KCK’s written message was read in the national unity workshop in Sulaymaniyah and said: “National unity and the national congress are duties to be actualized, ordered by history and our people to us the political parties.”
The full text of the KCK message is as follows:
“Esteemed friend! As you all know, the World War III is in session in the Middle East. Without a doubt, as a result of this war, like in the World War I, a new Middle East and world order will be built. Currently, the question whether the Kurds will take their place in the new Middle East and world order has become the fundamental issue of the war. This is due to the fact that the gains or losses of the Kurds don’t just affect the Kurds’ fate but redefine the fate of the Middle Eastern order. As such, whether the Kurds will have status or not will be the character defining point for the new order. If the Kurds have a status, that will mean that the new Middle Eastern order will be built on a democratic foundation. In that case, it won’t be just the Kurds who achieve their fundamental rights and freedoms, but all the oppressed peoples and social groups in the Middle East. But if the Kurds remain without status, all the peoples of the Middle East, starting with the Kurds, will be subjected to grave genocides like they were by the end of World War I.
WARS HAPPEN IN THE CENTER OF KURDISTAN
“The Kurds having a key role in this war both gives us great opportunities for emancipation and carry great dangers within. The danger is due to the fact that the Kurds and Kurdistan are in the center of this war. Virtually all parties in the war are clashing over Kurds and Kurdistan. In this conflict, colonialist forces that defend the status quo have, under the lead of Turkey, positioned themselves against the Kurds. Thinking that the forces that want the status quo to change are positioned behind Kurds would be a great delusion. In short, Kurds have to trust in and rely on their own strength in the face of adversity. But it is also a fact that the very thing that is dangerous for the Kurds also offers great opportunities for emancipation. Because being in the center of the war gives the Kurds and Kurdistan a strategic role and position. Taking good advantage of this role and position will bring freedom for the Kurds and democracy for the Middle East.
ANTI-KURDISH SENTIMENT DEVELOPS OVER FRAGMENTED STATE
“Dear Friends! There is no doubt that the Kurds coming into this strategic importance, role and position has been possible through the rough struggle given and high price paid by our people in four parts of Kurdistan. In the end, important gains have been made in four parts of Kurdistan and the international arena. Now the colonialist powers led by the Turkish state are trying to remove the strategic role, position and gains of the Kurds while the international powers want to use these gains to further their own political projects. This is very unfortunate and dangerous for Kurds. Even though this has historical reasons, the true reason that colonalist states and international forces still view Kurds as tools to either eliminate or abuse is Kurds themselves. The politically fragmented status of the Kurdish forces continually feed the colonialist powers’ desires to eliminate the Kurds, at times even serving that end. The Kurds’ political and socially fragmented status also prevents the international powers from having a refined and strategic relationship with Kurds. As there is no institution to talk with in the name of Kurds, everybody sees the Kurds as an element in their own political projects. In short, nobody can find any party to be allies or enemies with for all Kurds. So, the Kurds have no enemies, and no friends. The enemies hide themselves in the depths of this fragmentation, while friends can’t find the opportunities to openly come out and show themselves. That is why the colonialist powers hide their anti-Kurdish sentiment under an animosity against one party or the other, and friends think it enough to speak with Kurds behind closed doors.
NATIONAL UNITY WILL CREATE GREAT SYNERGY
“Esteemed friends! As you all know very well, all Kurdish parties have relationships with various regional and international forces to some extent. There is no doubt that all parties are trying to garner strength for the Kurds from these relationships, but this fact should be known that the Kurds’ true source of strength lies with national unity. National unity is like an unopened treasure chest for Kurds. Joining together the current political, military and diplomatic strength of the Kurds will create great synergy for all, beyond all our dreams. Such a unity will have quite serious political repercussions for the Kurds and the Middle East. For that, we must achieve our national unity and play an active role in the political process with goals of freedom for Kurds and democracy in the Middle East.
OUR NATIONAL UNITY WILL BRING ABOUT THE SOLUTION TO THE KURDISH ISSUE
“Esteemed friends! National unity is also imperative for a comprehensive solution to the Kurdish issue through political/democratic ways. In a political climate where all issues in the Middle East are interconnected, it is not possible to solve the Kurdish issue in one part by isolating it from the others. Unless the Kurdish issue is comprehensively resolved, there is no guarantee for any of the solutions reached in the parts. Even at a time when the Kurds have achieved a status in Southern Kurdistan and Rojava, colonialist powers led by the Turkish state conjuring up an anti-Kurdish alliance shows this fact very clearly. So, it is a necessity for the Kurds to push a solution to the Kurdish issue on all the related parties in unity. National unity will also bring about the political/democratic solution to the Kurdish issue, as no colonialist state will be able to brave animosity against all Kurds at the same time. The forces that went into alliances among themselves to eliminate the Kurds will race to become allies to the Kurds, when the Kurds are united.
