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We are great advocates of internationalism

Zübeyir Aydar, member of the Executive Council of the Kurdish KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union)/Europe, March 2018

 

In a talk with representatives of the ICOR and the MLPD at the end of March, Zübeyir Aydar gave the following assessment of the political situation after the withdrawal of YPG/YPJ units from the city of Afrin and the political prospects.

 

When we talk about Afrin, we must be aware that it is not just about Afrin, but about the situation in the entire region. Though the city of Afrin has been evacuated, there has been resistance in Afrin against the Turkish invasion for 74 days. The war has not yet ended even in the city itself. The war in the region has entered a new dimension.

Turkish air strikes were flown against Afrin. Preparations were made against this. In view of the ultramodern weapons technology of NATO it has to be said, however, that these preparations did not suffice. The electronic devices and weapons of the self-defense forces in Afrin were jammed or destroyed. The use of armed drones created particular problems. Sixty drones – including large armed drones – constantly circled over Afrin. Turkey uses all sophisticated weapons from the NATO arsenal.

Due to this situation and the blocking of the supply of electricity and water to the city of Afrin by the Turkish army, the democratic self-administration decided to evacuate the population and leave the city to avoid further losses among the civilian population. After a 56-day war on a military front, the struggle in Afrin has now entered the phase of a guerrilla war. So there are still regions in the Canton of Afrin to which Turkey has no access and which are under the control of Kurdish self-defense forces.

 

With the Turkish army also the IS/Daesh came to Afrin. The “allies” of Turkey, the so-called Free Syrian Army and other militias, are made up in large part of IS mercenaries. Turkey and its fascist allies have completely looted Afrin. They attack women and have abducted and raped young girls. The population is mostly Muslim, but there are also many Yazidi, Christian and Alevi people in the region. They are being forced to convert to Islam. The tactics of the Turkish state is the same as in Shengal.

 

Eighty percent of the population has fled Afrin and currently stays in various refugee camps. Turkey’s intention is to completely change the demographics in Afrin. It is planning to settle Arab-Sunni refugees from Syria there who currently live in Turkey. This is Turkey’s strategic plan.

 

I emphasize once again that Afrin did attack Turkey at no time. In Afrin there was a peaceful self-administration of the Kurdish population and all other groups of the population on a basis of equality, which is a thorn in the side of Turkey. Erdogan wants to destroy this democratic self-administration. This is why Erdogan already talks about advancing also to Minbic, Kobanê and Quamislo. We are aware of this and preparing ourselves for it.

 

Turkey has the backing of all imperialists and the regional powers. Russia gave the green light. The USA and Europe have “observed” and expressed their “concern”, but at the same time said that they understand Turkey’s concerns and appreciate its security interests. Solely France and the Arab League voiced stronger criticism.

 

In the fight against the IS/Daesh, specifically in Kobanê there was military cooperation with the USA, especially in the form of US air support, against the same enemy. But there was no political or ideological cooperation. We never back away from our positions as an anti-imperialist movement.

It was a life-and-death struggle in Kobanê. We had and have a very dangerous enemy and made use of all tactical and military options to fight it. We should not forget the cooperation between Stalin and Roosevelt against Hitlerite fascism. Our tactics of a military alliance must be understood in this light. However, we will not abandon our vision and our principles. We basically can, will and must talk with everyone who is willing to talk. If we find a route to unity we can work together, but we would never enter into relationships in which we have to deny our identity. So we hope that other forces, too, understand our tactical decisions. I know that you understand us, but other socialist Leftists also must learn to understand us.

 

When Trump now announces that American troops will be leaving Syria, this would mean surrendering air superiority to Turkey and Russia. This can create a very difficult situation also for us. In diplomatic negotiations we therefore are trying to achieve the establishment of a no-fly zone in the region. Currently, a delegation from Rojava is in France for consultations with the French government.

 

We must also see that forces have had to be withdrawn from the struggle against the IS/Daesh because of the Turkish attack on Afrin. The IS/Daesh therefore has partly been able to reorganize and again attack areas in Rojava. We say quite clearly: the Turkish attack on Afrin has given the IS/Daesh a breathing space.

 

We do not know exactly what will happen in the near future. So our attention centers mainly on strengthening our own forces. We know that we can trust neither Trump nor other imperialists, but we must make use of all opportunities in the fight against the IS.

 

Rojava stands for a new experience in political, social or ecological respect, in particular where the complete equality of women is concerned. For that reason, this new paradigm in Rojava must be protected and preserved at all cost. As always reported, no distinction is made between men and women in the Kurdish self-administration. The aim is to defend democracy and freedom in Rojava.

 

The resistance in Afrin gives hope to many peoples. We feel that Rojava has the support of the peoples, of the democratic and progressive forces everywhere in the world. This support is to be sustained and expand and awareness of the importance of the revolution in Rojava is to be raised. The resistance of the peoples will further increase the pressure on the governments, especially the European governments.

 

However, the Kurdish struggle is taking place not only in Rojava, but also in North Kurdistan (Turkey). Turkey is on the attack also in South Kurdistan (Iraq). Resistance is being put up on all these fronts. Erdogan has forged an alliance with the fascist forces in Turkey. The “state of emergency” in Turkey is in reality a coup d’état by Erdogan. Here we see parallels to Hitler, who also came to power through elections. The fact is that anyone who criticizes Erdogan is attacked and persecuted.

 

Europe’s relations with Turkey mainly are influenced by the refugee deal. The deal pacifies the Europeans.

 

Three years ago we had a peace process in Turkey. It was stopped by Erdogan. Three years ago, on the day after Öcalan’s birthday, the negotiations with the Kurdish side about a peaceful solution were broken off by Turkey. Since then there has been no contact with Abdullah Öcalan. In 2016 his brother was allowed to visit him for 30 minutes. Since then there has been no more contact whatsoever and he is in complete isolation.

 

We see ourselves as an alternative force to capitalist modernity. This alternative movement is anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. This is made particularly evident by the example of the struggle in Syria against the dictatorial Baath regime under Assad. Turkey and Europe supported the Sunnite-Islamist opposition. Kurdish people could work together with neither side since they have nothing in common with them. For this reason we chose – in reference to these two alternatives – the “third” path of revolution in Rojava.

 

Now we have a critical situation for the model of a new society in Rojava. At the moment all effort must be concentrated on protecting the population and defending the model of Rojava. Rojava is subjected to massive attacks on Afrin by Turkey and NATO.

 

For Kurdish people it is not only about the region – it should also be seen as internationalist work. There are a lot of projects that we can undertake together in future in the spirit of internationalism. The enemies work together; we as friends should also work together internationally. We believe it is very important to work together strategically with everyone who fights against the system. We are great advocates of internationalism!

 

Rojava can become a center of cohabitation, democracy and internationalism. Rojava can become a liberated area for the fighting peoples, workers and revolutionaries of the world.

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