Our Interviews

April 20, 2022

Ongoing Isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and International Struggle for His Freedom

“The isolation [of Abdullah Öcalan] on Imrali is definitely continuing. There are daily reports about this on the news. The lawyers [of Abdullah Öcalan] regularly share information regarding this topic with the public. The family [of Abdullah Öcalan] has recently given a statement on the current situation and has taken a clear stance. Both the lawyers and the family are continuously filing their demands [to visit Abdullah Öcalan in Imrali] with the respective authorities. The families of the other comrades who are imprisoned [on Imrali] also regularly file their demands for visits. But all these demands are being rejected on the basis of made-up excuses. In the past, they used to claim that the ferry was not operational, but now they use `disciplinary punishments´ as an excuse. Önder Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] has stressed in the past that legal principles and justice don´t exist on Imrali. On Imrali, everything is about politics, resistance and struggle. It is is important for us to recognize this. The current stance of the [Turkish] state and the government make it clear that the struggle on Imrali continues with full force and that Önder Apo continues to resist against all kinds of fascist, colonial, genocidal, psychological and physical pressure. In addition to this, the struggle against the torture and isolation system on Imrali continues on a very high level. We have seen this clearly during this year´s celebrations on March 8, Newroz and April 4. Tens of millions of women, Kurds and their international friends took a clear stance during these celebrations. This has shown clearly how the walls of Imrali have been torn down and how Önder Apo has become one with the people and the oppressed on the Newroz squares. This is a very important development because it underlines the intensity of the struggle. Recently, the National Education Union in England has taken a clear stance for the freedom of Önder Apo. This was a very meaningful and important thing to do. Other workers´ unions in the UK had done this before. And now the National Education Union has joined them by taking a very clear stance. In the name of the leadership of our party and in the name of Önder Apo, I would like to respectfully greet the leadership of all these workers´ unions and all their members. We greatly appreciate their efforts.”

Primary Responsibility of English State for Genocide in Kurdistan

“Of course, the English capital factions, the English state and the English royal house are primarily responsible for the imprisonment of Önder Apo in the torture and isolation system of Imrali, as well as for today´s situation of Kurdistan and and the Kurdish people who suffer from division, colonialism and genocide. The English system has brought the Kurds and Kurdistan into this situation. Everybody knows this. Today, it is England who – in the framework of NATO – provides the most extensive political and military support for the genocidal war against the Kurds that is being waged by the Turkish state and AKP-MHP fascism. This is more than obvious. England was also behind all the major massacres of the recent past [in Kurdistan]. The English political forces and the English state are the ones, who continuously provide support to the government of Tayyip Erdoğan and Devlet Bahçeli and make them attack the Kurdish people in the streets, prisons, mountains and all four parts of Kurdistan. The solidarity that the workers, the oppressed and the workers` unions which live under the hegemony of such a state express for Önder Apo, the Kurdish people and the existence and freedom of this people is very meaningful and important. The state and the current government [in England] are playing a very negative role in the Kurdish genocide. But society, the workers and the workers` unions don´t support this state policy.”

