our interviews

october 23, 2023

The isolation against Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan continues. He has not been heard from in any way for almost 3 years. How do you evaluate the campaign that has been started recently, in relation to the isolation against Abdullah Öcalan?

There have been many conspiracies throughout history, but I don’t think there is a conspiracy like the one [meaning October 9, 1998, the day Abdullah Öcalan was forced to leave the Middle East, which led to his odyssey through half of the world and ended with his abduction to the prison island of Imrali] that has been carried out against Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. It is a very complex conspiracy, so a strong stance against it is necessary. Rêber Apo analyzed the conspiracy and reacted accordingly, also by looking at those who planned the conspiracy and the reasons for it. By his own person he managed to frustrate the conspiracy. He created a fundamental alternative to the existing system from which the conspiracy emerged. He created an alternative for our movement, the Kurdish people and the whole humanity. He gave a powerful paradigm to humanity. This is how Rêber Apo responded to the conspiracy. It can be seen that our people and our movement have always strongly rejected and stood against the conspiracy. Especially our comrades in prison understood the conspiracy very well and so comrade Halit Oral organized his action with the slogan “You cannot darken our sun”. With this slogan, he made a call to the people of Kurdistan. He stated that the Kurdish people and the movement represented by Rêber Apo are in great danger. On this basis, he called for a strong stance against the conspiracy inside and outside the prisons. The guerrillas also took a strong stand against the conspiracy.

If Rêber Apo thwarted the conspiracy, it was because of the support of the people and the guerrilla. Rêber Apo also reflected on this later. In this regard he said: “Had it not been for the people and the guerrillas, it would have been difficult for me to resist the conspiracy. I thank both the guerrilla and the people.” Why was there a conspiracy against Rêber Apo? Because he created a free Kurdish identity and the struggle for democracy and freedom in Kurdistan developed in connection with it. This struggle was growing day by day and affected not only the Kurdish people but also the peoples of the Middle East. The forces of capitalist modernity recognized this as a great danger for themselves because they wanted to intervene in the Middle East and when they intended to intervene, the struggle developed by Rêber Apo was an obstacle and a danger for their plans. In order to intervene in the Middle East and shape it according to their interests, they wanted to eliminate the danger posed by Rêber Apo. They estimated that they would not be able to achieve their goals with the intervention they would make without limiting the effect of Rêber Apo, and that they might even get the opposite of what they were aiming for. Therefore, they developed the international conspiracy to weaken the movement and the Kurdish people.

The main aim of the conspiracy was to wipe out Rêber Apo, the PKK and the free Kurdish people. Just as Rêber Apo stood against the conspiracy, our people stood very strongly against the conspiracy. A high price was paid for this. Kurdish women, in particular, have stood up strongly against the conspiracy. By doing so, they have set an example for the movement and the Kurdish people, but also for all women around the world. Today, the Kurdish question has reached the whole world because of their strong stand against the conspiracy. Until today, the Turkish occupation state is trying to prevent all uprisings in Kurdistan from reaching the world. It doesn’t want the world to know about the situation. But Rêber Apo, the PKK, the Kurdish people and especially the Kurdish women stood against this policy. A high price was paid and a great pain was suffered, but it was possible to take the struggle out of the framework of Turkey and Kurdistan and spread it to the whole world. The world became aware of the Kurdish question. The struggle of Rêber Apo, PKK and the Kurdish people started to be seen. And it was through this struggle that we made friends all over the world.

These international friends also started to take part in the struggle of the Kurdish people. In England, for example, the trade unions carry out a great struggle. Concerts were organized in Italy, France and many other European countries. In the last world congresses of the trade unions, they have made a mark by demanding the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. The embrace of Rêber Apo, our movement and the Kurdish people is growing every day. Based on this, the international friends of the Kurdish people have launched a campaign; “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question”. This has been developed entirely by our international friends, apart from our movement and our people. This is very significant and important because it shows that the Kurdish question has now spread all over the world. Peoples, socialists, women, youth, ecologists, artists, intellectuals, writers, academics and so on from many parts of the world have declared that they are participating in this campaign. This is an indication that the international conspiracy can no longer keep Rêber Apo in prison.

