Interview with Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF, Revolutionary Anarchist Action)

This interview was conducted by the Kurdish-speaking Anarchists Forum (KAF). The Interview is regarding the state of Turkey’s invasion of Rojava, the reaction of the people in Turkey, the impact of the campaign of boycotting Turkish company’s products, its markets and also the attitude of people in Turkey.

Q: How is the situation in the cities of Turkey, especially Istanbul and Ankara during this war on Rojava? Are things carrying on as normal or are they living under the shadow of war?

DAF: There is (still) [a] huge amount of nationalist propaganda. The war that the state [is] in, is a beneficial tool of the government. They have changed the political structure of the state according to their wish by claiming to be in war. So, as you have mentioned, everything is happening in the shadow of war. This shadow is fearful for normal people and the ones who got the political, economic and social power [are] using this to keep their position. 

Q: What was the reaction of people?

DAF: It is hard to say that there is a reaction. In every step of war politics, the state is banning to protest, demonstrate, criticize or even talk about the war in bad meaning. If anything appears (even a comment in social media), it is [a] good [enough] reason for government to put people into jail. Many people have been sent to prison just [for] criticizing the war on Rojava. 

In fact, the other half of the people are convinced [by] this nationalist propaganda. The parties [which] seemed like opposition act together with AKP. If the issue is [the] Kurdish issue, the liberals, Kemalists, even some socialists act in the same fascist line. 

Q: Are [you] still able to go about your life as normal? If not, how has your life changed?

DAF: As anarchists or libertarian people; the things are not going well. As I mentioned, they have changed the structure of the state and the laws. So any law can be changed according to the wish of the “president”. The armed forces of the state act more courageously. You become [an] open target not just by state but also civil fascists. If you write something on the issue in a newspaper, it is easy to put you in jail. 

When the state starts a war, the war starts also inside the country. Big operations [against] revolutionary people, banning newspapers and channels… Even while you are walking, you [are] stopped by police for any kind of reason and taken [according to] their wish. 

Q; Is there any resistance against the war on Rojava in [the] form of protests or demonstrations? Have people shown any solidarity to Rojava?

DAF: It is not just [the] Rojava war, the social opposition in here [has not been able to] do anything because of [the] “state of emergency” since 2015. So they said they finished the process of “state of emergency” but in reality it is not [over]. Moreover, some parts of the opposition have their Kemalist reflections in the “Kurdish issue”. 

Q: You may aware that there is a campaign of boycotting Turkish products, media and Tourism. We are a part of that campaign Have you noticed any effects as a result of this campaign to ordinary people in Turkey?

DAF: It is really hard to hear or be aware of such campaigns. Because there is a policy of government in media, they do not allow any kind of information to be spread. But if you check the alternative media, it is the only option that you can be aware of. By the help of comrades of KAF [who] informed us, we have been aware and tried to keep people aware about the campaign. 

The economy [inside Turkey] [has not been] going well for a while. Because of the economic programs, political processes, malpractices of government, etc. Probably these kinds of campaigns have an effect on [the] economy. But [it] needs to be analyzed well.. So [the] economy is bad for a while for everyone (of course not talking about the rich elites), that’s the only thing that everyone is sure. Even this reality is still ignored by [the] state. 

Q: How is the situation inside the prisons? Have any comrades from your organization or other anarchist groups been attacked, arrested by the state [as has] happened in the past?

DAF: As I mentioned [the] state of emergency in the answer before, since 2015 the conditions of the political prisoners are not going well. The situation for them is “state of emergency of state of emergency”… The administration of the prisons have [the] right to act according to their [own] wishes. And sometimes these wishes are even against basic human rights. By the help of a comrade who is in jail, we got the information of “inside”… They put 10-15 people into cells for 3-4 people. The conditions are against any kind of morality or rights. They even do not let political prisoners see their lawyers, which is a human rights violation. 

We got money or paroles luckily during this process. But we are living in such a land that anything can be [a] good reason to be in prison.

Q: Has the anarchist movement [been] able to become a mass or social movement? Has it [been] involved in the people’s daily struggles?

DAF: [The] Anarchist movement here has a short history. [The] modern anarchist movement appeared at the end of [the] 1980’s. Until [he] 2000’s, the movement did not aim to socialize, it [was more] seen as an intellectual effort. Today, the movement is becoming a social movement. You see anarchism more organized and social. From [the] people’s liberation movement to ecology, from workers’ struggles to women’s liberation struggles, there are anarchists.

Q: In what areas [are] the anarchist groups are active? For example: culture in general [theatre, literature, art, music], social movement, anti- militarism, children rights, education especially in bringing up the children, trade and co-operatives?

DAF: Actually, [in] all topics we aim to have experiences. Now as a part of Revolutionary Anarchist Action; we have a 10-year collective economy experience as 26A Cafe. Trying to expand the experience, we have 26A Workshop for 4 years (having presentations about anarchism to geography, archeology etc.). For 4 years we are running Young Workers Association which aims to organize young workers in different sectors. It is over 10 years, our women comrades are organizing the Anarchist Women’s organization to struggle [against] the patriarchy. Again, it’s over 10 years, there is an anarchist tradition in high schools in the name of High school Anarchist Action. For 6 years, young comrades are organizing the universities against fascists in the name of Anarchist Youth. Medan Newspaper has 51 issues and [is] working [on] the 52nd issue, it is the longest anarchist periodical publishing for this geography. Again, it is over 10 years, we are in [an] anti-militarist movement, having the association of Conscientious Objection Association, which is the anarchist solution to the war in Kurdistan. The organization is calling people to be CO’s against war.

Revolutionary Anarchist Action

Kurdish-speaking Anarchists Forum