„NATO has Made Life Hell for the Peoples of the Middle East“
Interview with Cemil Bayık, co-Chair of the KCK Executive Council
In early May of this year, the `TATORT Kurdistan` campaign published the fourth brochure in its series. The new brochure, titled "The Strategy of the KCK", includes an interview with the co-chair of the Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union (KCK), Cemil Bayik, on NATO Middle East policy, internationalism, and the KCK's relations with global democratic forces. The 24-page brochure, like the other three brochures, can be downloaded as a PDF from the homepage of `Civaka Azad - Kurdish Center for Public Relations`. In the following we publish an excerpt from the brochure and open it for discussion:
KCK representatives have repeatedly criticized the Middle East policy of NATO and its member states. What kind of strategy do its leading members USA, Britain, Germany and France pursue in the Middle East?
Our movement took a clear stance against NATO policy from the very beginning on. Because NATO`s policy was completely against the oppressed peoples and against the movement of socialism, freedom and democracy. NATO spread terror all over the world. We didn`t only criticize and take a stance against NATO’s policies across the world and regard them as dangerous, but we also criticized NATO’s policies regarding the Kurds and Kurdistan. And we are still criticizing it today. We do so because NATO sided with the Turkish state against our movement. It provided full support for the Turkish state in order to prevent our movement from gaining strength and achieving its goals. The Turkish state has attacked and waged a war against us, it has committed many murders and carried out many massacres. NATO’s support for Turkey has been crucial for making all this happen. It were not solely Turkey’s but NATO’s power and resources that have made all this possible. Since the very beginning, Turkey has fought against our movement and our people with the help of NATO and the European Union. And it still continues to do so today. We criticize NATO policy and will continue to criticize it because it has not yet given up this policy.
Among the many possible reasons behind Turkey’s joining NATO, the primary one was to get NATO’s support for continuing its genocidal policy against the Kurds. The plan was that Turkey would thus be able to achieve its goals and build the Turkish nation-state. Turkey used its NATO membership not only for pursuing its own interests, but also to develop relations with the European Union. It wanted to use both the support of NATO and the EU in order to carry out a genocide against the Kurds and thus achieve its goals. This was the main motivation for Turkey`s joining NATO and developing relations with the EU.
When we started our struggle for the freedom of the Kurdish people and Kurdistan, we were not confronted solely with attacks by the Turkish state. Besides Turkey, NATO and the EU also stood against us. That is why our struggle has been so intense and why we have paid such a high price during its course. The main reason for this is that NATO and the EU have always sided with Turkey. They have not only protected the borders of Turkey but have also done everything they could to prevent political changes in Turkey itself. They have always wanted to forestall the development of a democratic movement in Turkey. They considered the existence of such a democratic movement contrary to their own interests. In their view, a democratic force in Turkey would work against them. That is why NATO and the EU didn`t want any changes in Turkey`s political landscape as far as democratization was concerned. They provided all support necessary to Turkey to enable it to block the development of a democratic movement and fought as much against the Kurdish movement as they did against the democratic movement. This was what their interests in Turkey necessitated them to do. Turkey benefited from this policy and constantly clamped down on both the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the democratic forces in the country.
In order to isolate the Kurdish Freedom Movement and thus deal a heavy blow to it, NATO murdered Olof Palme [Swedish Prime Minister]. It murdered him and later put the blame on the PKK in order to stop it from gaining influence. They used the murder of Olof Palme to put the PKK on the terror list and developed a policy accordingly. They have pursued this policy to date. Additionally, NATO targeted the Pope in Italy in order to legitimize the Turkish military regime of Kenan Evren. With this attempted assassination they wanted to legitimize the system they had built in Turkey and thus prevent anybody from taking a stance against it. They wanted to win the support of everybody for their system in Turkey. As an organisation, NATO has been developed to target the peoples,the socialist movement and the movement for democracy and freedom. It has taken its shape accordingly. NATO has absolutely nothing to do with democracy.
It is well-known that NATO has intervened in a lot of countries on the grounds of human rights and democracy. But it does not really defend human rights or humanity. They don`t intervene for the sake of democracy but simply use this as a justification for pursuing their own interests. By talking about human rights and democracy they just want to deceive everybody. They use these justifications for carrying out their interventions aimed at securing their own interests. NATO wants to constantly increase its ability to pursue its own interests in the countries where it intervenes.
Turkey carries out all kinds of attacks against the Kurds and the democratic forces. But NATO remains silent. If the things that Turkey does to the democratic and socialist forces and especially to the Kurds had happened in any other country, NATO would have intervened immediately. But when it comes to Turkey they not only avoid interventions but close their eyes and ears. They simply claim not to have seen or heard anything. But in fact they secretly provide Turkey with all kinds of support. Based on their support Turkey is able to pursue its policy against the Kurds and the democratic forces.
A lot of European states are NATO members and one major task of NATO is to protect Europe. It is NATO which defines Europe’s policy for Turkey and the Kurds. This policy determined by NATO constitutes the basis for how Europe deals with them. Today, Turkey has taken control of many Kurdish cities in Rojava. It has occupied these areas and continues to change their demographics. But Europe remains silent. Turkey attacks Sinjar, Mexmur and the Medya Defense Zones [in South Kurdistan]. But Europe remains silent. In Turkey itself Kurds are faced with a very dirty policy. Turkey carries out a genocide against the Kurds and puts heavy pressure on the democratic forces. But Europe remains silent. Why doesn`t Europe do anything? Because it is NATO that determines the European policy towards the Kurds. NATO provides support to Turkey for its policy against the Kurds. That is why Europe remains silent and closes its eyes.
