"Rojava Revolution also makes a global revolution possible”
BÖG fighter İmera Fereya Yeşilgöz: "We do not consider the Raqqa Operation as disconnected from the AKP's fascism. Every blow we deliver here, and every single gang member we kill here, is at heart a blow to the ISIS gangs nested in Turkey and the world."
The Operation to liberate Raqqa led by the People's Defense Units (YPG), Women's Defense Units (YPJ) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continues. Many different forces embedded within the SDF are taking part in the operation. One of these forces is the International Freedom Battalion, which harbours many revolutionary and socialist organisations. Among those is also the BÖG (United Freedom Forces).
BÖG fighter İmera Fereya Yeşilgöz answered ANF's questions regarding their mission in Raqqa and The Raqqa Operation as a whole.
Yeşilgöz stated that the Rojava Revolution at the same time enables a world revolution, having led to a revival also among Turkey's leftist groups. Regarding the Operation to liberate Raqqa Yeşilgöz said: "We do not consider the Raqqa Operation as disconnected from the AKP's fascism. In fact, every blow we deliver here, and every single gang member we kill here, is at heart a blow to the ISIS gangs nested in Turkey and the entire world", calling on all oppressed people and workers to join their ranks.
“WE HAVE FIGHTERS FROM CHINA TO DENMARK”
Since when is the International Freedom Battalion taking part in the struggle in Rojava?
The United Freedom Forces (BÖG) has been founded three years ago. In those years it took part in the struggle in many areas like Southern and Northern Kurdistan, as well as in Rojava. As for Rojava, it is part of the International Freedom Battalion.
The International Freedom Battalion itself has been founded two years ago, and since then is participating actively in the operations against ISIS in Rojava.
The International Freedom Battalion describes itself as part of the struggle in Rojava and the Middle East, on the other side it characterizes itself as being internationalist, what has led to some dispute. If it is a part of this struggle, then why calling itself 'internationalist'?
If we do not deem parts of these lands the very sphere of our own struggle, or let's say if a cross over from Efrîn will lead to a bomb attack in Antakya or the gangs here are provided with by logistic trucks coming from Turkey, then the struggle we have joined here is also tackling and combating the backward mentality of the country we originate from, and we can not content ourselves with limiting it merely to the concept of internationalism. This is what we can say about our stance at least.
Also among ourselves have we opened the concept of internationalism up for dicsussion. If we do deem parts of these lands the very sphere of our own struggle, or let's say if a cross over from Efrîn will lead to a bomb attack in Antakya or the gangs here are provided with by logistic trucks coming from Turkey, then the struggle we have joined here is also tackling and combating the backward mentality of the country we originate from, and we can not content ourselves with limiting it merely to the concept of internationalism. This is what we can say about our stance at least.
This concept of internationalist freedom shelters in fact the notion of a global concept. That all revolutionist forces in this world and various organisations come together is truly a partnership of liberation forces, paving the way for the brotherhood of different peoples. The International Freedom Battalion has taken on such a mission. The mere fact that revolutionaries from other countries are joining the battle, evokes sympathy. Additionally, as we live in the Middle East, any progress developing here or revisionism taking hold will leave immediately an impact on Turkey or any other country of the Middle East. Yet this situation can also have influence on America, Spain and Europe. Because the International Freedom Battalion is regarded by the people and countries around the world as a legitimate movement, it faciliates the participation in the struggle a bit more.
The latest example is a Chinese comrade who recently joined us. They are coming from China, Denmark, England and lots of different places. And they all are members of the International Freedom Battalion. We have here also different structures and some independent, anarchist friends. We have friends who are not involved in broader groups. They are in fact very important in terms of being able to preserve their distinct originality and differences.
HOW HAS THE ROJAVA REVOLUTION AFFECTED TURKEY'S LEFT?
You are part of the Rojava Revolution since the very beginning. What mission have you shouldered in this revolution?
As much as the Rojava Revolution is a revolution of the oppressed people, we do not deem it disconnected from our socialist revolution. Because we even consider it a part of our own struggle, we are going into battle with such understanding. We do not regard ourselves to be merely a backup troop, but to be indeed a main military force. Yes, we are fighting within the YPG, however we do not see us only as a unit supporting the YPG but on the contrary directly as a force of the revolution engaged in a strategic consensus, and as such have we positioned ourselves.
Can one say that thanks to the Rojava Revolution Turkey's revolutionist movement and the Turkey's left has gained new momentum?
The Revolution of Rojava and the Middle East have taught us here at the same time that a global revolution is indeed possible. The quantitative layers of this revolution have become very much clear with the qualitative upswing of the Rojava Revolution. In this structuring within Turkey's revolutionary movement that exists for so many years already, people were well aware of the fact that if they still do not find an answer for themselves during this process of actual revolution, fall once again apart and are not able to launch a re-formatting and do not take part in the revolution, it would have meant their demise once and for all. As the Rojava Revolution led to a re-organizing of all the peoples, also the Turkey's left has found and organized itself anew.
