Turkey’s army is welcome to attempt to destroy the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) but it is unlikely to succeed, according to a senior leader of the outlawed militant group.
“Now that they want to destroy us with war, let them do so. If they can do it, come on down. They [the Turkish government] believe that they can destroy us by trusting their developed intelligence opportunities and high technologies. Let them be our guests,” Murat Karayılan, a PKK leader based in the Kandil mountains of northern Iraq, said in an interview with the Fırat News Agency (ANF).
Commenting on PKK attacks on Turkish security forces over the past 15 days and the airstrikes the Turkish army has conducted on PKK base camps in northern Iraq since July 24, Karayılan said the movement’s guerillas were acting in self-defense.
“[The guerrillas] are conducting their retaliation acts within the framework of self-defense, but a process has started and this will get even deeper. Our total defense process will be put on the agenda against a total war [by the government],” Karayılan said.
Karayılan said the Turkish government had declared a one-sided total war on their movement on July 24, with the start of the Turkish army’s airstrikes, adding that it was clear the Turkish side had broken a three-year cease-fire.
He added that it was “dishonest” for the Turkish government to highlight the killings of two police officers in their shared home in the southeastern district of Ceylanpınar on July 22 as the reason to start the military airstrikes.
“Everybody knows that [Deputy PM] Bülent Arınç said ‘hard days await them; they will see,’ only 15 days before [the airstrikes started]. In other words, they had taken a decision before and made preparations,” Karayılan said. “Is it possible to launch a total campaign in just two days?”
A local group, “Apocu Fedailer” (Fedayeen of Apo), claimed responsibility for the killing of the two police officers as a reprisal for a suicide bombing attack by an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) sympathizer that killed 32 socialist youth activists. Karayılan said the attack was not ordered by the movement’s command.
Stating that it was President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who were not attempting to solve the resolution process by democratic means, Karayılan accused Erdoğan and the government of cynically attempting to win more votes by driving the country toward war.
“Our leadership has made the peace process its focus with all its strength. The Feb. 28 Dolmabahçe Agreement was published and the monitoring committee was also defined. If the monitoring committee had gone to İmralı [the island where the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, is serving his life sentence] this process would have been completed and we would have taken the necessary decision after convening a congress with the call of leader Apo [a nickname used for Öcalan]. But Erdoğan directly intervened against this,” Karayılan said.
Karayılan said the process had not been completed as the AKP government had not done its duty of making legal and constitutional amendments, meaning it would be incorrect to say the PKK had not kept its word about withdrawing from Turkey.
Karayılan also accused the government and Arınç of lying about the circumstances surrounding the bombing of the southern Kurdish village of Zergele last week in which eight civilians were killed, noting that reconnaissance flights were followed by fighter jets that conducted the bombardment.