Internationalism is the only response to the Kurdish issue

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In early August 2012, an international anarchist meeting was held in the commune of St Imier (Swiss Jura). One of the speakers was the spokesperson of Fekar[1]. The initiative to let this person speak at the meeting was taken by the Swiss group of the Forum of German-speaking Anarchists, which aims to bring together Turkish/Kurdish anarchists in a single federation.

According to the speaker, the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party, a party with Stalinist origins, in Kurdish: Partiya Karkarên Kurdistan) “concluded, in the late ‘eighties, that even if the Kurds did not yet have their own state, they already presented problems with authority in their own movement that correspond to those within a state. The PKK has therefore moved far from a ‘proletarian orientation’ and from a model of an independent national state with its own government, and therefore from an authoritarian state form. It is now a model for forms of ‘communal’ social life iin which the freedom of women, but also of ‘transsexuals’ and basically every individual is paramount, in which there is respect for differences and where the aim is to achieve a good ecological balance in nature.” It is this which is reproduced synthetically in the report of one of the participants[2]. Jan Bervoets, a member of the editorial board of the Netherlands anarchist journal Buiten de Orde (Out of Order), expressed his reservations about the Fekar spokesperson’s statement. He questioned whether "Őcalan has been illuminated, or if it is rather the adage 'when the fox preaches passion, farmer, watch the geese' that applies here”. But at the same time, he suggested that it is not entirely impossible that the PKK is actually developing in the direction of an organisation with anti-authoritarian and communitarian principles, in which the individual is paramount: “Have we all witnessed a historic moment, or an illusionist trick? History itself will tell.” Despite the reservations expressed here, this is once again the height of political naivety which so often characterises anarchism. The desire among anarchists to see in some way expressions of anarchist principles is so great, that a mere ghostly outline of anarchist principles (anti-authoritarian, communitarian, federalist, the primacy of the individual) is sufficient to create an atmosphere of jubilation among many (ibid.). On the occasion of this discussion in the anarchist milieu, a participant in the 'summer day' of the ICC in Belgium asked us: what is the position of the ICC in relation to recent developments in the PKK? It is clear from the contribution below that the PKK, whatever the positive image drawn by the conference speaker, still has nothing to do with the struggle for the emancipation of humanity and its liberation from the yoke of class society.[3]

The origins of the PKK

The PKK was founded on 27 November 1978 in the village of Fis (Diyarbakir) by Abdullah Öcalan, Mazlum Dogan and 21 disciples. His goal was to put an end to Turkish 'colonialism' in Turkish Kurdistan and the realisation of an independent and united Kurdish state.[4] Since its inception, Öcalan (Apo) has been the undisputed leader of the PKK.

At the ideological level, the PKK was inspired by Stalinism (what the guest speaker at St Imier calls “a proletarian orientation”). Arguing for reconciliation between the so-called socialist countries, mainly Russia and China, while being materially much more tied to Russian interests, they were closer to the position of the North Korean and Cuban Stalinist than any of the others. On the one hand, power could be conquered through a popular guerrilla army; on the other, allies should be sought on the imperialist chessboard of the Eastern bloc against the Western bloc as well as among the Kurdish landowners against their Kurdish rivals. To achieve this goal, the PKK declared itself willing to use any means, however terrible certain acts may be. It launched an armed struggle with numerous attacks, including against other Kurdish political fractions. Some insist, however, that the PKK has given Turkish Kurds their self-esteem and made them aware of their Kurdish identity. For its part, Turkey, where most Kurds in the region live, has always been opposed to any form of autonomy and has practiced the policy of assimilation as well as more open forms of repression such as police violence, torture, forced immigration and open massacres. The strategic importance of the region, much more than its economic importance, has been crucial here. The Kurds were officially called 'mountain Turks' and their language was considered a Turkish dialect. They were kept in poverty and had to stay in line.

The civil war:: battleground of world imperialism

On 15 August 1984, the PKK attacked police stations in the villages of Eruh (Siirt) and Şemdinli (Hakkari), actions in which two Turkish officers were killed. This was the beginning of a whole series of paramilitary actions. As a counter-measure, the Turkish authorities decided to recruit thousands of Kurds who, in exchange for money and weapons, were stationed as village guards against the PKK.

