WAR AND PEACE
“From the very first day up to the present our Party has made just one appeal. Peace, peace, peace… This appeal has been answered by expanding the scope of the war, and war was organised.” (Ö. Yurtsever Genclik, November 1997, page 9)
Peace, peace, peace… despite all statements about war, revolution, guerrillas and victory, everything is today focused on peace and negotiations. “The PKK wants peace, the Republic of Turkey does not and carries on the war.”
Again and again statements like this arise in different forms.
It is obvious that these are not the statements of people who “want to fight throughout Turkey”, who want to spread the war and who talk of revolution in Turkey. Those who constantly talk of peace cannot at the same time express such sentiments.
The PKK makes statements like that on the one hand, and on the other it claims to stand for revolution, even revolution in Turkey. But in reality this claim is based on its past, its earlier theories and its guerrilla warfare. But this has no bearing on the current practice of the PKK. Currently the talk is chiefly of peace, dialogue and consensus.
HOW DID THEY GO FROM WAR TO “PEACE”?
“(…) The PKK is going through an impasse at the moment, despite its considerable political and military strength and its roots in the masses – as a result of its strategy and tactics which depend on a nationalist viewpoint. Instead of taking a critical look at this strategy and tactics and finding Marxist-Leninist solutions, it has tried to escape from this impasse by resorting to a policy of seeking a consensus with the oligarchy and imperialism. All its contemporary political and military actions are aimed at furthering this consensus. The PKK is trying to give this search for consensus a theoretical underpinning. (Decisions of the Founding Congress of the DHKP, “The Situation of the Kurdish National Movement and Our Attitude Towards It”)
The analysis given above expresses the position the PKK finds itself in today.
The PKK certainly was more decisive from 1984, when it started guerrilla warfare and in the years 1986-87 when it pursued guerrilla warfare despite all the martyrs it suffered, than is the case at present. Especially after the guerrillas had reached a certain strength, the PKK set itself many tasks, ranging from setting up liberated zones to the creation of an independent Kurdistan.
The PKK’s drawback from the beginning was its nationalist viewpoint and the rejection of a class basis for its struggle, and its organising on a national basis. Since the aims it set itself were misguided, the alliances it entered into failed and it distanced itself more and more from Marxism-Leninism, and its politics, which did not meet the requirements of the war, have brought it into a political and military cul de sac. Since 1990 it has regressed.
In the phase of the oligarchy’s strengthened attacks around 1992, the PKK, instead of fulfilling the requirements of the war, began to look for solutions from imperialism and the oligarchy. In accordance with the policies of imperialism and the oligarchy it has taken onto its agenda “a cease-fire”, even if only with the aim of arriving at a consensus. So as to be able to have a seat at the negotiating table it has made not spreading the war into a plank of its own policy.
Only during the Gulf War was an “exception” made, for a short time. “A further disruption of the status quo, which in Kuwait was artificially created by other countries and is already tottering, will create the conditions for a great revolutionary development in this region. When the developments accelerate, the discontent among the populace will increase. This increase will tear at the present regime and put an end to it. The avalanche which came about as a result of the October Revolution, the Chinese Revolution and the revolution in Vietnam, can now appear in the Middle East as well.” (Fourth Political Report by Abdullah Öcalan, p.28)
But even this “exception” was short-lived, as a result of the PKK’s increased search for consensus and its policy of seeking peace. When this latest opportunity also slipped through its fingers, it no longer talked of the “great October revolution”, or of “revolutions”, “transitional governments” or “liberated zones”, but instead nailed its colours more firmly to the mast of the “peace policy”.
In reality, the period since 1988-89 has been a period in which its prognoses have not been fulfilled. It is also clear how far-sighted this movement is when since the end of the 1980s it has designated “liberated zones” and “transitional governments” as short-term aims and expected an “October, China and Vietnam” revolution to develop from the Gulf Crisis.
Instead of the PKK discussing this point and looking into why and on what basis its policies and tactics were not realised, it has almost altered its strategic line and developed a theory that the armed struggle has fulfilled its task and the stage is now set to engage in diplomacy. But in the statements by the PKK leadership made on every occasion and on a day-to-day basis, this is consciously concealed. So it tried to appear more warlike while actually going down the road of seeking peace, and it tries to appear revolutionary while in reality becoming more and more reformist.
IS IT UNMASKING, TACTICS OR A “FINAL AIM”, AND WHAT IS MEANT BY IT?
