Bayik: Women and ecology are the basis to build a democratic society

Cemil Bayik talked about the role of Kurdish young people and about their responsibility in the fight against the special war being waged in Kurdistan.

In the second part of this interview, KCK Executive Council co-chair, Cemil Bayik, spoke about the role of Kurdish young people and their responsibility in the fight against the special war being waged in Kurdistan.

Bayik also goes into detail about the importance of the struggle against the exploitation and plunder of nature and, finally, he explains why the KDP is campaigning for the elections to be delayed and what interests it is currently pursuing.

The first part of the interview can be read here 

The Apoist youth have taken a pioneering role in Northern Kurdistan, Rojava and abroad, and they have achieved important results. They left their mark on the Newroz celebrations, the municipal elections in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey and most recently in the ‘serhildan’ in Wan. How do you assess the current state of the Apoist young people?

Kurdish youth are not like the youth in other countries. During this process, the Kurdish people have been experiencing something between life and death. The Kurdish young people are the children of these people. That is why they cannot live like the children of other peoples, they cannot live within the framework developed by a system that provides no other route than death for them. They have to live completely outside that system. In this way, they can be the youth of the Kurdish people, lead the Kurdish people, and keep them alive. A policy of genocide is being carried out against the Kurdish people. It is particularly the duty of youths to stand against this policy before anyone else. Because young people determine the future of a people. If young people want to keep the Kurdish people alive, they must lead the way. Just like this, they can keep themselves and their society alive.

We are a youth movement. As Rêber Apo once put it, “We started young, we will succeed young”. The youth of the Kurdish people should take this slogan as a basis. This movement has a history and struggles on its basis. Kurdish youths will never give up on their history or their goal. What is required of them is to struggle on the basis of their history. The Kurdish youth must act with a revolutionary spirit and recognize no obstacles. They should not accept the various obstacles put in front of them by the state, by traitors, or even by their own families. I thereby call on all the families: what patriotism demands from us is to take care of ourselves, our country, and our children, and to stand against the enemy. It is not right for families to see themselves as patriots and, at the same time, to be an obstacle in front of their children and to divert their direction to a system that will kill them physically or culturally. This goes against patriotism. The regime wants to eliminate the Kurdish people, so it starts with the youth. They are diverting youth to many evils. The governor of Siirt said, “Let them engage in prostitution instead of joining the guerrillas.” That is something he openly declared. And this is exactly the policy of the Turkish state, because they seek to eliminate the Kurdish people.

So again, why do they want to eliminate our young people? When they eliminate the youth, they will also be able to eliminate Kurdish society. If young people do not fulfill their duties for their people and for their country, if they do not participate in the struggle, if they do not stand against occupation and assimilation, the state diverts them in the direction of wrongdoing. Instead of showing their children the path of freedom, families are showing them the path to the system. The system is eliminating these people. Patriotism and humanity cannot accept this. That is why I call on all families: do not approach your children in this way; take care of them. Educate your children on Kurdish reality. Do not allow them to become tools for the enemy’s politics. Keep them away from the politics of drugs, spying, prostitution, migration, and assimilation. Young people are living under the politics of the Turkish state. The Turkish state puts a different culture in front of them: arabesque culture. With this culture, they are killing the soul of the youth completely. The youth of the Kurdish people must not accept this. Especially, the Apoist youth must oppose this; they must fight against it; they must stand up for themselves and their people, and fulfill their historical duties. This is what we want from them. They should both struggle, wherever they are, and join the guerrillas. They should organize their acquaintances and carry out actions together. This is how this movement started and developed. The youth of this movement should take this as a basis.

As you have mentioned before, policies of special warfare are being waged in Northern Kurdistan, especially targeting Kurdish women, the youth and even the children. And there are efforts by young people against these policies. In your opinion, what should and can be done against these policies of special warfare?

If the Turkish state focuses so much on women, youth, and children, there is a reason for this. Because they all represent the future of the Kurdish people. Another reason is that Rêber Apo declared both the youth and women the pioneers of the people. Since the fascist Turkish state seeks to eliminate the Kurdish people and Kurdistan, it wants to destroy everything in the name of the Kurds and Kurdistan. It is conducting its politics based on this mentality. To achieve this goal, it targets women, young people, and children. Every day, the state kills children somewhere. They don’t do this in Turkey, only in Kurdistan. This clearly demonstrates enmity towards Kurds. They don’t even allow children to play or move in the streets; they go after them with tanks. They want to scare all Kurdish children into submission. In this way, they aim to eliminate the Kurdish people. They target women and young people with arabesque culture, drugs, prostitution, spying, immigration, and assimilation policies. In this way, they want to deprive young people and women of their souls, distract them from their reality and struggle, and ensure that they do not take care of themselves and their country.

