From Turkish military service to guerrilla ranks

HPG fighters Sipan Wan and Sipan Rizgar tell ANF why they have joined the guerrillas in the mountains of Kurdistan.

Sipan Wan and Sipan Rizgar are guerrilla fighters in the ranks of People's Defense Forces HPG. They were soldiers of the Turkish army when they decided to join the guerrillas in the mountains of Kurdistan. In an interview with ANF, they explain their motivations.


Sipan Rizgar was born in 1989 in Muş province, northern Kurdistan. He grew up in an environment strongly influenced by state assimilation policies. "Many families felt that a boy had to go to the military to become a man. This view has long been introduced to people by the state. I have thought a lot about it at the PKK. It is an effect of patriarchal thinking. The families are unaware that they are making their child a slave to the state. They do not even know why their child is going to war. This ignorance carries many dangers," explains the HPG fighter.

First lesson content: Kurds are terrorists

Sipan Rizgar was drafted into military service in 2009. Being a Kurd, he experienced various forms of racism. "But other soldiers were also abused because they rejected certain things. Usually the hair and the beard are shaved off. However, those who do their military service in Kurdistan, did not have to do it.

In the Turkish military, we were trained to kill Kurds. When my unit was to go to Kurdistan, it was said, 'They are all terrorists'. When I finally came to the PKK, I could see the big difference with the Turkish military. Above all, there is an ethical difference. There is a social ethic in the PKK. This does not exist in the state mentality."

Sipan Rizgar recalls a soldier who was murdered in Kütahya: "Then it was said that the perpetrator was unknown. In this way, however, many soldiers are murdered, these incidents are almost always covered up."

Many conscripts in the Turkish army would not know what to fight for, says Sipan Rizgar. "Many soldiers did not want to fight for reasons of conscience because they did not want to kill their siblings, their people, or harm nature. Those who refused were beaten, arrested and sometimes killed. Whoever brought up certain things were eliminated in one way or another. "

About his guerrilla life he tells: "When I came to the PKK, I immediately saw the huge difference. There are comradery relations and everything is shared. You fight for your people here, can anything of greater value exist? Those who want to fight for humanity should come to the PKK."

"What are we doing here?"

Sipan Wan completed his military service in 2009 in Silopi. The guerrilla fighter tells of his time: "Many soldiers did not return from their holidays. Many thought that Kurdistan is Turkey. When they came to Kurdistan, though, they found that people did not speak Turkish but Kurdish. They experienced a very different culture and said, 'This is not Turkey at all and these people are not Turks. What are we doing here? What are we supposed to fight for?' Many developed an awareness of the situation and wanted to home as soon as possible. All of them had come up with slogans praising the Fatherland and the nation. There were many conflicts. Sometimes the soldiers threatened each other with their weapons."


Sipan Wan reports of the inhumane treatment of the military: "They said to us: 'We can do whatever we want with you and then present it as an accident in training'. Some soldiers died in this way. There was a very racist tone. Once we switched on a Kurdish TV station and were insulted and the Kurdish channels were subsequently deleted. Some soldiers just disappeared. It was never clarified where they were taken or what happened to them."

At the end of our conversation, Sipan Wan sends a message to the Kurdish youth: "In this war Kurds are incited against Kurds. The Kurds should finally be aware of this. We should all fight for a free life. We have a goal and an ideology. Brutality prevails in the Turkish military. No regular army can win against the guerrilla. In Kurdistan, there is a constant state of emergency. If you want to fight against it, you can do it only with the PKK. Therefore, all young people should join the PKK."