Solidarity of the Oppressed Peoples is Our Main Need!
While summarizing the situation in the region, one of the battalion commanders, Shant Azgaltyan, also talked about the work of the battalion, the campaign of solidarity with the Syrian/Rojava Armenians, and said, “We actually have a message for the oppressed peoples of the world. As a battalion, we are defending our lands against the imperialism-supported Turkish fascism.”
While the threats of occupation by the Turkish state against Rojava continue, resistance preparations continue in the region against this aggression. We talked to the Armenian Battalion. While summarizing the situation in the region, one of the battalion commanders, Shant Azgaltyan, also talked about the work of the battalion, the campaign of solidarity with the Syrian/Rojava Armenians, and said, “We actually have a message for the oppressed peoples of the world. As a battalion, we are defending our lands against the imperialism-supported Turkish fascism. In this sense, the solidarity of the oppressed peoples is the solidarity we really need.”
- Hello, first of all, can you introduce yourself?
- Hello, my name is Shunt AzgaltyanI am one of the commanders of the Martyr Nubar Ozanyan Armenian Battalion.
– Can you talk a little bit about the battalion? What are their concrete tasks today?
– Of course, our battalion is far beyond being a battalion in its current state. There is a quantitative and qualitative improvement.
The battalion has two main duties, both as the self-defense force of the Armenian people and as the defender of the Rojava Revolution. These tasks are inseparable. Armenians formed their self-defense forces by taking advantage of the democratic rights created by the Rojava Revolution. Previously, Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Assyrians had created their self-defense forces and self-organization. The organization of the Armenian people living in North East Syria on this basis started later.
Our battalion is also the realization of Martyr Nubar Ozanyan's dream of forming an Armenian battalion in these lands. Nubar Ozanyan initiated the first attempts. So he sowed the first seeds. After his martyrdom in defense of the revolution, the formation of the battalion was initiated by his comrades.
The Armenian Battalion took its place at the front within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during the occupation of Serêkanîyê and Girê Spî. It was there that he made his first experience. Of course, the threats and attacks of the Turkish state are endless. For this reason, we are still actively positioning on the front. In a sense, this creates a positive situation for us. It brings with it the preparation of ourselves at all times against the invasion.
“The people defend their land!”
– How is your situation on the front line in general, how is your work going?
– Generally speaking, the line where we are positioned, the Til Temir line and the morale of our battalion are quite high. There are also new participants, they are also positioned after they have passed a certain training. The enemy's most basic weapon is the technological offensive weapons it possesses; This is based on reconnaissance and SİHAs. Of course, we have developed different methods against this. The main focus of our education is on this.
The front line is also a line where civilians try to continue their lives. In this sense, our responsibilities increase. We also have a responsibility to protect the lives of civilians.
The front also has the characteristic that many peoples stand on the common line of defense. One of the most important achievements of the Rojava Revolution is the joint defense of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrian and Assyrian forces, together with the Armenian people, of their own lands against the invasion of fascism. We also attach great importance to the increasing competence of our women's battalion in the war. This is also a site of the women's freedom struggle against the male-dominated mentality.
TC is constantly voicing threats of attack. We are ready for these attacks. A new invasion attack will not be like the invasion of Afrin and Serêkanîyê.
– “This time will be different!” you said. What is this difference?
– It has been seen many times in history that the occupying forces were defeated in the face of a people's war and resistance. In China, Vietnam, and the USSR's defeat of fascism, the people's involvement in the war brought about the defeat of the invaders. An example of this has also been seen in these lands. With the joint struggle of the peoples, especially the Kurdish people, the ISIS reaction was defeated.
In Afrin and after, the occupying power emerged as the Turkish state, the second largest power in NATO. Afrin was occupied directly with its own military power, not the gangs they used as pawns anymore. In the new process, both the progress in the consciousness of the enemy and the fact that the military power is equipped not only militarily, but also ideologically-politically constitutes the basis of the work. The political training of the military power, the strengthening of its ties with the people, and the organization of the people against the occupation constitute the main lines of this process. TC will no longer see only a military power, but a people.
We know that instead of overcoming the new process with old tactics, we can achieve success by learning from the process and applying revolutionary methods. In short, the essence of the issue was our ideological and political inadequacies. When we approach the problem of war, we are able to unleash the power and tactics that will nullify technological superiority. The place where all this will be tested will be the war itself. We are aware of that too.