The more vigorous the attacks by the oligarchy in this period, the more the PKK has gone backwards, and all the behaviour it has characterised as tactical has not allowed it to escape from its impasse, and it has not been able to realise aims like “strengthening and expanding the war”, “increasing the number of guerrillas to 50,000”, “achieving the October Revolution in the Middle East”, “creating a transitional government in the region, initially based on Botan and Behtinan”. In the end, it has gone from seeking these aims to seeking “peace”. This condition is the failure of the national strategy, the theory of colonialism and the policy of seeking a cease-fire. Even if the PKK says “We know that the TR (Republic of Turkey) won’t make peace, the Kemalists will not simply sit down at the negotiating table for peace talks. The TR is not going to make concessions just like that. But to push the TR into a corner we are unmasking it by calling for peace,” all that does not correspond to reality. As in this quote, he policy of peace and seeking cease-fires is justified as an attempt to unmask, or as a tactic. But even if we remember Abdullah Öcalan’s statement that “politics consist of tactics anyway,” it is clear that what we have here is not what we would understand as tactics.
Moreover, there is no revolutionary logic to the statements cited above. Since the oligarchy in Turkey is a fascist one and carries out massacres, it does not have to be unmasked through a “peace offensive”. This objective could also be achieved by expanding the war.
Where the PKK sees it as inadequate to publicly confess to having a peace policy, it uses explanations like “unmasking” and “tactics”. This is the other face of pragmatism.
In reality all the indications are that the “peace policy” and the “consensus policy” are neither about unmasking nor about tactics but are a strategy and an absolute aim. This goes so far that the ruling classes’ conflicts and disputes are being characterised as those between “hawks” and “doves”. They have deviated from the path of trying to smash a thoroughly rotten state which is a war machine directed against the people. With the tactics they have suggested, they have developed solutions aimed at contributing to “saving” the decomposing state, and solving the oligarchy’s problems. They have torn themselves apart in the attempt to show how much they are for a solution and for peace.
WHOSE ARE THE PROBLEMS, AND WHICH SIDE’S PROBLEMS ARE TO BE RESOLVED BY PEACE?
It is already the case that there is confusion as to whom the “peace” is for and whose problems will be resolved through its proposals. The Kurdish nationalists are seeking to convince the state how much “damage this war is doing to the state”. They write about how much the “dirty war” is making a dent in the budget and correspondingly advise the oligarchy in Turkey to put an end to the “dirty war” in order to overcome its internal crisis. Whose side are we on? Whose problems are we seeking to resolve?
“It does not look so simple for these circles to free themselves from the military’s control, when they are so strongly dominated by the military and are only a kind of fig leaf for it, concerning themselves with fulfilling its economic and military demands. So the possibility of reaching consensus is a small one. But in the final analysis the military is also in difficulties. Revolutionary violence will be stepped up a little more in Turkey itself and cause them even further problems. Then a group can arise in the military which will support consensus. The signs of this can start to appear now. (Selected works of Abdullah Öcalan, volume 6, p. 177)
According to the PKK the “politicians” want to solve the problem through consensus. But the military is preventing it. (Although at the start of 1988 the PKK leader declared the contrary and said that the military wanted a solution but it was the civilians who were not ready for one. At that time he was saying the opposite from what he is saying now.) But if the PKK fights on, the military gets into difficulties and supporters of consensus appear on the scene.
If the military is now in difficulties and can no longer pursue the war against the PKK, why is the PKK waiting for groups to arise which favour consensus? If the military is in trouble, why not spread the war even further and bring about the revolution? It does not because the PKK does not believe in achieving a result through armed struggle. For this reason it cannot – despite its declarations about the military and its problems – make the statement that the war should be expanded and the revolution brought about. On the contrary, it keeps talking of the pro-war “hawks” and the consensus-seeking “doves”, it makes everything hinge on discovering them and expects the state to come round to agreeing on a consensus.
“…The military must practice self-criticism. If it does not practice self-criticism in the coming period, then Turkey will have even more problems. …What does all this mean. It means that the military is forced to prepare to reach a consensus. Chauvinism is very evident but it is of use to nobody. All it causes is the effusion of blood, bankrupts the state and throttles the exercise of politics. How long will the military carry on with that?” (Selected Works, volume 6, Abdullah Öcalan, p. 178)
The PKK has decided that the bankrupting of the state is a problem for itself, as is the throttling of the political system, and it is indicating to the oligarchy how it must resolve these problems. But those who fight for the revolution, for the liberation of the peoples, for people’s power would in such a situation think of nothing other than aggravating the state’s bankruptcy. For all these existing facts are proof of the existence of a revolutionary situation and the aim of the revolutionaries in such a situation is to bring about the revolution.
These facts show clearly that PKK strategy is no longer based on the revolution but on peace and consensus with the oligarchy. So if they talk of peace and consensus and so on, they should stop seeking to deceive others by saying “it is only a tactic” or “we are unmasking them”.
