The Kurdish Question, the most fundamental challenge facing since the Turkish Republic since its foundation, continues to run like an open wound. There is a great expectation in society for the settlement of this question which has caused such immense tragedies right up until the present day. A just and democratic solution of the question is now an obligation and one that is in the common interests of the peoples of the region and the development of democracy and stabilization in the Middle East.
As the Kurdistan Freedom Movement, we have made important efforts for a peaceful, democratic and political solution to this question since the year 1993. On numerous occasions unilateral ceasefires were announced by our party. It is a fact widely known among the public that we have enabled significant openings by stopping the war unilaterally and making sincere and honest efforts for a democratic solution in the successive years 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2009. However, the Turkish State interpreted our peaceful initiatives during these times as signs of weakness, and then aimed to use it as an opportunity to liquidate the Kurdish Freedom Movement. So the Turkish State has carried out its most comprehensive military and political assaults precisely during these periods.
For instance, following our indefinite ceasefire announcement on September 1, 1998, an international conspiracy process was initiated and our Leader was captured. Once more, following our ceasefire on October 1, 2006, Leader Apo was attacked with a chemical poison. And through organizing comprehensive military annihilation operations against our forces, we were targeted to be liquidated totally. Finally, in the case of the process of a unilateral ceasefire declaration that we announced on April 13, 2009, a great onslaught was initiated against all our forces accompanied by an attempt to totally liquidate the Kurdish political organisation. This attack process is still under way.
At the same time, the struggle of our people and movement against these attacks on the ground through our legitimate self-defence perspective brought about significant results. In addition to military victories, our movement achieved a higher degree regarding its ideological recovery, organizational growth and increased social activities. Afterwards, the results of the 29 March Local Elections which were viewed like a referendum election provided a considerable political success for the Kurdish Freedom Movement. This result repositioned the Kurdish Question onto the centre of the agenda once again. In order to transform this atmosphere into a peaceful and political process, our movement announced its decision of unilateral inactivity.
However, the Turkish State did not give a positive answer to our peaceful announcement and actions. Instead of renouncing its annihilation and denial politics which collapsed with the 29 March election, the AKP Government decided to carry on with the same denial politics under the guise of a so-called “opening” which was in reality a purely tactical manoeuvre. In the last practical process, the so-called “opening” tactic was exposed as having no peaceful solution in its intent. In spite of our unilateral inactivity announcement on 13 April, the sustained operations and the targeting of the legitimate democratic Kurdish representatives since 14 April are clear evidence of this tactical approach.
Although political massacres and military operations were being carried out in Kurdistan, Leader Apo declared that he would prepare a Road Map for a permanent solution. And our movement also took up a very decisive and insistent stance about its inactivity position in order to contribute to the development of the peace process.
The Turkish State and the AKP Government were seriously compelled to act at both national and international levels against our movement’s imposition of peaceful and democratic methods for a solution of the Kurdish Question. In order to dispel the rising pressures for change, and to legitimize its politics at national and international levels, and to maintain support for its administration, the AKP put forward a fake opening policy. Indeed, the AKP Government did not give up the annihilation and denial process against the Kurdish people. Yet by adjusting its direction and methods, it turned towards a new policy for achieving victory.
In spite of all these provocative tactics, the Leader of the Kurdish People made a call for sending Peace Groups from guerilla forces, Maxmur Camp and Europe in order to assist the peace process and develop it further. In answer to this call, our movement took practical steps. However, faced with the millions of Kurdish people with their welcoming celebrations for the Peace Groups who shouted enthusiastically for peace and a democratic solution, the AKP’s and Turkish State’s real intentions were exposed. It is clear the AKP and Turkish State has no real intention to make peace with the Kurds. By contrast, they intend to render us weak and then force the Kurdish people to submit to their will. Therefore, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened: ‘’if it is necessary, we return to the starting point.’’ Afterwards, a series of attacks were initiated against the Leader of the Kurdish People, against the Kurdish People themselves and the DTP as representatives of our democratic politics. On the one hand, the road map prepared for a permanent peace by the Kurdish Leader was not made known to a public audience. In addition, the Kurdish Leader was replied by a punishment process through putting him into a death pit. A State terror politics was launched against the democratic demands of our people. Thus, an extensive and systematic physical and political lynching campaign was put into operation for oppressing our people and suppressing the Democratic Movement.