Another issue is the increasing pressure of the state on the people in Turkey. TC is experiencing an economic crisis. The economy is getting worse day by day, and the solution is increasing pressure and war. However, his hand for a new occupation situation is not as strong as before. In this sense, a new attack will mean a greater risk for the Turkish state.
– What is the battalion's stance in the face of Turkish threats in the Middle East? Especially when there is an occupation against Armenian lands in the Caucasus?
– The battalion consists of a public reality that feels the attacks of the Turkish Republic the most. It has historical roots and current reasons. Most of the Armenian Genocide was committed in these lands. The genocidal policies of the Committee of Union and Progress were continued by the Turkish state and the Kemalists. A small number of Armenian children who survived the genocide at that time took refuge in Arab and Kurdish families or were detained. Most of them were converted to Islam. Their descendants have reunited today to protect their own existence as a military force and to defend the Rojava Revolution. This is the continuation of a historical phenomenon.
Another situation is that in the current process, the TR, with its neo-Ottomanism dreams, resorted to invasions, plunder and plunder in the Caucasus as well as in the entire Middle East, and pursued a policy of provoking the Azerbaijani state against Armenia. Karabakh was occupied by the Turkish Republic, because it provided a large amount of technological weapons, ammunition and personnel support to Azerbaijan. Of course, we stand against attacks against the Armenian people in particular, although we generally oppose all aggression wherever they are in the world.
In addition, the Turkish state, which is adept at psychological warfare, claimed that our battalion fought with a certain strength in the Caucasus, in Karabakh. By revealing this lie, it turned out that he is already in a state of indigestion towards our battalion. It has become clear that the statement of Talat Pashas, “The Armenian problem is over!” is not actually true. The descendants of the Armenians who were subjected to the Genocide today stand against the Ottomanist expansionism of the Turkish Republic. They are declaring that they will not allow a second genocide.
Solidarity with Syrian/Rojava Armenians
– Do you receive any outside help in your studies? How is this work perceived outside of Syria?
– There is a widespread belief that Armenians still living in Syria today are “only Christian”. This is historically an incomplete understanding of the consequences of genocide. 200.000 Armenian women and children were noted as "missing" after the Genocide.
Nubar Comrade, in particular, and many people's studies have shown that those missing children grew up with Arab and Kurdish families and were Islamized. However, the public knows that they are Armenian and they present it as such. It is our historical responsibility to bring more of this reality to light.
Secondly, both our battalion and our assembly are the places where Christian and Muslim Armenians come together and re-learn their own language and culture. Christian Armenians have become aware of the Islamized Armenian reality.
We believe that this reality will be noticed by our Armenian people living outside Syria in time. Already many Armenians want to know about this fact by contacting us. It should not be forgotten that Northern Syria and Rojava are the lands where the genocide took place. In this sense, this is where the main work on the genocide should be done.
– Do you have any concrete studies on this subject?
– War conditions prevent many works. However, despite this, educational studies are carried out on the reality of genocide. A certain solidarity is needed for our Armenian people to develop their self-organization. In this sense, a campaign has been launched. “Let's Solidarity with the Syrian/Rojava Armenians!” The main purpose of the campaign is to inform the oppressed peoples of the world about the missing results of the genocide.
Politically, it is necessary to create public opinion against the attacks of the Turkish state and ultimately contribute to the development of our self-defense and self-organizations. In this sense, Rojava Armenians feel the need for solidarity. This is a need not only for the Armenian people, but for the entire Rojava people. With solidarity, the process of preserving and building the revolution can be successful. The Turkish Republic's reckless threat to Rojava and its attempts to invade Kurdistan are mainly due to the lack of solidarity.
The oppressed peoples of the world are in search of making solidarity stronger today. The sovereigns, the collaborating states of the region and their gangs have preparations and calculations for the future. Likewise, we have preparations for the coming war. With this awareness, it is essential to grow solidarity. Our battalion ultimately represents a part of the oppressed peoples of the world. Our rank is clear in this sense.
We embrace the leaders of this struggle. We embrace the legacy of the leaders of the struggle against fascism and imperialism. This consciousness has been inherited from Comrade Nubar Ozanyan. With this awareness, we commemorate İbrahim Kaypakkaya, Gonzalo and many more martyrs of the revolution. We take our steps knowing that their struggle is the only way of salvation for the oppressed peoples of the world.
– How do you evaluate the development in the battalion?