WHAT IS THE STATE’S POINT OF VIEW? WHICH ATTITUDE IS BEING TAKEN TOWARDS THE STATE?
The attitude a political movement takes towards the state shows us the clear criteria which define its characteristics. Even the man in the street has grasped the true face of the state and says quite clearly that the mask of the Susurluk state has long since fallen and that the state is alien, it tyrannises people, it belongs to people like Sabanci and Koc. When all left forces on today’s political scene define the present state, they talk of the “oppressing classes’ instrument for keeping down the oppressed classes…”
Such a theoretical definition on its own is not sufficient. What is decisive is the attitude to the state and the steps taken in practice.
Many left-wing forces fall for the state’s declarations of wanting “more democracy” and they have expectations as a result which stop them from manoeuvring and they no longer take an attitude to the state. So we should take the opportunity to reiterate a general truth: the liberation of the oppressed is only possible when they organise, struggle and end this war with a revolution. The revolution means the smashing of the state apparatus by the masses and founding a new and more progressive order, that is, the revolution has the task of destroying the fascist state and in place of the destroyed state erecting a new state. Without this, it will not happen. If we struggle and want a revolution, this sequence of events must be gone through. On the other hand if you want only reforms and seek an existence inside the system, then you do not have the problem of bringing about the state’s destruction. All that is needed is to be content with some reforms, to become a part of the system and accept the existence of this state and reach a consensus with it. This means politics is only conducted within the framework of the system. Institutions like elections, parliament and so on are the aim.
When we come forward for war, guerrillas, Marxism-Leninism, revolution and communism, the decisive criterion is the attitude to the state. Either we destroy this state, or we reach a consensus with it. If our aim is to destroy the state we display a revolutionary attitude, but if we reach consensus and accept the continuation of the fascist state structure, we are displaying a reformist attitude the state can tolerate.
Despite the war the PKK has conducted for years, it now talks of peace and negotiations. Thoughts of peace and negotiating cannot arise from a viewpoint which seeks to destroy the state and put an end to the mastery of the ruling class. The PKK, which from the beginning took heart from its hostility to the state and expanded its war, now wants to sit down at the same table as the state it was fighting and work together with it in a common structure.
In the final analysis, this means to accept the oligarchy’s system of exploitation and to say “you can exploit our peoples even further, I accept the state power of the ruling classes.”
But that also means that the “peace” the PKK speaks of is an actual problem for the attitude it accepts towards the state.
If attempts to reach consensus with the state start, there is no telling where it will end. The entire policy is determined by the attempts, who is a friend and who an enemy, even the definitions and the terminology. This has had its effect on the PKK. They criticise socialism. They are saying, “look, we are not dangerous socialists.” They admittedly claim to be socialists but on the pretext of criticising “actually existing socialism” they shed all the values and symbols associated with socialism. They pay no heed to the positive achievements of the socialist countries and do not defend socialism but prefer to attack it.
The same thing comes up with regard to the state. The PKK leader says: “I will accept no democracy that means dictatorship to the bourgeoisie.” But the bourgeoisie will naturally consider people’s democracy to be a dictatorship. How is it possible for the people and the bourgeoisie to simultaneously exercise power or divide it?
With such a conception, thoughts and slogans such as “fight until liberation, fight until the establishment of people’s power” have no more meaning.
HOW THOSE WHO DO NOT SEE POWER AS AN AIM VIEW EVENTS
Those who do not strive to win power define concepts like friend and foe accordingly. On the other hand, those who fight or want to fight naturally seek out their friends among the friends of the people, that is, among those who fight. But when one is not aspiring to win power and in the struggle develops despair, exhaustion and a loss of self-confidence, then dialogue with the state begins to replace the goals that were hitherto envisaged and and appropriate friends and alliances are sought. The monopolies which are responsible for the massacres in Kurdistan, are today publishing reports about the Kurdish problem. For the problem is staring them in the face. Not just in Kurdistan but in the whole of Turkey, the struggle is growing. The events in Gazi, the May 1 demonstrations, people’s justice, all these are staring them in the face. So we must seek reasons why those who for years shouted that “the only solution is to destroy them” are now talking of granting some insignificant cultural rights and are proceeding in a smooth and cunning manner.
Although these facts are known, the PKK like all other nationalists have allotted certain roles to the monopolist bourgeoisie and view them as virtual alliance partners. The PKK leader even went so far as to say that the parasitic bourgeois Cem Boyner had taken on the Kurdish problem more strongly than the revolutionary movement had and was working to solve problems. There has been no word from Boyner for some time: he is working to help Beymen increase its capital share. But the left in Turkey, the DHKP-C is there where it belongs. What has become of all these analyses? Their world view has got to such a stage that that after the DHKC punished the Sabanci family concern – one of those most responsible for the policy of brutal repression and bloody tyranny against the peoples of Turkey, the Kurdish people among them, they (the PKK), out of fear that their policy of “cease-fires” and “peace” would be endangered, were among those who invented theories about a provocation.
