Our Interviews

october 09, 2023

One of the main characteristics of Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] is the very tight relationship he has formed with the Kurdish people. This is so strong that the Kurdish people cannot imagine their existence without Rêber Apo, as they define and give meaning to their existence through this relationship. They understand their own existence and freedom as the existence and freedom of Rêber Apo. On the other side Rêber Apo has made himself completely belonging to the people. Since this is seen and known by the people, their approach to Rêber Apo is in this way and that is why the identify themselves with him. This can be clearly seen in the actions and discourses of the people. They say: “Bê Serok Jiyan Nabe”, a life without Rêber Apo is impossible. With this slogan and the meaning it expresses, the Kurdish people struggle and live every day. Slogans are are essential, as they have an ideological, political meaning. They have a close relationship with sociality, with the existence and freedom of a society. Slogans are discourses in which the desire for freedom finds expression. Therefore, it is the expression of an idea the people.

The Kurdish people are under the threat of genocide. They want to eliminate this threat, to live their language, identity and culture freely, and live their will freely. This is what they are struggling for and what they have paid a great price for. Without struggle there can be no freedom. The Kurdish people know this best. That is why they do not give up the struggle at any cost and this also why the people put Rêber Apo at the center of this.

Understanding how this bond between the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo has developed is very important in terms of understanding the Leadership, understanding the political philosophy. In fact, without understanding this relationship, it is not possible to understand Rêber Apo correctly and in its entirety. Because this relationship has had a decisive impact on all developments. This relationship also has a very decisive impact on the way the freedom struggle developed.

Establishing real ties with the people is nothing ordinary or easy. Especially in the Kurdish reality, it is very difficult if you want to achieve this. The fear, corrosion and alienation caused by colonialism, on the one hand, and the influence of the individualistic lifestyle of capitalist modernity, on the other, are serious hindrances to the development of such a relationship. Overcoming all these, confronting the fear, oppression and impositions of genocidal colonialism and rejecting the individualistic life possibilities of capitalist modernity, taking the reality of the people as a basis and preferring its life and culture is not something that can be easily decided and overcome. This requires a determined and principled approach. That is why there are not many examples of such deep relationships between a Leader and his people. Especially in today’s world such relationships do not exist anymore. The likes of this are mostly seen in history. It is already happening, that the Kurdish people intensively make Rêber Apo the subject of their folk songs, epics, culture and art. These are very important issues and their meaning for a society needs to be emphasized, and made comprehensible.

Rêber Apo evaluated the reality of the people and for him it was clear, that is necessary to take their reality as the basis for his struggle. There are deep historical and social meanings in this approach. Taking society and people as the basis for one’s own thinking and practice expresses a way of an idea and an approach. Rêber Apo is someone who always tries to have deep thought about what he is working on, always focusing and structuring his own personality to according what results he gets. He has formed his personality and life accordingly. Many people, including those who see themselves as leaders, talk a lot about the people, but they don’t live accordingly. Their life, their personality, their focus is not according to this. Their rhetoric and their lives do not match. They do not form their personality in the way they express it in their words. Of course, the people also see and evaluate this and approach them accordingly. This is the point that the people pay the most attention to and care about. People care about the harmony between words and life. This is the most basic measure of evaluation. This is how they distinguish between right and wrong and this is what determines who to approach and how to approach them based on this. The Kurdish people also approached Rêber Apo accordingly. Because they see this harmony in him, they believe in him, accept him as a leader and became his followers.

If we pay attention, this measure, that is, the relationship and harmony between words and life, is the a fundamental principle of Rêber Apo. He always told us this and wanted us to be like this. He severely criticized and analyzed our characteristics that prevented us from being like this and stated that we must overcome them. This approach is so tangible in Rêber Apo that even those who oppose him not deny this, they had to admit it.

Rêber Apo is a person who grew up among the people and came out of the people. It would not be wrong to say that this characteristic determines everything. Maybe this can be said for many people, but to deepen in this reality and live accordingly is a different situation. Many people may have come out of the people, but the important thing is to live according to this, to be able to live according to this. For this to happen, principle, approach and a great commitment are required. Without great principle, without great commitment, it is not possible to achieve this. Why is this so necessary, why is it so difficult for people to live as they are, that is, to live according to the reality in which they were raised? Because life has been made problematic. All the elements of life have been made problematic, relations of domination have been created between people. A mentality and culture has been developed to establish superiority over each other, to exploit each other, to make the weak dependent on the strong. Starting from ancient times, the rulers have developed such a system and have constantly tried to spread it in society.

