In remembrance of Pirsûs

Gedenken an Pirsûs

Two months ago to the day a bomb exploded in Pirsûs (Suruç), a town at the Syrian border. This explosion claimed the life of 33 people, more than hundred got wounded, some of them heavily. The victims of this assault had met in the town, from where they planned to cross the border to Kobané together. They wanted to take part in the reconstruction of Kobané, which had been completely destroyed by ISIS gangs during the last year. As the governor of the province of Şanlıurfa had interfered the travel plans of the 300 young revolutionaries, they decided to release a statement to the press. At this press meeting a Turkish Salafist and ISIS member perpetrated the bloody deed.


In remembrance of the victims a survivor will speak about the possible background and the impact of the massacre. L. is a member of SGDF - Federation of Socialist Youth Associations.


How did you decide to go to Kobané? Who was present at the garden in Suruç on 20th of July?

The project was initiated by SGDF. Just like other political youth associations normally we organize a summer camp every year to get to know each other and to compound fun with political education. This year we decided to pass on this camp to help reconstructing Kobané after this wreckful war. SGDF in general tries to help people that have suffered much. For example, we collected donations for the victims of Van earthquake in 2011. Furthermore it is very important for us to remember and to understand the people’s feelings after having experienced tremendousness. That’s why anniversaries carry a great weight for us, such as the anniversary of Roboski massacre on Dec 28th. In case of Kobané it’s similar. We feel a great connection to the project of Rojava revolution. Right from the beginning we said, that this revolution is our revolution as well. With this action of aid we wanted to express our solidarity and create a symbolic bridge between Turkey and South Kurdistan. Our principles of peace, fraternity and solidarity should also attract more attention in the media due to the project. This call was accepted by many SGDF members from all over Turkey. But also revolutionaries from other organizations and parties as well as anarchists, LGBTIQ*-people and ecologists came to Suruç. This is why we seem to be so dangerous for the fascists - because we don’t exclude anyone and just want to make a positive contribution.


Do you mean, that the assault could have been the attempt to intimidate your organization, because you managed to enthuse many different people for the Rojava revolution, even people who don’t define themselves as Kurdish?

Of course! We had toys and little trees with us. Before the press meeting we had already helped in the refugee camp in Pirsûs, where we packed relief boxes. In Kobané we were planning to help building playgrounds. What other than this united humanity could be more frightening for a brutal fascist group? Of course it also seems like the assault was supposed to have the effect of a “warning” for Turkish and international revolutionaries not to show solidarity with the revolution of Rojava. As I said before, members of SGDF have expressed their support from the very first moment – for the fight agains ISIS as well as for the idea of autonomous self-government. Some even joined the armed struggle. This forthright support indeed was a thorn in the flesh of fascist ISIS group – as well as for the Turkish government.


You are referring to the allegation, that the assault was convenient for the Turkish state as well?

On the ground of our own observations we are convinced, that the police knew about the intended attack, if not even could have rendered active support. You should imagine the situation on the spot: We have been permanently and exhaustively frisked by police – also on 20th of July. It is remarkable, that someone with such a huge amount of explosives could not be found. Furthermore: This is Turkey, a country, that watches closely and represses any political criticism at the moment. If you and me go on the street right now and shout a slogan, police will come in 30 seconds and make problems. On the day of the massacre abnormally there was no single policeman – within reach of the bomb at least. But immediately after the explosion they blocked the street, so the ambulances couldn't reach us. They were attacking us with teargas. We even had the impression, the measures would be aimed at the deaths of even more people. This concatenation of facts make it pretty likely, that the Turkish state is blamable for having known about the attack, if not even for direct support. Is a 20-year-old able to untertake such a difficult attack under the eyes of the police on such a “secured” event? Without being backed by official institutions?


Do you think, that the attack has somehow raised the fear of supporting the Rojava revolution? Which would mean, that the intimidation effort achieved it's goal...

I want to underline, that this did not happen. The massacre even strengthened the support and mutual assistance. These days thousands of people want to go to Kobané to help with the reconstruction. Then there is a new political campaign by several leftist groups, which gave itself the slogan: “Kobané’yi beraber savunduk, beraber inşa edeceğiz!” (means: “Together we defended Kobané, together we will rebuild it!”) This was the slogan for our aciton before. Even the CHP youth (Social Democrats) joined this campaign. Commemoration ceremonies for the victims sometimes were attended by more than 50.000 people. This is an indicator, that people are not afraid of a life threat coming from the danger of other bomb attacks. Also the victims keep on working and even intensified their political efforts.


Are there approaches for the victims to work on the experiences of this massacre? What are next steps for you?

We established different groups. One is for the victims to work on the experience. Furthermore there is a lawyers' group, that tries to deal with the judicial aspects. About 600 lawyers work hard on clarifying the truth about the incident. As I mentioned, there are some doubts about the official version, that there would be only one person to blame – the terrorist. The lawyers performed a public action in front of ministry of law in Ankara. They demanded to inspect the files of the case. These files are closed right now, which is strikingly hampering the clarification of the circumstances. A third group deals with the massacre using the expression of art.


And how do you feel right now? Probably you have long-term health problems as well?

I have suffered health damage, that left scars inside and outside. I have sleep disturbance and attend psychological consultation. In addition I lost some of my hearing because of the explosion. I personally feel agitated and unresting. Because of my injuries I should have stayed at home for two weeks, according to my doctor, but I couldn't and immediately the next day I went to a funeral. I have been organized for some years, sometimes a little bit more, sometimes less. But because of this massacre I experienced, that death is really existing. Around the speaker's desk we have created different circles of people before. I was standing in the second circle, so my friends in the first circle saved me. They are dead and I am still alive. I like to express it that way: “My friends were breathing out for me, now I will breathe in for them.” From now on I take my life as the breath for others. In the past I worked a little bit for politics, maybe 4 hours or something, now I don't do anything else and I work 11 hours. I think by myself: If this barbarous enemy is so much afraid of us, that he wants to kill us, than we are on the right way. And this way I will go on. More than ever.


Thank you for taking the time and the strength for talking about all this!

No problem. For me it is important, that many people learn about this background and show their solidarity in any possible way...