HPG commander Êrsî: Our goal is the liberation of Öcalan
“We see the physical freedom of Abdullah Öcalan as the basis of our struggle. So this year we will use modern guerrilla tactics, drive the enemy out of Kurdistan and free Reber Apo,” says HPG commander Rizgar Êrsî.
The Command Council of the People's Defense Forces (Hêzên Parastina Gel, HPG) held its annual general meeting in the Medya Defense Areas at the end of January. ANF had the opportunity to talk to the guerrilla commander Rizgar Êrsî about the topics covered and the objectives for the fighting year 2021.
You held your annual meeting during an extremely difficult time.
It is an important and historic time. We covered many topics in detail and had deep discussions. As you know, the fascist-genocidal colonial Turkish state carried out a comprehensive attack on the values of the Kurdish people in 2020 with the aim of liquidating the liberation movement. This liquidation process started by tightening the isolation of our chair. Attacks were then directed against activities in the political and social sphere. In addition, there was widespread hostility towards Kurdish youth and women. Dictator Erdogan and his fascist partner Bahçeli have turned Kurdistan into an open-air prison. I doubt that there are still patriots who have not been caught up in this wave of repression. Every person with a Kurdish national consciousness will sooner or later be haunted by this occupation mentality. That is part of the special war policy.
The guerrillas made great sacrifices and resisted the attacks. From Dersim to Xinere and Xakurke via Serhed to the Amanos Mountains, our generous people fought selflessly and fell. Without a doubt, it is this courageous stance of the guerrillas that undermined the enemy's liquidation plan. Because the enemy is developing new concepts and making great efforts to revive and, above all, put into practice his corrosive, genocidal policies. At our meeting we particularly emphasized one point: As a liberation movement, we have been at war with this occupying state for more than four decades, and our experience is clearly big. Many young people have trained with the guerrillas on the basis of these 40 years of war practice and have acquired skills. For this skills to bear fruit in practice, there must be a total will to win against the occupiers. The goal we have set ourselves is: carry the fight to victory. Our goal is clear and the best example is Heftanîn.
Destruction plans foiled
Since the beginning of last year, the enemy has been trying to exert pressure on our people using special warfare methods and via operations such as Blitz, Kralle and, currently, Eren, in order to achieve results. But here too they have failed miserably. We always say that the enemy can only fight us with technology but that lacks both will and courage on the ground. As it is, even the enemy's technology hardly achieves any results. Why is that? Let's take a look at the groups of mercenary troops put together by the Turkish state and deployed against us in all regions outside of Bakur: corrupted Kurds and remnants of militias such as ISIS, al-Nusra and others. It is not Turkey's official armed forces that are fighting us. The state is dependent on these remnants, these mercenaries as its technology is not sufficient. In order to eliminate our freedom movement, all of Turkey's resources are being sold. Certainly the resistance we offer leads to victims, but as a movement we have gone through much more difficult and extremely critical phases in the past. We were able to cope with all situations successfully and we will conquer and win this process as well.
In this regard, our Command Council rates 2020 as a year in which the guerrillas, through great resistance and willingness to make sacrifices, prevented the enemy from achieving their goal. The freedom guerrilla in the mountains of Kurdistan has great confidence and a firm determination. No matter what the enemy does, these fascist attacks cannot produce results. That's for sure. As the war progresses, the guerrillas mature and gain in experience. We acquire the basics of modern struggle, become professional, and expand our ideological and military horizons. Even if a movement is outnumbered, if it has a skilled and greater force, it can defeat the enemy. By adapting to the conditions of the new era - whether it concerns camouflage or the style of movements - as long as the guerrilla has an advantage on the terrain, the enemy will have no chance. We are sure of that.
What are your goals for 2021?
First of all, it should be emphasized once again that the Turkish state is waging a special war. When the freedom guerrilla of Kurdistan made the first appearance on August 15, 1984, they said: 'This is only a handful of people, we will destroy them'. We have been fighting a guerrilla fight for 37 years now, but this one sentence keeps coming up, which of course is about motivating nationalists. Yes, with the support of NATO, the Turkish state has been waging a war for years, but it cannot win it. It engages in a war of numbers. We have heard many times the refrain according to which ‘there are only so many fighters left’ in the same guerrilla area for years. The fact is that the guerrillas, contrary to the wishes of the state, which believes that it can predict our lifespan, are growing in strength every year, taking more effective actions. We should all bear this in mind.
Of course we also have deficits. If we had thoroughly analyzed our actions in accordance with Reber Apo's [Abdullah Öcalan] perspectives with regard to the modern guerrillas, we would have achieved far greater successes in this war today. We are aware of these shortcomings. At our annual meeting we put on the table a big self-criticism in this regard. Personally, I firmly believe that we as guerrillas will achieve great things as long as our self-analysis is based on the perspectives of Abdullah Öcalan. From this point of view, 2021 will undoubtedly be a very important year for us. We also firmly believe in popular support for the guerrillas as well as the revolutionary people's war strategy for victory. Our primary goal is to break the isolation and free Reber Apo. We can and must succeed. Because without him there will be no solution to the problems of the Kurdish people, our people know that. At the moment, however, our chair is being isolated from the outside world and there is no contact whatsoever with him. The enemy tries to demoralize our people and the guerrillas through isolation and try to separate them from each other. Dealing with Reber Apo is directly related to dealing with the entire Kurdish population. He is currently in isolation and the people feel the same isolation. There is resistance against this isolation in prisons and it is ongoing. There is a hunger strike going on. I would like to greet the struggle of these comrades. They also know that if President Apo is in isolation, so are they. Because the dignity of the Kurdish people is represented by them.
For this reason, our main task in 2021 is the liberation of Abdullah Öcalan. We see his freedom as the basis of our struggle. This struggle will continue until Reber Apo is freed. We will shape this year of resistance on the basis of modern guerrilla tactics and drive the enemy out of Kurdistan. We know that this enemy will continue to work on the implementation of its plan of extermination and will carry out new attacks against the guerrillas through the repression of our people. Still, it won't get any results. Even if only the shadow of the guerrillas remains, the Turkish state of Kurdistan will no longer be able to pass through.
In 2020 our resistance was led by generous friends such as commanders Egîd Civyan, Zin Cizre, Yılmaz Dersim, Agit Garzan, Amara Batman, Bargiran Erkendî, Kasım Engin and Leyla Van. With modern tactics and methods, victory will be ours. Because there is no other way for us than victory. It is the Turkish occupying army that has invaded our homeland and that needs to be driven out.
Defend the values of our people
The enemy is pursuing a hard war policy against our people, the final stage of which is a number of violent episodes. In addition, there are spy recruitment attempts. With such methods the enemy wants to insult the dignity of the Kurdish people underfoot and rob them of their revolutionary and patriotic feelings. The bodies of our fallen friends and companions were kidnapped by this enemy and buried under a sidewalk in Istanbul. A mother received her son's remains by mail. All of these acts are aimed at eliminating the existential values of the Kurdish people.
As the freedom guerrilla of Kurdistan, our message is that everything possible must be done to protect the fundamental values of the Kurdish people. The enemy kills members of our society every day and attacks their values. The people must rise up against it. It cannot accept these crimes. As long as our people fully support the resistance of the guerrillas, it is only a matter of time before we drive the enemy out of Kurdistan once and for all.