The PKK was initially ruthless towards the village guards, and towards all Kurds who showed any sympathy with the Turkish central authority, in addition to their attacks against certain landowners. So the PKK lost the sympathy of a part of the Kurdish population. Relations were generally quite intense with other Kurdish fractions as well, such as that of Massoud Barzani in northern Iraq. The population of Kurdistan was thus squeezed by PKK guerrillas on the one hand and the Turkish army on the other. The nationalist party, organised on a Stalinist basis, was also supported strategically in this conflict by other imperialist forces in the region, who used it as leverage against Turkey.

Just like other bourgeois parties of the left, the PKK presented itself as the defender of 'socialism'. Through the armed struggle against the cruel Turkish government at the time, the PKK could attract some of the workers and poor masses who were desperate or had illusions, to drag them into a nationalist and imperialist struggle. In March 1990, at Kurdish New Year, funerals of PKK members killed in the struggle resulted in massive demonstrations. But after the collapse of the Russian bloc in 1989 and the disintegration of its Western bloc rival, the pieces on the imperialist chessboard were shaken up and the PKK lost some of its former allies. The Gulf War in 1991 in Iraq opened the door to a 'new world (dis)order’, in which Kurdish nationalism was used for the umpteenth time as bait to recruit cannon fodder. In the growing chaos, with the development of 'every man for himself', where all the imperialist powers, large and small, want to increase their influence in the Middle East, whose importance is strategic as much as economic, the PKK continues to play on the imperialist contradictions in the region, having received support from governments such as those of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Greece and other imperialist countries, including Russia.

To survive, the PKK had to change its tune; it could no longer present itself as a purely Stalinist formation. And while, in the early 90s, some three thousand PKK guerrillas had captured de facto power in parts of Turkish Kurdistan, at the same time Öcalan sought other political opportunities to be able to maintain it. From then, military confrontations have alternated with periods of cease-fire and negotiations. A first round occurred in the early 90s, when the Turkish President Turgut Ozal agreed to negotiations. Apart from Özal, himself half-Kurdish, few Turkish politicians were interested, nor was more than a part of the PKK itself, and after the president’s death on 17 April 1993, in suspicious circumstances, the hope of reconciliation evaporated. In June 1993, Öcalan called again for 'total war'. Other episodes followed in 1995 and 1998 ending each time in failure. When the armed struggle took a more and more intense form, Turkey forced Syria to expel Öcalan. He ran away, but was eventually arrested by Turkish agents on 15 February 1999. He was sentenced to death for treason but this was commuted to life imprisonment under pressure from the European Union. Turkey had in fact applied for accession to the EU and had to promise to improve the situation of Kurds at the level of humanitarian rights. Since then, Öcalan has tried to lead his party from prison, through his lawyers. From August 1999, PKK guerrillas withdrew from the region and a series of initiatives was taken to develop the so-called ‘process of peace and democracy'.

