In an exclusive interview with Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union’s (KCK’s) press channel, KCK Co-Chair Cemil Bayık shared his views on the Middle East policy of NATO and member states.
NATO was built as a “completely ideological organisation”, Bayık stated. “NATO was founded during the Cold War. The goal of this organisation was to find ways to work against the Soviet Union and eventually defeat it. Its goal was to spread the system of capitalist modernity all over the world and to strengthen this system’s hegemony. This was the main goal of NATO. It predicated itself on the promotion of capitalist modernity as a measure against socialism”.
Noting that NATO predicated itself on the protection of the interests of the “most powerful states”, Bayık said: “During the time of the Soviet Union, NATO was also active in many different countries against all the local opposition forces that took a stance against state oppression, dictatorships and fascism by waging a struggle for democracy and freedom. The goal was to prevent the success of the opposition forces, to curb their progress in the respective countries and to deny them access to power. In order to achieve its goal, this organisation organised numerous military coups and murders. It killed opposition leaders. It targeted all those who represented the forces of freedom, democracy and socialism. NATO used oppression, imprisoment and murder against these opposition forces so that in all those different countries, movements of socialism, democracy and freedom would not develop”.
‘NATO’s support for Turkey has been crucial’ in the war against Kurds
Regarding NATO’s policies against Kurds and Kurdistan, the KCK Co-Chair shared the following evaluations: “We didn’t only criticise and take a stance against NATO’s policies across the world and regard them as dangerous, but we also criticised NATO’s policies regarding the Kurds and Kurdistan. And we are still criticising it today.
“This is because NATO sided with the Turkish state against our movement. It provided full support for the Turkish state in order to prevent our movement from gaining strength and achieving its goals. The Turkish state has attacked and waged a war against us: it has committed many murders and carried out many massacres. NATO’s support for Turkey has been crucial for making this happen. It was not solely Turkey’s but NATO’s power and resources that have made all this possible. Since the very beginning, Turkey has fought against our movement and our people with the help of NATO and the European Union. And it still continues to do so today. That is why we criticise NATO policy and will continue to criticise it. It has not yet given up its policy”.
Bayık: Turkey sought the support of NATO and the EU ‘for its genocide against the Kurds’
Bayık also pointed out that, amongst many possible reasons behind Turkey’s taking part in NATO as a member state, the primary one was to “get NATO’s support for continuing its genocidal policy against the Kurds. Turkey used its NATO membership not only for pursuing its own interets, but also to develop relations with the EU. Turkey sought the support of the EU for its genocide against the Kurds”.
According to Bayık, Turkey wanted to use both the support of NATO and the EU in order to “carry out a genocide against the Kurds. This was the main motivation for Turkey’s joining NATO and developing relations with the EU”.
“When we started our struggle for the freedom of the Kurdish people and Kurdistan”, Bayık stressed, “we were not confronted solely with attacks by the Turkish state. Besides Turkey, NATO and the EU also stood against us. That is why our struggle has been so intense and why we have paid such a high price during its course.
“The EU and NATO have always backed Turkey in order to carry out the genocide against the Kurds. They have always wanted to forestall the development of a democratic movement in Turkey. They have never done anything against Turkey’s policy of genocide and massacres against the different peoples – especially the Kurdish people – and the democratic forces. NATO and the EU have always looked the other way and have even directly supported Turkey’s policy, because they predicate themselves on their own interests, which have been closely connected with Turkey. In their view, a democratic force in Turkey would work against them. They provided all support necessary to Turkey to enable it to block the development of a democratic movement. They fought as much against the Kurdish movement as they did against the democratic movement”.
‘Those who built the Turkish Republic formed an alliance with Britain’
Bayık also shared his view that during the formation of the new Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the founders of the Turkish state formed alliances with various nation states, starting with Britain. “Those who built the Turkish Republic formed an alliance with Britain and made certain deals with them. As a result of these deals, Turkey handed over Mosul and Kirkuk to the system of capitalist modernity. At the same time, the British represented that system. So, these areas were handed over to them”, Bayık stated and asked: “What did Turkey gain in return?”
In response to this critical question, Bayık stated: “The deal was that if Turkey handed over Mosul and Kirkuk, they wouldn’t stop Turkey from continuing its genocidal policy against the Kurds. After this deal over Mosul and Kirkuk, the existence of the Republic of Turkey was recognised as a part of the Treaty of Lausanne and the Turkish state carried out genocides against many peoples in Turkey. Eventually, they used all their power to carry out attacks against the Kurds to annihilate them. After Lausanne and the recognition of the republic, Turkey received even more support for the genocidal policy it had already been pursuing against the Kurds. They considered the existences of peoples like Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Ezidis or Assyrians as an obstacle to the nation-state of Turkey”.
Britain’s role in promoting ‘political Islam’
Bayık underlined that Britain is a major force which has focused substantively on the Middle East. “Historically, Britain has always worked on establishing its hegemony from the Middle East all the way to the India.