LET’S MAKE THE NATIONAL CONGRESS THE PLACE TO RESOLVE ISSUES
“Undoubtedly, national unity is not just necessary and imperative to be an answer to conjunctural political developments. It is also necessary and imperative to have the national unity and national congress be an inter-Kurdish platform to resolve issues and a fundamental institution of Kurdish democracy. The Kurds who have been victimized by the antidemocratic states and institutions in the Middle East need the democratic mindset, life and institutions more than anybody else. A Kurdish identity that can’t create a culture of democracy and democratic institutions within itself will not be able to solve the issues inside, or the problems with hegemonic powers. Thinking the various issues between parties is an obstacle for national unity will be very wrong. Instead of thinking of issues as obstacles on the way to national unity, thinking of national unity and the national congress as a platform for the resolution of any and all issues will be the most appropriate. “
NATIONAL CONGRESS IS A DUTY ORDERED BY OUR HISTORY
“Esteemed friends! National unity has been the biggest goal of our people since Ehmedê Xanê. Dozens of insurgent leaders have, after their bitter experiences, thought the reason behind their defeat has been the inability to achieve national unity. Our people, the children of Ehmedê Xanê’s goal and Şêx Seîd’s, Seyit Rıza’s, Berzenci’s and Qazi Muhammed’s bitter experiences, demand with every individual hat we achieve national unity today. Our movement, since it was founded, has considered national unity to be both a prerequisite for the success of our people’s struggle for freedom and a necessity for a democratic life. So we openly state again national unity and the national congress are duties history and our people have ordered us political parties to actualize. We as a movement are ready to fulfill any and all responsibilities regarding the national unity and national congress. For that reason, we see this workshop as a very valuable and meaningful step towards national unity. We demand from you esteemed participants and the KNK delegation that the national unity efforts not be limited to the discussions to be held here and be taken to a next level where the fundamental principles can be discussed. We salute all with respect once more.”
Political parties in the national unity workshop: “Our people expect unity from us”
Presentations by political parties, organizations and institutions have started after the opening speech in the national unity workshop held by the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) in Sulaymaniyah. The following are excerpts from the speeches given by the political party representatives:
“WE ARE ONE, OUR GOALS ARE ONE”
Nermîn Osman spoke in the name of the PUK delegation and said: “We may not get such an opportunity for another 100 years. There is nothing more valuable than unity for us. The only way to handle the issues between the parts and the particular issues within the parts themselves is through dialogue. Still, our internal issues don’t mean we can’t have a common stance on national scale issues. All our enemies target our national identity when they attack us.
All eyes in all parts of Kurdistan are on us now. We are one, our goals are one, our purpose is one. Every day we are taking great strides to achieve our rights. We owe this to the guerrilla, peshmerga and the fighters. We salute them with great respect. We offer our gratitude for the martyrs and respect to their families.”
“SHENGAL HAS SHOWN OUR UNION IS WEAK”
Koma Jinên Kurdistan (KJK) member Besê Erzîncan said: “Yesterday was the anniversary of four of our comrades laying their bodies down for a death fast in the Amed dungeon. The day before was the anniversary of Dr. Qasimlo’s martyrdom. I would like to start my speech with a commemoration of our martyrs in the four parts. Esteemed participants, I want to stress the role of women and the role they have in national unity. In the 21st century, the Kurdish women achieved important gains in the battle fronts, politics, economy and all areas. The fragmented situation in Kurdistan also hit Kurdish women hardest. But at this point, the Kurdish women delivered great blows on this fragmentation with their resistance and their struggle.
We as Kurdish women consider unity essential. Because we don’t have unity, just a couple of years ago Êzidî women faced a great massacre. What the Êzidî women experienced was due to us not having unity.”
“THE KURDISH PEOPLE EXPECT A COMMON VOICE FROM US”
Aras Welî spoke in the name of the Goran movement and said: “The Kurdish people need unity more than anything else today. In order to have a common voice from the Kurdish house, we need unity. Today the political and military situation especially in Rojava calls for a common voice from us. The incidents in Southern Kurdistan push unity to the frontlines. Today there is a referendum process in Southern Kurdistan, but we see that the referendum is being used for political purposes. Independence should be an end goal, not a tool. I hope that this meeting will lead to a solution in problems encountered in Kurdistan in general.”
“LOOK AT ROJAVA’S CEMETERIES FOR NATIONAL UNITY”
Asya Abdullah spoke in the name of Rojava political parties and institutions and said: “First, we bow down in front of all our martyrs of freedom. I also salute all resistances fighting the tyrannies imposed upon our people in four parts of Kurdistan as well. Today we have in front of us the issue of how to protect with the spirit of unity the gains we have achieved. Today we have in front of us the issue of how to fight with the spirit of unity the slavery these colonialists attempt to impose upon us.