The reports published by the imperialist lackey Sabanci, the head of monopoly capital, virtually made them hail him as the saviour of the Kurdish people, but they were not written to save the Kurdish people but rather the system. But blind nationalism failed to see this. They stuck to the Sabancis like glue simply because in a period in which the system was in danger they spoke of granting a fraction of the rights nations should enjoy, and said “we have delayed too long in concerning ourselves with this problem.”
The declarations by the official spokesmen of the oligarchy, the prime minister, the head of the armed forces interest the PKK far more than anything else, such as the condition of the people or the politics, criticisms and proposals of revolutionaries. We have got quite used to this: after every change of government they are certain to express their expectations of the new government and its prime minister. As a rule, the PKK immediately sends the new prime minister a letter to say “how obliging they are” and then they wait for an answer. There is only one expectation: “peace” and a “political solution” to the Kurdish problem. Everything is viewed through these spectacles. What is interesting is that governments fall, new ones are founded, the puppet prime ministers change but the expectations of the PKK never do.
Turkey is on the threshold of revolution. The oligarchy cannot govern. Governments fall and new ones are founded. It is obvious that all governments are war governments but nonetheless hopes in them are not given up. The Kurdish people and guerillas are showered with expectations. Every year there is a declaration that this year will be the “year of victory”, another year will be the “year of decision”. And this vicious circle goes on. Instead of fighting, hopes are pinned on peace… Instead of expanding the war, they wait… They look for friends in the wrong areas… They seek solutions to the Kurdish problem from the USA, from Germany… They count on the support of the Özals, Boyners, Sabancis and so on… All these are stones littering the path leading towards an existence inside the present system. Revolutionaries for their part prefer revolution.
“PEACE” AND “FIGHTING IN THE WHOLE OF TURKEY”
“To be quite honest with you, if the hostile forces were to cease the operations aimed at annihilating us and said: here there is a problem, we must clear up the reasons for it, it must be discussed and the conditions for this created, we will also try to dispense with activities connected with the armed struggle.” (Abdullah Öcalan, Demokrasi newspaper, 8.7. 1996)
While the oligarchy uses the most inconceivable methods against the opposition aimed at “annihilating and exterminating” it, tolerates no kind of opposition and uses massacres, disappearances and executions as a means of intimidating the masses, for them to expect the oligarchy to “create the conditions for it” and offer “peace” means that this subject is simply not understood. The entire politics and tactics which are built around the will for peace lead social development in a false direction, that is, to a deformation of development. At the same time this means that the entire energy displayed by the people and the guerrillas up to now is being wasted. A basis is also being created for the oligarchy to have influence over the masses and direct them in such a way that obstacles are placed in the path of the struggle.
The PKK leadership which waits for the “Susurluk state” to create conditions and in this regard awakes expectations among the Kurdish people with their politics and propaganda, will also be disappointed this time, like in the past. Moreover, just what kind of conditions are these? In this context, what is it that the PKK is expecting? These questions have not been answered. Have they grown so tired of the armed struggle that they “are ready to dispense with the activities of the armed struggle”? Has the armed struggle not fulfilled expectations?
If the PKK were to look at its own history, it would see that the armed struggle took it from being a “small group” to the force it is today. Back then when it started, there were Kurdish nationalist groups with much bigger organisations. Today hardly any of these groups exist. They do not exist because they were opposed to the armed struggle, so they did not take part in the struggle and could not become a force.
It may be that the word “peace” which is so often uttered is pleasing to some. It is even possible that the circles who have no class consciousness and want to play politics with the oligarchy’s generosity, applaud this word and support it. Moreover there are some who see it as implementing a “great form of politics”. That is, however, only a visible part of a rather bigger iceberg. There is another side to it.
If we only look at the word “peace”, it is an abstract concept. It is only clarified if we answer the question “peace with whom and for what?” If we also ask the question: “If we fight, against whom and for what are we fighting?” the subject becomes much clearer. The other side also can be seen.
Don’t the state’s characteristics, its existence and the war it has waged for years against the people suffice to make it clear that for the people there is no alternative but to struggle? While the state attacks and mobilises all its forces against the people, does not wanting peace and awakening hopes among the people that “peace is imminent” mean tying the people’s hands in the face of state attacks?
Just how appropriate is it to expect a “solution” from the present system, from the forces which derive advantage from the continuation of this system and which have maintained total war against the people? Why should they want to end the war? For these forces, isn’t peace the denial of their own class position and class interests?