“As the leading force of this system, Britain made it its goal to control the area stretching from the Middle East to India, because before the USA, it was Britain who represented and led the system of capitalist modernity. Britain predicated its policy on the establishment of a ‘political Islam’, an ‘Islam’ that is willing to collaborate. Drawing on ‘political Islam’, Britain aimed at gaining control over the Middle East and India. Therefore, Britain has always promoted political Islam, according to its own political interests”.
Germany ‘has taken over the responsibility of protecting Turkey’
The KCK Co-Chair also shared his views on Europe’s attitude towards Turkey’s ongoing military campaign in north and east Syria. “It is NATO which defines Europe’s policy towards Turkey and Kurds. Today, we can see that Turkey has taken control of many Kurdish cities in Rojava. It has occupied the areas and continues to change their demographics, but Europe remains silent”, Bayık said.
Bayık observed that: “Turkey attacks not only Rojava, but also Sinjar, Mexmur and the Medya Defense Zones, but Europe remains silent. In Turkey itself, Kurds are faced with a very dirty policy. Turkey carries out a genocide against the Kurds and puts heavy pressure on the democratic forces, but Europe remains silent. Why doesn’t Europe do anything? Because it is NATO that determines the European policy towards the Kurds”.
Bayık also drew attention to the nature of Germany-Turkey relations. “Among the NATO member states”, Bayık further noted: “It is Germany who has taken over the responsibility of protecting Turkey. This task was given to Germany by NATO. Germany, on behalf of NATO, defends Turkey against the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the movements of democracy and freedom”.
The Middle East strategy of the USA
Bayık shared his evaluations on the historical and strategic importance of the Middle East and Europe to NATO’s leading force, the USA: “Historically speaking, the Middle East and Europe have always been closely connected with each other. They have been very close to each other and they have always greatly influenced each other. This is why both NATO and the USA – the leading force within NATO – focus a lot on Europe and the Middle East. They do so because they want to protect Europe and Israel. Natural resources and oil are not the only reasons why the USA and NATO focus so much on the Middle East: these constitute just one reason of many.
“The USA and NATO want to establish their hegemony over the Middle East. They want to establish full control over the natural resources in the Middle East and at the same time protect Israel and Europe. This is the main reason for the USA’s constant intervention in the Middle East”.
The USA is the leading force of capitalist modernity on a global scale, Bayık emphasized. The USA took over the position of Britain after the Second World War, which caused Britain to lose its strength. Since then, “the USA has taken over the tasks Britain had”, he noted and added: “The USA wants to protect this system of capitalist modernity as the leading force of this system. Therefore, it fights against every movement that develops in opposition to this system and any movement that wants to build alternatives to the current system – no matter where they are in the world.
“The Middle East strategy of the USA is based on what I have just elaborated on, for the Middle East constitutes the basis of the whole world”, he observed. “Whoever wants to establish hegemony over the world needs to gain control over the Middle East. Historically, the forces who wanted to establish global hegemony have always given the Middle East a central role. Today, an alternative to the hegemony of the USA and the system of capitalist modernity is developing in the Middle East – more concretely in Kurdistan. And they consider this to be dangerous. That is why the USA attacks this ‘alternative’ and tries to destroy it. This explains why the USA has intervened in the Middle East”.
Bayık finally noted that despite Britain having “passed on the leadership of capitalist modernity to the USA, it is still the essential force which determines and runs Middle East policies. The USA does not develop its Middle East policies without consulting Britain”.
Bayık’s appeal to international democratic forces to create a ‘Global Congress of Democracy’
At the end of his interview, Bayık appealed to international democratic forces, noting: “Without establishing a strong democratic culture and without changing our mentality, our personality and society on this basis, it is impossible to build socialism. These are the preconditions for achieving socialism. That is why it is necessary to build a democratic movement, promote democracy and build an alliance on this basis in each country and also on a global scale. It is necessary to make this our goal: building a Global Congress of Democracy. This congress will then provide the basis for the struggle for freedom and democracy”.
Bayık underlined that the KCK proposes to lead this struggle on the basis of ‘Democratic Confederalism’. “We propose that everybody leads this struggle on the basis of democratic socialism”, he said. “In order to be able to achieve your goal of freedom, democracy and equality, it is essential to predicate your struggle on women’s freedom. It is also important for everybody to predicate their struggle on an ecological society. Our leader Abdullah Öcalan has developed a paradigm for the Kurdish people, for all the peoples of the Middle East and for humanity as a whole.
“He has shared this paradigm with everybody. We need to understand that paradigm well and spread it everywhere. The practical struggle, based on this paradigm, for the goals of freedom, democracy and equality needs to rely on ensuring women’s freedom and building a democratic-ecological society. This is the alternative to the system of capitalist modernity”.
Bayık emphased that the KCK remains open to international alliances: “The KCK predicates itself on the strategy of building relations and alliances with oppressed peoples, peoples in general and the oppressed class. The KCK does not consider nation states as allies. The KCK predicates its alliances on relations with the peoples, women, youth, oppressed peoples and those who struggle for socialism, democracy, justice and freedom. On this basis, we want to build and strengthen our relations with the oppressed peoples of the world, intellectuals, authors, artists: with all those who resist fascism, dictatorship and the policy of capitalist modernity and those who struggle for democracy, freedom and socialism”.