The conspiratorial forces, the fascist Turkish state and some treacherous collaborating Kurds are trying to develop an absolute isolation with the aim of limiting all the impact of Rêber Apo, but they will not get any results because Rêber Apo is now all over the world. Rêber Apo once said: “Wherever my prison writings are, wherever my books are, there I am”. Rêber Apo’s prison writings and paradigm have reached every part of the world. Today, Rêber Apo lives not in Imrali, but all over the world, and no one can stop this. The most obvious proof of this is the attitude of the international friends of the Kurdish people. They have now started this big campaign and stated that Rêber Apo’s physical freedom must be guaranteed and that the Kurds must have a status. They emphasized that they will raise the struggle for this. On this occasion, I would like to greet and congratulate all those who have developed the campaign, who are participating in it, who are making efforts and calls in this regard. And I would also like to express my gratitude on behalf of our movement and the Kurdish people.

At this stage, the responsibilities and duties of the Kurdish people have increased even more. If our non-Kurdish international friends embrace Rêber Apo and his paradigm in this way, if they declare that they will struggle for Rêber Apo’s physical freedom and for the Kurdish people to achieve a status, the Kurdish people must draw a conclusion from this. The Kurdish people have to support this campaign started by their friends, they have to support the campaign in every way and help it to succeed. Some Kurds are now saying that since our international friends have started such a campaign, we should take over the banner of this campaign. This is an appropriate thought because this is what the Kurdish people should do. While the Kurdish people are fulfilling their duties regarding Rêber Apo and the peoples, they may face hindrances. There will be those who want to sabotage, weaken and obstruct the campaign. Our people must not accept this and must stand firm and courageous against them. If our people fulfill their duties and responsibilities in this way, no one can stop the campaign. That is how the campaign will succeed.

What should the Kurdish people, the democratic and freedom orientated forces in your opinion do, to make the ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’ succeed?

When I talk about the Kurdish people, it includes the youth, the women, the elderly as well as the children. Everyone who calls him/herself Kurdish, patriotic, democratic, revolutionary, and says that he/she is looking for a free and democratic life in Kurdistan, for a free life in general, and says that he/she stands against occupation, genocide and fascism, has certain duties and responsibilities. Many people see the solution to their problems in Rêber Apo’s paradigm and therefore support him. They want to solve their problems in the way he suggests. Kurds, more than anyone else, need to support Rêber Apo and practice his paradigm and philosophy. Rêber Apo has worked and is still working for the entire Kurdish society, for the Middle East, for humanity, even under the conditions of Imrali. He worked especially for the interests of women. The slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’, which is used by women all over the world today, and all that remains of this slogan, was developed by Rêber Apo.

Rêber Apo always worked for the freedom of women. He declared that society cannot be liberated unless women are liberated. Therefore, he made women’s freedom the basis of his work. Women know this and that is why they protect Rêber Apo and struggle for him. I strongly believe that women will continue to act for Rêber Apo more than anyone else. They will lead the campaign developed by our international friends. In this way, they will fulfill their duties and responsibilities to Rêber Apo. He has also done great work for the youth, which is also known by them. The movement developed by Rêber Apo is a youth movement. If this movement has come so far despite conspiracies, betrayals and attacks, if it has given hope to the people, it is because of the leading role of the youth and women that has developed. That is why the PKK is always alive, resisting, realizing changes and transformations and being a hope. I believe that in the future, the youth will participate in this campaign even more. They will also lead it and fulfill their role.

Abdullah Öcalan has also worked with and for the democratic forces and those in search for freedom in Turkey. How do you evaluate their duties and responsibilities?

Since the early years of the movement, Rêber Apo took the peoples of Turkey as his basis, just like the Kurdish people. Just as he took responsibility for the Kurdish people, he also took responsibility for the peoples of Turkey. He never made any difference between them. There was a struggle for democracy and freedom in Turkey and a high price was paid at that time. Martyrs lost their lives and many people were executed. Rêber Apo took the revolutionary movement that was developing in Turkey at that time as his basis. He thought about how to continue this movement, how to keep these revolutionaries and martyrs alive. Therefore, he founded the PKK. In other words, he founded the PKK not only for the Kurdish people, but also for the peoples of Turkey and for humanity. He also paid a great price for it. Therefore, the democrats and socialists of Turkey, those who stand against fascism, those who are committed to the values of freedom and democracy, those who say that they are based on the peoples, need to fulfill their duties towards the Kurdish people. If they do not fulfill this duty and responsibility, they cannot say that they are democrats or socialists. A policy of genocide is being carried out against the Kurdish people in front of their eyes. Wherever in the world, a socialist, a democrat does not accept the genocide of a people and stands against it.

