Karayılan: Erdoğan asked the PKK for ceasefire in North Kurdistan

According to Murat Karayılan of the PKK, the Turkish government has asked the PKK for a ceasefire within North Kurdistan. In return, the Kurdish movement was offered a "free hand" in other regions.

The commander-in-chief of the central HPG headquarters, Murat Karayılan, has commented on Turkey's ongoing invasion of southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) in a special broadcast on the Kurdish television station Stêrk TV. According to Karayılan, who is also a member of the PKK's executive committee, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked the Kurdish movement through contacts for a ceasefire inside northern Kurdistan. In return, the PKK was offered a "free hand" in other parts of Kurdistan. Below we publish the first part of the slightly shortened interview in English translation.

The June 5 incident in Metîna is currently at the center of the Kurdish agenda. A convoy of KDP forces attempted to enter the guerrilla area on the day in question. Meanwhile, an explosion occurred. The HPG denied any involvement, but the KDP nevertheless blames the PKK guerrillas for this attack. What is behind this incident?

The phase we are currently experiencing is an important stage in the struggle of the Kurdish people. The enemy is making insidious plans against this struggle. It is common knowledge that Rêber Apo (Abdullah Öcalan) declared a ceasefire in North Kurdistan in 2013 [in the course of the peace negotiations between the Turkish government and the PKK]. This ceasefire lasted for about two and a half years. However, the Turkish state recognized that this strengthened the Kurds' hand in the Middle East. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided to overturn the negotiation table, even though the talks had reached a certain level. Immediately afterwards, he allied himself with people like Devlet Bahçeli and Doğu Perinçek, who were openly hostile to the Kurds, and launched a full-scale attack against our movement. The aim was first to crush the PKK and then to eliminate the achievements of the entire Kurdish people. This is the intention of this new concept: to destroy the achievements of the Kurds in the entire region. Within this framework, a far-reaching war has been raging against us for six years.

At the beginning of this year, the intensity of the war has greatly increased. The first thing to mention is that the torture of Rêber Apo on Imrali continues. For some time now, all communication with him has been prevented. In parallel, the Turkish state is using psychological warfare against our movement. Tens of thousands of our friends are imprisoned and tortured in the regime's dungeons. Arrest operations against our people take place every day, as well as military operations in all parts of North Kurdistan. These include the operations in Garzan, Van, Mardin and Botan, which have been ongoing since the spring and have led to casualties in our ranks. These developments can be followed on a daily basis in the media. The Turkish state's occupation plan in South Kurdistan has also been progressing step by step for three years.

The basic idea behind this is to first occupy some regions in order to then settle permanently in southern Kurdistan. The invasion of Metîna, Zap and Avaşîn was initiated after previously occupying some areas in Heftanîn and Xakurke. As of today, this occupation attack has been going on for 48 days. I am talking about a comprehensive attack on us. The regions in southern Kurdistan dominated by our friends, for example, are being flown over by some 30 reconnaissance drones for 24 hours. Airstrikes by fighter jets take place continuously. Sometimes it hits Maxmur and sometimes other areas. By that I mean that it is a continuous attack against us. In a situation like this, in the middle of a high-intensity battle, why would we open a new war front by attacking the peshmerga? Would this be wise? Not at all.

Peshmerga not attacked by guerrillas

This would be extremely unwise, especially in a region like Metîna. It would even be beyond sense and logic to open a second front against the peshmerga there while the war is at its height in the north. We firmly reject the claim that we attacked the convoy. After all, the guerrillas have not taken leave of their senses. The intention behind the incident is to trigger a war between the peshmerga and the guerrilla. There were no instructions from our side to attack peshmerga forces. No such decisions have been made, nor have there been any activities in this direction. An internal Kurdish war is tantamount to a catastrophe for us. We see it as the biggest possible mistake that we do not want to make under any circumstances. But it is obvious that there is a set-up going on here.

We are only too well aware that a war among Kurds at a sensitive time like this will lead to great darkness. This is in the interest of neither Kurdish movement nor the Kurdish people. In this regard, the incident that took place in Metîna should be fully clarified. It makes no sense to enter this region at four o'clock in the morning with two military columns in attack position. It is a military area dominated by the guerrillas and has not been entered by the peshmerga for 25 years. Dialogue [with the guerrillas] could have been established in advance. It is said that the peshmerga simply wanted to fulfill their normal duties. Of course, we wonder why we were not informed.

