Salih Muslim: KDP itself will suffer the most serious harm if it does not act wisely

Muslim said that the troops deployed to guerrilla areas are not peshmerga. “They are forces under the command of certain groups and a very dangerous plan is being introduced. If it does not act wisely, the KDP itself will suffer the most serious harm."

“Since the war in South Kurdistan (kr: Bashur) started, we have had martyrs from Kobanê, Hesêkê and Qamishlo and other parts of Kurdistan. This means that this war concerns the entire Kurdish people,” Salih Muslim said. He described the purpose of the attacks: “Hegemonic powers understood that there would be no power balance without Kurds, and they could not find a solution without them. All these wars against the Kurds are carried out to remove the Kurds from this power balance. The Kurds need to realize this and unite.”

ANF interviewed Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-Presidency Council Member Salih Muslim about the isolation in Imrali prison, what has been done and what needs to be done against the isolation, the Turkish state's attacks on Bashur, the activity of KDP forces in the guerrilla areas, the diplomatic activities in Baghdad, invasion attacks against Northern and Eastern Syria, the special-psychological war practices against the region, the talks for Kurdish national unity and the debates over autonomy in regions such as Deraa and Suveyda.

The first part of the interview is as follows.

Aggravated isolation practices against Öcalan continue in Imrali prison. The Kurdish people are organizing protests against it all over the world. How do you assess this situation?

The Öcalan’s situation has become a turning point. Without the freedom of their leader, the Kurds feel that they have achieved nothing. And now the enemy knows it too. From the beginning, torture, oppression, isolation, etc. everything happens for this reason. That was their policy from the very beginning. Through an international conspiracy, they wanted to cut off the head and then to destroy the body. This policy is still in effect.

They are disturbed by even a single word from Öcalan. At least they know the Kurds' loyalty to him. They apply torture and isolation there to suppress the Kurdish people. That’s the point. Against this, the Kurdish people are resisting wherever they are. They are resisting in prisons, public spaces, Europe and Kurdistan. Everyone is aware of this now. There is only one main interlocutor to find a solution to the Kurdish problem: Abdullah Öcalan. Only he can persuade the Kurdish people. There is no other choice. They reveal their reluctance to take a serious step on the Kurdish issue by applying this isolation. These pressures show that they are evil disposed. So, the people are resisting and will resist it.

If any power, no matter which one, really wants stability in the Middle East and a solution to the Kurdish problem, it should definitely start from Imrali. The Kurdish people only listen to Imrali. There is no other way. Everyone is aware that there will be no solution without Öcalan.

Hence, the oppression and isolation continue. The isolation practices implemented there are not in accordance with any law. It is not even compatible with Turkey's domestic laws. The aggravated isolation has come to such a state that it no longer has a moral dimension. It is therefore unacceptable. If they really talk about humanity, human rights and law, they need to see this truth.

Turkish fascism has trampled all Kurds, laws and rules, and is having its own way. Someone needs come out and stop this. It is up to the Kurdish people to do so. Turkish fascism sees no one but the Kurdish people on its way. For this reason, the friends of the Kurdish people, the democratic forces and everyone should raise their voice against this situation.

The Turkish state's attacks on Bashur are continuing. HPG announced that 7 guerrillas were martyred as a result of an ambush laid by KDP forces. The KDP forces are providing intelligence to Turkey’s MIT for the invasion attacks, and also increased their activities in the guerrilla areas. How do the Kurds of Rojava view this situation? What is your attitude?

Currently there is an armed conflict over there. This war is between the Kurdish guerrilla and the Turkish state. Who is the Kurdish guerrilla? The Kurdish guerrillas are not only the Kurds from Bakur (North Kurdistan in Turkey). They come together from all parts and defend Kurdistan. In other words, there are people from Bashur, Rojava (West Kurdistan in Syria), Rojhilat (East Kurdistan in Iran) and Bakur. Since this war began, so many of our young people have been martyred in Kobanê, Hesêkê and Qamishlo. There are also martyrs from other parts. This means that this war concerns all Kurdish people. When the Turkish state is attacking, it is not only attacking the Bakur Kurds or the PKK; it is also fighting the entire Kurdish people. It means that the partners to the Turkish invasion are fighting against the entire Kurdish people.

There is a fraction within the KDP. Since they are under Turkish influence, they implement Turkey's plans. As far as we can see, those troops deployed to guerrilla areas are not peshmerga. They are special forces mostly affiliated with the KDP. They are the forces under the command of certain groups. Like Gulan, Zerevani… Everyone knows who they are loyal to. A very dangerous plan is being introduced. It is a very dangerous plan against its own people, its power and the KDP. There are achievements made as a result of the resistance of the Kurds there. With this war, you are cutting your own throat.

If such a war really breaks out, if it is not acted wisely, it will be the KDP itself that will suffer the most serious harm first and foremost. It is the certain fractions within the KDP itself that will come off worse. That's why —since they're our brothers too- I believe that it would be great if they could correct this mistake. They say "I am not fighting" but they have surrounded the guerrilla forces. They are not providing help or they are preventing the guerrilla from going elsewhere. When the guerrilla forces move from one place to another in Bashur, they are ambushed. This is a very bad thing, a very dangerous game. The entire Kurdish people is affected by it. These fractions within the KDP will get harm in the first place. Because they are cutting their own throat. This shouldn't happen.

As the PYD, we will do whatever we can do to stop them. If there is a possibility for mediation, we will do it. We are ready for whatever is asked from our forces here because big trouble is looming. We will do everything to prevent this. Because not only Bashur, but the whole of Kurdistan will get harm. The child of a family here can be martyred while fighting Turkish fascism there. The family sees it as a matter of pride. So, what will the family think if their child is stabbed in the back? How can you reply when she/he is killed by another Kurd or when she/he is stabbed in the back while fighting against the enemy? So, let's not argue that the conflicts will be restricted to there. I think it will affect all parts of Kurdistan. It is a very dangerous game. I hope that the forces out there will pull themselves together and abandon this course because this is a serious problem for the Kurds.

New developments are taking place in Bashur and Iraq. The Iraq conference was held in Baghdad recently with the participation of several countries. French president Emmanuel Macron also visited Kurdistan. There are discussions about the situation of the Kurds and the introduction of a new process. What kind of developments do you foresee?

I think the meeting, or the congress, in Baghdad was more about Iraq. In my opinion, it was organised to prevent foreign intervention in Iraq's affairs and to talk about what its neighbours can do for Iraq. The President of France was representing the interests of NATO rather than his own country. I think these visits will continue. There will probably be other meetings as well. There is of course the Kurdish question among the main issues. Macron wanted to visit Kurdistan and Shengal. However, some discouraged him from doing so. In fact, he also had the Kurdish issue in his mind.

I think that a new axis is emerging following that meeting. Previously, there was a project called 'New Damascus' which includes Iraq-Damascus-Egypt. Now they are expanding the original plan and adding the Gulf countries to it. A new axis has been emerging. I think it has to do with Middle East politics.

We are going through a very sensitive period. Until a few years ago, no one expected the Kurds to have a say in the international or Middle Eastern power balance. However, we now see that both the hegemonic powers and the others, those who are interested in the Middle East, have understood that they cannot find a solution without the Kurds and that there cannot be a power balance without them. The reason of the current battle there is to remove the Kurds from this power balance. The Kurds need to realize this. And we are now an actor in the power balance of the Middle East. Any solution needs to convince the Kurds. Let's unite for it. Let our words and actions be one. We should know our enemies and our friends well so we can play a very positive role in this power balance both for our own people and for the peoples of the region.