I am the first protestor to be violently attacked for interrupting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech in NYC on Thursday. AMA!
Proof is this picture of me wearing the shirt that I attended the speech in. It says "baby killer Erdogan!"
I am also a former fighter with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), fighting against ISIS in Syria. I am on the board of the nonprofit organization North American Kurdish Alliance, which helps to raise awareness of and promote solidarity with the Kurdish people. I'll start answering questions in just a few minutes.
It's Erdogan's personal credit card #. Everyone please buy whatever you want.
If you were magically put into a leadership role in the Kurdish independence movement, what would you do at this point?
Hm, that's a very tough question.
My main priority would probably be to get large foreign powers on our side. I would attempt to convince the US, UN and NATO that recognition of the Kurdish people is vitally important to stability in the Middle East, and would explain that Kurds are generally a more moderate and secular community compared to their neighbors. My being an American would enable me to have an easier dialogue with US/UN officials, and I could use that to convince these world powers to use their strength to protect Kurdish people.
I'm hung up on the thought process that a Kurdish state would lower tensions in the middle East. Wouldn't that state just become a Target of Iran, Iraq, syria, S.A.? Would the Kurdish state turn into another Israel where either they need one of the best militaries globally or they would parish?
I didn't say anything about a state. Just that someone should recognize their plight and protect their right to live freely.
Wait, so you want independence without becoming a nation state? Because I can't really grasp how that would work out.
I support self-determination and levels of autonomy, which doesn't always mean nation-state.
You have a high probability of being a paid agent than an actual activist. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
Soros forgot to pay me this month, so this was all on me.
What do you foresee for the future of Kurds living in Turkey?
It's not looking great. Every day, Kurds are arrested, imprisoned, beaten, raped, tortured and executed for things as simple as speaking Kurdish with their families or singing Kurdish songs. The Turkish state has destroyed over 3,000 Kurdish villages I could continue with the list of atrocities committed against them but it would take all day.
The one bit of optimism I have is that people are becoming more and more aware of Erdogan/Turkish state crimes, and I think that soon the whole world will call on Turkey to stop what they are doing or face repercussions. Turkey is badly losing its war against Kurdish freedom fighters in the south. I think it will be a long, painful uphill battle for Kurds in Turkey to reclaim their rights, but I believe that it will happen some day.
Every day, Kurds are arrested, imprisoned, beaten, raped, tortured and executed for things as simple as speaking Kurdish with their families or singing Kurdish songs.
Is there a source on this? I have no idea about the situation but some numbers would be great.
Thank you, appreciate it. Do you keep a rundown of sources I can keep on-hand by chance? I know I'm asking a lot but it would really help people spread and understand what you're saying - which I believe is the goal.
Our nonprofit is working on an information section of our website that has a detailed list of crimes against Kurds, so stay tuned and hopefully we can have something more comprehensive in the next few months.
Bullshit, I assume you are either brainwashed or trying to provocate people. You could at least provide some source before you made claims.
arrested, imprisoned, beaten, RAPED, TORTURED,EXECUTED....You should really work your lesson a bit more.Execution isn't even legal in Turkey
Go back to your game of thrones threads and leave the politics to the adults in the room, kkabat.
Do you think the attempted coup was staged?
The whole thing is so damn shady I'm not sure what to think. I don't know if it was staged, but it kind of gives me 1933-Reichstag-vibes.
Erdoğan's claim that Gülen was involved is dubious. Erdoğan's political game is to blame everything on either the PKK or Gülen when he loses his tenuous grasp on power. German intelligence is doubtful that Gülen was involved in any way, and considering Germany has found Turkish state infiltration of their police and the Turkish government has spied on German politicians, that's saying a lot.
I do know that if the state wasn't involved, they at least knew about it well in advance. I wouldn't be surprised if later intelligence was uncovered that showed that the government was somehow involved in deeper levels.
Did you hope to accomplish anything?
Our goal was to make sure Erdogan knew that when he leaves the confines of his safe space in Turkey, he will be challenged and called out for his heinous crimes against humanity. We intended to garner support and media attention, while at the same time shutting down his speech. I would say we accomplished quite a bit.
I know there are different groups such as PKK, PYD, YPG, KRG, KDP. I’ve seen some of them called “terrorists” by Turkish supporters and honestly it’s a bit confusing as an outsider to distinguish between these groups. Would you consider any of them not inline with the good intentions of the Kurds as a whole, or using questionable tactics?