Increasing Massacres in Turkey´s Prisons

“Today, there is a huge tyranny in the prisons [of Turkey]. There is death and torture. This is absolutely clear. This situation is receiving more and more attention by the media. Different circles of society have become more sensitive to this situation because corpses are coming out of the prisons. Many different circles, including ourselves, have stressed before that the torture and isolation system in Imrali is not confined to Imrali or a single person. It constitutes the way of governance and mentality of the Turkish state and the fascist AKP-MHP dictatorship. That is why this system has now spread everywhere. It has spread to all prisons and all parts of Turkey and Kurdistan. Tyranny, death and torture are not only a reality in the prisons but on the streets, public places, in interrogation facilities and in private homes. AKP-MHP fascism has turned into the same kind of dictatorship that we experienced during the time of the fascist military dictatorship after September 12, 1980. There is absolutely no difference between the regime of Kenan Evren and today´s regime of Tayyip Erdoğan and Devlet Bahçeli. The current situation in the prisons shows this very clearly. But it has become clear, that – no matter what they do – they won´t be able to force the prisoners to capitulate. They have used so much pressure, tyranny and torture and have imprisoned so many revolutionaries and patriotic democrats. But despite all this, they haven´t been able to make a single one of them give up her/his belief and goal. Now, they themselves have understood that they won´t be able to achieve this through pressure alone. So what is left for them to do? Murder! By carrying out massacres [in the prisons], they are taking revenge on the prisoners who refuse to capitulate or give up their resistance. They are trying to annihilate those who keep resisting. In fact, the prisoners are being executed. Actually, they had stopped carrying out death penalties in the past but Devlet Bahçeli never stopped threatening the prisoners with this. Now, they have started carrying out death penalties. And they are carrying out these death penalties in the form of the heaviest kind of pressure, torture and tyranny. Who is the target of these attacks? Actually, it is society as a whole. These attacks and massacres are not only directed against the revolutionaries and patriots in prison. The goal is to break the willpower of society. So what needs to be done against this kind of attack? It is important to choose the right form of actions against this. Hunger strikes are not the right thing to do in this kind of situation. They won´t lead to any results. This regime wants to kill you anyway. So what do the prisoners have to do? They have to live. They have to struggle. The current phase is very dangerous. Apparently, some prisoners have said that an uprising [in the prisons] is imminent. Of course, the revolutionaries in prison will resist. But the greatest responsibility needs to be shouldered by everyone outside of prison. By the movements, society, the women, the youth, the revolutionary-democratic forces and the families of the prisoners. In order to do something against the situation in the prisons we need to expose the tyranny there even more and take a clear and swift stance against any form of tyranny and massacres. And we need to do so in an even more organized way. Every murder [in prison] is a reason to start an uprising. So, if necessary, we will do exactly that. The families and mothers of the prisoners have repeatedly made statements. I would like to greet all of them respectfully. The responsibility should not only rest on the shoulders of the relatives, families and mothers of the prisoners. The whole society and all revolutionary-democratic forces need to support them. All women, youth, democratic institutions and human rights organizations need to support the prisoners. If we don`t do anything against this tyranny, when and how will we start to fight? When will we show that we are patriotic and democratic? It is necessary for everybody outside of prison to take a stronger stance, to struggle harder, to protest more, to reach the prison gates and to fight against fascist terror, tyranny and torture. It is important to not just stand by and watch. To not remain silent or just take a weak stance. All those who carry out this torture and tyranny should never forget: They will be held to account. There are reports that these people refer to themselves as `Esat Oktay´. Ok, then they should also look at how Esat Oktay ended up and should prepare themselves for this kind of end. We don´t intend to threaten anybody, but this is simply the truth. Therefore, all these murderers, tyrants and torturers need to know that their deeds won´t remain unanswered. They will definitely all be held to account for what they have done.”

War Against the Kurdish People Leads to Economic and Social Crisis in Turkey

“Hundreds of thousands of people are being held in the prisons of Turkey today. Turkey itself has become a prison. They have encircled the whole country with a wall along the Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi border. Now, only the border to Greece and Bulgaria are left without a wall. Erdoğan has turned Turkey into a giant prison. Everybody tries to flee the country. Life in Turkey has become unbearable. The economic crisis has reached a new peak. Society is very close to exploding. The country is only being led with the help of pressure and tyranny. The current government is not able to govern the country. There is a comprehensive crisis. The AKP-MHP will fall, but a different kind of politics has to be developed in order to rescue Turkey from the current crisis. But is there a force in the country that can do that? In order to develop such different politics, you need to understand the reason for this crisis well and expose it. It is absolutely obvious that the reason for the current crisis in Turkey is the war. The crisis cannot be explained in any other way. Of course, the general crises of capitalist modernity also play a role, e.g. the war in Ukraine. But these are not the primary reasons for Turkey´s crisis. The only and primary reason is the war that has been led against the Kurdish people without any interruption for the last fifty years. All resources of Turkey are being used for this war. All these resources are being spent on the war. Only the warlords and oligarchs of Turkey have benefited from this.”