In the current situation, the legal democratic parties and institutions of the Kurdish people have been shut down and hundreds of Kurdish politicians have been imprisoned. Kurdish children have been given tens of years in jail as punishment, for allegedly throwing stones. Without considering whether they are children, youth or old, people have being shot in broad daylight in the street. And nobody has been held responsible for these actions. The democratic gatherings of our people have being terrorized. These practices being endured in the land of Kurdistan are fascist actions that can only be found in military regimes. The elected representatives of the Kurdish people, our mayors, members of municipality councils and provincial councils, human rights activists and representatives of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), people from a very large spectrum of society, were targeted and, thus ended up handcuffed and imprisoned. All these attacks have been aimed at breaking the will of the Kurdish people, to oppress and eradicate them. Thus, they have sought to achieve the annihilation of the freedom struggle politically and to put the basis for a democratic solution off the agenda. The essential aim of these policies is to undermine the support given to the guerilla movement. By doing this, they aim to annihilate the Kurdistan Freedom Movement by the military operations planned to be realized in 2010.
Nevertheless, against all these odds, today the conditions for a solution of the Kurdish Question by peaceful and democratic means have grown much more substantial compared to all previous times. Nevertheless, due to the unchanged denial mentality of the State and the AKP’s purely selfish and petty political calculations, the solution has not able to be developed. Just like all its predecessors, the AKP has worked to label our movement with its tens of thousands of martyrs and its millions of supporters as a terrorist organization and thus aimed to crush it. The AKP has gambled its future power on the annihilation of the Kurdish Freedom Movement as well. However, it is well known by the AKP that the Kurdish Freedom Movement cannot be simply suppressed by taking the old route and using the old methods. Therefore the party has developed a duplicitous policy consisting of accepting a so-called Kurdish existence in accordance with the concept of the Turkish nation which is still based on assimilation and a single mentality.
The AKP Government has adopted policies designed to undermine the dynamics of Kurdish society internally. By doing this, it has planned the dismantling of Kurdish society to make the Kurds collaborate in their own destruction. In particular, the AKP has tried to foster contradictions between our Freedom Movement and the forces of South Kurdistan, hoping for us to be in conflict with each other and obtain results that way. Rather than finding a solution to the real question at issue, the AKP government has essentially planned to annihilate the Freedom Movement by winning international support leading with the USA based on marketing the strategic position of Turkey. The AKP has worked to get international forces to support the common aims of the annihilation process on the one hand with the regional powers like Iran and Syria on the other. This policy of the AKP is not just a dangerous and duplicitous threat to North Kurdistan but for Kurdish people living in all the other parts as well. Inasmuch as the AKP has represented a denial political approach which fails to accept Kurds as a national community, rather it has sought to pacify Kurds with some cultural reforms in the context of piecemeal individual rights, designed to pitch them in conflict with each other, and finally, to annihilate the Freedom Movement and all gains made by the Kurdish people.
Although the Kurdish Question is a social one, the AKP has approached the question with the policy of a nation state; it has considered this question in the context of terrorism, and thus aimed to conclude a military campaign consisting of combined psychological, diplomatic, social and economic dimensions. This plan has meant an extensive war against Kurdish people.
Our Announcement to All Concerned Powers and Democratic Public Opinion
The growing policies of the Turkish State regarding Kurds which have been pioneered by the AKP government, albeit under the new definitions and names and accompanied by the slogan ‘’we are solving the question’’ which is part of a psychological war campaign, has now reached a very dangerous point. Together with the systematic torture applications against the Leader of the Kurdish people, the continuing attacks, oppression and violence against the legal Kurdish representatives, have seriously tested the patience of our people to their limits. The process making Kurdish people endure this cruel politics reveals its true face ever more clearly day by day. In spite of our people’s and movement’s calls, our honour as a community and a people has been insulted; the representatives of our people have been abused; our mothers and children have been beaten barbarously in the streets, murdered in the open, and faced arrests based on the flimsiest of charges. Thus, these heartless practices insulting our people and oppressing our will have become part of the everyday existence of our people.
Ruling by diktat offers no solution but is a very striking illustration of where the deadlock politics are leading. It is very clear that serious damage will be done and the deadlock will deepen since the government has allowed its election calculations to determine its approach to the Kurdish Question which is too serious to be considered a political game.
