PKK’s Karayılan: An attack on Qandil will bring about a big war

Murat Karayilan commented in a television interview with Stêrk TV on Erdoğan's campaign tactics and on the announced military operation by the Turkish army against the Qandil region.

In an interview with television broadcaster Stêrk TV, Murat Karayilan, member of the Executive Council of Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan) and Commander-in-Chief of the People's Defense Force (HPG), commented on the election campaign of Turkish President Erdoğan who had announced in the hot phase of the election campaign new military operations against PKK positions in the Qandil Mountains to mobilize support for his government. "Our goal is to dry the largest marsh of terrorists,” Erdoğan said at his party's AKP election rally. The Turkish army has already "neutralized important goals," headlined AKP-loyal media. Reports that air strikes by the Turkish army led to losses at the guerrillas in Qandil were repeatedly denied by the People's Defense Forces.

Below are some excerpts from the interview with Murat Karayilan.

The Turkish state intends to occupy South Kurdistan

With the occupation of southern Kurdistan, the Turkish state is pursuing its concept of smashing the Kurdish freedom movement. Accordingly, Qandil is at the center of these plans. The Qandil region is, in a sense, the headquarters of our movement and a strategic area in South Kurdistan. With its attacks and occupation of this region, Turkey is trying to expel the PKK from southern Kurdistan and pressure the government of the Kurdistan Region to annex Kirkuk. Should the Turkish state establish itself as a power in the region, it would be able to increase its influence on the policy of the South Kurdish government. This is not about elections, but about the true intentions of the Turkish state and the new project of the AKP-MHP government.

The parliamentary and presidential elections of June 24 are currently on the agenda. Erdoğan wants to achieve a result with propaganda “With regard to the Kurdish question, I am successful. I'm killing Kurds, thus extending Turkey's success”. With a campaign against the Kurds, he thus fights for the votes of the nationalist voters of the Turkish people. On war propaganda a particularly large value is put.

It is said that they will march to Qandil, hoist their flag and then continue to Shengal, and then move on to Makhmour. They present it as if it were a breeze for them to do what they want and leave. But the reality looks different. We know the Turkish state only too well and are well informed about its military strength. We are also aware that this talk is currently nothing more than propaganda. Do they even know what to expect in Qandil? It is not very easy to come to Qandil.

Without the support of the South Kurdish forces, Turkey is in danger

Single-handedly, the Turkish state cannot cope with us, as our 35 years of practice have shown. If they want to achieve success with a broad military offensive, they will need a partner at their side. Certain Kurds possibly. In Afrin, for example, it was the Arab jihadists who helped them out. The Turkish army does not have the ability to fight without reserve power. In other words, without the help and support of the Southern Kurdish forces, the Turkish army will not be able to do anything. While it is not in our interests, should South Kurdistan rush to its aid, as has been the case in the past, it will still not be profitable for Turkey. An attack on Qandil will bring about a great war that will not be easy. The Turkish state would have to make an alliance with certain forces in the region. Then they might be ready to attack us. What we can safely say, however, is that we are going to wage a great war and make a huge resistance.

Erdoğan boasts of killing people

Every day they brag about air raids. There are not really many world leaders who exploit death and murder as propaganda tools for electoral campaign. Every day, Erdoğan boasts of the murder of Kurds, who are not considered equal citizens, but are called "citizens." Every day he boasts proudly how many people they have killed. So Erdoğan tries to be successful. His behavior shows us the racist and chauvinist level that he has now reached.

No losses in Qandil

In response to the claims of the Turkish government that military operations take place every day, resulting in high losses within the guerrillas, the public as well as the Kurdish people and the peoples of Turkey should know that this propaganda does not correspond to the facts.

On June 12, the Turkish occupation army conducted a large-scale air offensive against the Qandil region. In this framework, 14 goals were hit. On June 15, between 8:00 pm and 8:50 pm, the area around Dola Şehîdan was bombed. None of these attacks has led to losses in the guerrillas in Qandil.

Regarding the attack on Dola Şehîdan, Erdoğan claims that the air strikes killed 35 guerrillas. On June 12, allegedly 26 other fighters, including a high-ranking person, were killed. All these statements are not in the least true. Of course, air raids can lead to losses. However, in Qendil we did not suffer any loss.

It is certain that Erdoğan has ordered air raids as reconnaissance aircraft are mobilized over the region. In return, if they are unable to locate targets, they carry out arbitrary bombardments, causing significant damage to the crops of the local civilian population.

As I said earlier, statements about losses in Qandil are not true. We've lost some fighters in the past few days, but not in the Medya Defense Zones. The air raids continue, however. Only today have the regions of Avashîn, Zap and Basyan been bombed. More information about the extent of the attacks is not available at the moment.

In other areas, however, we had to cope with losses. In Besta, for example, the operation started on 8th June lasted until 10th June. The operation area included Besta, Herekol, Pîro and Ramûran. For almost three days, a serious war took place between the guerrillas and the Turkish army. The Turkish forces TSK initially spoke of one dead and another four injured soldiers. Later, they corrected this information and announced that an officer was also killed during the battles. However, we know that they have suffered far more losses. There have also been losses in our ranks. The identities of the fallen will be made public. For losses within the guerrilla we are obliged to inform the public. But as I said, in Qandil this is not the case. In general, most of their air strikes have little effect.

The Qandil region in Southern Kurdistan is a strategic and ancient area. At the moment they are discussing the alleged “evacuation” of the region. The guerrillas did not leave Qandil. And the local population continues to resist the Turkish state, as it has for 20 years. The people there have neither abandoned their homes nor their villages. It is the inhabitants of Qandil who best understand the reality of the Turkish state in southern Kurdistan.

For the people of Qandil, we have always felt deep respect. Nobody has ever been able to depopulate the region. If the Turkish government claims that our organization has left Qandil, I can only advise them to look for themselves. We have not left Qandil, we are waiting for them. Of course, safety precautions are being taken. From a historical point of view as well as today Qandil is of enormous importance for Kurdistan. The region is a stronghold of the resistance.

The existence of the Kurdish people is a threat to the Turkish state

I do not intend to threaten anyone or glorify ourselves, but here's the Lêlîkan example. Since the Turkish press is not reporting on it and the public may be in the dark about our statements and balance sheets, I would like to underline that the guerrillas in Lêlîkan and Xakûrkê region have been mounting a huge resistance to the Turkish occupation for 2.5 months. The Turkish army was literally shattered there. Every day the guerrillas hit the occupiers. In Xakûrkê corpses of soldiers are salvaged every day. If they actually come to Qandil, all I can say is that it will be many times more powerful than Lêlîkan.

On this occasion I would like to greet the young people who came to Qandil as "human shields". I wish you success in your action. From southern Kurdistan we would have expected greater reactions to the attacks of the Turkish state. Nevertheless, there are people who are aware of the situation and take a stand against the danger of the Turkish occupation. Politicians, non-governmental organizations and youth in Southern Kurdistan have adopted a stance, but it does not provide an effective response to the occupation project of the Turkish state. There is a serious threat to South Kurdistan that does not come from the PKK. The very existence and status of the Kurdish people is a threat to the fascist Turkish occupation state. They see us as a threat to their future. It is important that the impending invasion is perceived as such and, accordingly, action against it increases. Greetings to all those who resist."