Ibrahimoğlu: 'A separation from the Turkish state ideology is necessary'

Eda Ibrahimoğlu, co-spokeswoman of the HEDEP Youth Council, emphasized that the opposition cannot create a sustainable solution without a clear criticism of the system and separation from the state.

Last month, at least five university students took their own lives due to the catastrophic situation in Turkey. In the first six months of 2023 alone, tens of thousands of young people were forced to leave the country in a variety of ways due to persecution, fear for the future and poverty.

Eda Ibrahimoğlu, co-spokeswoman of the HEDEP Youth Council, talked to ANF about the situation of the youth and their resistance.

She criticized the fact that left-wing historiography also plays its part in the monism of the Turkish state. She underlined that the revolutionary young people must first overcome this attitude. "There must be a more decisive fight against chauvinism. If the colonial status of the Kurdish people is not lifted, there will be no freedom for the peoples of Turkey or democracy, that is clear. This connection between oppression and being oppressed and freedom must be made clearer. The responsibility here lies with the revolutionary youth movements."

The state is trying to homogenize everything

Ibrahimoğlu warned of the state's violent homogenization efforts, which are primarily directed against young people: "For this purpose, all the state's institutions, especially the education sector, were mobilized and the nature of young people was directly attacked. The AKP's efforts to put young people at the service of the system are now part of the special war policy. Since the founding of the Republic, the most intense form of special warfare has been waged against Kurdish young people in particular and the Kurdish people in general. Kurdish neighbourhoods are at the top of the list of drug-using neighbourhoods. With the policy of impoverishing Kurdistan, Kurdish young people are being forced to sell themselves as cheap labor in the metropolises. The attacks and rapes of young women are encouraged by a policy of impunity; laws to protect women are deliberately dismantled or simply not applied. There is an attempt to usurp the will of the Kurdish youth and destroy their identity."

The Turkish Republic does not recognize the right to life of young people

Eda Ibrahimoğlu pointed out that young people from Turkey are also affected by these attacks on Kurdish youth: "Most universities are rigid institutions monopolized by the government rather than conducting academic work. Therefore, millions of students graduating from these universities suffer from unemployment and poverty. In no other historical period has youth unemployment and poverty been so high. In summary, the Republic does not recognize the right to life of the youth unless it can homogenize them and use them for its own purposes."

Youth movements are hope

The youth council representative described the youth movements as decisive forces of democratization and said: "The main force that triggered these processes has undoubtedly always been young people. If there is still a revolutionary struggle against oppression today, it is thanks to the generation of 1968 who initiated the revolutionary struggle. Their revolutionary legacy continues to give us hope today. Although some claim that revolutionary movements declined after the 12 September coup, the revolutionary struggle today in Kurdistan, Turkey and even throughout the Middle East belies this. Revolution means uniting a society with its humanistic, moral and ethical values around one ideology. Today's society is not crushed under the hegemony of capitalism, but sees the crisis of the capitalist system. This makes a revolution possible not too far away. This revolution can be achieved today, as in 1968, through an organized struggle."

It’s a system problem

It is therefore important not just to deal with symptoms, but to focus on the system itself, said the youth activist and continued: "The problems will not be solved by a change of power, and there can be no sustainable solution without criticism of the system. History is full of examples of this. Monism is already present in the history and structure of the nation state. Left-wing historiography also has its share of this monism. The revolutionary young people must first overcome this in their own historiography. It must declare war more clearly on chauvinism. It is obvious that freedom and democracy for the peoples of Turkey will not come without eliminating the colonial status of the Kurdish people. This oppression of the peoples of Turkey, the connection with freedom, must be expressed more clearly. The responsibility here lies with the revolutionary youth movements."

Not just a problem for the Kurds

Ibrahimoğlu criticized that there remains a rift in the relationship between the Revolutionary Youth Movement of Turkey and the Kurdish Patriotic Youth Movement, despite the fact that these movements are so closely linked historically. She concluded: "From Kurdistan to Latin America, from the Middle East to the Americas, from Turkey to the Caucasus, the world's revolutionary movements are fighting against capitalist modernity and its excesses. Our struggle is also part of democratic modernity against capitalist modernity. This is the perspective and paradigm of our struggle. Today the peoples of Turkey are suffering from the dominance of capitalist modernity. The Kurdish people have also been fragmented and divided for centuries, and artificial borders have been drawn between their villages. This means that capitalist modernity is not just the problem of the Kurdish nation. The persistence of conflict and contradiction ensures the maintenance of capitalist hegemony in the region. At such a time, the revolutionary movements in Turkey and the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth should definitely unite their struggle simply because of their geographical location. Today the gap between the two currents, which have historically supported each other, is becoming very clear. This is closely linked to the increase in war, militarism and chauvinism in the region.

This situation causes the revolutionaries from Turkey to distance themselves from the Kurdish revolutionaries. This is a consequence of the special war policy that attempts to divide the revolutionary movements. It can only be overcome by continuing the fight and building stronger bonds. Both revolutionary movements are responsible for strengthening this bond. With sincere criticism and self-criticism, it is possible to form a stronger front in the future."