What is meant by the state, fascism and class interests? Can “good intentions” and “humanity” be expected from this system? If so, how do we explain the three thousand burned and depopulated villages and the driving of three million people from their homes?
But if some claim that a solution can be achieved from this system, then we have only one question to ask: which state are we talking about? Whose state is it? Who are the people and what are their interests? And, most importantly, why has there been fighting for years, and for what?
All those who persist in wanting peace and defending it must answer all these questions. “Yesterday there were all the preconditions for war, now they exist for peace,” is said by some, but it does not explain the past and the years of war, in which thousands have fallen and a high price has been demanded. What has changed? What is the difference between yesterday and today, what is different? Has the oligarchy distanced itself from attacks and massacres? Has it reined in its limitless exploitation? Is it no longer ruled by TÜSIAD (the monopolists’ association) and the MGK (National Security Council)? Are they saying, “Here, take power and govern”?
THE STRUGGLE IS OBSTRUCTED BY THE SEARCH FOR ACCEPTANCE
The effect this kind of politics has at various levels and on various occurrences is already obvious. This viewpoint turns friends and foes and even the revolutionary mentality of waging a struggle upside down.
A quite typical example of this was what happened after the punishment action of the people’s enemy Sabanci. The break-in into the Sabanci Centre and the punishment of Özdemir Sabanci frightened the oligarchy and pleased the people. As a result of the blow against the head of monopoly capital, the oligarchy, to dissolve the sympathy this action caused and conceal the major effect of the action, used all kinds of methods to confuse the issue.
It is comprehensible when the oligarchy does this. While they said “it was not the DHKC”, they tried to conceal the class nature of the action, spread unbelievable stories about it and tried to confuse people.
Nevertheless, all this is quite understandable and clear. The big monopolies, like the Kocs and Sabancis, these parasites who are the true owners of the state, have for years been a natural target of the people and the revolutionaries. So they were punished by the revolutionaries of the Front and a statement was issued to the public in which the Front claimed reponsibility for the action. On December 23, on MED TV Abdullah Öcalan made the following assessment of the Sabanci action:
“(…) Now in connection with the murder of Sabanci, Hüseyin Kocadag’s connection with the Alevis becomes clearer. (Kocadag was a former deputy police chief of Istanbul who died in the Susurluk crash.) For example, he had a meeting with three police commissioners and two reports about it were published. I think a clarification of it is needed… It is actually a form of intimidation. Kocadag’s name is mentioned, I think there is something to it; for example when fascist circles kill Kurdish entrepreneurs, there are many Turkish entrepreneurs who appear left-wing, these other commissioners. They see themselves as a rather different kind of band. Kocadag was into something a bit similar. He is Alevi. It may be that he had some connections to some formerly left-wing groups… For example they had some of them in their organisation. And these are exactly the ones who say they are striking a blow against capital, which does not seem much like reality to me.”
This assessment, and others like it in various media are the official assessments of the PKK leadership of the Sabanci action. This assessment cannot be accepted as criticism, for it is a distorted and quite conspiratorially motivated assessment which seeks to sully the action and confuse people.
We have already written a lot on this theme. We do not want to repeat it all here. In connection with the content of this text we want only to say the following:
Whom were these statements made to and what was the intention?
Firstly, the PKK does not want actions and deeds other than the ones it carries out, especially not those that can “sabotage the peace policy”. They have tried to create a connection between the action and their cease-fire. They are addicted to compulsory assessments and conspiratorial statements. They claimed the action was a provocation aimed at wrecking the cease-fire. What is worse is that the Sabancis who for years had organised the assault on the Kurdish people and financed it, were now, because of a statement they had made calling for the granting of some minor cultural rights, praised as the friends of the people. The action was seen as a “suitable occasion” to declare that the PKK was not against the monopolies but against the punishment action. This is a concrete example of how the significance of friend and enemy has changed and how creating misgivings about revolutionary actions plays a role. So a lot of revolutionary actions and revolutionary processes are given this kind of treatment. The basic message the PKK wanted to send to the oligarchy through the Sabanci action was the following: we can do business with you, we are not against you, we are against the DHKP-C. This message is not new at all. Let us remember the following statement, made six or seven years ago:
“(…) The Turkish left is very backward. You say Dev-Sol. They blaze away here and there, I don’t know if we should call them terrorists. They are too primitive. Should it be understood as the typical terrorist mentality? Our situation is different. For us violence is merely an instrument of politics.” (December 7, 1991, Cumhuriyet, Abdullah Öcalan interviewed by Semih Idiz.)
