Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Executive Committee member Murat Karayılan spoke to Sterk TV about the recent developments in northern Iraq regarding Turkey’s ongoing military campaign and the intense debates sparked by the military mobilisation of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s peshmerga forces in Metina.
Defining Turkey’s tactics in the Metina region as an “attempted provocation” Karayılan said: “We have received information. Hulusi Akar [Turkey’s Defense Minister] told the KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party] officials that the peshmerga should also be involved in the war. KDP administration met on 20th May to discuss this issue. We do not know to what conclusion they have reached, and even if I knew there is no need to share this here.”
Karayılan also shared information that they have received some strange cynical approaches and messages from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “through some friends”, asking the PKK to “declare a ceasefire” in Turkey.
“A few months ago, the Turkish state and Tayyip Erdoğan himself sent us some news through some friends,” he said. “‘Declare a ceasefire within Turkey, within Bakure [North] Kurdistan, we would not intervene whatever you want to do in other parts,’ they said.”
With such a odd ceasefire call, Karayılan emphasised, Turkey “plans a civil war between the Kurdish forces in Bashur [South]”. However, he added, “The PKK sees this game and is not deceived by it.”
He continued: “This is simply a game of the enemy. We should all be aware of such tactics and games of the enemy. The Turkish state has always deceived the Kurds in these kinds of ways, always creating conditions for divisions and internal conflict that they have always maintained power and control over.”
“Now such a plan is unfolding. I hope all the parties will see this clearly. The Turkish state wants us [the Kurds] to be in conflict with each other. We must not be deceived.”
‘Our forces did not hit that vehicle’
On 5th June, there was a strike from the air against KDP peshmerga forces who had been transferred to the Metîna area in the Federal Region of Kurdistan. Five peshmergas lost their lives and four were wounded.
Karayılan stressed that it was most definately not the guerilla who hit the KDP vehicle and he shared the results of an urgent investigation launched by the PKK forces regarding the incident:
“We have conducted our own investigation regarding this incident. Our friends did not use such a weapon to blow up that vehicle in that way and to cause the death of the people inside. Our forces did not hit that vehicle,” Karayilan said in the clearest and strongest denial of PKK involvement to date from the top leadership of the military forces of the PKK.
He shared the information that there multiple armed drones belonging to Turkey flying in the air at the same time of the incident.
Karayılan added that the PKK side suspects that the attack on the KDP vehicle was part of a “provocation plan”.
“We suspect that this was part of a plan. This is a provocation. This incident should be investigated. For the sake of the people who lost their lives there this incident should be resolved. These people were innocent, they lost their lives without knowing where they were going. They are martyrs. I share my condolescences with their families,” he said.
Karayılan commented on the attitude of the KDP media which have published news putting the “blame on the PKK right after the incident. “This is unjust. This is not the right attitude. The people of south Kurdistan should realise what is going on. We are being treated unjustly,” he said.
He invited delegations to conduct a field investigation in Metina to resolve the mystery of how that KDP vehicle exploded.
“Metina is an open area. There is a road reaching down there. They can come and check. Come and check, let us see who is right and who is wrong,” he said.
‘We see a Kurdish civil war as a disaster’
Karayılan shared his evaluations regarding the increasing tensions between the PKK and the KDP forces in Metina and underlined that “the guerilla forces did not attack the peshmerga”.
“The guerilla forces did not attack the peshmerga. Has the guerilla gone mad to open a second war front? What is it then? A plan, this is what it is. A plan that aims to push the peshmerga to wage war against the guerilla. We see a Kurdish civil war as a disaster.
We see it as a huge mistake. We have no such intention,” he said.
Karayılan also shared his criticisms with the Kurdistan Democratic Party officials. “It [Metina] is a military area. Peshmerga has not taken a single step here for 25 years. Guerilla is there and they approach without notice,” he said.
“They say that they have the full control of Metina. and that they do not require any permission for going from one hill to another,” he added, “It’s okay, you’re more than welcomed, you control the zone. But, five kilometres away, there is an ongoing war.”
Karayılan explained the harsh conditions of the Kurdish fighters as follows: “We are in the middle of a very intensive war. It is your responsibilty to stand aside. Why do you assist the Turkish state? Across, there is the fog and the smoke. The terrain is on fire. The fighter jets drop bombs, the mortars fall, there is war!”
In such a war context, Karayılan underlines, the KDP launches a military mobilisation. “How humanitarian, how legal, how Kurdish freindly is this? he asked.
Karayılan also shared information that there now is only about two or three hundred metres distance left between KDP and PKK forces and that the KDP forces have begun to build war positions.
“I have said before, and I say it again: We do not want to use weapons against the Kurds,” Karayılan said.
‘Take a stand against an attempt to create Kurdish civil war’
The PKK executive shared an urgent appeal as his final message:
“A Kurdish civil war is of no benefit to any one of us. It is not for the benefit of the Kurdish people. They [KDP peshmerga] have come so close that at any moment, things that I do not want, things that we do not want, things that the Kurdish public does not want can happen.” he said
“I call on the administrations of the KDP, the YNK, the Goran, the Yekgırtû, the Komele, the Zahmetkêşan, the Socialist Party, the Communist Party. I call on the intellectuals, artists, civil institutions: Take a stand against these attempts.”
“I call on the conscientious public. I call on the patriotic people, the democrats. I call on the people who do not want the blood of Kurdish youth to be shed.
“Our war is against our enemy. We wage war against the occupation of Turkey. To strike out at us, to cause a civil war do not serve the benefit of our people.”