Failure of Official Opposition Parties in Turkey to Develop an Alternative Policy

“Currently, there has been talk about upcoming elections in Turkey. How can there be elections during such a war? Some parties have come together and have said that they will build an alternative Turkey. Great, but what is their opinion about the current policy? What do they have to say about the tyranny, the torture in the prisons, the isolation, torture and tyranny on Imrali, the war that has led to such a comprehensive economic and social crisis and about the Kurdish question that is the root cause for all this? When it comes to addressing these issues, these parties don´t have a single word to say. Six parties have come together, but by remaining silent they won´t be able to overcome the AKP government. Their silence means that they secretly support the current government of Turkey. What will they do differently compared to the AKP-MHP? Their efforts are all about sharing the resources of Turkey among themselves from above. But what will they do in order to save society from hunger and solve the people´s problems? How will they solve the Kurdish question? How will they solve the Alevi question? How will they solve the women´s question? What will they do to solve the problems of the workers? They need to give answers to these questions. When it comes to these issues, they fail to provide answers. These parties don´t constitute an opposition. They don´t act in opposition to the government and don´t try to become an alternative. It is important to realize this and therefore not to have high hopes in them. So what needs to be done in this situation? The democratic movement needs to be strengthened. Nobody should say, that they cannot do anything. The goal needs to be to expand the Third Coalition or the Democratic Coalition, to agree on a number of basic democratic principles and rescue Turkey from the current situation on this basis, to overcome the insufficient policy of the opposition and develop a new mentality, policy, organization and government that can save Turkey from the catastrophe caused by AKP-MHP fascism. Here, the revolutionary-democratic forces and democratic politics have a huge role to play. The women movement, the youth movement and the workers´ movement all have a huge role to play.”

Spread of War to All of Turkey

“The first anniversary of the [Turkish state´s] start of attacks on April 23, 2021 is approaching. Since then, a heroic resistance has been taking place in [the South Kurdish areas] Metîna, Zap and Avaşîn. All parts of the Medya Defense Zones – from Heftanîn to Xakurkê – have put up a heroic resistance. Of course, the guerrilla has not only resisted in these areas. There have been actions by the guerrilla from Serhat to Mardin, from Colemêrg to Dersim [in North Kurdistan/East Turkey]. The YPS fighters, HBDH militants and ` The Children of Fire´ have held the fascist tyrants in Turkey´s cities to account. This phase of resistance actually started on February 10, 2021 in [the South Kurdish area] Garê. From February 10 to 14, 2021, AKP-MHP fascism carried out an attack in this area in order to crush the guerrilla, annihilate our Freedom Movement and brake our willpower. But AKP-MHP fascism suffered a huge defeat in Garê. For one year now, a huge resistance has been taking place and the guerrilla has thus kept the initiative in its own hands. The guerrilla´s resistance of 2021 has led to very important political results. It has accelerated the fall of AKP-MHP fascism and has crushed the willpower and initiative of this regime. Today, everybody is talking about the fall of the regime. And the AKP-MHP themselves has admitted this. These developments were caused by the resistance of the guerrilla and the consequent defeat that the regime suffered in Garê, Metîna, Avaşîn and Zap. Of course, the guerrilla´s resistance has also led to very important military results. The guerrilla in the Medya Defense Zones has developed ways to defeat the attacks of Turkey which rely on the technical support by NATO and the use of intelligence. In order to collect intelligence, Turkey is using all its resources. These methods developed by the guerrilla include tunnel warfare and the organization in small teams. Thus, the guerrilla has succeeded in renewing itself and in adapting to the new circumstances, the new methods and tactics of the enemy [Turkish state]. As a result, the guerrilla has greatly increased its self-confidence and willpower. During the winter, all these developments were analyzed, the necessary results were clarified and the guerrilla and our movement educated and organized all of their members accordingly. This will allow us to successfully implement all the lessons we have drawn from last year´s experiences in the form of even more effective methods and tactics. But, of course, this won´t only be limited to the mentioned areas. The war is not only happening there. The enemy is trying to encircle us in certain areas and thus force us into a static, locally limited kind of war. But instead, we are spreading the war and will continue to spread it even more. This is already happening. So the war won´t only take place in the Medya Defense Zones. It will be wherever AKP-MHP fascism attacks. The war will take place in North Kurdistan, but also in Turkey. It will spread to Turkey. Consequently, we will witness a much more effective kind of war in the cities of Turkey. This war will not only happen in the form of attacks on military targets on the frontline. It will take place everywhere in North Kurdistan and Turkey. In every place from which the AKP-MHP attacks us. In all cities. Everywhere will turn into a war zone.”