Oh man, so I'll try and tl;dr it. Bear with me.
PKK = Kurdistan Workers Party. Been around since the 70s and originated in Turkey. The leader and founding member of PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, has been imprisoned for 18 years. Turkey managed to use their power to get them on the NATO and US terror lists, and now many countries are regretting that decision, such as Belgium.
PYD = Democratic Union Party. The majority political party within the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (also called Rojava in Kurdish) Formed in 2003, but suppression kept them on the periphery until YPG started making gains against ISIS.
YPG = People's protection units. Armed militia, mostly Kurds but also Arabs and other minority groups, in Northern Syria/Rojava. They have made immense strides against ISIS.
KRG = Kurdistan Regional Government. Semi autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan (Bashur). Controlled by the KDP and PUK parties, which have roots in the tribal politics of the area.
KDP = political party within KRG. KRG is governed by PUK party, affiliated with Talebani, and the KDP political party, which is controlled by Massoud Barzani, who is closely allied with Erdogan. You can probably guess how I feel about KDP.
Alright, let me get this straight.
The PKK is peaceful group that shouldn’t be considered as a terroristic organisation, but they do use child soldiers according to the Human Rights Watch:
Twenty boys and five girls from the Halabja area have joined and remained with PKK-affiliated forces since 2013, and another 38 children joined but returned home, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Human Rights Commission office in Halabja.
Here is big boy Öcalan watching them.
Oh yeah they also routinely kidnap and kill teachers that are appointed to the predominately Kurdish areas because they want to keep the people there uneducated.
Ow yeah also killing policemen
Almost forgot, them terrorizing the south east of Turkey before the elections and telling the civilians that they “should vote for the HDP or else”.
Sure thing bro, keep getting brainwashed.
Edit: I guess you can downvote me, but that doesn’t invalidate anything I said.
Many children have no other option than to join military groups, this is common around the world. Of course children should be in school, but many of these people have nowhere to turn to - are orphans because of Turkish state actions, are fleeing their families' oppressive Islamist households, or are charged with crimes against the state. Some would be victims of forced child's marriage if they did not join PKK.
Like I said, I don't always agree with their tactics, and I don't support them 100%. But I do understand the nuance of the situation. The Turkish state has essentially declared war on the Kurdish people. The PKK is an unfortunate necessity that came from decades of oppression.
I am former YPG, not PKK. Erdogan's actions affect me because I have lost comrades to Turkish action and because Erdogan funds ISIS. I'm not necessarily a supporter of PKK because of some of their problematic tactics, but I think that their fight is for the most part a legitimate defensive war against the actions of the Turkish government.
Many of your sources are also problematic. The Daily Sabah is notoriously pro-Turk, and the leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government is aligned with Erdogan and enemies with YPG, PUK, PKK, and just about all of Kurdistan.
PKK killed thousands of civilians and want to break part of a country for themselves. They are by every definition a terrorist group, and recognized as such all around the world. If you are saying they are not a terrorist group, then you are either delusional or a terrorist yourself. So, fuck you.
It's cool, bro, I'm pretty used to being called a terrorist at this point by almost everyone. And there are places where they aren't deemed as a terrorist group.
How bad did you get your ass beat? And any word on repercussions against the ass beater(s)?
I was punched multiple times on all sides of my head, several times in the back of the neck, and a few times in the stomach. As I was being dragged out by security, people were continuing to take shots at me as I was completely incapacitated and being carried away.
I went to a doctor to document my injuries the day afterwards. I had some contusions on my right shoulder from where the crowd was attempting to pull me away from the security forces escorting me out. I had a couple abrasions on my scalp. The punches are giving me painful muscle spasms in the neck, (kind of like whiplash, it was explained to me) hopefully these will go away as I use the muscle relaxer the doctor prescribed me.
After the incident, when I was handcuffed and detained in the hotel's basement, I asked about pressing charges against my attackers and was told that because "I started it", I had no grounds to press charges. When I asserted that I have a right to free speech and the crowd did not have a right to assault me, the NYPD threatened to arrest me and charge me with criminal trespass, so I stayed silent. However, I have not given up on the idea of pressing charges, and I hope that some of the men whose faces are clearly visible in the footage can be identified.