The definitions in this quote supplement what has been portrayed above. Devrimci Sol is called a “terrorist” organisation. We are familiar with such designations. We are not accustomed to hearing them from patriots, above all from a movement waging an armed struggle. What is the PKK’s reason for using the oligarchy’s designation in reference to us?
This question is also answered by another quote from the same period: “How does Turkey want to bring such people to see reason, I don’t know? Perhaps we could get along with them. But they just shoot wildly. Making just one of them see reason is difficult. I don’t know if we can call them terrorists, they are too primitive.” December 1, 1991, Sabah, Abdullah Öcalan interviewed by Nezih Tavla)
The message he wanted to send the oligarchy needs no further explanation: “You can do business with us but not with Devrimci Sol.” “You cannot make them see reason.” Of course, those whose minds are set on reconciliation with the oligarchy are not able to accept Devrimci Sol on the same level. To confirm this, they call Devrimci Sol “terrorist”.
Öcalan told the bourgeois media his view that “We can see reason but you’ll never talk them around.” We would never want the PKK to be made to see “reason”. We say the PKK should, in choosing between two roads, not choose “being reasonable”, but rather the revolutionary line, to be able to strike blows at the enemy and distinguish friend from foe. They should not even think about making Devrimci Sol “reasonable”.
The oligarchy has hit its head against a wall a few times trying to “bring Devrimci Sol to see reason”. Öcalan should not bother trying. And since it is known that Devrimci Sol will not be “reasonable” it should also be realised that there is no need for it to be anyway. What the PKK really wants to say is that it itself is prepared to be “reasonable”, that is, prepared for a consensus. This is no other policy than to deliver itself up to the oligarchy. It was making such statements in 1991 and is still trying to show the oligarchy that it can be relied on.
“EVERYBODY HAS MADE AGREEMENTS WITH THEIR TERRORISTS”! BUT WHAT KIND OF AGREEMENTS?
Consequently the PKK never tires of expecting things from all kinds of parties and writes obstinate letters to the USA and the governments of the Republic of Turkey.
“I sent a letter to Mesut Yilmaz. In it I offered him fraternity, peace and an end to the war. In reply I was sent a bomb.” (He means the assassination attempt against him.) I say it openly, we are not thirsting for war. We want to conclude peace as soon as possible. The cease-fire remains in force nevertheless. Despite the attack we still want to resolve the problem at the negotiating table. Everywhere in the world similar problems are being resolved through dialogue.” (Abdullah Öcalan, May 14, 1994, Demokrasi newspaper)
It is true that everywhere in the world “dialogue” has “resolved” a great many problems, but a price is paid for this dialogue. The price is dispensing with the armed struggle and “national liberation”. So dialogue has begun in many countries. However the ruling classes and imperialists set the precondition that an act of submission should be made to them, the armed struggle should be given up and they should surrender. Those who fulfil these preconditions can then be admitted to dialogue. Look at Guatemala, Palestine, El Salvador and now the IRA…
The oligarchy has not replied to any of the peace declarations and cease-fire announcements of the PKK, on the contrary, it has stepped up its attacks on the people. Today it is not ready for such a dialogue. It does not mean it will not be ready later. The oligarchy wants the PKK, which is ready to hand itself over, to be pushed so far into a corner that it will do whatever is demanded of it. That is their standard approach. Nevertheless the oligarchy, in its current difficult situation, does not want to dispense with its classic methods of achieving a result. Instead of talking of negotiations, it talks of “annihilation” and “obliteration”. In short, for liberation movements there is no alternative to fighting unless they want to give up all hope of liberation. If the PKK surrenders it will of course say that it is because it wants peace. But on top of it all, today it says it wants to spread the war to “the whole of Turkey”, to the Black Sea Region and the Taurus mountains. It goes further and does not limit things to Kurdistan but in this context it talks of a revolution in Turkey besides the revolution in Kurdistan and of its own leading role in this. But all this does not stop the PKK from dreaming of the “negotiating table”. If conditions are ripe, the PKK will naturally go for what it calls a “political solution”. At present it has not distanced itself from a political solution and sitting at the negotiating table to achieve it.
So the current claim of “spreading the war to Turkey” is only an effort to get to the negotiating table to achieve the “political solution”. But if the war spreads there will not be a negotiating table, and inversely, if there is a negotiating table there can be no talk of war.That means the PKK must either spread the war or insist on peace. At this point the PKK is insisting on peace, on the other hand it is also talking of spreading the war. Both existing together points to a contradiction. But when it is remembered that with spreading the war, even “spreading to the whole of Turkey”, they intend to achieve peace, we see that there is in fact no contradiction.
IS THE POLITICAL SOLUTION A “SOLUTION”?