Silence of Baghdad and Erbil Against Turkey´s Occupation of South Kurdistan

“34 years ago the fascist Saddam dictatorship carried out massacres in many towns and villages of South Kurdistan – what is generally referred to as `Anfal`. Today, the fascist, genocidal dictatorship of Tayyip Erdoğan is doing something very similar in [the South Kurdish areas] Behdinan, Avaşîn and Zap. This regime has taken control of a huge part of South Kurdistan, but neither the Iraqi government, nor the government in Hewlêr [Erbil] have anything to say against this. So where are the Baghdad and Hewlêr governments? If they have sold parts of South Kurdistan, they need to say so openly. There is, for example, the wall that is being build along the border between Şengal [Sinjar] and Syria. This wall completely resembles the wall that the Turkish state has built along the Turkish-Iranian and Turkish-Syrian border. All the materials for its construction are being provided by Turkey. The government in Damascus has also remained completely silent. The Damascus government is currently enforcing an embargo on the people of Şêx Meqsûd’da and Eşrefiye neighborhoods [in the city of Aleppo] and is also trying to leave the people of Efrîn hungry.”

Continuing International Support for AKP-MHP Regime Would be a Mistake

“The Turkish state receives support from certain forces, for example from the USA but also from other countries. With this support the Turkish state might start new attacks on specific places. Certain forces have recently rushed to the help of Turkey and decided to give F-16 [war planes] to the country. These forces continue to demand that Turkey attacks the PKK and the Kurds. One thing is for sure: We are faced with a broken, declining AKP-MHP fascism that can already see its own end coming. Nobody should expect any solutions from this regime. This government won´t benefit anybody. Therefore, nobody should make any wrong plans. Those who think that they can just continue their relations with the AKP-MHP and benefit from these relations, are wrong. They might be able to profit in the short term, but this will lead to huge losses for them in the near future.”

Danger of War All Over South Kurdistan

“The KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party] is part of this war. And Iraq is, too. The attacks of the Turkish state on the huge area from Heftanîn to Xakurkê are only possible with the approval and support of the KDP and the Iraqi government. That is why these forces are – to a certain degree – part of this part. But this will lead to a catastrophe. It is important for everybody to be aware of this. In such a situation, the war wouldn´t remain limited to the area between Heftanîn and Xakurkê. The war would spread everywhere, to all parts of South Kurdistan. South Kurdistan would suffer the greatest harm from such a situation. It is important for our people of South Kurdistan to recognize this and to make the KDP stop pursuing such a policy. Because the people have the power to stop the government in Hewlêr, just like they had the power to elect it. There are reports about the KDP benefiting from support provided by certain forces. The KDP needs to know that this war would not be like the wars of the past. If a war between the PKK and the KDP starts, this could lead to completely unpredictable developments. If the KDP thinks that it can profit from such a war, it is making a mistake. Nobody will be able to get anywhere with the support of the AKP-MHP. Attacking the guerrilla with the support of the AKP-MHP would turn everywhere into a war zone. This would make everybody rise up. The results would be unpredictable. Therefore, everybody needs to be very careful. The KDP leadership needs to be careful. It needs to analyze the situation in the right way. If it fails to do so, it might get confronted with developments that it won´t be able to deal with.”

Message for Upcoming May 1

“On the occasion of the upcoming May 1 – the day of the unity, solidarity and struggle of the working class – I would like to congratulate Önder Apo, all our comrades, our people and all workers, peoples and revolutionary-democratic forces of the world. This year´s Newroz was the most remarkable Newroz ever. And I am sure that this year´s May 1 will also be like that. A new peak will be reached on May 1. Therefore, I would like to congratulate everybody in the name of the PKK leadership on this year´s May 1. And I call on all Kurds, women, youth and workers to turn this May 1 into a new peak of resistance and struggle.”

Please note that this interview was recorded shortly before the start of Turkey´s new attacks against South Kurdistan on April 17, 2022.