Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Executive Committee member Murat Karayılan spoke to Radio Denge Welat about recent assaults on Kurdish citizens in Turkey.
While the political suppression of dissenters mounts in Turkey, tensions continue to soar in the Middle East and South Caucasus. Karayılan drew attention to new opportunities and dangers for Kurdish people in the region and commented on the clashes between the Armenia and Azerbaijan governments.
Assaults against Kurdish people have worsened in several cities in Turkey.
Kurdish seasonal workers were attacked in Sakarya and a Kurdish construction worker was murdered in Afyon city in the last month.
Osman Şiban and Servet Turgut were detained by soldiers in Van (Wan) city on 11 September and thrown from a military helicopter. Turgut lost his life in an intensive care unit on 30 September.
The Turkish government has increased the suppression of dissenters. Many pro-democracy politicians have been detained and arrested. On 25 September, Ankara’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office detained 82 people in seven provinces within the scope of the investigation launched into the 6-8 October ‘Kobanî protests’ of 2014. Seventeen of the HDP politicians were arrested.
A trustee was appointed to Kars municipality and 19 people were detained on 1 October in Turkey.
Karayılan referred to the campaign entitled “End Isolation, Fascism, Invasion: It is time to ensure freedom”, which was launched by the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) on 12 September.
He said that the campaign was the main reason for the Turkish state’s increasing suppression of the HDP. The Turkish state used the arrests to prevent Kurdish people from joining the campaign in South-East Turkey (northern Kurdistan), according to Karayılan.
Referring to the ongoing conflict, Karayılan pointed out that Kurdish people faced significant opportunities and also dangers: “Everyone is prepared for new balances of power in the region, and Kurdish people want a role in the future”.
“The global capitalist system has a tight grip on the Middle East”
Karayılan observed that after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, the modern capitalist system imposed on the Middle East has deepened and spread across the region: “The global capitalist system has a tight grip on the Middle East via wars in Afghanistan and Iraq”.
Karayılan interpreted the ongoing clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia within this framework. The clashes between the two broke out in the Naghorno-Karabakh region on 27 September. Turkey has supported Azerbaijan against Armenia and it has been claimed in the international media that Turkey sent Syrian soldiers to Azerbaijan to fight in the Azerbaijani ranks during the clashes.
Meanwhile Turkish pro-government media published reports with the claim that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) transported its soldiers to Karabakh to support Armenia.
Karayılan denied the the claims. According to Karayılan, the attacks against Armenia were planned and prepared ahead of time, and he added that Russia’s policies allowed those conflicts in the region.
He also said that the Armenian government did not carry out an independent policy against external forces: “In fact they carry out a policy under the wings of external forces and tried to implement a soft policy. It seems that they will not accomplish a result with that kind of policy”.
Denying that he had a friendship with a commander of the Armenian military, Karayılan said that while he would be pleased to be friends with an Armenian person, that claim was not true.