HPG Commander: Mahsum Korkmaz did not accept desperation

Legendary guerrilla commander Mahsum Korkmaz died 35 years ago. HPG commander Edip Dersim tells how his solution-oriented attitude still shapes the guerrilla struggle today.

HPG commander Edip Dersim spoke to ANF on the 35th anniversary of the death of Mahsum Korkmaz (Egîd). Mahsum Korkmaz led the first Kurdish guerrilla attack on a military police barracks in Eruh district of Siirt, northern Kurdistan, on August 15, 1984. A guard soldier and an officer were killed, while there were no guerrilla casualties. The founding declaration of the HRK (Kurdistan Freedom Forces) was then read out over the loudspeaker of a mosque. The leaflet of the "Liberation Units of Kurdistan," as the guerrillas called themselves in the early years of the armed struggle in reference to the "Unit for the Liberation of Vietnam" formed at the beginning of the Vietnamese freedom struggle, stated: "The HRK pursues the goal of leading our people's struggle for national independence, a democratic society, freedom and unity under the leadership of the PKK against imperialism, Turkish colonial fascism and their native lackeys in an armed manner."

Mahsum Korkmaz was killed in a Turkish army ambush on Mount Gabar on March 28, 1986. His struggle has left its mark on the guerrillas to this day. Edip Dersim says: "The Kurdish people had been in a deep sleep for decades. The Kurds had rebelled several times against their destiny, but they did not form a unity and their uprisings were bloodily put down. It was only when Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] and the PKK entered the stage of history that fate turned and the calculations of the Turkish state were shattered."

Edip Dersim describes the first guerrilla attack under the command of Mahsum Korkmaz as a "shot against the hopelessness" that prevailed among the Kurdish people: "And this guerrilla war was led by Comrade Egîd. Despite the lack of opportunities, he put an end to the helplessness with great determination, courage and conviction and showed the Kurds the way to a free life. With the beginning of the armed struggle, an invincible guerrilla has been created. Commander Egîd's fighting methods also set the standard for comradery life within the PKK. This standard is still valid with the guerrillas today."

Mahsum Korkmaz's manner was also instrumental in restructuring the HPG in recent years, says Edip Dersim and continues: "Heval Egîd did not accept desperation, but relied on creativity. That is why the guerrilla is stronger today than ever before. It fights against the occupiers with great conviction and high performance. The enemy is trying to destroy the guerrillas by using modern weapons technology and special warfare methods. It constantly boasts about its technology. However, Rêber Apo says, ‘The strongest technology is human himself’. This has been proven countless times in our struggle. The guerrillas make technology fall flat through inventive methods."

The HPG commander explains that this was most recently demonstrated during the Turkish invasion of Gare in February: "The enemy attacked with 41 fighter jets, dozens of drones and helicopters, and thousands of special operations forces, but they were defeated by a single unit, that is, by six friends. This shows that technology cannot triumph over guerrillas if the fighters are well organized and move in the right way. The foundation for this was laid by the great commander Egîd. With this awareness, we will crush the enemy's hopes in 2021. The guerrillas are fighting against the occupation in all parts of Kurdistan."

In order to live with Abdullah Öcalan in a free Kurdistan, the Kurdish people must return to the spirit created by Mahsum Korkmaz, HPG commander Edip Korkmaz says and adds: "It is the time of the revolutionary people's war. Young people and women should join the guerrilla. Our people must fight against the occupation everywhere. The spirit of PKK has spread among the people. No one accepts a dishonorable life anymore. If we want to live freely in our own country, we must act accordingly. As the Liberation Guerrilla of Kurdistan, we have given our word that we will realize the dreams of our martyrs. We say that we will make Kurdistan the grave of fascism and occupation. In this sense, we remember our fallen commander Egîd with great respect."