Political manoeuvres to hide their true nature

The strategy to conquer their place within the dominant bourgeoisie had to be changed, and after much (bloody) struggle between fractions within the movement, the card of autonomy and federalism was played to get out of the political impasse. The eighth party congress of the PKK approved on 16 April 2002 the so-called 'democratic' transformation. Hence, the party would seek 'liberation' through political rights for Kurds in Turkey and renounce violence, even though the current leader of the PKK, Murat Karayilan, still declared in 2007 that an independent state remains the principal objective of the organisation. At this congress, the PKK transformed itself and a new political branch was created, even if this was a purely tactical act: it was baptised the Congress for Freedom and Democracy in Kurdistan (KADEK). The PKK reported at the time that it would continue the fight with democratic means alone. A spokesman for the PKK/KADEK said, however, that it would not dissolve its armed wing, the People's Defence Forces (HPG) or surrender its weapons, for reasons of 'self-defence'. The organisation wanted to maintain its ability to conduct military operations in order to establish itself as a full partner in the negotiations. In April, KADEK elected a governing council, but the members were almost identical to those of the presidential council of the PKK. On November 15 2003, KADEK was in turn transformed into a more 'moderate' fraction, the People's Congress of Kurdistan (KONGRA-GEL), in an attempt to make it more acceptable at the negotiating table and for a parliamentary mandate. Eventually, the name PKK reappeared as the 'ideological guiding light' of the general movement, which took the form of KCK, the Confederation of Kurdish Communities (Koma Civakên Kurdistan). Being the proto-state of the Kurdish nationalist movement, technically speaking, this formation serves as the umbrella body for every organ of the movement, such as the politico-parliamentary formation Kongra-Gel (Congress of the People), the PKK as its ruling party, the military wing HPG (People's Defence Forces, Hezen Parastina Gel); The Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) in Iranian Kurdistan, the Party for a Democratic Solution to Kurdistan (PÇDK) in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syrian Kurdistan, in addition to all sorts of other bodies and organisations which perform various functions of a state.

Negotiations with the Turkish government did not have the expected results, and in June 2004 Öcalan made a call through his lawyers to take up arms again; but to maintain the democratic image he hastened to add that this was not a declaration of war but of 'self-defence'. Between 2004 and 2009, the PKK carried out regular attacks and the Turkish army repeatedly attacked PKK fighters in northern Iraq. Thus, both sides kept up the pressure.

Since 1990, the Kurdish nationalists had been trying legal means to participate in Turkish parliamentary politics, a process in which six Kurdish legal political parties, nominally independent while maintaining ties with the PKK, were formed and banned one after another. A highlight of this process was the electoral alliance of the first of these parties, the Popular Labor Party (HEP) with the left-Kemalist Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) and the arrest of the deputies from the former Popular Labor Party (they had to join a back-up Kurdish nationalist party called the Democratic Party – DEP – by then, since the original party had been banned). In 1999, the Kurdish nationalists participated for the first time in the municipal elections with their own party and won a large majority in Turkish Kurdistan and they've been maintaining this status in the region ever since. In 2005, the Kurdish nationalists re-launched their efforts to obtain a place in the Turkish parliament by legal means. To this end, a large and nominally renewed pro-Kurdish party called the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was founded to replace the recently banned party of the same affiliation, the Democratic Popular Party (DEHAP). This party, affiliated to the PKK like all the others before it, managed to send several deputies to parliament, elected as independents due to the unusually high election threshold of 10% in Turkey, installed by the junta following the 1980 coup d'etat to prevent the entry of any undesirable elements into the parliament. This party too was in turn banned by the Turkish authorities because of its close links with the PKK and was replaced in 2009 by the Party for Peace and Democracy (BDP) (in Turkish: Barış ve Demokrasi Partisi, in Kurdish: Partiya Aştî û Demokrasiyê), itself created somewhat before the DTP was banned, just in case. This is now officially recognised as a social democratic party by the Socialist International as DTP was before. 36 delegates supported by them have sat since the last election, elected as independents again in the Turkish parliament. Many prisoners arrested due to the KCK operations are members of this party as well.

To cut the feet from under the PKK, in July 2009 the Turkish government began a new counter-offensive, this time presented as 'democratic': the Kurdish Reform Plan. The Kurds would get their own public broadcasting, new rights such as the right to take Kurdish lessons, Kurdish political parties would participate in trips abroad. As a recent example, we can mention the attempt to win the sympathy of the Kurdish masses by charitable distributions of food, fridges, ovens etc.

The PKK leader, Öcalan, responded from his prison cell with a new version of his 'Road Map to Peace' in 2003 (the publication of which is not authorised by the Turkish authorities)[5]. The PKK announced that it would abandon the armed struggle and send ‘peace brigades’ across the border to support the 'democratic' solution of the conflict that the Turkish government had begun. The first brigade, composed of 8 PKK fighters and 26 Turkish Kurdish citizens who had fled to Iraq in the 90s, crossed the border from Iraq on 19 October and were met with Kurdish flags by thousands of Turkish Kurds.

