In a special programme broadcast by Medya Haber TV, Duran Kalkan, the Executive Committee member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), shared his views about the recent political developments in Turkey, especially the debate regarding the Kurdish question and the new declaration of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). He also commented on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent visits to US and Russia, and evaluated the possible implications of these diplomatic contacts for the region.
Kalkan described the declaration of the HDP as an “intervention” which created a glimpse of hope for those who support democracy in Turkey: “This was an intervention to address the political uncertainty that has resulted from the policies of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] and the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] alliance. The HDP’s intervention, in this sense, has created a hope, an atmosphere of trust.”
“Turkey needs a power like the HDP, we have always said that. The principles they listed qualify enough to bring a solution to Turkey. Turkey needs that,” he said.
Kalkan also spoke about the other opposition parties in Turkey, stating that he felt that they should all adopt a stance against war.
“So, Turkey uses chemical weapons. At least, we have made the claim. The politicians, the opposition in Turkey, should raise a rumpus about this. They should both raise their voices against the occupation and the war crimes, committed on behalf of Turkish society. They dirty this society’s hands. Politicians need to raise their voices because of that,” he said.
It is good to demand peace, Kalkan noted, “but concept of peace means of preventing war. We should have an effort and an opinion on how to prevent war.”
Evaluating Erdoğan’s recent visits to the US and Russia critically, Kalkan said Erdoğan might have been trying to create further conflicts in North and East Syria by making requests or even demands for international support for his prospective “crazy” war plans.
“He might wage a greater war,” Kalkan said, referring to Erdoğan, “A war with Syria or with another state so that he can proclaim martial law and create an excuse to hamper the elections to lengthen his grip on power.”
Speaking on behalf of the top cadre of the PKK, Kalkan said, “What he came home with after meeting with Putin, we do not know. But in both his visits [to the US and Russia], he was the one who asked for it. The US front seems to be closing the door on his face. They cannot take this anymore, neither can Europe. Merkel is gone, too. The Arab front has closed all its doors.”
He spoke about Russia’s role in Turkey’s ongoing offensive in North East Syria, saying, “It was Russia who opened the doors to Turkey to attack Efrîn [Afrin] and then Serêkaniyê [Ras al-Ayn]. Why did Russia pave the way for Turkey to embark on these assaults? Most probably, in order for Turkey to withdraw from Idlib. But Turkey has not been faithful to its promise in Idlib,” he said. Kalkan suggested that Turkey’s failure to withdraw its “gangs” from Idlıb must have been high on the agenda of the meeting in Sochi.”
“Turkey probably demands other places. This might be Manbij, it might be other zones in the east of the Euphrates. We do not know what they negotiated and we do not know if Putin promised anything,” he said.
He added: “Actually, Russia made pretty good use of the Erdoğan regime. Tayyip Erdoğan may not have a ‘use-value’ for Russia anymore. For example, they [Russia] would not hand out Manbij, because taking Manbij means taking Alleppo.”
In response to the question, ‘How is Erdoğan expected to act after meeting with Putin?,’ he replied: “Some say Erdoğan may surrender, but one should not be misguided,” he warned. “He may use all means at his disposal for a crazy war. He may launch a new assault in North East Syria or in South Kurdistan [northern Iraq].”
Kalkan also spoke about the heated debates that have been taking place in recent weeks regarding the Kurdish question in Turkey. He called upon the US to adopt an approach seeking a solution to the Kurdish question. He drew attention to former US President Woodrow Wilson’s principles, known as the ‘Fourteen Points.’
These fourteen principles were laid down by Wilson during his speech before Congress on 8 January 1918 as the only possible programme for “world peace” in the post-war era.
“The US administration has shared its opinions, saying parties should solve their questions, that all parties should be a part of the solution.They have shared such views for the Middle East. If that is the case, they should lift the international conspiracy decision and adopt an attitude towards the solution,” he said. “One thing they can do is to develop a solution for the Kurdish question, based on Wilson’s principles.”
“Wilson’s principles should be applied to the Kurdish question. On these terms, they can assume a new stance towards leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], who represents Kurdish people’s will to freedom.”
The Kurds are ready to do their part under a democratic life, he said: “So is the PKK, so are all Kurdish freedom forces. If others are also ready to do so, we guarantee that we would still handle the most difficult aspect of the issue, more so than anyone else.”