Among the NATO member states Germany has taken over the responsibility for protecting Turkey. This task was given to Germany by NATO. Germany, on behalf of NATO, defends Turkey against the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the movements for democracy and freedom. That is also the reason why Turkey can pursue its dirty genocidal policies. Without this support by NATO and especially Germany, Turkey would not be able to pursue this policy.
It is well-known that during the last years a lot of problems emerged between Turkey and various other states. But only the relations between Turkey and Germany remained unaffected. The German-Turkish relations have actually been very strong during the last years. Whenever Turkey faced serious problems, Germany provided support for the country and thus helped it to get out of its difficult situation. Even when certain Mediterranean states wanted to take measures against Turkey, Germany intervened and prevented it thus protecting Turkey.
Germany has always been the primary partner of Turkey`s genocidal policy against the Armenians, Greeks, Ezidis, Assyrians, and Kurds. This is the historical role Germany has played. It has always taken part in the genocide policy of the Turkish state. And it is still pursuing this policy together with Turkey today. Germany provides all kinds of support to Turkey and Turkey uses this support for carrying out the Kurdish genocide. Germany`s strategy is completely directed against the Kurds. It is totally in line with the occupation policy of Turkey and with NATO. Until today, there has not been a single change in this policy of NATO. Germany has also not changed its policy because it pursues it not only for the sake of its own interest, but also on behalf of NATO. That is why the relations between Turkey and Germany are so strong and strategic. Germany is the major force that protects the power system in Turkey. If it weren`t for the German support, the Turkish system of power would not be able to remain on its feet for a single day. And it would not be able to carry out its policy of genocide in North Kurdistan, Rojava and South Kurdistan. Therefore, Germany is also responsible for this Turkish policy. It is guilty. It is important for everybody to understand this.
The USA, Britain, Germany and France are the states that have pushed the Middle East into a great chaos and have thus turned the region into a primary problem for everybody. These four states have created huge conflicts in the Middle East. They have spread war and have thus made life hell for the peoples of the Middle East. The policy of these states is the foundation of all the region`s problems. No matter how often they claim that they want to solve all these problems, they are just lying and trying to deceive everybody. Because they are the ones who have created these problems themselves. Those who have created a problem won`t be able to solve it. These states have absolutely no interest in getting the problems of the Middle East solved. They consider this against their own interests. Conflicts, war, crisis and instability are the tools for promoting their interests. That is why they promote instability and war in the region.
The KCK considers the peoples of the world and the international democratic forces its strategic allies. The states are waging massive attacks against societies and their democratic forces worldwide. What kind of strategy is necessary for their united, global struggle for freedom and democracy?
The KCK does not predicate itself on the power and state system because the KCK`s goals are democracy, freedom and equality. Those who want to achieve this cannot make concepts like power and the state the goal of their struggle. Therefore, the KCK has instead declared the system of Democratic Confederalism its goal. It draws on a democratic and organised society in order to achieve it. This is the basis on which the KCK wants to build and promote the system of Democratic Confederalism. In this way, it seeks to solve the problems that the Kurds, the Middle East, all peoples and humanity are facing today.
There are two ways to do this: First, all socialists, forces of democracy and freedom, and all those who want to fight against oppression, fascism and dictatorships can organize themselves and struggle together in their own country as a united democratic front. On this basis all these different forces can build such an alliance, such a broad democratic front. Thus, they can increase their struggle against power, dictatorship and fascism and achieve their goals.
However, this alone is not enough and does not lead to all the desired results. The system of Capitalist Modernity has established its power and hegemony everywhere in the world. Therefore, it is necessary to lead a struggle against the current power system in each country and at the same time build a global alliance of all those who struggle for socialism, democracy and freedom. Building such a broad democratic front on a global scale is necessary if we want to be able to fight against the system of Capitalist Modernity. This is what we are expected to do considering the current situation humanity finds itself in.
If all forces of freedom and democracy and all socialists, if all women movements and youth movements build such a broad global alliance, they will be able to share their experiences with each other. They will be able to support each other. Together they will become a huge force. This will enable them to fight against Capitalist Modernity, protect themselves, increase their struggle and achieve their desired results. You cannot fight successfully against the system of Capitalist Modernity, against the state, and power only by waging isolated struggles in every single country. This won`t lead to the desired results. We need to struggle in each single country and at the same time lead a united global fight.
If you want to build socialism it is not enough to only struggle on the basis of alliances with socialist forces. This alone does not lead to the desired results. In addition, you need to build an alliance of all those who feel uncomfortable with the state and power system and who want freedom and democracy instead. You need to predicate your struggle on a democratic culture. On this basis, it will be possible to promote and build socialism. Without establishing a strong democratic culture and without changing our mentality, personality and society on this basis it is impossible to build socialism. These are the preconditions for achieving socialism. That is why it is necessary to build a democratic movement, promote democracy and build an alliance on this basis in each country and also on a global scale. It is necessary to make this our goal: building a ‘Global Congress of Democracy’. This congress will then provide the basis for the struggle for freedom and democracy. It is our proposal to lead this struggle on the basis of Democratic Confederalism. We propose that everybody leads this struggle on the basis of democratic socialism.
This article was first published in the September/October 2021 edition of the Kurdistan Report.