Thursday, 30 December 2010
An Interview with Mr. Bapir, The Head of Kurdistan Islamic Group
by Yrd. Doç. Dr. Serhat Erkmen, Oytun Orhan - ORSAM
ORSAM: Mr. Bapir, first of all could you please tell us about you party? What is its world view, policy, power and how is its organizational structure?
Ali Bapir: The Komal Islamic Party has the feature of being a successor of the Bizutneve Islamic Party. Having doing policy previously with different names, our movement was named as Komal Islamic on 31th of May, 2010. At present, we have four deputies in the Kurdistan Parliament. However in the previous parliament, we had six. Besides that, we are represented in the Iraqi Parliament by two deputies, one of whom is me. In the previous regional government, the Ministry of Environment belonged to us. However, we have not participated in the present government and we continue to execute our acts as an opposition party. When taken into consideration our power in the region, it is seen that our candidates receive votes from three regions; Arbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk but we have potential and candidates in the other regions as well such as Mosul, Kirkuk and some other regions. But we are not as effective there as we are in these three regions.
We want to develop our political relations with the other parties in the region on the basis of friendship and virtue. For this purpose, we establish relations with the other political parties in the region, no matter if they are Islamic or not, however we make no concessions about our fundamental goals and establish a relation based on equity. In fact, we have compensated for that attitude of no concessions. I mean the compensation of being in opposition. For example, when the US army invaded Iraq, the Kurdish parties and press organs welcomed the US. But me, I opposed to this army by a sermon. And I paid for it by staying in prison for 22 months. My friends as well were put in prison. For 4-5 months, we were exposed to cruelty and oppression by the other dominant Kurdish parties. As we are an Islamic party, these dominant Kurdish parties tried to show us as if we were a branch of their parties. However, we have conserved our independence and enter under their rule.
Two big Kurdish parties (KDP and KYB) hold the legislative, executive and judiciary organs under their control. These parties execute all the acts in accordance with their aims. These two parties are not Islamic Parties, either. These parties claim that they do not face with the US as they are secular parties. However, we try to persuade them via political negotiations. Our opinions depend on Islam. Therefore, the other parties move away from us when they become secular. We are Muslim. Kurds, Turks, Arabs are all Muslim, it is not appropriate that they work secularly. We ask them to join our party and follow the the way of Islam and to save our people from this difficulty. In Iran, in Turkey or in Syria, Kurds are Muslim. And on the way of Islam nobody despise anybody.
There are other Islamic parties as well in the region. What is the particularity of your party which distinguish it from the others?
There are two Islamic parties in the region. Yekgirtu Islamic Party and us. The most important particularity that distinguishes us from the others is the fact that we used to have an armed organization on the mountains as well. This organization protected the Kurdish people from the cruelty of Saddam and saved them. Another particularity distinguishing us from the others is that the most of the directors in our party are from the religious ulema. The source of every decision that we take is the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed's deeds. We always act in accordance with them. The taken decisions are based on this principle. I can refer to another feature as an distinguishing particularity: the Kurds have an national anthem. This anthem is sung everywhere and during that time everybody stand up. For example while it is sung in the parliament, Mesut Barzani or Celal Talabani, actually everybody stand up when this anthem is sung. In this anthem, there is a statement which says that “our religion is our country.” as this statement is against the religion, I did not stand up while it was being sung in the parliament. The other Islamic Parity stands up during the anthem. And this is another particularity that we have.
What are your opinions about important political issues? Could we learn your attitudes towards the issues such as federalism, the status of Kirkuk, both regional and Iraqi constitution and oil law?
The federal region is a natural right of our nation. At least within these current borders, it is necessary that Kurdistan region has a autonomous structure. In terms of our own political opinions, I support the federalism and think that our nation demands its own natural right. In the ancient Islamic administrations, this provincial system existed. In the past, the powers granted to the provinces were more than the ones granted to us.
About the Kirkuk matter, we think that when the present political tension and conflicts are over, in other words when it becomes a secure province like Arbil, census will be applied. Of course before the census, it must be ensured that the Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs who had been expelled from the city come back. After that, census will be applied and the numbers of different groups will be determined separately. Then we will give the authority of Kirkuk to the Kirkuk public. We support the idea that the public itself choose the political power under which they will be ruled. It means that when the conflicts are over in Kirkuk, we as an Islamic party will submit the administration of Kirkuk to its public. In terms of democracy and Islamic point of view, the public should have what they desire for. From the historical perspective, we consider Kirkuk as an Kurdistan city. However people from different ethnic origins also such as Turkmen, Arab and Assyrians live in Kirkuk. Kirkuk will be ruled in the way that they determine.
When we look at the constitution of the Kurdistan region, we see that there are some articles for which we, with other Islamic party have tried to amend. There are some deficiency in the constitution, for example sharia conditions were newer mentioned. The religion our our nation is Islam, but this was not mentioned in it. We have amended this. The constitution of Iraq can be accepted as a good one when taken into consideration in the current conditions of Iraq. But nobody complies with the constitution. The laws are not applied. If the constitution was implemented, we would have no problem. On the subject of oil law, I can not say that I have enough information. I also try to learn something about it as much as I follow from the media. But, regarding the natural sources, our general opinion is that they, namely the oil belong to all of us. They must be duly distributed among us. Money must be directed towards the region which is in need the most.
Finally, what would you like to tell us about the relations with Turkey?
Currently, the relations between Turkey and the region are performed by only one party on the side of Kurdistan region, like by KDP. So only one party regulates the relations with Turkey. And of course this sole party performs the relations in accordance with its interests. We want to see that Turkey engages into dialogue with the other political parties too and thus can carry out a certain foreign policy related to this region.
We trust the AKP as it has an Islamic opinion. We believe that we can cooperate as two Islamic parties. In addition, we would like to thank to the AKP for the services supplied to the Kurdish people in the region. We have talked with them too and we have said that “Both Kurds and Turks dieing in the region are Muslim.” then why do we not negotiate and compromise? The policies executed up to this moment have been important steps. We think that these steps have stemmed from the opening initiatives of the AKP government and for this reason we support it.
Mr. Bapir, we would like to thank you for sharing your opinions with us.
*This interview was done in Arbil in November, 2010.
While the national anthem is sung in the parliament, Mesut Barzani or Celal Talabani, actually everybody stand up when this anthem is sung. In this anthem, there is a statement which says that “our religion is our country.” as this statement is against the religion, I did not stand up while it was being sung in the parliament.
Currently, the relations between Turkey and the region are performed by only one party on the side of Kurdistan region, like by KDP. We want to see that Turkey engages into dialogue with the other political parties too and thus can carry out a certain foreign policy related to this region.
Interview: Yrd. Doç. Dr. Serhat Erkmen, Oytun Orhan