YPJ Commander Nesrin Abdullah talked to Sendika.Org: ‘Turkey must break off its relation with ISIS, must put an end to hostility’

Nesrin Abdullah, who was in Italy in order to make contacts regarding Kobanê, talked to Sendika.Org. Abdullah stated that Turkey has a hand in the Kobanê massacre of ISIS and she called Turkey to reconsider its relation with ISIS and to end the politics of hostility that will cause destruction. Abdullah expressed that the massacre will not affect the reconstruction period in Kobanê.

Abdullah remarked that YPJ is an army autonomously established by women for the first time in the world and has attained an international trait with its character also calling for women’s organisations in Turkey to give a common struggle and to show solidarity.

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Rojava Delegation that included PYD Co-President Salih Müslim, Kobanê Canton Administration Co-President Enver Müslim and YPJ Commander Nesrin Abdullah went to Italy on 23 July in order to pay a series of official visits. The delegation held meetings in Roma, Padova ve Bologna and subsequently Salih Müslim went to Sweden while the rest of the delegation went to Sherwood Festival, held annually in Padova, this year organised with Rojava Revolution agenda. As Sendika.Org, we have talked with YPJ Commander Nesrin Abdullah on the attacks in Kobanê and women’s struggle.

Dear Abdullah, Ankara has claimed that the last attacks in Kobanê were not carried out through Turkey but through Cerablus. Ankara administration had made similar refutations following the attack at Mürşitpınar Border Gate in 9 December 2015 and Suleyman Shah Operation. How does the insecurity in the border line reflect on the relations with Turkey and how it will from now on? Will you make official demands from Turkey regarding border controls?

There are various allegations regarding the latest attack in Kobanê. In any way the world press is already dwelling upon these allegations. We did not say that the gangs came directly through Turkey but there is concrete evidence and there are videos that they crossed over Turkish border. These footages were published in press. There are footages showing that those that crossed the border spoke Turkish and in some pictures it is seen that they were dressed as Turkish military officers. On the other hand, it is said that the attack took place through Cerablus. This not a reasonable approach. Because the land route between Cerablus and Kobanê was bombed twice before and the land connection was disconnected.

Turkey must disclose its intent in an absolute manner. There are many serious queries regarding Turkey. The correct stance involves Turkey developing sincere and amicable relations with Kurds of Rojava. There should be a small unity between this neighbouring people or state. Antagonist and foreign powers are doing the sums of settling here for good for no reason. Whether we like it or not, we need to finalise this convergence arisen at the border in a constructive manner.  Turkey should break off its relation with ISIS and should be transparent. Politics of enmity always brings about destruction and have grave results.

nesrin_abdullah_1In some areas of Rojava YPG/YPJ powers carry out joint operations with Burkan El-Fırat. Kobanê attackers were wearing uniforms of Free Syrian Army. Following this attack, will the relations with the coalition forces led by the U.S or other allies be reconsidered?

No. There are no problems with the powers and the coalition forces that we take joint actions with. It is the enemy, sometimes they attack us with FSA’s and sometimes with our own uniforms. We have a strategic partnership with powers that we take joint actions with. We have common goals with these powers. Consequently, due to our common goals, partnership and unity was developed very quickly. These powers, in this common struggle, have had many casualties like we had. We are not against democratic and patriotic powers who want Syria to be democratic and who carry out armed struggles to this end. We are open to form alliances and to develop our relations with them.

Then did the latest attacks arise from a security weakness? Is it possible that they came from Tel Abyad (Girê Spî), received help from inside or outside?

Somethings must be evaluated in a factual and down to earth manner. However much we say that we have maintained security, when there are people in an area, enemy may quickly infiltrate; this is a possible scenario. They are believed to be ISIS members that had crossed to Turkey from Tel Abyad. They might have taken advantage of the crossings. For this reason the best thing we can do is to know the enemy well.

There is also Anadolu Agency that broadcasts in line with AKP. This agency claimed that there are dormant ISIS cells in Kobanê. What is the probabilitiy of genuineness of these claims?

Now I talk about media in general. A huge psychological war is being carried out against us. I used to be a journalist. Particularly in this case, as well as in general, press and media make news without backing them up with sources. There are a lot of inaccurate and fabricated allegations disseminated by a lot of agencies and channels. I mean the upmost task of the press is to communicate the truth. If Anadolu Agency has such an information then it is for the best that they share it with us in detail. We are not saying this, they are.

