They are at the center of the difficult NATO quagmire that led to the suspension of membership of Sweden and Finland. In this VG interview, the terrorist label PKK guerrilla group took the floor.
I reported on the controversy in Europe right now, Zagros Hewa tells VG on the phone from a guerrilla base in the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq.
We urge everyone in the Nordic countries, countries and peoples, not to allow Erdogan to affect their national dignity, political integrity and territorial integrity. Do not give in to Erdogan’s pressure.
For about 20 minutes, we spoke to the PKK spokesperson, after the interview was first postponed as a result of a Turkish drone attack in the area where he is now.
The PKK says this is the first time they have spoken of it as the ongoing NATO debate.
Turkey abuses its membership in NATO
When Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership as a result of Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saw an opportunity:
All NATO member states can prevent expansions of the alliance. In doing so, Turkey could put pressure on Sweden and Finland on the hot issue of Erdogan’s archenemy: the PKK and the PKK.
“Sweden is rotting with Kurdish terrorists,” Turkish presidential advisor Ilnur Cevik said in a statement. Interview with VG.
He added that “the PKK organized rallies in the streets of Sweden and Finland.”
One of Turkey’s goals is to get the northern countries to distance themselves from the PKK and the Kurds who believe they have links to the PKK.
In the current debate in NATO, PKK spokesperson Heiwa told VG that European countries, and Nordic countries in particular, should not be pressured to solve the NATO problem created by Turkey’s intervention.
In the Nordic countries, many Kurds fled the totalitarian, religious and authoritarian regimes in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. They seek refuge with you and carry out their social activities. They respect human rights, he says, before focusing more on his next words:
You should not give in to Erdogan, just to make him more compliant. Erdogan represents an expansionist and Ottoman mentality.
Turkey is a member of NATO and is allied with Norway, among other countries. What do you think about other NATO countries accepting Turkey as an ally?
– I think it is time for European countries to reconsider Turkey’s role in NATO. They should not accept everything Turkey does, just because they are a NATO country. Turkey has used the alliance to silence criticism from other NATO countries in the face of human rights violations, massacres, and invasions in the region.
Then he adds:
Turkey is abusing its membership in NATO as a defense mechanism so that it can continue its violations against the Kurds.
Erdogan wants to establish a new Ottoman Empire
Under the Ukraine war, Turkey since mid-April launch a violent military attack Against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, designated a terrorist group, in Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Turkish warplanes, helicopters, and drones bombed the group’s hideouts, tunnels, and ammunition depots in the mountainous areas of northern Iraq.
The Turkish Armed Forces launched a clearing operation from the areas occupied by terrorists in northern Iraq, Erdogan said.
Hiwa describes Erdogan’s offensive as “an all-out war in northern Iraq.”
“Turkey is attacking guerrilla positions with attack helicopters to break the resistance and control areas here to create a kind of neo-Ottoman empire,” he said.
According to him, the attacks failed to destroy PKK positions, and 490 Turkish soldiers were allegedly killed in the fighting.
While Erdogan’s forces are now on the offensive in northern Iraq, Turkish diplomats are also on the offensive in the controversy over NATO expansion. The two attacks are closely linked – with the PKK as the common denominator.
‘We had to take up arms’
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was founded in Turkey in 1978 by activist Abdullah Ocalan, combining revolutionary Marxism with Kurdish nationalism.
After a long and heated struggle with the Turkish authorities, the group declared armed struggle in 1984.
In the 38-year conflict, more than 50 thousand people were killed – most of them Kurds. The Turkish army may have lost as many as 10,000 soldiers. Both sides to the conflict committed a large number of political killings.
While many see the PKK’s struggle for liberation, Turkey has pushed the outside world to share their views on the scale of the terrorist threat posed by the organization.
VG takes the charge with Zagros Hiwa spokesperson.
– The PKK represents the struggle for freedom for the Kurdish people. We defend the right of the Kurds to live in freedom. This is how we describe ourselves, he says and continues:
– We had to take up arms because Turkey closed all other opportunities for the Kurds to express themselves. They are trying to pressure other countries to label us terrorists, even in countries where we have not worked before.
Responds to allegations of terrorism
Do the European Union and the United States classify you as a terrorist group?
– Yes, they accept this seal as a result of political and economic interests with the Turkish authorities.
– But innocent civilians were killed in the attacks you carried out. Do you understand that someone thinks that you are a terrorist organization?
Through our struggle, we have never intentionally attacked civilians anywhere. There may be some war-damaged by our forces, but that was not our aim. Our military objectives are directed to the Turkish army. We have not deliberately attacked civilians anywhere in the world.
– How would you describe the PKK’s affiliation and cooperation with groups in the northern countries?
– For example, we do not have an official presence in Sweden, but there are many Kurds who do their own social work working for Kurdish rights.
– Turkey is now using the alleged affiliation to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party to discredit the Kurds who are working for the rights of the Kurds in the northern region, and then pressure the authorities of the northern countries to change their policy. Are you in the PKK creating a problem for these Kurds?
– Our movement enjoys great support among the Kurdish people. They know and feel that the PKK represents freedom.
Then he adds from the mountainous base of the PKK in northern Iraq:
– But for Erdogan, everyone who works for Kurdish rights is a terrorist, everyone who speaks Kurdish, sings in Kurdish and whistles in Kurdish is a terrorist. This is Turkey’s position.
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