Now, both sides hide their true intentions. Their capitalist, nationalist and imperialist interests are disguised by a pacifist and democratic discourse that fits better in the new world view. Both sides also seek to introduce religious motives and thus respond to emerging political Islamism.

But it is in the context of the many tensions in the Middle East and the ravages of the global economic crisis that we need to understand the efforts of the Turkish and Kurdish bourgeoisie, who use the 'freedom' of the Kurds as a negotiating card.

What does Kurdish autonomy and federalism represent?

While the strategy of the AKP (Party of Justice and Development) government remained basically the same as that of previous governments, its tactics were markedly different. Representatives of the Kurdish movement in Turkish politics were full of intrigues and false gestures, while in the background lay the three years of negotiations with representatives of the PKK in Europe in the Norwegian capital Oslo, while the government continued its repression. Thousands were arrested during this process in the action against the KCK, hundreds of Kurdish guerrillas were killed as they retreated during the 'cease-fire', demonstrations were severely repressed with many injured and dead, social repression was encouraged in Turkish cities against the Kurds who lived there, with attempted lynching as a result.

The nationalists of the PKK responded to the tactics of the AKP government with their plan for democratic autonomy for the region. At the fourth DTK congress[6] in August 2010 in Diyarbakir, the unofficial capital of Kurdistan, the co-president Ahmet Turk presented a project for a free and autonomous Kurdistan through the creation and definition of autonomy at the juridical level within the Turkish Constitution. No separatism therefore. With regard to the historical question of the use of the Kurdish language, it would be taught to all age groups, from primary school to university locally and in all Kurdish cities. In a free and autonomous Kurdistan, Kurdish would be the official language, alongside Turkish and local dialects. The economic exploitation of resources in the Kurdish regions would be in the hands of the Kurdish leaders of free and autonomous Kurdistan. There would also be representatives of free and autonomous Kurdistan in the Turkish parliament to discuss issues of equal rights and related discussions. Finally, the free and autonomous Kurdistan would have a flag that differed from the flag of the Turkish Republic, namely a Kurdish flag with its own logos and symbols based on the history of the Kurds and Kurdistan. The debate evolved in the direction of a confederation of the different Kurdish regions in the area. According to the convention, the people and the Kurdish regions in countries such as Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran undoubtedly belonged to the fabric of Kurdistan.

The model of democratic self-government is the most reasonable solution, because it corresponds to the history and political circumstances in which Turkey finds itself. In fact, the Kurds enjoyed an autonomous status within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Hence this proposal is not based on separatism. Instead, our people will determine their reciprocal relationship based on free will and voluntary union in a common homeland. The model does not envisage the abolition of the state, nor a change of borders. Democratic Turkey and democratic autonomous Kurdistan are a concrete formula for our peoples to govern themselves with their own culture and identity and their right to live freely." (PKK Press Statement 13-08-2010)[7]

But faced with continuing repression, it was trumped again, and on 14 July 2011 the 5th Kurdish DTK congress approved a declaration in which it audaciously and unilaterally declared ‘democratic autonomy’ for the Kurds in Turkey, and called for this to be recognised internationally. Pressure from Ankara was intensified and on July 24 the DTK unilaterally announced elections in 43 provinces. The mayor of Diyarbakir saw these elections as an important step towards autonomy. Bengi Yildiz, parliamentary deputy and delegate of the BDP in the DTK, declared that the autonomous region would no longer pay taxes to Ankara.

