‘Turkish government not a friend of Kurds,’ PKK commander warns KDP on Kirkuk

PKK commander Murat Karayilan.

A leading commander of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has said the Turkish reaction against the hoisting of a Kurdistan Region flag in Kirkuk shows that it is “not a friend of the Kurds.”

Speaking to a programme broadcast on Kurdish Sterk TV, Murat Karayilan claimed that if it wasn’t for the PKK’s armed struggle against Ankara, the Turkish government would have already tried to “invade Kirkuk.”

“[Turkish President] Erdogan’s war plans against us in Shingal and other places also includes the KDP, this is why he is not shouting, ‘We will go to Kirkuk’ from the rooftops. But he is saying it via [Nationalist Movement Party, MHP) Devlet Bahceli. What did Bahceli [Erdogan’s ally] say about the KDP leadership? He said: ‘We will trample over them’. If they weren’t fighting us they would show this enmity [against Kurds] even more openly. Today it is us defending Kurdistan in the north, south and other places. If it wasn’t for us they [AKP] would have already said “We are going to invade Kirkuk.”

Karayilan warned the Kurdish Regional Government leadership, which has close ties to the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party and said history showed that the Turkish government had targeted even the Kurds who had supported it.

“They [Turkish government] are not even friends of Kurds who collaborate with them. During the Dersim massacre the state initially killed and displaced the Kurds resisting it. Then it killed and displaced the Kurds who had collaborated with it. It is the same with other rebellions. Whomever overlooks this will lose because they [Ankara] will intensify attack on Kurdish gains in the coming days.”

Karayilan’s comments come amid reports that the Turkish army will launch new military operations against Kurdish areas in Syria and Iraq.

President Erdogan during a public rally in Diyarbakir last week, appealed to Kurdish voters for support in the upcoming constitutional referendum saying, “the PKK are traitors and villains and do not love my Kurdish brethren.”

“PKK supporters keep talking about peace. We are the guardians of peace, we are the guardians of freedoms. We never hid our love for you [Kurds], we loved you openly! We love Diyarbakir and we will continue to love Diyarbakir,” he said.

The PKK has accused the Masoud Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of collaborating with Ankara to push the group out of Yazidi homeland Shingal. Several Yazidi forces of the Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) trained by the PKK were killed by peshmerga affiliated to the KDP.

The KDP has called for the PKK to withdraw from the area saying the group’s “illegal presence is preventing reconstruction and aid reaching the region.”