News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF) Mustafa Karasu, a member of the PKK Executive Council, has spoken to ANF about the ongoing talks between the Worker’s Party of Kurdistan (PKK) and the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP). According to Karasu the two parties have agreed on four principal points. The meetings had been planned for months but were delayed in part due to local elections in the KRG and attempts to form a Kurdish National Congress, in addition – as Karasu emphasized – to tensions created by Turkey as a result of the growing strength of the PYD in Rojava.
This tension, according to Karasu, grew even larger after Barzani’s statements regarding Rojava before his trip to Diyarbakir, however since the meeting this tension has dissipated. Karasu went on to note that is expected that particular powers will attempt to block the revolutionary processes now occurring over the globe, and that “Rojava was the important pillar of the negotiation.”
Karasu reported that the PKK had come to an agreement with the KDP on subjects regarding the peace process in Northern Kurdistan and national unity more generally, saying “we expect that the KDP will not support but will criticize the AKP’s politics of diversion.” The meetings between the KDP and PKK took place at the same time that members of the PYD were in Hewlêr (Erbil) for meetings with the Kurdish National Front (ENKS). In the interview below, Karasu answers questions on all of these topics and the progress of the revolutionary struggle more generally.
In a period where tensions increased between Kurdish organizations, your Executive Council held high-level talks with the KDP and it was announced that an agreement was reached? How was this agreement reached? Can you give us some details?
We wanted Kurds to come out of the process gaining in stress together with the Rojava Revolution. In Rojava is the twenty year struggle of leader APO as well as the efforts of our movement. Perhaps until recent history there was not a large struggle in Rojava. However the people of Rojava have struggled in all the parts of Kurdistan – in the North, South and East – and have given up thousands of martyrs and they are a politicized people who are interested in the struggle for freedom and democracy in all the parts [or Kurdistan].
In this direction the organizational and political work of the PYD when Syria was entering into a political crisis had very important results. We always wanted that all political organizations in Rojava would come together and direct the struggle together, and would work together in the international arena. Accordingly we always followed a policy like this in the framework of our relations with the PYD. We never adopted an approach that said “PYD and TEV-DEM are the power, only they can direct the revolution and they should be the only political power.’
The 2011 Hewlêr Meeting went ahead with our encouragement
We have it proper that for Rojava not only organizations in Rojava but organizations from all parts of Kurdistan work together. In particular if certain political forces from Southern Kurdistan – KDP, YNK, Goran and the Islamic parties – work together with the PKK, and they find themselves taking a common approach on the subject of Rojava, we have always taking such an approach with the thought of the democratization of Syria and a result in the solution to the Kurdish issue.
From this perspective we encouraged the meeting in Hewlêr in 2011 under the roof of the high council (Desteya Bilind). Our efforts and our encouragement in the formation of a structure for this meeting was a decisive. We tried to provide for common action in Rojava among the KDP, YNK, Goran and the Islamic parties. The result of this was the Hewlêr agreement. This step opened the way for important gains in Rojava.
`In the same way that the KDP and YNK came to the fore in the South, in Rojava it was the PYD`
Later certain political parties took the wrong approach. The KDP also took the wrong approach. Without a doubt what is happening there is a popular revolution. As is the case everywhere in the world it is normal for one party to come to the fore during a revolutionary process. In the same way that in the developments that took place in South Kurdistan the KDP and YNK came to the fore, it is natural that in Rojava the PYD has become prominent. However this has not been accepted by certain powers. In particular Turkey, which does not want the PYD to have influence there, has been responsible for many provocations.
The KDP adopted a hegemonic approach that said “let us be the sovereign of all the parts [of Kurdistan]’’ and thought that it could take control in Rojava if supported by Turkey and other international powers. On this foundation the tension between the PYD and other organizations as well as between the PYD and KDP was increased. We are not saying that the PYD made not mistakes and did everything correctly. Within the party certain deficiencies developed and the PYD could have tackled these with the right approach. However it did not happen and tensions increased. Then Barzani spoke as if “there is not revolution in Rojava. The gains made there were left by the Assad regime” and took a approach that did not express the reality of nor show respect for the great popular revolution, of the great struggle and the sacrifice being made there, and existing tensions increased even further. This approach is not right. For this reason we have attempted to solve this problem and to prevent the tension from rising further.
`Meetings between the PKK and KDP were planned months ago`
In fact the meetings between the PKK and KDP were planned months ago. It was not only a meeting about the PYD. In this meeting it was planned that there would be a general discussion of the situation in the North and the South and relations between the KDP and PKK more generally. But first because of elections in the South and later because of attempts at forming the National Congress this meeting was delayed. We thought from our perspective that there would be no benefit in allowing the existing tensions to continue. We arranged a high-level meeting in an environment in which tensions were increased. Naturally in the course of this meeting Rojava also came onto the agenda.
`We agreed on four principal points`
What subjects did you discuss at these meetings? Were there any subjects outside of Rojava on which you reached agreement?
The meeting took place around four principal topics. On the agenda were KDP-PKK relations, developments in Rojava, the democratic peace process that our leadership has initiated in the North and the situation in South Kurdistan, and the national congress. A definite agreement was reached around this four subjects. At the head of these agreements were a smoothing out of problems in Rojava, the search for a solution within a united national framework, and the adoption of a common position toward Geneva. An agreement emerged whereby both the PKK and KDP will help in a framework to improve relations between different organizations in Rojava. That currently Kurdish organizations in Rojava are meeting in the South is exactly what this agreement calls for. The PKK has also met amongst itself on this agreement. The KDP did the same. No one spoke in the name of others. It would be wrong for either us or the KDP to speak in the name of the PYD. We have approached on a foundation of encouragement and help in solving their problems. The principal forces that will solve these problems are forces in Rojava. In general we found the meeting to be positive.