There is the reality of genocide that the Kurdish people live under the system of denial and annihilation. While it is so difficult to defend the values of the people, to reject the relations of sovereignty, to take the principles of freedom as a basis, it is much more difficult to defend the Kurdish people, to defend its existence and freedom, to pursue this goal and to think of fighting for it. This is what Rêber Apo does and where he is succeeding. The understanding of the dialectic relation between Rêber Apo and the Kurdish people is essential if one wants to understand this struggle. Some people do not understand the people or see them as acting with emotional judgments. This is an extremely wrong approach. It is a complete deviation. The people are definitely the ones who know and determine what is right.

It is important to understand the situation of Kurds as a people and society. At the time when Rêber Apo started the struggle, the situation of the Kurds was very bad. Denialist and genocidal politics had completely disrupted the sociality and caused great damage. Even today, Kurdish society has not fully recovered and overcome the effects of genocidal colonialism. As a people, we are still under the threat of extinction by the AKP-MHP government. As a people, we are resisting and struggling against this. Of course, we do this on the basis of all our experiences and developments of the last years. The Kurdish people have gained consciousness and rebuilt themselves from the ashes. At the time when Rêber Apo started the struggle, none of these realities existed. The Kurdish people were on the verge of extinction. He described the reality we were living as a people as the brink of extinction. This is exactly the reality that the Kurds have experienced. Genocidal colonialism had created such a situation. As it has always been said, the enemies of the Kurdish people believed that Kurdishness was over. The Turkish state chiefs stated that they buried Kurdishness in Mount Ararat and by this they meant that Kurdishness was over. Kurdishness was made so weak that the Kurdish people fled from their own reality, as if fleeing from the plague. It was under such conditions that Rêber Apo decided to start the struggle.

In this process, also others talked about freedom and struggle. However, those who expressed these thoughts at the beginning could not maintain this attitude. Either they gave up at the very beginning, or when they faced difficulties, they could not resist and gave up the struggle. It is very difficult to face the Kurdish reality, to form oneself accordingly and to take steps. First of all, whatever was to be done could be done with this people. Nothing was unthinkable except the power and will of this people. As many people saw that this was the case, as they realized this, they changed their attitude and gave up the struggle. Rêber Apo, on the other hand, completely believed, trusted and relied on the people. He believed that no matter what happens, if the people are relied on and if efforts are made, results will be achieved. He created himself in order to unleash this power and to bring the people to a state where they could struggle and ensure their freedom. This is also how he formed the PKK.

This approach of the Rêber Apo has been very decisive for the future of the Kurdish people. If this approach had not been taken as a basis, no development could have been achieved. As a matter of fact, those who do not take such an approach as a basis have not been able to make any progress, despite their rhetoric of freedom and struggle. I do not want to just talk about others, there are also those who were close to Rêber Apo at that time and fell into this situation. It is not easy for a Kurdish individual to maintain an attitude of freedom and struggle after grasping reality. Many people, including some who were close to Rêber Apo at the beginning, found it difficult to come to Kurdistan, to live and struggle here and did not do so. For some, returning to the people, coming to Kurdistan was understood as going backwards. For such people, being in Ankara at that time, being in other metropolises of Turkey, studying at school or getting a job was seen as salvation, because they chose the path of individual salvation. For the Kurdish individual, this can only be possible by breaking away from the people, by breaking away from Kurdishness, by giving up their own reality, by accepting genocidal colonialism. This is the inevitable end of individual liberation.