Many organisations that stationed in Rojava with this new formation have treated the struggles of the oppressed peoples, women, youth, children as their very own struggle. We can basically put it this way: We are giving here a struggle for our own freedom. We are in fact a part of this great struggle. Being indifferent to the revolution on these grounds while sustaining a life nurtured by revolutionary concepts, will be nothing else than holding your distance to the revolutionary idea and consciousness itself. We are now in these lands of a factual living revolution, since we are in the clearest manner revolutionaries and soldiers of the revolution."
THE OPERATION TO LIBERATE RAQQA
You are now taking part in the Operation to liberate Raqqa. Can you give us a short account of this operation's importance?
After our founding, we partook in many different operations. Our objective is to export the experience we gather here first and foremost to Turkey and also to the rest of the world. Because we indeed managed to spread this revolution. We proceed very attentively and are fighting with the consciousness that we have the capability to add to this new formation taking place here, also unify it with other peoples, other oppressed peoples and other lands to the same degree as we can make it permanent here.
For this reason, we do not view the current Raqqa Operation as distinguished from the AKP fascism. With every blow we deliver to the gangs here, with every gang member we kill, the very substructure of the ISIS gangs in Turkey and the whole world suffer backlashes. The blow they suffer here is a blow delivered to the AKP in Turkey, -the biggest supporter of ISIS- and to the bombings carried out around the world.
To be precise, more than only backing them, the AKP has even founded them, as we are dealing with the exact same fascism. The massacres in Suruç and in Turkey have been perpetrated by ISIS. Also the massacre in Ankara was carried out again by ISIS. ISIS is actually threatening the whole world. And for that reason all the revolutionaries worldwide who head to Rojava are very proud to contribute to what is their own struggle and act according to this understanding. There is no such a thing like saying in the end that 'Rojava is now completed' or 'Raqqa is over, we can now return to our own cause' . Because there is in fact nothing like our own cause. There is a communist cause, we are communists and therefore it is the task of all communists and ours to struggle at any place where oppression and persecution exists. For that reason the war and struggle here is our war, and we continue our endeavors with this notion.
Since the start of the operation you have taken the lead in the fighting. You have also suffered losses. What kind of impact have you left on the Arabic community?
Since the start of the Operation to liberate Raqqa until now four of our comrades within the International Freedom Battalion have fallen martyrs. Doğan Kurefe, Mehmet Kurnaz, Ulaş Bayraktaroglu, Destan Temmuz and comrade Hasan Ali. The most recent losses were Destan Temmuz and Hasan Ali. We also have two gravely wounded comrades. For us the meaning of this operation is in plain view. We knew perfectly that the Raqqa Operation would be all but easy and that also we would pay with martyrs. Ulaş Bayraktaroglu was the founder and chief commander of the Revolutionary Communar Party (DKP) movement and also the other fallen comrades had leading positions in their fields, as did comrades Hasan Ali and Destan Temmuz, and this fact has strenghtened our struggle even more, while this struggle of ours has proven that leading forces are standing on the frontline at all times during the struggle. They became symbols in this aspect.
If we were in the cities, these losses might have demoralized us. But here an opposite situation is evolving. When receiving the news of their martyrdom, we can only keep them alive by materializing the energy and will of their struggle as much again. This is why the arms of the martyred comrades are still here, now taken up by other comrades. The martyrdom of our comrades can only be a source of strength for us.
We do not say these things out of emotion or agitation. In the face of all these martyrdoms, we want to stand at the frontlines of this war and partake in all operations, because there is also another significant point: our martyrs here have a profound impact on the Arab community. After the success of this operation or these lands get liberated, the names of our martyrs who fell here will be given to the next generation. We know that this people get to know us and our motivation. Some persons come and hand us over their keys, telling us to go and use their houses whenever we need. Some others show their discontent, saying 'you are staying in our houses and we stay in tents'. One has to understand both these cases.
As we use the people's homes here, it is important to make sure that they are staying somewhere else. This is not so easy. On the other hand we know that the women are kept like captives -so to speak- in those houses. Their homes are actually their prisons. We are actually fighting to turn these prisons of theirs into a true home. Once the campaign is over, we trust that the Arab community will also understand this struggle because while women can not even set a foot outside their homes and their laughter is banned to be heard by men -in line with the ISIS mentality- there are forces that are prepared to liberate them from such a life. We are sure that the people will one day understand these forces and with this in our minds we go into battle. Our comrades who fall martyrs are neither Kurds nor Arabs, they are all Turks. They sacrifice their lives for other peoples and we do know well that this fact will be recognized in the end.
Our struggle does not aim for seeking an identity, but we lead this struggle for the oppressed peoples. The freedom of the peoples living here is tantamount to the freedom of our own identity as well. Comrade Destan Temmuz has fought on behalf of the martyred comrades of Suruç, comrade Hasan Ali decided to join after the bombing in Ankara. And we know that also in Raqqa many others will join us as well.
We know that this fight will succeed and that there are other people who will share this belief and will and fight eagerly, too. For that reason we invite all oppressed peoples, workers, women and men alike to come and join our ranks.