That’s why the Turkish state is conducting special war policies in schools, on the streets, and everywhere. For example, they even produce some TV series for this. The scenarios written for many of these series carry messages against Kurdish society, Kurdish women, and Kurdish youth. They want to promote Turkishness through these series. They aim to alienate the Kurdish people from their roots, their country, and their humanity and to make them serve the Turkish state. Or, as another example, they organize festivals to promote their language, culture, and history as superior through those. They eliminate and ban everything that will serve the Kurds, that will serve patriotism and revolutionism. They also do not allow Kurdish theater to develop; they do not allow Kurdish music to develop; they do not allow the Kurdish language to develop; in other words, they do everything to eliminate Kurdish language, culture, and identity. And they recognize no border in doing so.

Particularly, women and youth must stand up for themselves, their country, and their society. They must stand up and fight against occupation and genocide in every sense. They must protect their language, culture, identity, country, and everything else. They must lead their people. They must stand against the politics of the Turkish state, educate, and organize the people so that they can protect themselves against the politics of the Turkish state and gain their freedom and identity. This is what is required of them.

Free ecology is a fundamental pillar of your paradigm. The enmity against Kurdistan is most evident in the state-led ecological and natural plunder. What is the reason for the enemy attacking the ecology so extensively?

Building a democratic society is only possible through women’s freedom and the consciousness of ideological struggle. If you do not take both women and ecology as a basis, if you do not develop your consciousness, organization, and struggle, you cannot build a democratic society; you cannot achieve your goals of freedom and democracy. The value of nature is embedded in Kurdish culture and society. They live and struggle together with nature. Taking nature as a basis means taking life and freedom as a basis. Those who do not take nature as a basis, who do not protect nature, cannot live and cannot be liberated. The Turkish state is plundering the nature of Kurdistan without limits, eliminating their means of life. It plunders the Kurdish geography by constructing mining sites everywhere; it burns the forests of Kurdistan, cuts down trees, floods many places with dams, and cuts off electricity in Urfa and Mardin to prevent agriculture. In this way, it aims to migrate the people and change the demography of Kurdistan.

For example, everyone knows what happened in Iliç; there is plunder in the areas of Sirnak, Gabar, Colemerg, and Dersim. In Colemerg, in the village of Marinos, the people stood against the plunder. I congratulate them. Our people everywhere must protect their lands, geographies, values, and lives like the people in Marinos village. They should not allow the plunder of the occupiers. Maybe some steps are already being taken, but they are very insufficient. Everywhere, everyone must show a stronger reaction and defend their lives and their future. Because the state is destroying the lives of the Kurdish people with the policies they are developing. For example, when they mine minerals, they use poison. The water becomes contaminated, the environment deteriorated, the people cannot farm, the trees are drying up, and they are creating great damage to people’s lives and psychology. If you do not develop the consciousness of ideological struggle, if you do not organize, you cannot prevent plunder or genocide. The Turkish state wants to make Kurdistan its own homeland, and for this, it wants to eliminate the Kurdish people. The Kurdish people must protect their water, their land, and their region. This means protecting themselves and their freedom.

You cannot live in Kurdistan and just tolerate such destruction, if you want to live, you will live in your country, in your geography, and defend it. You will not allow the enemy to plunder nature, you will prevent them from destroying your means of life. The Kurdish people stand by their geography. If their geography is taken away from them, then they cannot live. For example, they say that Sirnak has the worst air quality in Turkey. Why is it so? The state has left no trees or forests. They pollute it with their oil refineries. The Turkish state is pursuing a policy that aims to justify the plunder in Kurdistan. The Turkish state stated not long ago, “Until now, the PKK did not let us discover these mining sites; it did not allow us to uncover the riches of Kurdistan or put them at our service. But in fact, other foreign states that do not want Turkey to prosper and develop are doing this. There are some foreign states behind the PKK, they were helping the PKK to prevent us from getting these riches.” This is how they want to deceive and mobilize Turkish society against the PKK and the Kurdish people. This is how they want to legitimize the genocide against the Kurdish people and the massacres against the PKK. In other words, it aims to gain the support of the peoples of Turkey and strengthen chauvinism. This is how it wants to complete its genocide policy in Kurdistan. The peoples of Turkey need to understand this. Right now, hunger and poverty have increased in Turkey. The situation is very serious. It is the result of the Turkish state’s policy against the Kurdish people. The state cannot give anything to Turkish society with such plunder and war. The peoples of Turkey need to be aware of this. They are realizing this day by day, but they should see it sooner.

If they want to get rid of hunger, the way out is to oppose the Turkish state’s policy against the Kurds. Then hunger and poverty will be overcome. In order to conceal the States plunder in Kurdistan, the Turkish state wants to draw ecological movements to the state’s line. It is also doing a lot of work in this field. No one should fall into this trap. No one should expect the state to stand against prostitution, drugs, spying, migration, and hunger because these wrongdoings originate from the state. It carries out this policy both to eliminate the Kurds and to forcefully bind society in Turkey completely to itself. No one should say that the state should take measures against those things I managed, since it is the state that is putting those things forward. How can this be prevented?

Some people come forward and make demands from the State, saying: “The state should do this, do that, and take this and that measure.” At this point, such statements are shameful and embarrassing, especially for Kurds. They have nothing to ask for and nothing to expect from such a State. This state kills Kurds every day; it tries to eliminate the Kurdish people. How can a Kurd ask for something from such a State? Kurds should struggle for what they need by themselves. Whatever they achieve, they will achieve through their own struggle. This is the truth. Therefore, they should not demand anything from the state. They should not ask the state to prevent prostitution, evil, and theft because the state is consciously developing this policy in Kurdistan.