The opposite was the case with Rêber Apo. He described coming to the city as a troublesome process for him. In his prison writings, it is known how Rêber Apo described the city, the machines, the lights of the city and the first moments he encountered them. The longer he stayed in the city and the more closely he saw city life, the more he developed this opinion. Because city life has a reality that is more distant from the reality of the people, from Kurdishness. In later processes, Rêber Apo’s subjecting the capitalist modernity system to strong analysis and revealing its reality is very closely related to this approach of his. For example, at that time, many people and organizations considered the development of capitalism in Kurdistan as positive. Rêber Apo, on the other hand, stated that this was not positive, that it disrupted the social relations and fabric, and that it served the Kurdish genocide. At that time, as early as the 1970s, Rêber Apo made such observations which were included in the PKK’s first program. The fact that Rêber Apo had such deep contradictions with urban culture and capitalist modernity, that he revealed the reality of this civilization system through historical analyses, is the result of the fact that he saw folk culture correctly and valued it. In other words, the basis of Rêber Apo’s contradiction with the state system is his approach and commitment to the people. Those who were not like this during that period quickly tried to find a place in the state system and blend into it. This was a path to the Kurdish genocide. Everything the rulers prepare for the Kurds is a trap that leads to genocide. Rêber Apo saw that this was a trap from the beginning and did not enter into it. He explained and proved to all of us, to the people, to history that this was a trap. He did this by initiating the struggle and enabling the emergence of all these developments that we have today.

In terms of way of life, Rêber Apo has based his life entirely on the culture and values of the people. The fact that there is such a strong relationship between the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo and that they identify with each other is closely linked to this. In the formation of this relationship, the dimension of struggle, the ideological and political dimension is emphasized. But still it would be incomplete to think of the strong relationship between the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo only in terms of these dimensions. Rêber Apo found the way of life of the people more correct, realistic and liberating and lived accordingly. The way he lives, sits, eats, sleeps, talks, uses his language and style is always according to the culture of the people. Rêber Apo never valued what others admired and valued, and always criticized and rejected wannabe approaches. It is known that even many revolutionaries considered it a development to move away from the culture of the people and to live according to the culture of the ruling classes. But Rêber Apo saw that as the basis of all wrongs and opposed it. He always explained this fact to us and wanted us to realize that we should avoid it. The Kurdish people have taken the approach in question because they have seen and recognized this reality of Rêber Apo. The fact that they see themselves so close to him is very closely linked to this reality. This has a decisive role in the strong relationship between the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo.

Everything Rêber Apo has ever done, he has done for the Kurdish people. More precisely, as a son of this people, he did everything he could do for his people. He did this by devoting his life entirely to the people, to the struggle, and by forming his life and personality accordingly. Rêber Apo did not seek a personal life. He did not seek a house, property or possessions. He thought entirely about the struggle, the development and success of the Kurdish Movement. His life measures are all within the framework of the people’s cause and freedom. They are not things that can be done and achieved easily. The Kurdish people know this reality very well. Since the Kurdish people know that all the developments that have been achieved are rooted in Rêber Apo’s deep commitment and freedom measures, they are attached to him with great passion and faith. In other words, the Kurdish people approach Rêber Apo in the same way as he approaches them. So much so that the Kurdish people tried to understand everything that Rêber Apo said. They have thought about how to understand his ideas, how to apply them, and have endeavored to do so. For example, even though Rêber Apo is in prison, even though he has been kept on the island of Imrali for nearly 25 years, the Kurdish people have made a great effort to understand and live by every word that Rêber Apo says. Why? Because the Kurdish people know that Rêber Apo thinks entirely for the people. The Kurdish people have seen and experienced this hundreds, thousands, millions of times. Women, youth, people and society, the Kurdish people with everything have experienced this and come to such a conclusion.

The bond between the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo has also determined the relationship between the freedom struggle and the people. Rêber Apo has formed the PKK entirely according to the reality of the people, according to the measures of struggle and freedom. The Kurdish people approached the struggle for freedom in the same way as they approached Rêber Apo, they became attached to him and joined him. If the character of the Kurdish revolution is to be defined, it can be expressed in the form of the unity of people-leadership-struggle.

For those who are not sufficiently aware of this reality, it is difficult to comprehend why the Kurdish people care so much about Rêber Apo. They should be told that in order to grasp this, they need to understand this bond between the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo. If they understand this bond, they will understand this reality.

