Mustafa Karasu, Executive Council member of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) responded to questions from ANF that were put to him.
The roles of intelligence, the military and the police were revised with the integration of NATO membership and the Western Allies. This was the start of the history of the Special War Office, the Mobilisation Investigation Committee, or in popular terms, the ‘contra-guerrillas’. At this point, socialist movements, Kurds, Alevis and the remaining non-Muslims became marked as ‘targets’. This is accepted as having been from 1950 to 1984. Can you provide an outline of what went on during this long period?
Turkey had relations with Europe before it became a member of NATO. The actions taken against the socialists were partly because of this ‘relationship’. But its entry into NATO was not only due to opposition to the Soviets and the socialists. The main influence in their entry into NATO was the idea that the genocide of the Kurds would be easier. Any analysis or policies that do not take into account that this was the main influence in joining NATO and establishing relations with Europe will be false. The Treaty of Lausanne was accepted for the sake of the Kurdish genocide. The Turkish state will never enter any institution or form relations with any state or political force that does not endorse the Kurdish genocide. A century of adventures in internal and external politics makes this perfectly clear.
“As it was impossible to suppress the Kurdish freedom struggle by the use of legal methods and institutions, methods and means that were completely illegal came to the fore. The state’s acceptance of illegal methods as a basis meant that criminal gangs and mafias were in a position to openly “legalise” themselves and became a part of this war.”
After entry into NATO, many institutions were reorganised on the basis of the objective of the Kurdish genocide. There was no change in the policy of the Kurdish genocide: on the contrary, it achieved new opportunities and tools. After entry into NATO, the Mobilisation Investigation Committee, the new formation of ‘contra-guerillas’, the Special War Office, was formed. The people involved in this had strong views in favour of bringing about the realisation of the Kurdish genocide.
When the Kurdish resistance started through guerrilla warfare in 1984, the state kept the village guard system by blending its own historical legacy with the concept of NATO, and JİTEM (Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terrorism Unit) – that fusion of military, police, informers and village guards – and also introduced protected mafia/criminal gang elements into the army, intelligence and police. At the same time, they cleansed everyone from employers to trades unionists of people who did not deny their Kurdish identity. What was this period of the struggle like: to what degree did the state use the devices in question?
With the military coup of 12 September 1980, the Turkish state wanted to wage their ‘special war’ against the Kurds and cleanse the Kurdish awakening and the PKK’s [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] character, by whatever means. They adapted the organised ‘contra-guerrillas’ to conditions in Kurdistan and brought them to a level where they could be used against the guerrilla in warfare. The ‘contra-guerrilla’ organisation that had existed so far was rearranged with the aim of completely eliminating the freedom struggle of the Kurdish people.
When the Kurdish people stood up everywhere in the uprisings in the 1990s, the state took a decision to use all kinds of methods of intimidation to crush and suppress not just the guerrillas, but the people as well. A guarantee was secured that those using these dirty war methods would not be prosecuted for doing so; on the contrary, they would be rewarded.
Those who displayed the courage to talk about the rights of the Kurds in the community in cafes, streets and villages were murdered. At that time, one of the basic methods of intimidation of the people was the use of ‘mystery killings’. As it was impossible to suppress the Kurdish freedom struggle by the use of legal methods and institutions, methods and means that were completely illegal came to the fore.
“Sedat Peker’s diclosures are very important. He is one of those who knows best the inner workings of the Kurdish genocidal, democracy-hostile fascist criminal gang system, so it is a big mistake to undervalue the information he gives just because he is a gang boss.”
The state’s acceptance of illegal methods as a basis meant that criminal gangs and mafias were in a position to openly “legalise” themselves and became a part of this war. An accident in the district of Susurluk exposed the basic composition of the partners in crime in the ‘dirty war’ and rocked the political agenda in Turkey.
The cover-up of this incident was basically effected by various forces within the state. Tansu Çiller’s praise and protection of criminal gangs like these when she said that “those who take bullets and those who fire them are equally valuable to us”, explains why this incident was covered up. The Kurdish problem remained ‘unsolved’, and so the state continued to be involved in these kinds of ‘dirty’ dealings and use these ‘dirty’ methods.
Criminal gang member Sedat Peker, who was ostracised from employment in the gangs when they adapted to the power struggle within the Turkish state, has made a series of confessions, which has precipitated talk of mafia and politics in the media. What is the nature of the current power struggle and where will it go?
Sedat Peker’s diclosures are very important. It is wrong to underrate him and not to accord him importance just because he is a former mafia leader and a gang boss who was used by the fascist forces. At one time, Sedat Peker was the blue-eyed boy and was given a position in this system, so he knows everything and his statements are very important.
He is one of those who knows best the inner workings of the Kurdish genocidal, democracy-hostile fascist criminal gang system, so it is a big mistake to undervalue the information he gives just because he is a gang boss, and has done bad things. It is not possible to find more relevant and clear information than this. He may have made these statements for this or that reason, in his own interest, that’s another matter, but most of the information he has given is correct.