– It is possible to talk about many developments in the two and a half to three years when the battalion was established. First, it is necessary to see that a certain quality has been captured. The most important factor was, of course, the problem of capturing the political character. It is difficult to overcome the remnants of the dominant culture of thousands of years and the effects of the system established by the Syrian Regime on the basis of Arab nationalism. What is essential is the problem of reshaping the society shaped by the sovereigns on the right basis. All our effort is to destroy the old and build the new in the minds in the first place. There have been positive developments in this regard. Many of our warriors are aware of the reality and can direct their lives on this basis. Besides, with continuous military training, our force must be prepared against possible attacks by the Turkish Republic.
Migration is not a solution!
– Millions of Syrians are exposed to inhumane treatment on their migration routes and especially in Eastern Europe, there have been some who lost their lives. What is your approach to this issue?
– It is very difficult for a people to endure all these imperialist and fascist occupations, genocide, threats, economic troubles, and to live in constant fear of displacement. If there is no well-organized public reality, people feel the need to migrate because of war and economic problems. This problem is thousands of years old. After the civil war in Syria, a revolution was carried out in Rojava with the organization of the Kurdish people.
However, due to the devastating consequences of ISIS barbarism, especially the Christian segment was forced to migrate. This was not enough, thousands of people had to migrate due to the invasions of the Turkish Republic. Refugeeism is a serious problem not only outside of Syria, but also inside Rojava today. There are thousands of people from Afrin, Serêkanîyê, and Girê Spî who have been forced to live in the camps, and they receive very little foreign aid. The main assistance is again provided by the Autonomous Administration. The immigration tendency of the Christian segment still poses a serious problem.
We try to explain that immigration is not a solution to the best of our abilities and conditions. The situation has become more clear with the deaths on the migration routes and the racist attacks in Turkey and Europe. The main issue is the defense of their own land. This is achievable. Our battalion and parliamentary work has also brought a certain perspective to our Armenian people. Our people, who participate in the battalion and in the parliamentary work, have more moral strength, and their desire to produce for life has increased.
Recently, there has been more return from Turkey to Rojava. It seems more and more that migration does not constitute a solution. What is important is the protection and development of our living spaces. In this sense, we are developing certain projects not only militarily and socially, but also ecologically.
– Can you open your ecological project?
– Our issue does not end with the ideological and political correct approach to the problems experienced. Practical steps for this need to be organized. Of course, our military and social work is the main work. Today, however, we are faced with climatic and environmental disasters as a result of imperialist policies. Although its soils are fertile, drought has become the main problem of this geography. Knowing this problem, TC also cuts off the Euphrates water, and cut off the Xabur water through their gangs.
Despite these, practical steps have been taken to reforest the areas we live in. A solution to the water problem was developed and 50 thousand trees were planted in the first phase with the project. The main purpose here is to make the afforestation culture permanent in the villages.
We are taking certain steps to encourage land-based production. Of course, we are not free from global climate disasters. However, we need awareness and projects to minimize these effects. In this sense, we are working together with the segments engaged in afforestation projects. At the same time, we are in the trend of raising awareness with training seminars and meetings.
We are the grandchildren of Armenians who "can only live in the desert"!
– Do you have a message for Armenians “outside” or in the diaspora?
– In fact, we have a message to the oppressed peoples of the whole world. As a battalion, we are defending our lands against the imperialism-supported Turkish fascism. In this sense, the solidarity of the oppressed peoples is the solidarity we really need. Besides, we are exposed to the "special attention" of the Turkish Republic and the sovereigns due to our Armenian identity. We are the “problem” that TC has not been able to solve for 100 years. We are the grandchildren of Armenians, whom Talat Pasha said "they can only live in the desert". Yes, we can live in the desert, we can turn it into livable places. As a matter of fact, it was Armenians who initiated the development and establishment of Serêkanîyê, Deyr-ez Zor, Aleppo, Qamişlo, Dirbesîye, Hesekê and many more places after the genocide. We got our strength from our just and legitimate struggle and we continue to do so. They cannot live comfortably even in their own palaces.
The descendants of the murderous and genocidal tradition resort to all kinds of oppression, massacres and corruption in order to live comfortably in their own palaces. They know that without the support of the imperialists, they would not be able to live there for long. Because of this reality, Armenians have historical responsibilities such as preventing a second genocide. No matter where in the world, with the solidarity of the Armenian people, the genocide plans of the Turkish Republic can be foiled. There are efforts of individuals and certain groups in this regard, but they are not enough. Our common voice should be louder in the face of attack threats.