The following article is a translation of an interview with a member of the YPS (Civil Defense Units) from Nusaybin in North Kurdistan / Southeast Turkey that was conducted by the German publication Lower Class Magazine. The original German version of the interview can be viewed HERE.
What is the YPS? Why are they expanding their barricades and digging trenches?
All organic beings have three basic instincts: self-defense, reproduction and feeding. There used to be the YDG-H (Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement), but that was only for the youth, now there is the YPS, the Civilian Self-Defense Forces. Since the barbaric attacks of the fascist Turkish state we have established a new movement and military force to organize our self-defense. It’s purpose is to defend our cultural identity as Kurds and to defend the autonomy that we have proclaimed.
At first we attacked the enemy with stones and molotovs and the enemy replied with gas canisters and plastic bullets. As the enemy’s attacks became more comprehensive and severe, we took up arms. This does not mean that we think highly of using weapons, we are not friends of weapons and violence. However, we have seen in Sur, Cizre and Silopi how the enemy behaves in the most barbaric way, as barbaric as the Islamic State in the way it kills people and does not think twice about killing the elderly and pregnant mothers. For the defense and security of our people, we have established the YPS and for this we use our weapons. The enemy uses heavy weapons, from A4s to Dotschkas to tanks and artillery. We however, use Kalashnikovs to defend ourselves from the enemy. We also use trenches and barricades to prevent the enemy from marching into our districts.
Since 1919, the Turkish state has not accepted Kurds and has tried to exterminate us culturally and physically via genocidal methods. Since 2013 there was the so-called peace process but this was terminated on October 15, 2014. On that day a National Security Council meeting was held and the war concept was put back on the agenda. Finally, Abdullah Ocalan has been isolated since April 2014 and the attacks by the state have increased.
We then declared our autonomy. We are no longer depending on any government institution or army to defend our country. We want to keep our culture and our language and because the Turkish state does not allow this we have created these self-defense forces and we will defend our people at all costs, regardless of what happens. We will do our utmost to prepare a future of freedom for our people until the last drop of our blood.
We call upon not just all Kurds but all those who consider themselves humanitarians to join us because an inhuman war and genocide is taking place here. Europe remains silent on this. We criticize this sharply. We call on everybody whether they are social democrats or socialists not to stay silent and accept what is happening here but to to take action that befits them. Nobody who can see what is happening here should stay silent, stop listening or look away.
There was as you mentioned already a peace process. Why has the situation changed? What was the government thinking when they unleashed this barbaric war?
As Kemal Pir (a PKK fighter who died in prison in 1982) already stated, if the Kurdish problem is solved then the Turkish problem will be solved. Because there is actually a Turkish problem. Erdogan wants to be not just president but a Sultan like in the Ottoman Empire. Therefore we are witnessing an escalation of the war. The government has become obsessed with power and staying in power and to achieve this they want to exterminate and entire society and it’s culture. For this purpose they mobilized to nationalism and propagated the following slogan: “One country, One Language, One Religion, One State.”
Once it was said in the USA that there were only white people even though there were also black people there. The same is currently happening with us Kurds. You can say all you want but something that exists cannot be concealed. We exist and we will ensure that we are recognized. If they do not accept this we will keep bashing their skulls until they do.
For months now whole cities have been under siege and the armed conflict has intensified. Where is this war heading?
If this war continues we will need to seperate ourselves from Turkey. If the Turkish state will not accept us we will create our democratic autonomy on our own.
We are against the state: the existence of the state is the negation of society, it is the exploitation of society by the state. And if they do not accept our autonomy we will chase all of their officers, gendarmes and military out of here. This is the land of our grandparents, nobody can drive us away from here. In the 90s they expelled our families from the rural areas and they had to migrate to the cities. Such a cultural genocide will not take place again, we will not accept this. The Kurds of today are not the Kurds of old. We will resist to the death.
Photo credit: O-Young Kwon | aboutideas.net