Anything anti-democratic in Turkey is also anti-Kurdish, says PKK commander

KCK co-leader Cemil Bayik (Photo: Holly Pickett/ The Telegraph)

PKK commander Cemil Bayik has called on the Kurds of Turkey to vote ‘no’ in the upcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey telling Kurdish Firat News Agency that “anything anti-democratic is also anti-Kurdish”.

The constitutional reform package which expands executive power for the presidency held by Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised as a ‘one-man system’ and a huge blow for Turkish democracy by opposition parties.

“Everything anti-democratic is also anti-Kurdish. The Kurds must always stand up and resist against all anti-democratic measures. Within this framework, I am sure they will say ‘no’ in this referendum. It is wrong for Kurds to say ‘we don’t care, this is the Turks’ constitution’. This will only serve the interests of the ‘yes’ camp,” warned Bayik.

Responding to a question on how clashes between the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Turkish army would impact the referendum process, Bayik said, “It goes without saying that we never want funerals of Turkish soldiers to go their families. However, we have to resist against all these military operations. It is not possible for us to just sit back while the AKP government is conducting all of these operations to ‘annihilate us’.”

“These operations are being conducted by the AKP so that Turkish soldiers can be killed and then they can mobilise the nationalist vote. Rather than blaming us for the deaths of Turkish soldiers and police, the people should stand up against the government for sending the soldiers to their deaths for the AKP’s own political gains.”

Cemil Bayik also warned that 2017 was going to be a tough year in terms of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK. “We knew that the Turkish state was going to up its attacks against us; all of our preparations are for an intense war this year.”

“2017 is going to be a decisive year for the AKP government. The AKP believes that it has to maintain a constant atmosphere of war both internally and externally in order to keep its grip on the state. This is why its attacks against us will intensify. But the people of Turkey must know that we are fighting against the AKP for democracy in the country, and not against the country itself,” the PKK commander concluded.