The recent Sixth DTK Congress, on 15 and 16 September 2012 in Diyarbakir, was held under the slogan “democratic autonomy towards national unity". The main task was to strengthen the bases of the PKK against the Turkish authorities' attempts to isolate and weaken it. The DTK was to become the parliament of all those who live in Kurdistan, Kurds or not Kurds. The situation in Syria was also an important point on the agenda. It should indeed not be forgotten that the PKK is part of the Confederation of Kurdish Communities (KCK) with four major military sister organisations in the region: the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) in Iranian Kurdistan, the Party for a Democratic Solution in Iraqi Kurdistan (PÇDK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syrian Kurdistan, which had taken control of this region with the tacit approval of Assad.[8]

Neither the ten principles of the PKK roadmap in 2003 or 2009, nor the declaration of the PKK in 2010, nor the practice of 'free and autonomous' Kurdistan up to the present, prove that “the PKK is actually developing in the direction of an organisation with anti-authoritarian and communitarian principles where the individual is paramount.” No illusions, comrades, the strategy of the Kurdish bourgeoisie, of the PKK which is a major representative, consists of integrating into the Turkish state to govern Turkish Kurdistan as a local apparatus of the Turkish state. This strategy has forced it to follow blow by blow the many dirty manoeuvres of its rival, as the only way to be able to stay at the negotiating table. The peace negotiations that the AKP government will begin directly with Öcalan in January 2013 are only a logical step in this process, which does not prevent military clashes between the two parties continuing.

In fact, “The PKK, although it hasn't succeeded in becoming an actual state, is acting as the main apparatus of the nationalist Kurdish bourgeoisie in Turkey; it attempts to realise its interests in its area of activity as if it is an actual state and it is bound to rely on the direct or indirect support of this or that imperialist state, the interests of which rival those of Turkish imperialism at this or that point. As such, although its forces are weaker compared to those of the imperialist Turkish state and its interests narrower, the PKK is as much a part of world imperialism as the Turkish state.” (Paragraph 1 of the resolution adopted by our section in Turkey about developments in Kurdistan, in February 2012, cf. Footnote 3)

The Kurdish bourgeoisie wants to survive and increase its power and influence, and to do this capital must be attracted to the region. On this basis, the Kurdish bourgeoisie and the Turkish bourgeoisie have mutual interests. This also includes the transformation of Turkey into a paradise for cheap labour. Needless to say a good part of this will consist of Kurdish workers. They are already working for very low wages in many sectors. The implementation of this policy is already in full preparation in Kurdistan with the new regional policy of minimal wages. The two bourgeoisies have an interest in the normalisation of the situation to ensure stability, in particular not to endanger the important strategic-economic Nabucco project[9]. But the game to advance their interests between them is played very hard, in the image of ruthless capitalism.

Is there a reason to rejoice about 'the freedom of women' advocated by the PKK?

The PKK says that within the organization men and women are treated equally and that women adhere to the PKK on a voluntary basis. The question is to know whether this is a desirable principle, inherited from its ‘proletarian orientation', or a deceptive illusion.

Numerous accounts mention that many women members of the PKK were fleeing oppression by the family, especially the risk of forced marriage and honor killings in the traditional Kurdish territories and in Turkish society. But contrary to what our speaker from Fekar stated, these women were also victims of male violence in PKK camps and by none other than the great leader himself.

The source of such information is not the propagandists of the Turkish state but several founding members of the PKK itself who left the organization in disgust over the years. Mehmet Cahit Sener, one of the founders of the PKK who led an early and short-lived split called PKK – Vejin[10] wrote in 1991, a year before being killed on a joint operation of the Syrian intelligence and the PKK[11]: “Apo has forced dozens of our female comrades to immoral relations with him, defiled most and declared the ones who insisted on refusing to be people 'who haven't understood the party, who haven't understood us' and has heavily repressed them, and even order the murder of some claiming they are agents. Some of our female comrades who are in this situation are still under arrest and under torture, being forced to make confessions appropriate to the scenarios that they are agents (…) The relations between men and women within the party have turned into a harem in Apo's palace and many female comrades were treated as concubines by this individual.[12]

Another founding leader of the PKK, Selim Curukkaya, who did actually manage to escape from Apo's grasp to Europe a few years later, wrote in his memoirs of countless incidents supporting Sener's general statements, further elaborating the repressive measures towards women in particular and in regards to the relations between men and women in general. According to Curukkaya's memoirs sexual relations were banned for the entire membership, and those caught were severely punished – tortured, imprisoned and even declared traitors in some cases which led to their executions – male and female alike. One striking example in Curukkaya's memoirs was the imprisonment of a couple of young guerrillas for no reason other than practicing ‘adultery of the eye’, in other words looking at each other. In contrast, the great leader of the PKK had the right to any women in the organization, and the rest of the leadership were rewarded if they proved obedient and useful[13]. Other founding leaders who have left since have admitted that these testimonies were indeed correct.