There are many such examples in the world and in history. Just one example: when France intervened in Algeria, when they tortured, massacred, looted and arrested people there, the revolutionaries and socialists of France stood against France. Therefore, France had to withdraw from Algeria. The leftists, democrats and socialists of Turkey should take this as an example. If they turn a blind eye to what is happening, do not speak out and still say that they are socialists and against fascism and genocide, then they are liars. The criterion of being a democrat and socialist is the attitude towards the Kurdish people. It is the attitude towards the Turkish state. If they do not stand against the policies and genocide of the Turkish state, if they do not stand with the Kurdish people, if they do not stand against the Turkish government, no matter how much they say that they are socialists, democrats and patriots, then they are simply liars. Because the struggle that has developed in Kurdistan today has revealed the true face of the Turkish state in every way. A normal thinking person can see the reality of the Turkish state and its attitude towards the Kurdish people, the Turkish people and humanity. However, one has to doubt the humanity of those who do not see it. The democratic and socialist forces in Turkey are asked to stand up against the isolation of Rêber Apo and struggle for his physical freedom.

On October 1, two militants of the PKK, Rojhat Zîlan and Erdal Şahin, staged an attack in Ankara and shook the country. The Turkish state used this as an excuse to attack Rojava [North Syria]. What does the action in Ankara has to do with the attacks on Rojava?

First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the comrades Rojhat and Erdal. These friends fulfilled a historical duty for the Kurdish people and humanity. They made a great sacrifice by bravely facing the enemy. They carried out their action against the Ministry of Interior from where the Kurdish genocide is controlled. The enemy is trying to eliminate the Kurdish people and our comrades sent a message with their action. It basically said: “You want to eliminate the Kurdish people, but we don’t accept this. Those who want to eliminate us should know that we will eliminate them first.” The peoples of Turkey cannot live with the genocide of the Kurdish people. Those who commit genocide against the Kurdish people are committing genocide themselves. With this action, the friends revealed the true face of the Turkish state. Therefore, this action is historical. With this action, the dirty propaganda of the Turkish state that says, “We have destroyed the PKK. The PKK does not exist anymore, it can’t do anything, we have ensured peace in Turkey, we kill so many guerrillas every day.” has been nullified.

It should be seen as a fact that a government that lives on murdering and its propaganda is a fascist and genocidal government. The action in Ankara made this propaganda null and void. This action showed once again that the Turkish state is deceiving everyone. Although there is such a big war, the AKP-MHP government denies it and even still tries to deny the existence of the Kurdish question. They try to hide the ongoing war and they also try to hide the dead soldiers from the society. They are always propagating that they are killing guerrillas and ending the PKK, but this action has shown that all this is a lie. The enemy was shocked because the action revealed the whole reality of the Turkish state, because it nullified their propaganda, because it brought the reality of this intensive war in the middle of their country. Therefore, they didn’t know what to do. They wanted to break the effect of this action with counter-attacks.

Every day they are arresting Kurds in Northern Kurdistan [South-East Turkey] and call these arrests and detentions ‘Operation Heroes’. What heroism do they have, I mean what have they done to become heroes? They even put this name to deceive the people. The peoples of Turkey have to hold the ones responsible for the arrestings to account. They have to ask: “Is your heroism to raid houses with all your might, arrest people, torture them, insult them, throw them in prison? Is this heroism?” They launch attacks in the Medya Defense Zones [areas controlled by the guerrilla] every day, making propaganda about how many guerrillas they kill. But this remains just propaganda. Because even when they have not martyred even one guerrilla, they deceive the public and foreign countries in this way. In fact, their aim was to launch a new attack on Rojava. They had already taken the decision to attack Rojava. Regarding this, Erdoğan openly said, “We have made a decision and we are waiting for the right time.” They attacked Rojava using the attack in Ankara as an excuse. They said: “The attackers came from Rojava. Rojava is dangerous for us, so we will take revenge.” This is how they put into practice the decision they had already taken before. They themselves and the whole world know that those friends did not come from Rojava. But the Turkish state attacked Rojava because they are enemy of everything Kurdish. Before they attacked, they said that the power stations, factories, in other words, whatever is on the ground and underground is their target, their army and intelligence will attack everything. They threatened that every 3rd party must withdraw, that no one should stand in their way. They claimed: “Whoever stands against us, we will target them too.”