Thus, first of all, the AKP Government and Turkish State must consider the dimensions of the damage done to society by adopting this kind of politics. In order to prevent the damage which cannot be compensated by any means, and as a requirement of our deep responsibility to the peoples, we call once again on the Turkish State and Government to repudiate this policy and instead to approach the question on the basis that is in accordance with the road map presented by our Leader.
For the democratization of Turkey and development of a permanent solution to the Kurdish Question, strengthening stability and mutual trust, and achieving a real social compromise, we have given great importance to present three fundamental principles as essential keys. Firstly, a Democratic Nation in which no identities will be hegemonic and have priority. Secondly, a Democratic Country in which all lands of different peoples will be recognized and not be ignored. Thirdly, a Democratic Republic in which borders will not pose problems and national political rights of communities will be recognized in the context of democracy.
In this framework, the permanent solution perspective is possible within a constitutional reform process. Both by recognising the urgent necessity of Turkey to adopt a new civil and democratic constitution onto the agenda and accepting a reform period will lead to the transformation of Turkey into a democratic system. And a solution of Kurdish Question will be possible in this context.
Improving the process depends on the mutual ceasefire as an essential priority. At a time when one party makes a ceasefire and the other launches her weapons more than ever before as considering a main opportunity for her victory can never provide the basis for a solution process. In spite of the fact that this process has been called a democratic opening, while a mutual ceasefire is lacking, no step can be taken to prevent the continuous blood-letting. Therefore, military and political operations should be stopped.
The second important issue is that all Kurdish democratic politicians who have been placed under arrest since 14 April should be released immediately.
The most positive actor who will play his role for peace is the Leader of Kurdish People. In order to improve the conditions of peace and a democratic solution of the Kurdish Question, Leader Apo offers a chance for a solution based on the brotherhood of the peoples. Taking this reality into account, as a first step, Leader Apo’s situation should be converted into house arrest in order to give him more opportunities to work for a democratic solution of the question.
The Kurdish Question cannot be solved without negotiating with Kurds. Every society has the right to representation. The aim should be to start democratic negotiations between the parties in order to make progress in the political process.
As early as possible these steps should be put on the agenda. It should be understood that the ongoing current policies will bring the process to a very dangerous point. Although heavy human rights violations have been committed, and many members of our forces have been lost, we continue with extreme devotion to adopt our unilateral inactivity position. Yet, it is all too clear that the unilateral inactivity process will be meaningless in this attack atmosphere.
It is very urgent that the democratic forces of Turkey should address the process as early as possible for stopping the government’s irresponsible policies and the damage it is inflicting. It is a task of every sensible group to prevent the AKP from destroying the potential and opportunities that had been achieved for a solution of Kurdish Question and the democratization of Turkey.
A very large spectrum of allies consisting of all democratic forces, the progressive left, socialists, liberal democrats, Alevi unions, and democratic Islamic groups, should organize an initiative of the democracy movement in order to become a fundamental actor regarding the solution of main problems facing Turkey.
The Kurdish Freedom Movement has entered into the most significant process since its origins. The Turkish government has sought to create division within Kurdish society and dismantle the Kurdish political sphere by camouflaging her denial-destruction policies. Against this attack by the Turkish State, all Kurdish powers located in every parts of the land should be united in solidarity and take on the necessary responsibilities for a peaceful and democratic solution of the Kurdish cause. In particular, it is clear that the Southern Kurdish politicians have very important responsibilities. On this basis, we call on all Kurdish forces to see through the duplicitous politics of the AKP government, and thus, to refuse to support it. Rather they should unite their forces with a stronger determination for solidarity to achieve an honorable peace and a democratic solution.
Without a permanent solution formula for the Kurdish Question, which remains one of the fundamental issues in the Middle East, it will be impossible to improve peace and stabilization in the region. Therefore, we call on all international actors who have interests in seeing a peaceful and stabilized region to cease all support for the violent approach to the Kurdish Question. We call on them to take on their responsibilities for a peaceful and democratic settlement of the question.
All members of our people should be united in solidarity and ready for mobilization, they should observe this process carefully and participate more actively than ever.
It should be understood that the people of Kurdistan remain united as one in our determination to win a free and democratic life. There is no chance of any attacks undermining our people’s organization and mobilization with its higher degree of unity for a free and honourable life under the name of the KCK (Union of Kurdistan Communities) system. Everybody will see that our people and movement will respond to all kinds of attacks with a higher stage of struggle, and ultimately we possess the ability to succeed and achieve victory.
Kongra Gel Presidency Board-KCK Executive Council
2 February 2010