What can it be about driving up to Metîna with a hundred vehicles without notice? Of course, they [peshmerga] now say they are the dominant force and don't have to ask anyone for permission to move troops. That may be so, but five kilometers away there is an intense war going on. You have to position yourselves elsewhere. Why are you helping the Turkish state? Okay, you are the dominant force in the region, but the war is creating extraordinary conditions. While fighter jets bomb everything to rubble, you concentrate your troops behind our front. Is this compatible with humanity, with a Kurdish attitude? Can there be a logical explanation for this behavior? It is claimed that the guerrillas attacked a passing convoy. This does not correspond to the truth. Let me mention that we have friends who are making themselves available as mediators. We live in the 21st century, our motto is that all humanity resolves its conflicts through dialogue. So why can't we have a mutual dialogue among ourselves and solve existing problems? For what reasons do we rely on military means and attacks as if from nowhere, instead of the word? Who and what does this action serve?

Why were there military activities if the communication channels were open?

We ask ourselves the same question. In the northern areas of Metîna, at the Zendûra hill, in Çemço, in Qela Bêdewê in the Zap region and at Girê Mervanis in Avaşîn, the Turkish army is at an impasse. The wave of attacks has been broken, the occupiers cannot advance. The Kurdish people can only be proud of the resistance that these young men and women are putting up there with new methods against war planes, tanks, shells and chemical agents. This situation is new in the history of Kurdish resistance and basically the harbinger of new achievements for our people.

In Zendûra, the Turkish enemy is currently trying to penetrate the guerrillas' tunnels. To do so, it is relying on the Kurdish card. Collaborators within the village guard association in Sêgirkê are being used. Attempts to infiltrate the tunnels have so far been unsuccessful. In other words, Kurds are once again being used for the interests of the Turkish state. There are only enough examples of this in the history of the Kurds. Dogs equipped with cameras are also being used to penetrate the guerrilla tunnel systems. However, the resistance remains unbroken, and the Turkish state is stuck. Now, if we take all of these points into account, we conclude that the KDP's military activities are directed against the guerrilla resistance at Zendûra. The KDP may disagree with this, but in fact it boils down to this.

Personally, I was disappointed to see Kurdish forces stabbing us in the back during our struggle against a Turkish invasion. I hope that the leaders of the KDP will become aware of this reality. This behavior cannot express a moral stance. It contradicts the traditions of the Kurdish people. After all, we are defending ourselves against a war. If you do not stand by us, at least you should not open a new front against us.

Hulusi Akar calls for Peshmerga involvement in the war

Let me turn to another matter: We have information that [Turkish Defense Minister] Hulusi Akar has demanded that the KDP leadership involve the peshmerga in this war. On May 20, there was a meeting of KDP officials in this regard. We do not know exactly what was decided. That would not have to be mentioned here anyway. What I can disclose in any case-actually, I would have preferred to discuss this with Massoud Barzani or another KDP official-is that the Turkish state, or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, contacted us a few months ago through a friendly delegation and asked us to announce a ceasefire within North Kurdistan. In return, we would be given a free hand in the other parts of Kurdistan. What does that mean in concrete terms? 'Proclaim a ceasefire for us and fight against the KDP, with whom you have problems anyway'. The enemy is playing its games, and we must pay full attention to them. The Turkish state has always played the Kurds against each other in order to provoke internal Kurdish conflicts. This is how this state came into being, and this is also how it can maintain itself.

Kurdish history is littered with unkept promises to us Kurds - whether in the days of the Ottoman Empire or the Republic of Turkey. This fact should be emphasized again on this occasion. One does not even need to look far back into the past. In 1999, for example, Rêber Apo was captured and extradited to Turkey as the result of an international plot. At the time, the Turkish state rejoiced that the PKK was finished. When we stopped the war, the red line was drawn to the leadership of South Kurdistan. Why? In order not to reserve space for relations. When did this line disappear again? When the Turkish state suffered a defeat in the Zap region in 2008. The state realized that it would not succeed in South Kurdistan all on its own.

Second part to be published on Saturday.