As a matter of a fact, Turkey alone does not have the power to carry out these brutal attacks against Rojava. It was with the decision of NATO and America that they attacked all these locations, because it is a NATO member state. If NATO does not give permission, Turkey cannot carry out these attacks against Rojava and kill people. If they had not approved the Turkish state’s decisions to attack, the Turkish state would not have been able to carry out these attacks, and if they had, they would have stood against them. The Turkish state obeys neither the laws nor the morality of war. It does whatever it pleases. Because it wants to eliminate the Kurds, that is why it bombs everywhere. It destroys living spaces, power plants, water reservoirs, wheat warehouses, oil facilities, hospitals, factories of the people. How will those people live there when everything gets destroyed? This is a great immorality and a war crime. Those who give way to this are collaborating with the Turkish state. Our people have already stated this, they said they will not accept this, they will not leave their lands no matter what they do. They said: “Maybe we will die, but we will die in our lands.” They showed such a determined stance. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the people of Rojava and commemorate the martyrs of Rojava with gratitude and pay my respect and esteem to them.

While Erdoğan is carrying out these attacks on Rojava, on the other hand, he is supposedly protecting Gaza. How do you evaluate this situation?

Erdoğan, Turkey, the government and the opposition are acting hypocritically. They think they are cunning and think they can hide what they are doing in front of everyone’s eyes and no one will understand. They are supposedly protecting Gaza and Palestine, but those who take the genocide of the Kurds as a basis can never be a friend to the Palestinian people. There are two fundamental problems in the Middle East. One is the Palestinian question and the other is the Kurdish question. As long as these two problems are not solved, there will be war and massacres, and no space for freedom and democracy in the Middle East. When these two problems are solved, the Middle East will be at peace, change will take place, democracy and freedom will develop. The hegemonic powers never want these problems to be solved, because they have built their system on them. The system of capitalist modernity never wants problems to be solved. That is why they instead always create new problems.

Our people, the Palestinian people and the people of the region need to understand this situation well. We want to develop a Kurdish-Arab alliance. Because it is these peoples in the Middle East who are being torn apart, facing severe problems, being subjected to injustice, constantly facing war and genocide. Just as all those who create these problems are together, the Kurdish and Palestinian people need to stand against them together. That is why we talk about a Kurdish-Arab alliance. The Arabs were divided into 22 states and divided the Kurds into 4 parts. It is these forces that suck the blood of the Kurdish and Arab people. That is why the Kurdish and Arab people need to develop their alliance. If such an alliance is created, it can be a big step towards liberation. The problem of the Palestinian people is not a problem that arose just today. It is a social and historical question. That is why our movement took the Palestinian people and their struggle as a basis in its early years. It found them right, took part in their struggle and paid the price. One of the reasons why the international conspiracy against our movement was developed, is the relationship we formed with the Palestinians and Arabs. Since the day it was founded, our movement has been based on establishing relations with Palestinians and Arabs. We agreed with their struggle.

