Till the Last Day

In 2013 peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish government began
and a political solution for a decade-long conflict between the Kurds and the Turkish state
finally seemed feasible. The Kurdish movement had become a significant influential entity
within official state policies as well as in local, council-centred self-organisation.
With the re-election set by president Erdoğan due to a missed majority of his governing Islamic AKP
in November 2015 and a new rise of aggression, a preliminary end was set to finding a peaceful solution.
In eastern Anatolia, where already over 60 curfews were imposed by the state since August 2015,
the situation is becoming increasingly serious - heavy and mortal clashes still continue.
Before those conflicts, self-government and the building of councils was announced in many Kurdish cities
of eastern Anatolia. Yet the public declarations of autonomy often provoke new clashes
between state forces and guerrilla groups as well as militant youth organizations.
These conflicts usually result in curfews imposed by the state.

The mountainous border region between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran has been one of the
most important refugee areas of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers‘ Party) and part of what is referred to
as Kurdistan. For quite some time strong resistance has been developing here by different groups
against state influences and assimilation. The Anatolian heartland is the centre of on-going struggles
for local autonomy, ethnic as well as religious recognition.

Notwithstanding, the resistance in many Kurdish cities is powerful as well. The building of barricades
and trenches almost seems like a daily routine and the landscape is scattered with the Kurdish fighting
units’ political statements and flags, as well as the omnipresent portrait of Öcalan,
often called Apo amongst the Kurds. Apo seems to have become synonymous for hope and the creation of
a new political system; promoting participatory democracy, minority rights and women's liberation.
But there is also a new menace. A new generation, already having lost many beloved ones to the conflict,
brings a new and more radical component into the struggle, ready to fight till the last day.
Meanwhile the conflict has already spread to the west of Turkey leaving behind more innocent deaths
and fuelling the fears of terrorism.