So who actually attacked you? This is what is unclear to me.
It's hard to figure out, we are working on identifying some of them. Because Erdogan's security guards just wears suits, we can't tell who attacked whom. Plus, I was face down for much of the incident.
I guess my line of thinking is that if it's private security, sue the shit out of them.
Also it's pretty dogshit for the NYPD to not look more into an assault just because you were also possibly committing a crime. Maybe it's because of the different state but for us if there's an assault we at least long form it and give the CA a chance to decide if charges are warranted, regardless if the victim was also involved in something criminal.
Hopefully as we ID more people we can find out more about the routes we can take
How do you feel about the hundreds of thousands of western tourists who funnel money into Turkey every year?
Have you guys ever thought about buying airtime and ad space in these places with some information about what is really happening there. Most of these people seem oblivious to what they are contributing to.
It's really disheartening to see. There's such a dark side that they don't even know about. We have done campaigns against Turkey before, my nonprofit North American Kurdish Alliance helped rent a truck that drove around NYC during the UN Assembly. It could be part of another campaign in the future.
How are there so many Erdogan supporters in the US?
I would imagine it's because Turkish citizens living abroad are still able to vote in Turkish elections. The government frequently send Turks to campaign in other countries to convince people to vote for Erdogan.
What would your view on the actions of the group called PKK be? are they terrorists?
I can't bring myself to call them a terrorist organization. I have spoken to so many Kurds who owe their lives to PKK. They are a reactionary movement to a ruthlessly genocidal state. They are far from perfect and I don't agree with all of their tactics, but how can you mercilessly oppress an entire ethnic group for decades and then act surprised and outraged when they fight back?
so are the bombings justifiable? If not what could make you not call them a terrorist organisation?
They are not justifiable, and just like I said, I don't agree with all of their tactics. Belgian court just said they're not terrorists, and so have many other groups. But understand that this is a reactionary movement and there is active debate about whether or not PKK is a terrorist organization - Belgium urged the EU member states to adopt the same policy.
What made you love Kurdish people ? And do you like fast cars ?
After spending 6 months in Western Kurdistan (Syria), I came to understand how their suffering over thousands of years gives many of them a very sympathetic worldview. They are the kindest and most hospitable people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I love fast cars. I drive a '98 Mustang coupe :)
Can you tell us what your time in YPG was like and what conditions the YPG fought (and continue to fight) against?
How did you leave YPG? Did you just leave or is there a official process for leaving?
Feel free not to answer this one, how did a former YPG fighter return to the US? Are you a citizen of the US? A US citizen cannot join YPG without consequences, so I imagine you are not a citizen?
What assistance is ACTUALLY making it to the YPG from the US? Did you ever see any form of aid from the the US? I understand we provide fire support but what about equipment and water?
And lastly, what kinds of G-men came to talk to you after the incident with security?
Time in the YPG was rough as you could expect in any conflict zone. The camaraderie was amazing, like nothing I've seen before. Right now they're limited by the embargo against them from both KRG (Iraqi Kurdistan) and Turkey. A lot of times vital resources cannot cross the borders.
I just left. My tour was over so I was dropped off in Kobanê and made my way out in the same way I entered.
I am a US citizen. I've had no problems upon return. I've been spoken to by customs, and by FBI twice. They haven't hassled me and have been very respectful. Most other American YPG I know haven't had much problem either. The story is different in places like U.K.
The coalition forces provide a lot of support to YPG included mortar and sniper teams, air strikes, MRAPs, weapons and ammunition, medical supplies and other vehicles. They were always around - US, French, UK. Many of them were advisors.
I was handcuffed, led to the basement and questioned by US Secret Service, NYPD, Marriott Security, and Turkish intelligence. Eventually I told them to get the Turkish guy out of the room or I wouldn't cooperate, as he was attempting to provoke myself and my friends and get our information. The US guys made him leave.
The FBI called me afterwards and asked what happened, as the FBI had visited my house a couple weeks ago after someone anonymously called and told them I was in ISIS. However I've never had any problem with the FBI and they seem to understand that any changes of terrorism are bogus.
What's your opinion on the YPG and SAA meeting up near Deir EzZor? Do you think there will be conflict or that they'll be able to work something out?