But I would like to make a few points here. The methods of the Hamas are not right, and they should be criticized. But this does not justify using Hamas’ wrong methods as a pretext to attack the Palestinian people. As wrong as Hamas’ methods are, attacks against the Palestinian people under this pretext are just as wrong. Like this the situation will never be solved, it will deepen it. It will even cause new problems in the region. This is very dangerous. Therefore, the Palestinian and Jewish people should consider how they can live as brothers and sisters. They should not insist on a nation state, as the nation state will never solve their problems. In fact, it makes the problems worse day by day. Some people say that the solution for Palestine is a nation state. This is not true. Even those who have nation states in the region still have problems and are displaced from their lands. So this is not the solution. The solution lies in Rêber Apo’s paradigm. The development of the democratic nation’ is the solution. They should take this as a basis. Then they can solve their problems. The last example of the nation state not being a solution is the Armenian-Azeri war. They both have states. But there are big wars and even genocide in their regions. So, this is not a solution. The solution is Rêber Apo’s philosophy, the paradigm he developed for humanity. Everyone should take this as a basis. This is the only way to solve the problems.

The war between the occupation army of the Turkish state and the guerrilla continues. What can you tell us about the war going on in the Medya Defense Zones?

By remembering comrade Rojhat and Erdal, as well as the martyrs of the Asayish in Dêrik and the martyrs of Amed, I would like to once again commemorate all the martyrs of the struggle with gratitude and respect. There is a big war going on between us and the Turkish state right now. The Turkish state is developing many tactics to hide this reality. For example, they never reveal the identity of their dead soldiers. They only announce one or two of them. In addition to this, they constantly make propagandistic statement that we have killed so many guerrillas. They create the perception in society that they have eliminated the guerrilla. Sometimes we announce comrades that martyred, and 10, 20 days later, maybe even a month later, the Turkish state states, that they have recently martyred this comrade within an operation of the intelligence. They try to deceive everyone in this way. They create the perception that they have succeeded, that they have achieved results.

Therefore they are bombarding all the time and also use weapons that are banned around the world. They load drones with chemical explosives and aim to drop them on the tunnel doors. In this way, they want to seize the tunnels and martyr their friends. Despite all this, they are not getting results, the guerrilla is showing great heroism under the most difficult conditions. I would like to congratulate my comrade from the HPG and YJA Star on this occasion. They are heroes not only of the Kurdish people but also of humanity. Because they defend humanity. They defend human values. If it were not for the KDP, the Turkish state would have lost this war. If the Turkish state still insists on the war, it is entirely with the support of the KDP. The Kurdish people need to understand this very well. The Turkish state, especially the AKP media, is waging a psychological, special warfare. Just as Goebbels deceived people with his propaganda during the Hitler era in Germany, the AKP media is doing the same. Their channels show day and night how they produce weapons and how powerful their technology is. In other words, they are sending the message that the Turkish state is militarily very strong, that it is a world power, that no one can stand in front of Turkey anymore.

They are making dirty propaganda. “The PKK is not a freedom movement, there are foreign states behind it, that do not want Turkey to develop and become stronger. They want to prevent the growth of Turkey by helping the PKK, if these foreign powers do not help the PKK, it cannot survive. These states are using the PKK for their interests, the PKK does not want us to uncover Turkey’s mineral resources and put them at the service of the people. If we uncover these mineral resources, the people of Turkey will become very strong, they will stand against everyone in the world. If the people of Turkey are poor, it is because of the PKK. By fighting the PKK, imperialist states prevent us from extracting oil, prevent us from extracting minerals so that Turkey remains poor.” This is how they make propaganda, what they tell the people.

In this way they want to legitimize the liquidation of the PKK and the genocide against the Kurdish people. This is how they aim to get support from the people of Turkey and the peoples of the world. However, it is America itself that brought the AKP to power. It is America, NATO and some European states that support the execution of the genocide policy in Turkey. With their help, they stay in power and carry out a policy of genocide. All the weapons they use belong to NATO. There is one thing the AKP-MHP are experts in. That is to turn the facts upside down. This is how they deceive everyone. The AKP is now applying the same tactics that Goebbels applied to the people of Germany. That’s why no one knows what the truth is, what lies are. It is waging such a special warfare. This is how it carries out and strengthens its power. Our people and the people of Turkey need to understand this well.

There were negotiations between the KDP and the Turkish state, also between Iran and the Turkish state. There were attacks by the Turkish state against the Mexmûr [Makhmour] refugee camp and there are daily attacks against South Kurdistan. How do you evaluate the negotiations between KDP-Turkish state and Iranian-Turkish state?