National unity has been achieved in the martyrs cemeteries in Rojava. These cemeteries tell us something, they order us to achieve unity at once. Our people have achieved unity, now it’s our turn as political parties and organizations. We should ask ourselves: What is preventing us from achieving a national unity?
Today the threats against the Kurdish people continue to grow. Threats against our liberated zones and the liberated Efrîn continue. It doesn’t matter if it’s Southern Kurdistan, Northern Kurdistan or Rojhilat, we must fight the attacks with a common spirit and resist together. We believe this worksop will be a great step towards turning our national unity into solidifying our national unity.”
Jurists: Kurds should have a constitution
In the national unity workshop, Lawyer Hejar Kakaî stated that the Kurds need a social contract. International Law Expert Dr. Osman Îsmail said: “We should have a constitution that will be above all of us and have binding power.”
Jurists participating in the national unity workshop organized by the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) in Sulaymaniyah stated that the Kurdish people need to have a constitution and that role could be fulfilled by the national congress. Lawyer Hejar Kakaî and international law expert Dr. Osman Îsmail spoke to ANF.
“NOBODY SHOULD BE WAITED FOR NATIONAL UNITY ANY MORE”
Hejar Kakaî said the Kurds need a common program for after the ISIS war and stated that the basic condition for that is achieving national unity. Kakaî said the Kurds should not wait around for any political party for national unity any more and added: “In the military sense, as the ISIS war draws to a close, Kurds should unite and put forth their strength. And for that, achieving national unity at once is necessary. And at the point of achieving national unity, the time to wait around for any political party has passed. If some people choose not to participate and are allergic to national unity, then the KNK should move forward.”
“WE NEED A NEW CONTRACT”
“On top of the developments to date, bigger changes are afoot for the Middle East,” said Kakaî and, stating that the Kurdish people need a new social contract with the peoples they live together with, continued: “For instance, in Rojava, after the ISIS war there will come greater changes. These changes will have an effect on Northern Kurdistan as well. Today the Kurds are at a good level, both on the field and in the world. To turn this into political success, we need to achieve unity. I believe that in the lands they live in the Kurds need a new social contract for both the internal issues they have and for the other peoples they live together with.”
“WE SHOULD HAVE A CONSTITUTION ABOVE EVERYBODY”
International law expert Dr. Osman Îsmail stressed the need for a constitution that will be binding for all Kurds. Îsmail said the national congress can take on this role and added: “National unity should have been achieved long ago, but today is not too late either. For both Kurds in the four parts, and those abroad, we need a common project for our future. We need to have a constitution. Because the Kurdish issue is not one to be solved overnight. There needs to be a constitution that will be above social groups, parties, individuals and organizations that will be binding. But for that, first we need unity.”
KNK members: Not participating in the workshop is KDP’s choice
Over 60 political parties, dozens of NGOs and hundreds of intellectuals, writers, academics and community leaders from all four parts of Kurdistan attended the national unity workshop the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) held on July 15-16 in Suleymaniye, but the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and groups allied to them didn’t, despite agreeing to when KNK visited them.
KDP officials repeatedly called the KNK offices until the last day and gave contradictory statements, then posed conditions to attend. KNK members Adem Uzun and Zekerya Halepçe spoke to the ANF about the issue.
“OUR EFFORTS TO GET THEM TO ATTEND WILL CONTINUE”
Uzun said a KNK committee set up for the national unity workshop met with the KDP and that the KDP chose not to participate in the workshop. Uzun said: “As we did with everyone else, we met with them and invited them. They didn’t say they wouldn’t come, but they chose not to. But the national issues are issues for all of us, including the KDP. They have interests in this as well. They didn’t come this time around, we will continue our efforts to get them to come to the next meeting.”
“DISCUSSION SHOULDN’T BE AVOIDED”
Uzun said national unity is the business of every Kurdish party, and that dialogue and negotiations shouldn’t be avoided. He continued: “It would be good if the KDP attends the national efforts. But the national efforts will continue, because that is what our people, our history and our martyrs demand of us. We are ready for any and all talks, dialogue, propositions and discussions for national unity. We say everybody should come and be part of the discussions. Discussions and negotiations shouldn’t be avoided. We expect them to participate in future platforms.”
“THE ONUS IS ON KDP TO EXPLAIN WHY”
KNK member Zekerya Halepçe said the procedure for all other parties was there for the KDP as well during the preparations for the national unity workshop, and stated that the onus is on the KDP to explain why they didn’t participate. Halepçe said: “The same protocol prepared for all political parties in four parts of Kurdistan for the national unity workshop talks and issuing of the invitations was prepared for the Kurdistan Democratic Party as well. So we met with them, we sent them invitations, but they chose not to participate. We would have liked them to be there. But if they didn’t, the onus is on them to explain why. They will have to explain themselves to the people.”