Cemil Bayik, Co-President of the Executive Council of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK) called on Europe to stand with the Kurds in an article he wrote for the French communist journal L’Humanité, to mark the 42nd anniversary of the founding of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“At this stage, Turkey does not only pursue hostility politics against the Kurds, but also against the people of the whole of the Middle East and the European Union (EU)”, wrote Bayık in the article published in L’Humanité.
Cemil Bayık’s article in full:
Historically, the Kurdish problem is a problem of freedom and (ontological) existence. Since its foundation, the Turkish State has pursued a policy which denies the free and democratic existence of the Kurdish people. In the face of the policies of denial, rejection and assimilation, the struggle of the Kurdish people to preserve their existence is a just and natural struggle.
The attacks on the Kurdish people are similar to the genocides suffered by the Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and Jews that took place after 1915. The PKK appeared as a movement in defense against the policies of destruction, denial and assimilation of the Kurds in Turkey. In fact, the struggle of the PKK created a sensitivity to the Kurdish problem in Europe.
On the other hand, the Turkish state has resorted to bilateral relations based on interests with European states. Through Germany and France, it has exercised various means of pressure. Consequently, Germany and France formally banned Kurdish associations and the PKK in June and November 1993 respectively. The European states not only imposed these bans, but also included the PKK on the European Union’s “list of terrorist organizations”.
The inclusion of the PKK on the list of terrorist organizations took place at a time when the PKK had suspended the armed struggle in order to promote a democratic solution by political means. This was purely a political decision. In three separate cases concluded in Belgium in 2019, and in a case concluded by the Court of Justice of the European Union, it was ruled that “the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state is a bilateral war”; that the PKK could not be assessed as a terrorist organization.
At this stage, taking advantage of the chaos in the Middle East, Turkey carries out occupation operations by sending radical Islamist groups that it forms to Syria, Libya, Iraq and the Maghreb countries. It causes instability and tensions with aggressive policies in the Mediterranean against Greece, France, Egypt, Cyprus and Italy. It conducts a policy of blackmail, by declaring refugees who have fled the war to be directed towards Europe. At this stage, Turkey follows hostile policies not only towards the Kurdish people, but against the whole region and the European Union.
Having the PKK placed on the list of terrorist organizations and the prohibitions against the PKK by the European Union have become a basic means of legitimizing Turkey’s authoritarian, expansionist and anti-democratic policies. The list of terrorist organizations and the prohibitions against the legitimate PKK also encourages the continuation of the Turkish state’s war against Kurdistan and constitutes an obstacle to a peaceful solution. Thus, the Turkish State criminalizes all Kurds on the basis of terrorism.
I would particularly like to emphasize that the PKK, which is fighting with great sacrifice to democratize the region and Turkey, must be removed from the list of terrorist organizations; that the wrong decisions taken for political reasons against the PKK movement must now be corrected.
The PKK has a strategy for resolving the Kurdish question peacefully and democratically within the borders of the existing states based on constitutional guarantees. In this sense, in history, like all organizations fighting for the recognition of their rights, our movement is a movement for freedom. As Belgian justice has ruled, the PKK is a part in a non-international conflict. It is a non-state armed force: in this sense, it does not fall within the framework of terrorism. Consequently, I think it is time to abolish the laws and prohibitions that criminalize the PKK and the Kurds, which make the common life of the peoples difficult, make integration impossible and prevent stability in the region and in Turkey. Hoping that the peoples of Europe will understand us, I send them my sincere greetings”.