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For the right of Kurdish self-determination, with the Iraqi resistance

14. June 2007

Interview with the ESP (Socialist Platform of the Oppressed) representative of Diyarbakir, in the Kurdish region of the Turkish state

ESP (Socialist Platform of the Oppressed) in Diyarbakir, the capital of the Kurdish region of the Turkish state, is an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist organization who fights on the side of the oppressed masses. For four years they’ve had activities in the city which is considered the center of the Kurdish national movement. This interview was done by Anti-imperialist Camp with a spokeswoman of ESP in the city.

– What do you think about the Kurdish national movement?

We mainly think it is a progressive national movement, seeking the national rights of the oppressed Kurdish nation. But we criticize some aspects of the movement. Mainly we criticize the Kurdish national movement that they stayed far away from the aim of revolutionary national liberation and their aim to live inside the Turkish republic.

And also we criticize them for seeking a bourgeois solution to the problem, not joining their hands with the Turkish labouring people, but seeking alliances with some sectors of the Turkish bourgeoisie and for their inconsistent attitudes towards American and European imperialism.

We believe that the Kurdish question and that the problems of the Kurdish people will have a solution with revolution and socialism. And for this reason we try to organize here as socialist patriots. We believe that self-determination is the solution for the national question.

– Why do you support Kurdish national self-determination?

We think the Turkish republic has a fascist and colonialist characteristic. At many times we see the peace strives of the Kurdish national movements, but all the time the state answered with pressure, assimilation and denial. Towards the struggle of the Kurdish national movement and the Turkish revolutionary movement the answer was always very hard and murderous.

Imagine a state which answers very ordinary, usual democratic mass rallies with violence and oppression. As such there can be no solution. For this we say that socialism and national liberation is the solution.

– Shouldn’t the working class of Turkey and Northern Kurdistan unite in common struggle?

When we look to Turkey in general we see that Turkey is the country of the minorities. With the common struggle of these minorities and workers we believe that socialism can be a solution for this problem.

Of course we defend the united organization of the working class of Turkey and N. Kurdistan in one common party. Further more, our programme is a “Workers-Toilers Soviet Republics Federation” -a united federate state of two soviet republics. By this way we think a voluntary unity and confidence between the peoples can be established. On the regional scale our programme is democratic and socialist federations of the peoples of Middle East, Caucasus and Balkans…

– How do you see the struggle of PKK?

Not only for PKK, but for all nationalities who are under pressure, have the right to struggle with arms. We see the struggle of PKK in this perspective. When we look to the history of the struggle, the military use weapons and violence against the Kurdish people, and it’s their right to answer violence by violence.

– What do you think of the idea of a Confederation of the peoples of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan?

This project has a conciliatory aspect. With the kidnapping of Mr. Öcalan, inside the PKK they looked for new strategies and ways. From 1999 until now, for 8 years, when we look to the PKK, sometimes they talked about dialogue, democracy, but we could see no optimism towards the attitude of the Turkish state. Before I talked of the characteristic of the fascist state, it cannot be any peace with this regime. But this project has another aspect that is to develop inter-Kurdish dialogue in four parts of Kurdistan, which is progressive.

– So do you support the renewed military actions of the PKK?

As I said before, we always supported the oppressed people, so we were always in solidarity with the Kurdish people and supported them. From the beginning until now with the one-year cease fire, the state gave the military answer. There isn’t any fault of the PKK, it’s not the mistake of the PKK which provoked this answer. The generals send the poor youth to fight and die in the mountains against their Kurdish brothers. Never we see a son of a rich or a politician or a general to die here in Kurdistan. With each soldier dead, the generals develop their influence on inner politics. And now they try to pull Turkey in the quagmire of Iraq. An extraterritorial military attack would be a colonialist attack towards the Kurds here and there; will cause a regional and war bring disaster to Turkey.

We are both against American imperialism and Turkish bourgeois colonialism.

– What do you think of the European Union and the Kurdish question?

We don’t believe there will be positive effects of EU membership of Turkey. At first some people misunderstood what EU was about. Also in Europe parts of the working class are under pressure, but they do not get rights. A country or a union which does not have any democracy cannot make another country democratic.

