces gaining any meaningful control in the region is the basic derive for the Turkish policy on Iraq. It has been declared in several occasions by the Turkish military and civil officials that one of the basic restraints against a full Turkish support to the US invasion of Iraq from the Turkey-Iraq boundary is the Kurdish issue. It has also made clear that in case of war, Turkey will take necessary precautions to secure itself, which means that it is going to use the war atmosphere to exterminate the Kurdish Liberation Movement (KADEK). The declarations made by the Kurdish Liberation Movement’s leaders make it clear that the war has already commenced.