In an exclusive interview with ANF, Wahap Sertip from the Pêshmerga Command of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Iraqi Kurdistan, stated that constant attacks and internal conflicts have left the Kurds in a difficult situation.
“Baban, Erdelan, Botan, Behdinan and many other Kurdish principalities were destroyed by civil war. In the 1960s, when we were still children, hundreds of Kurdish children were martyred in the civil war known as Celali-Melayi. The same things happened in the civil wars in other parts,” he said.
Noting that this situation has weakened the Kurds, Sertip stated that Turkey’s wishes are not limited to “destroying the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).” It wants to “destroy the achievements of the Kurds, ” he added.
“When they wanted to annihilate Kurdish movements, when they tried to destroy the Kurdish beyliks/principalities, there was no PKK then. Using the PKK as an excuse, they try to destroy the achievements of the Kurds,” he said.
Pointing out that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s discourse is based on “Ottoman dreams,” he said: “According to this dream, he sees Mosul as his own. Erdoğan gives signals of such dreams in all his statements. Why did they come to Bashika? They brought soldiers and set up a base. He says they came for the Turkmens who were loyal to him, but that is only a part of it. They came and settled there for Mosul and Bashure [South] Kurdistan.”
“This is the real danger,” he noted. “In 1983-84, we had some meetings with the Iraqi government. Turkey disrupted these talks by sending its Foreign Minister and making some concessions to Saddam. At that time, the PKK did not have such military power. The question here is not the PKK and it never has been. The purpose of the Turkish state is something else. It does not accept the Kurds: that is the ‘question,’ that is their problem. Erdoğan does not want to have a school or even an office in the name of Kurdishness. He has no toleration for anything regarding the Kurds.”
Sertip also drew attention to the domestic politics of Turkey, providing the example of the repression of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). “Erdoğan and the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] are showing their hostility towards the Kurds very openly. One should be blind to to see this fact,” he said.
“So the PKK has an armed fighting wing, what about the HDP? The HDP has no armed wing. Selahattin Demirtaş had nothing but his pen. They are conducting political democratic work,” he said and asked: “Why are they attacking them? Why are they jailing them?”
The Peshmerga commander argued that the KDP has made a “bad and dependent alliance” with Turkey and Erdoğan. “The KDP formed a bad relationship. A fifty-year-old agreement … This is the most solid example of such a relationship. Due to such agreements, they say: ‘Not the Turkish state, but the PKK creates problems’. They make themselves believe in such a discourse. And this is the wrong position they are in,” he said.
He appealed to the KDP: “The PKK is not your enemy, it is your friend. It is a revolutionary power. When you sit and negotiate with the enemies of the Kurds, how can it be legitimate to disregard a revolutionary Kurdish movement and not to solve problems with them?”
He also replied to those who questioned the basis of the PKK’s existence in the Kurdistan Region, located in northern Iraq. “The PKK is there, because those lands are also a part of Kurdistan. Where should the PKK go? Is it not a Kurdish movement? Are those lands not Kurdistan? Why did we go to Iran and Rojhilat [East]? There are still residences at the Rojhilat border belonging to us,” the Peshmerga commander said.
He drew attention to his own childhood, which has witnessed internal conflicts between the Kurds. “I am individually and we Kurds are, collectively, sick and tired of such wars and conflicts,” he said. “We have seen that we have suffered the biggest losses in such conflicts. Such conflicts have been the ones which hurt us the most. That is why, with all our strength, we voice our opposition and concerns and try to stop such a conflict.”