For two years now the foundations of social revolution have been being developed in Rojava, the west of Kurdistan. Bearing this, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the basis of the attacks against Kobanê is the interest politics of Turkish State and global capitalism. Abdülmelik Yalcin and Merve Dilber from Revolutionary Anarchist Action were in the region of Suruc, on the border with Kobanê, since the first day of the resistance against the attempts to obscure the people’s revolution, in solidarity with the people of the region. We interviewed them on the Kobanê Resistance and Rojava Revolution.
Since the beginning of the Kobanê Resistance, you have organized a lot of protests and made leaflets and posters. You also participated in “the human chain border watch” that was organized in the villages at Suruc, near Kobanê border. What was your purpose of going there? Could you tell us about what you lived there?
M. D.: Due to the Rojava Revolution the borders between the parts of Kurdistan that fell within Syrian and Turkish territory started to melt away. The Turkish State even tried to build a wall to destroy this effect of the revolution. In the midst of the war in interest of global capitalism and states in the region, the Kurdish people in Syria took a step along the path that leads to social revolution. Thanks to this step a real front emerged that leads to the freedom of the people, and in Kobanê, a total attack against revolution was started by the hands of ISIS, the violent mob produced by global capitalism. As revolutionary anarchists, when we considered the situation in Kobanê and all of Rojava, it was impossible for us not to become directly involved in it. Whereas the borders between states were abolished, it is vital to be in solidarity with peoples resisting in Kobanê. We are at the 15th month of the Rojava Revolution. In these 15 months, we organized a lot of joint protests and made leafleting and wheatpasting actions. During the latest wave of attacks against the revolution in Kobanê, we similarly made a lot of leafleting and wheatpasting and also organized a lot of street protests. However we had to go to Kobanê border to salute the Kurdish people’ struggle for freedom against the attacks of ISIS mob. In the night of 24 September we departed from Istanbul to the Kobanê border. We met our comrades who arrived a little bit earlier and together started our human chain border guard in Boydê village, in the west of Kobanê. There were hundreds of volunteers like us who came from different parts of Anatolia and Mesopotamia to the border forming a human chain along 25km of the borderline in different villages like Boydê, Bethê, Etmankê and Dewşan. One of the aims of the human chain was to stop man, arms and logistics support to ISIS from the Turkish State, whose support to ISIS is known by everyone. In the border villages the life itself has transformed into a communal life, despite the war conditions. Another aim of our border watch was to interfere in solidarity with the people of Kobanê, who had to escape from the attacks against Kobanê, who were delayed at the border for weeks and who were even attacked by Turkish military police forces (jandarma). In the first days of our border watch actions, we cut the wires and crossed to Kobanê together with people coming from Istanbul.
Could you please tell us what happened after you crossed the border to Kobanê?
A.Y.: The moment we passed the border, we were greeted with huge enthusiasm. In the border villages of Kobanê, everyone, young and old, were on the streets. YPG and YPJ guerrillas saluted our elimination of borders by firing into air. We rallied in the streets of Kobanê. Later, we had conversations with people of Kobanê and the YPG/YPJ guerrillas who defend the revolution. It is very important that the borders between peoples that the states erected were smashed like this. This action which occurred in the conditions of war shows once more that uprisings and revolutions cannot be stopped by the borders of states.
There were a lot of news about people who participated in “the human chain border watch” and the rural population around the border being attacked by military police and regular cops. What does the Turkish State try to achieve with its bullying at the border? What do you think about it?
A.Y.: Yes, it is true that the policy of the Turkish State is to attack everyone who is involved in the border watch and who lives in the border villages, and everyone from Kobanê who tries to cross the border. Sometimes these attacks happen frequently and sometimes they last for days. It is obvious that each attack has its own excuse as well as its own purpose. We observed that during nearly every military (gendarme) attack, trucks transport some stuff to the other side of the border. We are not sure about the exact contents of these shipments to ISIS. However, we could understand by the power of the attacks that sometimes it was to let people cross the border to join ISIS, sometimes to send arms and in other times it was to provide ISIS with its daily needs. These shipments were sometimes carried by vehicles with official plate numbers and sometimes by gangs who make state sponsored “smuggling”. Moreover these state sponsored gangs usurped the properties of the people of Kobanê who wait at the border. Military police on the other hand let people cross the border with a commission fee of 30 percent. The policies of the state against the local population have been the same for years. Due to the conditions of war, this policy has become much more visible now. The attacks at the border are conducted with the purpose of intimidating the people in border watch actions and the people of the border villages.
Although the Turkish State denies this, it was more or less known that it supports ISIS. However you say that now, even people who cross the border to join ISIS can easily be seen. So in this region it is not hidden that the Turkish State supports ISIS. How does this support work at the border?
M. D.: The Turkish State insistently denied its support to ISIS. However, ironically, whenever it declared a denial, a new shipment was being organized at the border. A lot of these shipments were large enough to be easily observed. For example: different vehicles brought “assistance packages” to border. We were witnesses to the fact that tens of “service vehicles” with black windows crossed the border. Nobody really wonders what is inside these vehicles. We all know that the needs of ISIS are satisfied through this channel.