As the world gets to know Rêber Apo, as they learn about his ideas, people start to make efforts for the freedom of Rêber Apo. They start to stand with the Kurdish people. This number is increasing day by day. These are very important developments and should be highly valued. Especially against the enemy’s attempts to break and weaken the relationship between the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo, the development of such an attitude by oppressed peoples, women, those who seek democracy and freedom in the world is very meaningful. As a dimension of the Kurdish genocide, the enemy is trying to separate the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo from each other. Some people are trying to do this by questioning this relationship, supposedly saying that this is wrong, that the freedom of the Kurdish people and the freedom of Rêber Apo are not the same, that one should stop reacting against isolation. As if, if the Kurds do this, all their problems will end, the so-called ‘Kurdish question’ will be solved, the Kurdish genocide will end. This is a complete lie and distortion. The truth is the opposite. The aim is for the Kurds to give up their struggle for freedom and accept living under the genocide system. Therefore, those who are engaged in this kind of activity are either the enemies of the Kurdish people themselves or personalities who have surrendered to the enemy, who benefit from the genocide of the Kurdish people, who make money and wealth from it. Such people cannot even be called Kurds. Those who develop these discourses are those who side with the power and the state, live in wealth, and have not lifted a finger for this struggle. It is very clear that they are more hostile than the enemy. The closer the Kurdish people get to Rêber Apo, the more they identify with him, the more they become free. Since the enemy is aware of this reality, they are engaged in a great activity to eliminate this and are putting special war methods into use. This is the essence of what is happening.

We have now entered the 26th year of the international conspiracy. We are trying to understand the reality of the international conspiracy against Rêber Apo and we are struggling against it. It is noteworthy that it was the Kurdish people who understood the international conspiracy the best and the fastest and developed an attitude against it. When the international conspiracy came into play, the Kurdish people started the “You cannot darken our sun” protests and clearly demonstrated what kind of stance should be taken against the international conspiracy. This was the declaration and attitude that life without the Leader will never be accepted.

Undoubtedly, the Kurdish people’s immediate understanding of the international conspiracy and their support of Rêber Apo is the result of their strong ties. In fact, the international conspiracy was carried out to break these. This is what the enemy and international forces aimed for with the conspiracy. However, the Kurdish people showed a reaction and attitude far beyond what was expected and frustrated this expectation of the conspirators. While the enemy and conspiratorial forces tried to separate the Kurdish people and Rêber Apo from each other with the international conspiracy, on the contrary, this relationship has strengthened even more. The Kurdish people have strengthened their bond with Rêber Apo by taking a stand against the international conspiracy and by constantly taking action for his physical freedom. In this respect, the Kurdish people have prevented the international conspiracy from achieving its goal with a clear and strong stance.

On the other hand, the same attitude was also developed by Rêber Apo. Aware that the main aim of the international conspiracy was the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom, Rêber Apo utilized his imprisonment in Imrali to deepen the Kurdish people’s idea and stance on freedom. By going to the historical roots of the state and civilization, he has deciphered all the exploitation, slavery and conspiracies in history. By developing the system of democratic modernity against the system of capitalist modernity that erodes human reality, eliminates sociality and makes life and nature uninhabitable, it has shown the way to salvation not only for the Kurdish people but for all humanity. Again, by revealing the place of Kurds in the creation of universal history and human values, it has given them the value they deserve and made them realize their own reality. This is undoubtedly the most valuable work. This is Rêber Apo’s attitude towards the international conspiracy and the Imrali system of imprisonment.

The attitude of the Kurdish people towards the Imrali isolation and torture system has also been clear. The Imrali isolation and torture system was developed as part of the international conspiracy. However, the Kurdish people have frustrated this aim of the enemy and conspiratorial forces by taking uninterrupted action in the four parts of Kurdistan and wherever they are. For 25 years this attitude of the Kurdish people has continued. It has done this with many campaigns, demonstrations, conferences, a continuous attitude and action. On the other hand, the actions of embracing and supporting Rêber Apo have spread more and more, and those who see themselves as friends of the Kurdish people all over the world have taken action against the isolation of Rêber Apo and for his physical freedom. Thus, the cause of the Kurdish people for Rêber Apo has spread all over the world and has received support from all over the world. This is of course a great development.

Now the Kurdish people have demonstrated their will to uproot and end the international conspiracy by stating that they aim for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and that they will not give up on this and by initiating such a process. This attitude of the Kurdish people is enthusiastically supported by the oppressed peoples, women and all democratic forces in the Middle East and the world. The Kurdish people and their international friends are discussing how to further advance this process with a new breakthrough and bring it to a conclusion. Definitely, this attitude will ensure the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and end the international conspiracy completely. As a movement, we will support this attitude until the end. What we need to do against the enemy’s imposition of absolute isolation is to further develop this attitude and put it forward in the strongest way.