Not that Ocalan himself hasn't been as open as he could've been in his own speeches, texts, books, declarations and so on and so forth over the years. In a book written by him in 1992 titled Cozumleme, Talimat ve Perspektifler (Analyses, Orders and Perspectives), he stated: “These girls mentioned. I don't know, I have relations with thousands of them. I don't care how anyone understands it. If I've gotten close with some of them, how should this have been? (…) On these subjects, they leave aside all the real measurements and find someone and gossip, say 'this was attempted to be done to me here' or 'this was done to me there'! These shameless women both want to give too much and then develop such things. Some of the people mentioned. Good grace! They say 'we need it so, it would be very good' and then this gossip is developed (…) I'm saying it openly again. This is the sort of warrior I am. I love girls a lot, I value them a lot. I love all of them. I try to turn every girl into a lover, in an unbelievable level, to the point of passion. I try to shape them from their physique to their soul, to their thoughts. I see it in myself to fulfill this task. I define myself openly. If you find me dangerous, don't get close!” [14]

In a pamphlet he wrote more recently, Ocalan called Toplumsal Cinsiyetciligin Ozgurlestirilmesi (The Liberation of Social Sexism), he says: “In the ranks of the PKK, a true love is possible by a heroism proving itself with success. And what can we call the many female-male runaways? Frankly, we can call them the lapsed Kurdish identity proving itself (…) Besides myself and our martyred comrades have heroically been workers for the road to love. If those who supposedly fell like experiencing love haven't understood the value of such efforts, they are either blind, or evil, or scum or traitors. What else can be expected of us for love? You won't run to any successes in your revolutionary duties, and then you'll say you feel like having a relationship! It is clear that this is a shameless approach (…) Even birds make their nests in places untouched by foreigners. Can love build homes in lands and hearts occupied till the throat? Any force you'll take shelter in will do who knows what to the lovers. My experience has showed this: Living with a woman of the order isn't possible without betraying revolutionary duties.[15]

The talk of freedom of women advocated by the PKK today is rather a cruel irony.

Nationalism against internationalism

This text aims to expose the hypocrisy and bourgeois practice of the nationalist PKK. And it is illusory to think that such an organization, which since its foundation has simply posed strategic and tactical questions in order to conquer its place among other nation-states, and which to gain this place has used a ruthless terror towards everyone (including against the Kurds themselves in their own country and in neighboring countries), could be transformed into an internationalist organization.

In the current era of capitalism, all ethnic movements fighting for self-determination or national liberation, are reactionary movements. Participation in or support for such movements amounts to approving the actions and goals of capitalism, sometimes in open collaboration with different imperialist forces, if not in a disguised way. As Rosa Luxemburg said clearly in the early 20th century, the idea of an abstract 'right' to national self-determination has nothing to do with marxism, because it obscures the fact that each nation is divided into antagonistic social classes. If the formation of some independent nation states could be supported by the labor movement at a time when capitalism still had a progressive role to play, this period ended definitively - as Luxemburg also showed - with the First World War. The working class today has no more 'democratic' or 'national' tasks to complete. Its only future lies in the international class struggle, not only against existing national states, but for their revolutionary destruction.