Nowadays everyone, from the reformists to TÜSIAD, everybody talks about a “solution to the Kurdish problem”. All have one thing in common, that is, they are part of the system. Admittedly, what do we understand by the political solution that is being defended? And whose solution is it? Let us look at the facts:
“Now, America sees the armed struggle as terrorism. The USA wants this problem resolved through political means. What do you think of this viewpoint of the USA?
Öcalan: If America truly wants to resolve the Kurdish problem by political means, we would not fight a day longer. If they do not attack us, we will not attack them. Even without making conditions, only that Turkey must stop and not send its units to attack us.
- So you are saying that the condition for dispensing with the armed struggle is that the USA and the European countries offer us a plan for a political solution of the Kurdish problem to bring about peace, which is accepted.
Öcalan: Of course, if they have such plans then they should be implemented, we are ready for it. We would sign this plan without preconditions, we are ready to fulfil whatever is demanded of us.” (Özgür Halk, February 15, 1996, p.19)
From this interview with Abdullah Öcalan we learn yet again from whom things are expected. It is also clearly expressed what these expectations are. In many similar interviews and declarations, imperialism is not condemned, and the legitimacy of the armed struggle is not consistently defended.
While the PKK moves into this cul de sac, the aim of independence becomes an unattainable “dream” in the memory:
“Even England did not practice a policy of ‘blood and iron’ with regard to the IRA. Although the relationship of forces is quite unequal, they meet to resolve problems at a political level. The same can be seen in the ties between Israel and Palestine. Also in Bosnia, there is a political solution. Moreover in Chechnya it is the Russian government which calls for peace every day. For Kurdistan we do not want any status other than the one in Chechnya. Why don’t they see that correctly or portray it correctly?” (Berxwedan, February 15, 1995, No 180, Abdullah Öcalan)
The PKK, which earlier took Vietnam as a model, now mentions examples like Ireland, Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya and so on, in which national liberation could not be achieved. This is an important point because it shows the PKK’s situation.
The demand the PKK makes for a “political solution” is no more than the “national-cultural autonomy” it once rejected. These kinds of proposals, which were in the beginning made to “not be dogmatic” and as a “tactic” have now become the actual line of the PKK with the passage of time.
First of all the aim of independence was revised to a “federation” or “autonomy”, and later quite clear statements were made that these too can be completely dispensed with:
“In short, in the coming period ways for a political solution will arise. The next parliament will treat this as an important problem… We do not want to separate forcibly… All that is needed is to have the self-confidence to enter into negotiations… We are not making any conditions.” (2000’e Dogru, September 1991, interview with Abdullah Öcalan)
“…The future of Turkey will inevitably offer the Kurds unlimited democratic possibilities for interpretation, they will found their own parties, even regional parliaments; let us not call them a federation, but regional parliaments, regional parliaments are indispensible.” (Özgür Halk, May 1997, Number 76, Ali Firat)
“This will happen, today or tomorrow. Whether it will be like the Basque model or the Palestinian one, if we strengthen resistance a little more I think the Turkish state will accept a solution.” (Özgür Halk, January 1996 Number 62)
Finally they have got into a situation where they want only as much freedom as is offered to the “German Bundesländer”.
And in the current political situation they are expecting a “political solution” from the USA. How can this imperialist power which is the chief enemy of the peoples, which exploits our peoples and makes them hungry, how can it be seen as a liberating force capable of offering a solution?
But that is how they see it. If we read the following statements about the situation in northern Iraq, it is clear that this mentality does not even come as a great surprise.
“The Kurds want to tie themselves more and more to American and English soldiers. They are not happy with the Turkish soldiers. They are not happy with the Turks.” (Rafet Belli, Kürt Dosyasi (Kurdish Dossier), meeting with Öcalan, p 245)
“…In reality forming a connection to the USA is a progressive step, as is one with the English… A connection to Turkey or Iran is a step backwards. So is a connection to Iraq. It is to some extent a progressive thing to be tied to the UN or the USA. (…) It is not our choice, but other strivings will develop. The urge to gain freedom will develop. Dependence will weaken the quest for freedom and independence will grow stronger.” (Belli, interview with Öcalan, p 246)
So, after forgetting what a state is they are also forgetting what imperialism is.
Imperialists always make the laying down of arms a condition of a peace settlement. And the PKK says this is fine by them. Good, so what kind of peace is it? Does it put a stop to class oppression and the national oppression of the Kurdish people? Can the Kurdish people determine their own fate freely? None of the points listed is being fulfilled. But if the PKK keeps going down its current trajectory it will water down its own conditions more and more and end up by being ready to end the armed struggle. It is clear that those who expect a solution from imperialism will end up doing this.