The KDP, especially the family of Masoud Barzani, has tied its fate to Turkey. They are completely in the service of the Turkish state. They help it not only in South Kurdistan but everywhere. Also the KDP is waging a special-psychological warfare against the PKK. Militarily, intelligence-wise, in every sense, they are fighting against the PKK by siding with the Turkish state. But even outside South Kurdistan, the KDP wants to cut the ties of the PKK with everyone, isolate it in the world, encircle it, take it over, or liquidate it. For example, some of our friends tell us, “The KDP is more hostile to you than the Turks”. This is true. Barzani is not only helping the Turkish state against us in [the South Kurdish areas of] Metîna, Girê Cudi and Avaşin, and serving the politics of genocide. Our society must demand accountability for this. The policy of KDP legitimizes everything the Turkish state does against the Kurdish people.

Also, the representative of KNK was assassinated in Hewlêr [Erbil], but until today they have not made a single statement, not condemned, not arrested a single person. But when an action was taken against the Turkish police in Ankara, the KDP immediately condemned the action. Even this shows the state of the KDP, who it is on whose side and in whose service. Why did it condemn the Ankara action? That action was not against them, it was an action against the Turkish security forces who are committing genocide against the Kurds. Instead of being pleased, they condemn it. But why don’t they condemn those who martyred Deniz. Why don’t they arrest that murderer? They say: “I am the government, I am in power, I have laws, no one can do anything here.” Indeed, they have established such a power in Hewlêr that no one can move. There are cameras everywhere. The KNK building is under constant surveillance. How can Deniz be murdered there and the KDP doesn’t arrest anyone? Because they also have a hand in this murder. The KDP wants to drag Iraq into the politics they are conducting together with the Turkish state. It is also working for this. The Iraqi responsible held talks in Ankara for days. They want to include Iraq in their plans. They are searching for ways to destroy the PKK, and to complete the genocide against the Kurdish people.

Regarding this, I want to warn Iraq. Iraq must not fall for the games of the Barzanis and the Turkish state. They have no interest in these policies. They should demand that Turkey solve the Kurdish problem through democratic means. Iraq’s interests are in this direction. Siding with the Turkish state and the Barzanis and being hostile to the Kurds will cause great harm to Iraq. Barzanis want to settle in some places and the settlement of the Barzanis means the settlement of the Turkish state. Because the Turkish state and the Barzanis are now acting together in many places, fighting against us. In some places their forces are 100-150 meters away from each other. Some places were built by the Turks, but when they left in winter, they handed them over to the Barzanis. Now the Turks attacked them again, and they gave them the outposts that the Turks had handed over. So they are acting together. The Turkish state has dominated South Kurdistan in every sense. They have made Behdinan like a province of the Turkish state. The Turkish state has settled in every area. They act according to what the Turkish state wants. In this way, the KDP completely serves the genocide policy of the Turkish state. Everyone should understand it like this.

Is there anything you would like to say at the end?

Our international friends have started a campaign for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and for the Kurdish people to have a status. The campaign is growing day by day. Now we have to fulfill our part, take part in the campaign and bring it to a conclusion. This is what is asked of our movement and our people. Therefore, everyone in our movement, no matter where they are, no matter what their role is, everyone has to take part in this campaign. It has to carry out all its work and activities in a way that is tied to this campaign. We must act on this basis until we bring this campaign to a conclusion. This is our main work. The main role here belongs to women and youth. I believe that women and youth will spearhead this move. They will strengthen the campaign.

Since we are a youth movement, I especially call on young people; you have to take part in this campaign developed by our international friends with everything you have and ensure strong participation in the guerrilla. Because we are a youth movement. Young people should take the revolutionary war against genocide and the special war as a basis. They have to fulfill their duties and responsibilities on this basis. The enemy imposes heroin, prostitution and espionage, and wants to rot society in this way. On the other hand, he is imposing Hizbul-Kontra on society. “If you don’t want prostitution, heroin and spying, you should turn to Hibul-Kontra,” they say. They are conducting this politics. It is up to the youth to frustrate this politics. Young people must raise the struggle against prostitution, spying and heroin. They must know that the politics of the Turkish state on our society, especially on the youth, is very dangerous. Young people must both oppose this politics, organize themselves and take part in the revolutionary people’s war.