Would you please care to explain the historical and contemporary importance for the revolutionary anarchists of embracing the Kobanê Resistance and Rojava Revolution, especially at a time like this?
A.Y.: The Kobanê Resistance and Rojava Revolution should not be considered as separate from the long history of Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom. In the land we live in, the struggle of Kurdish people for freedom was called the “Kurdish problem”. For years, it was misrepresented as a problem sourced by the people and not of the state. We say it again: this is the struggle of Kurdish people for freedom. The only problem here then is the state. Kurdish people have been fighting a struggle of existence against the destruction and denial politics of Republic of Turkey for years, and against other political powers in these lands for hundreds of years. This fight is given against the state and capitalism with the organized power of people. In the slogan “PKK is people, people are here”, it’s clear who this political agent is, which became distinct in each and every individual and who this organized power is. Ever since we solidified our perception into struggle, in different contexts, our relationship with Kurdish individuals and society and the organization of Kurdish people, have been mutual solidarity. We base this relationship on the perspective of peoples’ struggle for freedom. In people’s struggle for freedom, anarchist movements have always been catalyzers. In an age where Socialism couldn’t get out of Europe, when there were no theories called “Right of Nations Choosing Their Own Destiny”, anarchist movement took different forms in different regions of world as people’s fight for freedom. To understand this, it’s enough see the influence of anarchism on people’s struggles in a wide range from Indonesia to Mexico. Also, neither the revolution in Rojava, nor the struggle of Zapatistas in Chiapas fit into description of classical national freedom struggles. Nation as a political term obviously has the state by definition. Therefore while considering the peoples’ struggle for stateless self-organizations, we need to keep a distance to the concept “nation”. On the other hand our approach does not involve likening or similarizing the Kobanê Resistance to any other historical instances. Nowadays different groups mention different historical periods and liken the Kobanê Resistance to these instances. However, it must be known that the Kobanê Resistance is the Kobanê Resistance itself; and the Rojava Revolution is the Rojava Revolution itself. If one wants to associate the Rojova Revolution, which created the basis for social revolution, one can investigate the social revolution that realized in the Iberian Peninsula.
Although the resistance in Kobanê is happening outside of the borders of the Turkish State, solidarity demonstrations were held in every corner of the world. What is your evaluation of the effects of the Kobanê Resistance – well the Rojava Revolution, actually – on particularly Anatolia but also on the Middle East and also on a global level? What are your predictions related to these effects?
M. D.: The calls for serhildan (Kurdish word for uprising) were answered in Anatolia, especially in cities in Kurdistan. Starting from the first night (of the demonstrations) everyone in the streets saluted the Kobanê Resistance and the Rojava Revolution against the ISIS gangs and their supporter the Turkish State. Especially in the cities of Kurdistan, the state attacked the people’s serhildan with its law enforcement and paramilitary associates. The state with its Hizbulkontra (A word play connecting the words Hezbollah and Contra-T.N) associates terrorized Kurdistan and killed 43 of our brothers. These massacres are indicating how much the Turkish State fears the Rojava revolution and the possibility that such a revolution could also generalize in its territory. Attacking with the desperation out of fear, the Turkish State and global capitalism have another fear is of course related to Middle East region. In the Middle East, despite all the plans, depredation and manufactured violence; social revolution still managed to emerge. This messed up all the plans of global capitalism and regional states. This is such an upheaval that despite all the depravations, social revolution could emerge in Rojava. This revolution is the answer to all the doubt of whether revolution can happen in this region and on global level. It strengthened the confidence in revolution specifically for the people of this region but also on the global scale. The purpose of all social revolutions in history was to achieve a globally socialized revolution. In this perspective we called international anarchist groups to act in solidarity with the Kobanê Resistance and the Rojava Revolution. With our call for solidarity, anarchists from different parts of the world from Germany, to Athens, to Brussels, to Amsterdam, to Paris and to New York held demonstrations. We salute once more every anarchist organization that received our call, organized demonstrations related to our call, and those who stayed here with us in the human chain border watch.
Starting from the first days of ISIS’s attack, the Turkish State-sponsored media made a lot of news that claimed Kobanê is about to fall. However, what they understand after more than one month now, is this: Kobanê won’t fall! Yes, Kobanê did not and will not fall. We, as Meydan Newspaper, salute your solidarity with Kobanê. Is there anything else you want to add?
M. D.: We, as revolutionary anarchists, witnessed, lived and are still living the invincibleness of the confidence in revolution, even in the circumstances of war in our region. What is happening in Rojava is a social revolution! This social revolution, where the borders are abolished, states are being rendered powerless, plans of global capitalism are disturbed, will also generalize in our region. We invite every oppressed individual to look from the point of view of the oppressed. With this awareness we also invite them to support the organized struggle for social revolution. This is the only way to fertilize the seeds which were planted in Rojava and live the social revolution in wider regions. Long Live the Kobanê Resistance! Long Live the Rojava Revolution!
This article was published in the 22nd issue of Meydan Newspaper