At the first years of the EU candidacy there were many misunderstandings, DTP and NGOs thought that the EU would make the country more democratic, but they misunderstood. We always struggled against the EU-process and these misunderstandings.

– What do you think the American role towards the Kurds?

It’s clear that USA wants to solve every problem in the Middle East under it’s whip. One of these issues is the Kurdish issue. In Southern Kurdistan, maybe a local government can be a gain for the Kurdish side. In essence the body in the South is a protectorate colony, like Kosovo or Bosnia. It cannot be an answer for all the Kurdish people, this government in the South Kurdistan. From the side of having a state, it’s a gain, but not from the political side. The main target of the US is to make the Kurdish forces under it’s control.

We want US imperialists kicked out of the Middle East, and we are together with the Iraqi resistance. But also we think the national rights of the Kurds (including self-determination) should be respected by the resistance forces. We are for a people’s Middle East.

– Is it correct to say that the Kurdish national movement has come closer to the US during recent years?

From the past we can see some attempts of the national Kurdish movement to solve the issue with imperialists, EU and USA. The aim of the DTP is to create a group inside the parliamentary and carry the issue to the international society. But it is clear that the Kurds in the North are not like Barzani and Talabani, they are not in any collaboration with the US.

– But you support the DTP candidates in the Eastern region? Why?

Yes. The last period we see the interventions of the Turkish army against the Kurdish movement, Turkish intellectuals and the presidential elections. Especially the DTP was under very strong pressure, and experienced violence policies against them. They had many members arrested and put into prison. The first aim of the army is to close the road for DTP to access the political process and weaken their force. For a long time with the 10% barrier, the Turkish authorities wanted to deny Kurdish access into to the parliament. So the DTP took the decision to join the elections with independent candidates.

An Assembly including DTP would be a great strike to the denial of the Kurdish nation, and a blow for the army-centered national-fascist coalition.

The DTP tries to introduce themselves to the Turkish people and the international society. When there was pressure on DTP we made demonstrations saying “we are all DTP”.

– But isn’t the Kurdish national movement a petit bourgeoisie movement?

We think, yes, it is a petit bourgeoisie national reformist movement, but as a national movement of the oppressed nation we support it. And it plays a revolutionary role inside Turkish politics, although in programme it is reformist. Because it wages an armed struggle and because the contradictions around the national question is very sharp.

When we look to the characteristics of the Kurdish national movement, there’s a bourgeois side of the movement, which goes along with the national struggle. In Kurdistan until now, the Kurdish bourgeoisie is going with the DTP. And sometimes this has an effect on the party. Because they represent a more liberal wing than the national movement itself.

– What do you think of the shift of PKK from Marxism to social democracy?

It was never completely a Marxist movement. When we look to the movement it has a national characteristic. It is more a national struggle than a class struggle, but the class struggle has an effect on it. With the collapse of the Soviet Union they threw the hammer and sickle from their banner.

In the 80’s and early 90’s it was leading a labourer peasant based national revolution. After the mid-90’s the bourgeois effect on the movement grew. But still the movement has a labourer character.

In the past they aimed independence, but today they aim a solution within the Turkish state. But maybe now they will return to the goal of independence and the inter-unity of the Kurds, if there are no more results.

We look at the national problem from a socialist perspective. The Kurdish national movement kept a distance to the ESP for some time because they believe they are the only ones who carry the Kurdish movement. We were also denied entry to some manifestations of the Kurdish national movement with the ESP flags. But now we see that the Kurdish people also accept the ESP as they have seen our solidarity with them.

We say “Kurdistan needs socialism” and we aim to establish a Kurdish Soviet State in federation with the peoples of the region. We are a developing power. Although we experienced a hard strike of the state in September (which tried to choke all our work in Kurdistan), we are still in our trenches, fighting for national freedom, fraternity of the peoples and revolution. We salute all the comrades in the world, fighting for the same objectives.

Interview led by Lars Akerhaug for the Norwegian Anti-imperialist Magazine and