The younger generation is easily recognisable at protests in Kurdish areas. They lug a red banner with an eagle on it, a mountain and a bright yellow Kurdish sun: the symbol of the YDGH, the Patriot Revolutionary Youth Movement. An illegal club, so they keep their faces covered.
During the opening of the first PKK graveyard on Turkish soil last summer YDGHyouth announced the names, code names, birth and death year of all guerrillas who were going to be buried there, after which a battle song was sung. After the opening ceremony, they dispersed into the mountains to prevent arrest: under-cover cops are everywhere. During Kurdish New Year, Newroz, on 21 March 2013, when the message of Öcalan was read to an enormous crowd and with which the peace process and the withdrawal of the PKK from Turkey started, youths with their faces covered stormed the stage, made a roaring statement and disappeared again.
The distrust against foreign journalists is huge. Activist youth I try to talk to react with suspicion. ‘Who are you? Why do you ask these questions? For a magazine in the Netherlands? They want to learn about youth in Kurdistan? Don’t make us laugh.’