Pro-Kurdish media outlets reported on Friday that a nephew of Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MİT), has been fighting against the Turkish military from the ranks of an armed Kurdish group called HPG/YJA-Star, which is affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF), one of the militants who is fighting against Turkish security forces in northern Iraq is Fidan’s nephew Egîd Zilan. Egîd is from Van’s Erciş district, as is Fidan. The report said Egîd joined the HPG in 2015 and before that attended a regional elementary boarding school (YİBO).
“YİBOs’ products are Hakan Fidans,” Egîd told ANF in a trench and claimed that there are no alternatives to YİBOs for Kurdish children and that families are forced to send their children to these schools.
“We and the children around us usually went to YİBOs. So we grew up with the assimilation policies of the Turkish state rather than our own culture. They used violence to assimilate us. … Our families, on the other hand, thought the only way to be ‘great people’ was to study and wanted us to stay in school no matter what,” Egîd said and added that the people around them always spoke of Fidan as an example.
“They would speak as if Hakan Fidan wasn’t responsible for the dozens of massacres they saw every day. We were Kurds, and Fidan was killing Kurds. I could never understand why my family used this example. Does being a great man mean killing your brother, like Fidan? But we were children, we couldn’t share what happened with anybody, and nobody wanted to understand, so we continued to study at the YİBO,” said Egîd.
“One of the most important factors that made me join [the armed group] was the massacring of our people at the hands of conscripted Kurds like Hakan Fidan,” Egîd said and added: “I’m related to Fidan through my grandfather, who was the brother of his father. So his father was my uncle. There were some in the family who rejected Hakan, and some who supported him.”