“Tayyip Erdoğan and his paramilitaries in the presidential palace are responsible for all the dirty activities. The basic policies are determined and run by the team at the palace. A number of ministers are also party to these policies.”
Peker has confessed how Kurdish businessmen were murdered by Mehmet Ağar and how the name of the PKK was abused to threaten large numbers of people and take protection money from them. You have been saying for years that the ‘mystery killings’ were perpetrated by the state. How did you respond when someone directly involved with these activities confessed to this?
We knew that Mehmet Ağar gave the orders for many of the murders. He ran a thousand operations on behalf of the state. These are already known crimes. But Ağar has at least a thousand unknown crimes. It is the exposure of these that is important. Peker says of Mehmet Ağar that he is the leader of the ‘deep state’. We don’t know if he is the leader or in the middle somewhere, but it is certain that he took on a level of responsibility in perpetration of these ‘dirty’ activities.
The state oppresses communities using soldiers, the police, intelligence operatives and prosecution. Peker confesses how these institutions have taken on the nature of the criminal gangs. It is clear from Peker’s statements that the dirty dealings of this state are so numerous that many of them are visible to those close to the state.
That Peker has made these statements indicates that things are not going well within the dirty state. There is chaos among those who conduct these dirty activities, i.e., the system set up to suppress the freedom struggle of the Kurdish people. Cracks are visible in the dirty organisation. What is causing this? It is brought about by the struggle waged by the Kurdish people and the forces of democracy. If they had managed to cleanse the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the forces of democracy, nobody would have been able to speak up against them. Since opposing voices are able to speak up, it means that no-one has been able to attain dominance over organisation of the ‘dirty war’; there are conflicts and clashes between the different groups.
Much has been written about the murder of Kurdish businessmen by ‘contra-guerrillas’ and the involvement of the then Minister of the Interior Mehmet Ağar. Peker, as a voice from within, has now confirmed this. That Peker stated that Korkut Eken had had Kutlu Adalı killed confirms the truth of an important part of his confessions. Cyprus had, in any case, become a centre from which the ‘contras’, the ‘special war’ mafia and ‘dirty’ activities were coordinated.
“The reason for the Turkish state being a special war state, unlike other states, is the existence of the Kurdish problem. The Turkish state became a special war state with the foundation of the Republic. This was why all kinds of dirty methods, procedures and conspiracies as well as the mechanics of military coups as stressed by our leader Öcalan, came into play.”
The AKP camp were silent in the face of Peker’s confessions to begin with. There was a desire to create the impression that people like Ağar and Soylu ran these ‘dirty activities’ independently. How accurate is it to evaluate Erdoğan and the AKP as isolated from these ‘dirty activities?’
Tayyip Erdoğan and his paramilitaries in the presidential palace are responsible for all the dirty activities. The basic policies are determined and run by the team at the palace. A number of ministers are also party to these policies. Soylu was, in any case, the Minister of the Interior and responsible for everything relating to security. The mafia, the criminal gangs, and all similar formations are all the responsibility of the Minister of the Interior.
The reason for the Turkish state being a special war state, unlike other states, is the existence of the Kurdish problem. The Turkish state became a special war state with the foundation of the Republic. This was why all kinds of dirty methods, procedures and conspiracies as well as the mechanics of military coups as stressed by our leader Öcalan, came into play.
As there continued to be no solution to the Kurdish problem, different kinds of political, community and economic problems came to the fore in Turkey, and certain people used these as an excuse for a military coup and tried to seize power. Even before 2015 our leader Öcalan said time after time: “If you can’t find a solution to this problem, the mechanics of the coup will come into play”. And so it has been, there have been many coups.
Can the democratic opposition, the forces of democracy and the left-wing/socialist journalists not be more organised and active in the face of all of this?
This should be known: Turkey will be democratised. If solutions are found to the basic problems of democratisation, starting with the Kurdish problem, certain sectors, organisations and structures will be rendered meaningless and they will collapse. So all the forces who will no longer exist or have influence in a democratised Turkey have set up an alliance and started a war against the Kurdish people and the forces of democracy. This is the coming together of all the reactionary and counter-revolutionary forces in Turkey.
Historical duties fall to the forces of democracy. The government of the AKP-MHP (Justice and Development Party-Nationalist Movement Party) is not strong. This government is living through its weakest period. The fact that it is so nervous and irritable is certainly because it is aware that it is on the way out.
The attitude displayed by Süleyman Soylu, Devlet Bahçeli, Tayyip Erdoğan and the presidential palace paramilitaries after Sedat Peker’s statements has clearly revealed the character of this government. They announced that pressure and force would be brought to bear on all those opposed to the Popular Alliance.
Calling for the resignation Süleyman Soylu is not enough. The forces of democracy should stand up and bring about the resignation of the whole government. The best fightback in this political environment is to force the government to resign. If all the opposition and the forces of democracy unite on these grounds, this government cannot stay on its feet. Then, a democratic administration will throw wide open the democratisation of Turkey.