The elections in Southern Kurdistan have been postponed once again. Why is the KDP and the Barzani family so opposed to the elections? What dangers does this policy pose for Southern Kurdistan and Iraq?

The Barzanis are everywhere propagandizing that “the PKK is abolishing the status of southern Kurdistan.” However, it is the Barzanis themselves who are abolishing the status of southern Kurdistan. The Barzanis have completely tied their fate to the AKP and MHP. If the Barzanis want the elections to be postponed, there are some main reasons for this. The first is their betrayal of the Kurds. Because they are acting together with the occupying, genocidal Turkish state, they are not only hostile to the PKK; they are also hostile to the Kurdish people. Their politics against the Kurdish people and the Turkish state showed their true face to everyone. They were exposed among the Kurdish people.

The second reason is that through the municipal elections in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey, the AKP-MHP suffered a big blow, and the Barzanis suffered an even bigger blow than the AKP, they were weakened. That is why they want the elections to be postponed. Because they know that if there are elections, they will lose the same way Erdogan did. They drew conclusions from the elections in Turkey. They see that if there is an election now, they will lose, they will fall from power. They don’t want to lose the opportunities they have. Right now, there is no government in southern Kurdistan. The Barzani family rules under the name of the government of southern Kurdistan. They have put everything at their disposal. They are conducting plunder. Just as the AKP is getting rich by plundering everywhere in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey, the Barzanis are plundering the same way in the South. They have billions of dollars, own several houses in America, and in the Golden Horn, they have villas. However, the people in southern Kurdistan are hungry and getting poorer by the day, while the Barzani family is getting richer day by day. Why? Because there is no government, there is no control over the power, it is the absolute power of the Barzanis functioning in the south. They do whatever they want, whatever they like. There is no law, there is no justice. If they were really fighting for Kurdishness, if they were really fighting for the people of Southern Kurdistan, if they were democrats and free people, then why are they postponing the elections? What are they afraid of? They are afraid because they have things to hide. They don’t want these to be revealed. They don’t want to lose the opportunities they have. That’s why they want to postpone the election.

Another point I would like to draw attention to in this regard is that they are not saying that there should not be elections, they are saying that they should be postponed until the end of the year. Why? Because Erdogan says, “We will expand to more areas in southern Kurdistan.” They are obviously carrying out a program related to this. They are waiting for Turkish troops to spread into southern Kurdistan. Once Turkish troops spread more and enter all of southern Kurdistan, the possibility of elections will disappear, and they will maintain their power and dictatorship. That’s how they imagine it. Just as the Minister of Justice in Turkey is saying, ”There is no isolation going on in Imrali; everything is perfect,”  the Barzanis say, “in Southern Kurdistan, everything is working perfectly. There is no one in our prisons who have been stripped of their communication rights.” While they say this, they are preventing people from their rights to visitations. Even lawyers are being blocked from seeing their clients. They are persecuting the people.

Our people of southern Kurdistan paid a high price in Behdinan and Soran. Thousands of peshmerga were martyred. These martyrdoms did not happen so that Saddam would fall and the Turkish state would come to power in southern Kurdistan. If our people in southern Kurdistan struggled, if thousands of peshmerga were martyred, if they were subjected to chemical attacks, they did it to get rid of the dictatorship and to live in a free and democratic way. But we see that now the Barzani family is bringing the Turkish state to southern Kurdistan. They are replacing Saddam with the Turkish state. What does this have to do with Kurdishness? Why should our people in southern Kurdistan accept this? Our people of southern Kurdistan are very patriotic; they have fought very hard and given many martyrs. They cannot accept this occupation by the Turkish state. I am convinced that they, and particularly the people of Behdinan, are deeply disturbed by Barzani’s rule and dictatorship, and they want to live in a free and democratic way as soon as possible. They must protect their history, their values, and their status. What the Barzanis want is to abolish the status of southern Kurdistan with the Turkish state.

It is the PKK that protects their status. Right now, it is the PKK that is paying the price for this. The PKK has paid many high prices and struggled not only for southern Kurdistan but also for Iraq. Everyone knows this. Some people say, “Barzanis are not traitors; they have martyrs.” The peshmerga and the Barzanis were not martyred so that the KDP would serve the Turkish state and make southern Kurdistan a province of the Turkish state. This needs to be understood well. If anyone else was to do what the Barzanis are doing, they would be condemned for committing treason. But some do not say this to the Barzanis. Why not? Because they get money from the Barzanis, that’s why. Our people need to be sensitive at this point. Those who do not stand for the freedom of Rêber Apo, those who do not stand for Kurdistan, those who do not stand against the Turkish state, and those who do not stand against treason cannot be patriots. Kurds must have criteria. Their criteria is patriotism. Patriotism means to stand against the occupation, its policies, practices, and betrayal. My call to all patriots is on this basis.