I hope they can arrange some sort of agreement and each stay on the opposite sides of the river. YPG doesn't need another enemy right now.
Are you a former US serviceman? Where did you get military training for fighting with the YPG?
Never been in the military before. Training was all in the YPG.
Do you have proof that you were in the YPG?
Yes. here is a picture of me in uniform, and with former YPG spokesman Redur Xelil.
What was daily life like fighting with the YPG? How did you end up joining up with them?
In the front, just a lot of moving around, trying not to step on mines, and getting shot at sometimes. In the rear, a lot of boredom and sitting around waiting. Guard duty usually every night. The main difference was lack of creature comforts, I guess, but I really didn't mind that part much.
They have information online if you search enough, after some exchanged emails I was headed to Northern Syria. They don't actively recruit but there are ways to contact them.
What do you think about Israel/Palestine issue . And its paralels to the Kurdish issue?
I am not educated enough about Israel/Palestine to draw parallels to the Kurds
Did you guys hit back? Also next protest will you guys bring more protestors and give his bodyguards an good American beat down?
None of us fought back. Even if I wanted to, my arms and legs were pinned or held down from the moment I was taken to the floor by Erdogan's supporters.
While I can't say I dislike the idea of giving the guards a taste of their own medicine, I imagine that we would look pretty unsympathetic in the media if we were to fight back. Many media outlets are already calling this a "brawl" or a "clash", instead of the one-sided beat down that it actually was. Though certainly a bigger opposition would have been better in terms of keeping the security busier and creating more chaos.
Hello. Did you expect to be attacked in that way?
Did the world media cover it accurately?
Do you think the plight of the Kurds is becoming more mainstream in the deserved sympathy ?
I absolutely expected the assault. This makes 4 times that Americans have been attacked for protesting against Erdogan.
The world media had its ups and downs. Lots of outlets did a great job of covering it, BBC put out a good report. However, a lot of media outlets, I think in an attempt to be unbiased, ended up being fallacious. Many of them called this a "brawl", a "clash", and claimed that "fistfights" erupted between us and the Erdogan supporters. All of the video evidence shows that no protestors fought back - this was a very one-sided assault.
Every day I have more people reach out to me on social media; people from all parts of the world, all political affiliations, and all walks of life want to know more about the Kurdish cause. Information on crimes against the Kurds is easily accessible online. People who find out about these problems sympathize with Kurds almost immediately - I think it's just a matter of making people aware of the issues.
What do you have to say, if anything, regarding the Kurdish Peshmerga demanding Assyrians to give up their arms assuring their protection only to abandon my people when ISIS attacked them?
I am appalled not just by the Pesh Merga treatment of not just Assyrians, but other minorities such as Yezidis. Pesh merga completely failed to defend the Yezidi community in Şengal and denied repeated requests for extra protection in the face of ISIS threat. I have many criticisms for KDP.
I'm a bit late but i'm curious about your thoughts regarding Rojava?
I love Rojava. It's one of the most amazing human experiments I have ever seen. They're in the process of creating stability in the wake of incredible atrocity and violence. There are many problems but they are the best hope among all factions in Syria.
Thanks for responding! Could you expand on what you see as their biggest problems,and biggest threats?
What is a western person like me to do to support that community, to help build the world we'd like to live in?
Any hurdles that others can assist in?
The biggest threat is absolutely Turkey. They have been making incursions into Northern Syria and murdering civilians with artillery, particularly in Efrin canton and between Efrin and Manbij city.
You can support by making your representatives aware of issues with Kurds, or finding your local Kurdish/leftist solidarity community and working with them. I've linked to my nonprofit in the comment of this thread, we are always looking for assistance.
is a hotdog a sandwich?
I would personally say no, that the bread has two separated pieces.
How do you live with yourself after having insulted the glorious Sultan? /s
The fact that I stopped a 21st century Hitler from talking by yelling at him was just the best feeling in the world
No question, just a very sincere Thank You for standing up to daesh and this piece of human garbage erdogan. Keep fighting the good fight, brother. Is it possible to donate to NAKA?
We are working on setting up a PayPal account and having merchandise available soon, if you follow us on social media we will keep you updated
Why does no one on the news even talk about this? Have you tried reaching out to news stations?
We have ended up on some news stations - CBS, FOX, BBC and CNN all mentioned us.
