In an exclusive interview with ANF, Murat Karayılan, a member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), shared his views regarding recent developments in the four-month-long Turkish offensive that has been taking place in the Zap, Metina and Avashin regions of Iraqi Kurdistan. He also evaluated Turkey’s strategic aims in the region.
Defining the ongoing clashes as a “serious war,” Karayılan stated that Turkish armed forces cannot maintain their presence for a long time in the areas they capture, because Kurdish fighters do not leave their locations even after Turkish armed forces have heavily attacked them.
Karayılan revealed that within the most recent period of ongoing battles, ten Kurdish fighters were killed due to the use of chemical weapons by Turkey.
“We have friends who have been martyred due to the chemical weapons. In the most recent period, ten friends were martyred due to the chemical weapons. But now our friends know how to defend themselves against chemical weapons. They use new tools.”
Karayılan explained the life philosophy of the Kurdish fighters, whom he defined as “people of spirituality”.
“The guerilla have gone beyond materialistic concerns,” he noted. “They are people of spirituality. They lay down their lives for a sacred cause: for freedom, for democracy, for equality, for a better future. Our forces embody such a faith and willpower. In addition, they have the expertise. Uniting all those aspects with professional guerrilla tactics, they will become an invincible force and secure victory.”
He pointed to the expansionist policies of Erdoğan’s government and stated that Turkey applies an Ottomanist policy, using the battle against the PKK as a pretext for its invasion-based strategy.
He made reference to the time when Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu visited the eastern city of Şırnak (Şirnex) some time ago. “‘I hope that we will walk to Iraq, to Syria soon,’ he said. As if one were walking from one province in Turkey to another. This is no ordinary sentence. Apparently, he delivers a message, because he talked in a similar manner later when he travelled to the occupied Afrin. They have an agenda: those who do not see it are politically blind.”
He warned the international public about Turkey’s long-term goals. “Turkey intends to put a new Ottomanism policy into effect using the war against the PKK as a pretext.”
The senior leader of the PKK argued that the war casualty sheet announced by Turkey does not reflect the true losses of the Turkish army. “They only share details of our martyrs. They cover over their own losses by saying they have one or two martyrs. They avoid sharing their casualty figures. They do not announce the real death toll to the public. Why? Because Süleyman Soylu has been lying for four years. ‘I finished the PKK in the North,’ he said. And now the PKK’s attacks in the North: if they announce their death toll, would not people ask him: ‘Didn’t you finish the PKK in the North? Weren’t there only 200 people left?’ His lies would be revealed.”
Karayılan compared the ongoing Turkish offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan to the previous operation in Garê region, dubbed ‘Operation Claw Eagle-2.’ “The situation of the Turkish state in Avashin, Metina and Zap is worse than their situation was in Gare. In Gare, their defeat was evident. Even they confessed their defeat themselves. They have not confessed their defeat yet, but they will. Because the guerrilla have already proven victorious.”