The main speaker of the event and the guest of honor in our country was the former Swedish Parliamentarian, Amineh Kakabeveh.
Kurdish Voice met with Amine in Athens and we talked about the Turkish threats against Greece, Ankara's anti-NATO role and the Greek-Kurdish friendship.
Amine, welcome to Greece. How was your experience and what can you tell us about the Greek-Kurdish friendship?
Thank you. I am happy to be here with you. From the moment I arrived in Athens, people have embraced me and expressed their support. And ever before that, when I was targeted by Turkey, as a member of the Swedish parliament, I received countless messages of support from the Greek people. The mutual support, appreciation and respect between the Kurdish and Greek people is clear. And this became also clear during the event we had here in Athens.
As soon as I arrived in Greece, some of my friends warned me that there is a Turkish presence here, which could potentially cause trouble. However, nothing really happened, while the love of the Greek people made me feel particularly safe and welcome.
What is your assessment of Greek-Turkish relations?
Turkey is clearly threatening Greece in a crude and provocative way. It seems that they want to provoke the Greek government into developments that will be detrimental to the Greeks. However, the real problem is the Turkish regime. The common people do not want war but they are afraid and feel threatened by the regime itself. What is required to resolve both the challenges and the Greek-Turkish conflicts is a democratic leadership in Turkey and by extension, a democratic Turkey.
What is the role of Turkey in NATO, in a period of crisis for the alliance, and how should its unorthodox behavior be addressed?
Turkey shouldn’t even be a member of the NATO alliance. This is an illegitimate regime which is also anti-democratic and authoritarian, in violation of the founding charter of NATO. It is a regime that threatens Greece, and commits crimes against the Kurdish people, uses chemical weapons against them, imprisons elected Kurdish politicians and journalists. But it was the Kurdish people who, in cooperation with NATO member-countries, defeated the greatest threat of international terrorism - Daesh (n.: ISIS). At the same time, the Turkish regime is holding Sweden and Finland politically hostage for their own membership status in the alliance.
What is your opinion on Greece's attitude towards a revisionist Turkey so far?
What I understood here in the country and from the press and the journals, it seems that there is a strong climate against Turkey, after the direct threats against Greece. I have to admit that while the government seems to share these views inside Greece, it does not show the same behaviour in international forums against Ankara.
Unfortunately, I have not heard any criticism of the tyrant Erdogan, either from Greece as an individual country, or from the EU as a whole. They discriminate between dictators. When Erdogan uses chemical weapons and kills children in Iraqi Kurdistan, Rojava and Turkey then everything is fine, but when the dictator Putin does the same, the whole EU unites against him. This hypocrisy is obvious and rightfully causes frustration. The Kurds who were exploited when the EU and the world needed them to save our planet from the worst form of brutality that was Daesh (n: ISIS), now see the same countries turn their backs on them.
Therefore, the people’s reaction, here in Greece, is understandable not only for the overall and direct Turkish threats, but also for Turkey's irresponsibility regarding the refugee crisis. For which I must mention that we provided Ankara with 6 billion euros, in order to provide asylum to these people, and instead Erdogan exploited them and put them in danger. And out of this 6 billion, half was provided by Sweden.
At the same time, as I mentioned above, it is clear that the Greek people love the Kurds. However, there is the issue of the PKK which is wrongly listed by the EU states as a terrorist organization. And I say wrongly because Turkey itself had initiated holding talks with the PKK so that there would be peace, but the Turkish politicians unfortunately abandoned the talks for petty political and vote-seeking reasons.
That is why I say that we, and Greece as well, must request that the PKK be removed from the terrorist lists, so that we can create the necessary space for dialogue and a political solution of the Kurdish issue. Erdogan seeks to completely destroy the Kurdish communities in Kurdistan, and Greece must act.
Very interesting. What else would you suggest to the Greek and also to the European governments regarding dealing with Turkish aggression?
We must highlight the Kurdish issue at the international level, within the European Union, the European Parliament, etc. To remove the Kurdistan Workers' Party from the EU terror lists, as this is simply an act of placating and appeasing Turkey and does not correspond to reality. At the same time, a European arms embargo against Turkey, which is waging imperialistic wars, as well as economic sanctions, especially when Ankara does not live up to the agreed terms, must be considered.
Europe can maintain commercial relations with Turkey, but it must keep its principles and values intact. Driven by democracy, peace and human rights. For example, it is unacceptable to send weapons to a regime that kills and carries out invasions and wars.
Thank you Amineh. But we must also say a few words about your book, titled "Amineh - No Bigger than a Kalashnikov: A Peshmerga in Parliament", which we should inform our readers will be also translated into Greek.
Yes, thank you, indeed my book is being translated into Greek and we are preparing its presentation here in Athens, next spring or summer. Although I must admit I loved Greece so much that I will be back here soon and meet up with our friends at a conference this February.
Excellent news Amineh, we will be happy to see you again soon, and good luck with your new book. You are truly a hero and an inspiration to us all.
Thank you very much. However, let me just say that we don't need any more Aminehs. What we do need is more friends. Like what is happening in Rojava with the multitude of people from all over the world who are there to help the revolution for democracy and peace for all people.
I had a great time in Greece, I loved it and I can't wait to come back.