“…Their defence is of a non-socialist system, which in practice is a consequence of nationalism and which to a certain extent they would be able to rule themselves. With what methods, with whose contribution and support this system they defend will arise, the borders are already drawn and they only want cultural rights in the bourgeois sense. While the Kurdish nationalists are of the opinion that a consensus can be reached with the imperialists and the oligarchy and pursue a classic policy arising from despair and exhaustion after a decade of war, they have the boldness to defend open cooperation with imperialism, and the PKK has been in this phase for some time. Because of the brevity of the war the PKK is not yet bold enough to defend open cooperation.” (Resolutions of the Founding Congress of the DHKP, Resolution 18, The Situation of the Kurdish National Movement and our Attitude Towards It)
|The Gulf Crisis, the elections in 1991, the Newroz festivals of 1991 and 1992, the armistices are important milestones in the PKK policy of seeking peace and consensus. The entire policy that PKK pragmatism has pursued in this phase, the “tactics”, and the results they have led to are a millstone around the neck of the PKK: the political impasse it is in is, in part, a consequence of this millstone. Because of it, the PKK is, in the political sense, no longer standing up to imperialism and the oligarchy in the revolutionary sense of the word, and every day its politics become more backward and the demands it makes become more modest.Since 1990-91 it has peristed in a policy which it calls peace, a cease-fire, dialogue and a political solution. At this point we have to ask an important question: has this developed the war or not? It is clear that in the military sense there have been setbacks. It is clear that the oligarchy cannot wipe out the guerrillas as long as they do not give up the struggle, but it is also discernable that they have lost ground. From the political viewpoint they have made some “progress”, and have won broad acceptance on the international scene, that is, they have forged a wide range of contacts. They call this a diplomatic victory. But if we remember that most of this is based on pragmatism and that these international ties and alliances only have very limited revolutionary significance, it is clear that on the political scene there is not a real progressive dynamic based on events in the country itself. In the actual war zone the mass movement has declined and there has been no progress in achieving cooperation and fraternity among the peoples in Turkey, or in winning their support. That shows us that the negative side of the balance sheet outweighs the positive.
It is understandable that stringing together all the words that would enumerate what has been said on the matter of the peace policy would go far beyond the limits of the space available in this series. But the few examples we have published are enough to cause astonishment. One may well ask how such statements could ever be made in the name of revolutionary politics.
Despite all declarations about “progress” and the “year of victory”, this is a period of regression.
The situation is clearly recognisable: the phase in which armed struggle was insisted upon was a phase in which progress was made, while the phase in which stress was placed on the peace policy has seen the struggle go into reverse.
Scrutinising this policy closely is sufficient to condemn it on the basis of the results it has produced.
|Yesterday – todayOCTOBER 1990
“Even if the SHP uses social democracy as a means of deception and even if in the last couple of years it has tried to show some that it is a development capable of changing the system it is clear that this party is certainly social fascist. It is to be recognised that it is not a party cooperating with the imperialists. For cooperating parties can develop in new ways, on the other hand the SHP is a social fascist structure and nothing else.” (Serxwebun, Abdullah �calan, October 1990, number 106)
OCTOBER 1991 “Of course we say that the SHP-HEP coalition must be supported. We want to say that the efforts must be strengthened to prevent a right-wing government, a period of reaction and attempts to renew the special war regime, and conflicts among these forces should be aggravated, the balance among them destroyed so that the people can take advantage of it. We believe that strengthening this coalition is the best option to achieve such a result. For if this coaliton comes to power or forms a government together with others, it will cause significant disharmony among the institutions engaging in special warfare and the government. This situation will create special conditions which will limit the policy of special warfare and the position of whoever is installed as president and has broad powers will be unstable, and the possibility of some democratic developments will arise.” (�zg�r Halk, October 1991, Abdullah �calan, On the Question of Alliances and Coalitions, Number 12)
MARCH 1992 “Everything for a total people’s war, that is our motto. Prepare yourselves thoroughly. Understand your tasks well and fulfil them absolutely. (…) Arm yourselves! Every village must be a centre of rebellion, every house a strongpoint, and every family must be turned into a guerrilla unit. They should support the guerrilla actions expanding in the mountains by carrying out uprisings in the villages and spreading them into the cities. (…)
Dig secret depots in the ground and store provisions there so the enemy can no longer threaten us with hunger in the future. Each village, each house must have depots. Build underground bunkers and tunnels against air attacks. Everyone who has a gun should join the nearest guerrilla unit. (ARGK Central Military Committee, Serxwebun, March 1992, Number 123)
MARCH 1993 March 17, 1993: The PKK announces a unilateral cease-fire and makes an appeal for a “peaceful Newroz” in 1993.
“The hand of the Kurdish people, extended under the leadership of the PKK, should be grasped…” (ERNK Europe Organisation, March 28, 1993)