Your delegation is currently taking diplomatic actions in Europe regarding Rojava Revolution and reconstruction of Kobanê. In which phase are these contacts? Additionally, will these attacks delay the reconstruction process of Kobanê?

A good effort was made for reconstruction of Kobanê. Due to the incident in Kobanê, people’s interest in us has increased around the world and they are providing us support for reconstruction of Kobanê. Many countries want to provide support as well. Italy is one of them. The reason we came to Italy is not only to receive financial support but also military and social support. We expect to have positive outcome from the contacts we have had. The principal aim of the latest attack in Kobanê was to carry out a massacre and to bring this into forefront. In this way, they want to obscure their failure and defeat.

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I am not differentiating YPG and YPJ of course, but everyone we spoke with in Kobanê told us how courageously YPJ powers fought at the forefront. What is the main motivation of YPJ?

The difference between YPG and YPJ is about their different autonomous fields. YPG is a structure built upon a holistic system. YPJ that take sides with YPG as the armed women power has an autonomous field. They have a decision making mechanism. We don’t want men to be at the front and women to be at the back in the battlefront. We fight at the front in equality. We have hundreds of female heroes and martyrs. In fact, the success in Rojava will be realised by the great struggle of these courageous women and men, they will achieve this.

YPJ have an autonomous structure and a separate image. This is a rare case. For the first time in the world, an army is being formed by women. Its peculiarity is doing this while fighting against ISIS that the world is unable to take a stand against. This is not happening easily, because the women in this geographical area really need freedom.

Another matter is their self-confidence and their firm stand. They take a firm and genuine stand not only at the front, but also in cultural, social, moral, political and economic areas. Whether we accept it or not, there are some social norms in our society that disregard women. This is an element that consolidates women’s perception of freedom and women’s motivation to struggle. Women in their essence are wounded and are affectionate. Women are fighting against this system for 12 thousand years. Not for 5 thousand years, for 12 thousand years women have been fighting their war. Women have been physically oppressed and they have been ignored but women have always carried this inside them.

Kurdish women have taken part in all the wars that Kurds has fought. If YPJ are where they are today, this is because of this background and the tradition of struggle that has been lasting for a thousand years. Unavoidably, the energy accumulated for a thousand years is able to manifest itself at YPJ.

Transformation of the thousand years of accumulation in the Middle East into struggle with YPJ have had a broad repercussion in the world as well, it became an important figure amongst the women’s movement. So, where does YPJ see themselves amongst women’s movements in the world, how do they define themselves?

YPJ, as the name implies, are Women’s Protection Units. YPJ are not contingent upon a nation. As a matter of fact, the struggle of YPJ in Rojava made it an important and interesting centre for the women all around the world. Women from different nationalities came to Rojava and joined YPJ ranks. With this feature of YPJ come to mean International Women’s Protection Units. The group is not an organisation which is limited to Kurdish women fighting in Rojava. It is a line of thought, a philosophy, a stance, a principle. YPJ carry within themselves the spirit of democracy, peace, freedom and an anonymity.

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Due to war conditions YPJ is fighting at the front. When Rojava is liberated, what will the women’s movement led by YPJ evolve into?

Protection units are only one foot of the democratic autonomy. When Rojava is liberated, these structures will exist with their own representation. Because nations or women face threats and attacks when there are no protection units. Women need to safeguard the achievements that they have formed and conceived with protection units. It needs to stay distinct and genuine but also it needs to have forces for self-defence. This is our line. We are not a force that attacks we are defence forces. Systems are not capable of defending neither their people nor the women. Nevertheless, self-defence can be conducted with autonomy and self-organisation.

I do not have any more questions for now. Would you like to add anything for the women’s movement in Turkey?

Women’s movement that is part of the struggle for freedom is dependent upon the developments in the west, especially on the situation of women. Acts of massacres towards women continues in Kobanê today. Tens of women have been martyrized. This demonstrates the nature of violence against women.

Each and every woman and women’s organisation that wants freedom and peace should give us support. We especially wish for the support of organisations and associations carrying our women’s struggle in Turkey. Turkish and Kurdish women in Turkey should develop and adopt a common attitude against the incidents in Rojava. Our hope and expectations are in this direction. If there is an autonomous women’s protection force in Rojava today, this is for the whole world.

Sendika.Org-Murat Bay / Padova-Italy

Translation from Kurdish into Turkish: Ercan Ekinci

Translation from Turkish into English: Faika Deniz Paşa