Do you think the actions by Turkey against the Kurds are a result or related to the action of Turkey during WWI against the Armenian/Kurds people? I think over a million were killed by Turkey trying to remove the Kurds from that region. The Turks vehemently deny anything like that happened but it's been well documented that this genocide did occur with the Turkish government in control.
Here is a good article on Armenian Genocide Denial that might explain the link between Armenians/Kurds/PKK better than I can.
Kurds are called "Armenian sperm" as an insult in Turkey. It's based on a deep seated hatred of Armenians in Turkey, they are perceived as Christian slaughterers of Muslim Turkish martyrs.
Kurds also freely speak about the Armenian genocide and most even admit that some Kurds played a part in perpetrating it. Their openness about it may also piss off the Turkish state.
Foreign officials attacking protesters on US soil seems shameful to me. How do you feel about the law enforcement and media reaction to this? What can an ordinary US citizen 5 states away do?
Law enforcement seemed dismissive, and seemed to imply that I was deserving of assault for committing an act of civil disobedience.
Media has been good and bad. Some pieces are accurate, others seem to make the violence seem two sided when in reality no protestors fought back or resisted removal.
The North American Kurdish Alliance is always looking for people to help us across the country. If you reach out on social media we can keep you updated.
Do you know who was it that attacked you? Random supporters? Hired security? More people with diplomatic immunity?
Not sure at this point. I know for a fact that random supporters were the first to attack me and were hitting me as I was dragged out, but I'm not sure who else was involved. I can't know until people in the videos are identified.
How did you join YPG?
By finding them online.
Peace to you. I believe in your struggles against Erdogan and for a Kurdish state. TY for you actions.
What can an average American voter do to help?
Thanks for your support! You can call or write your senators and representatives and tell them how you feel about Erdogan and the Kurdish issue. Our group North American Kurdish Alliance is planning on having letter templates and call scripts available for those who want more information.
What do you say to the people who took time out of their day to hear what he had to say?
To be honest, I don't really give a shit about them. The majority of them were chanting "Allahu Akbar" at me as I was removed.
If Hitler came to speak in the United States, I wouldn't give a shit about the people who went to "hear what he had to say" if he was interrupted.
You're unique then. Most protesters seem to align themselves with angry Muslims.
I am fine with Muslims, but I am also against the erosion of secularism in Turkey. That ~500 people were screaming "Allahu Akbar" at me was a bit unsettling. I would feel the same way about people yelling "Jesus Saves" repeatedly.
Do you hate Turks? Do you support Anti-Turkish propoganda?
I have no problems with the Turkish people at all. I Fought alongside Turks in Syria, and there have been many Turkish martyrs who have died fighting against ISIS alongside YPG. They are particularly special to me because they don't have to defend the Kurdish people - in a way, it isn't their fight, but they still bravely fight for their rights.
This is why I try to say "Turkish nationalists", the Turkish state", "Turkish government", or "AKP" when I criticize Turkey. I really loathe degradation of Turkish people as a whole - it's very disrespectful for the Turks who bleed and die fighting against oppression in the Middle East.
Do you have any idea if or do you believe any of those involved were Erdogan's bodyguards or part of his party? All the media reports said it was unclear.
I couldn't tell who was who, as many of my attackers were wearing suits, and his security detail doesn't appear to wear any distinguishing uniform. After a few seconds it was all chaos anyways, and I couldn't see any faces. I'm hoping that if any of these people are identified it will shed some light on what happened.
You literally made a fool of yourself by trespassing and showing the whole world that edgy shit. Why don't you mention the struggle between Turks and "Kurds" is rooted in the ideology called Communism?
Don't really care, I have gotten a huge outpouring of support that far outweighs the criticism.
I don't care if someone is Turkish or Kurdish, I care about respect for human rights. I don't know what communism has to do with this.
Where can I get that shirt?
One of our board members had it custom made for the action; our nonprofit is working on merchandising right now and we may be able to make more if there is enough interest.
What? No part of that made sense.
What would happen if you had stood your ground and killed the attacker?
I would have probably been arrested and charged with murder.
How do you keep from cutting your arms with all of that edge on that shirt?
I was told that he understands what "baby killer" means in English and he has very strong feelings about it, and the thought of that was really to good to pass up........
Why is your username a credit card number ?
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