In a world divided up by the imperialist blocs every ‘national liberation’ struggle, far from representing something progressive, can only be a moment in the continuous conflict between rival imperialist blocs in which the workers and peasants, whether voluntarily or forcibly enlisted, only participate as cannon fodder.”(Platform of the ICC, ‘The counter-revolutionary myth of national liberation’)

This point reached as a result of all these reforms and negotiations has demonstrated once again that only war can come of the bourgeoisie's peace, that the solution of the Kurdish question can't be the result of any compromise with the Turkish imperialist state, and that the PKK is in no way a structure even remotely capable of offering any sort of solution whatsoever. The Kurdish question can't be solved in Turkey alone. The Kurdish question can't be solved with a war between nations. The Kurdish question can't be solved with democracy. The only solution of this question lies in the united struggle of the Kurdish and Turkish workers with the workers of the Middle East and the whole world. The only solution of the Kurdish question is the internationalist solution. Only the working class can raise the banner of internationalism against the barbarism of nationalist war by refusing to die for the bourgeoisie."(Paragraph 8 of the resolution adopted by our section in Turkey about developments in Kurdistan in February 2012 - see note 3)

Rosa / Felix / Lake - 03-01-2013

[1] Fekar: Federation of Kurdish Associations in Switzerland

[3]See also the resolution of the ICC section in Turkey adopted at its last conference about developments in Kurdistan: “Internationalism is the only solution to the Kurdish question!”. FFor other sources for this article see also:

- Le Monde Diplomatique, November 1, 2007







- and the site of HPG

[4] In recent centuries, the historical descendants of the Kurdish people were scattered in various states in the region: Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Many of them have migrated to dozens of countries around the world.

[5] The Road Map to Peace is a document which makes detailed proposals on the different aspects of the new state to be created:

[6] To complete the tangle of organisations, clandestine, semi-legal, legal and umbrella, related to or under the direct control of the nationalist ideologues of the PKK, it must also be noted that the DTK (Democratic People's Congress, Turkish DemokratikToplumKongresi), a pro-Kurdish umbrella organisation with about 850 delegates from political, religious, cultural, social and NGOs, plays an important role in the activities of the PKK.

[8] The Syrian wing of the party, through an unofficial agreement with the government of Bashar Assad, recently gained control of four cities in northern Syria (pictures of Öcalan and Bashar Assad have been hung in various locations), while other fractions of Kurds in Syria are well-intentioned towards the opposition. The 'independent' Iraqi Kurds of Barzani have also tried to break the power of the PKK-PYD. “At the beginning of the conflict in Syria, the PKK advised its Syrian ally, the Kurdish PYD Party, to ensure that the rights of Kurds were extended if possible under a new government. Now, however, it seems that the Assad government, which finds itself stuck, has withdrawn its troops from Kurdish areas. ‘Since then the PYD controls the region and guarantees a minimum public order'. Simultaneously, the PKK sent 1500 fighters from northern Iraq into the Kurdish region in Syria.”(

The PYD however uses a double language. The party owes its current authority to Bashar al-Assad, who ceded military positions to PYD fighters. It is generally accepted that Assad decided to cooperate because of the common enemy, Turkey. He could be sure that the PYD would defend the Turkish border, and thus also send a signal to Ankara not to venture into an intervention in Syria. The most important thing was that cooperation gave him the opportunity to focus militarily on the most important cities. (...) The rise to power of the sister of the PKK in Syria, the PYD, is followed with suspicion, both in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. Ankara fears that Syrian Kurdistan could become the springboard for the PKK, which currently operates mainly from Iraqi Kurdistan, and has threatened a military intervention. The Iraqi-Kurdish president Barzani has ensured that the PYD was forced to cooperate with other Kurdish parties, including the military training of young Syrian Kurds in Iraq. To keep up the pressure, some six hundred of them were then confined to the border river between the two Kurdish regions, and Iraqi-Kurdish MPs have already suggested that the peshmergas, the Iraqi-Kurdish army, could intervene in Syria if necessary. To counter the power of the PYD, Barzani held a meeting between the Kurdish blocs and the Syrian opposition organised by Turkey. The meeting aimed to unify the Syrian opposition into a single front for the future of

Concerning Syria see also:

This shows once again how such nationalist movements are not only the victim of imperialist powers, as the left would often have us believe, but also play an active part in this game.

[10] Short lived not due to political reasons, but because the PKK murdered almost all of their leading members

[11] Hundreds of PKK members are said to have celebrated the "traitor's" death, firing guns in the air upon learning that he was murdered



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Nationalism vs Internationalism