Our Interviews

october 05, 2023

The anniversary of the October 9th [the day Öcalan was forced to leave Syria, which marks the beginning of the odyssey ending in the international conspiracy of February 15, 1999] conspiracy against the leader of the Kurdish People Abdullah Öcalan is just a few days away. For nearly 3 years now there has been no news about him and his situation. What can you tell us about this situation?

The start of the international conspiracy, developed under the Leadership of US and Israeli intelligence, against Rêber Apo dates back to October 9, 1998. The aim of it was to end the hopes for freedom of us women and of our people in general with the capture of Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. On February 15, 1999, our Leadership was abducted and taken to the prison island of Imrali by giving the role of a guard to the Turkish state.

Rêber Apo has been held in Imrali for 25 years in a very ugly, brutal system of genocide and torture in a single cell under conditions of absolute isolation, in the most unfair cell punishments that aim to break the will and surrender. The slightest possibility of communication with the outside is not allowed. Our Leadership has no rights including no visits of lawyer and/or his family. No rule of law, humanitarian or moral are valid on Imrali island. Since the Imrali system of genocide system developed with the knowledge and support of the capitalist modernist international states and powers. Even the relevant institutions, especially the CPT, approve the functioning of this inhumane, unlawful and brutal system on Rêber Apo by remaining extremely silent.

We once again condemn the international conspiracy against Rêber Apo with anger and hatred. It has been developed in the most comprehensive, multidimensional, inhumane manner that the world has ever seen and experienced in the history of the world. The genocide system in Imrali, is a disgrace to humanity, which has been designed and developed for the first time in such a systematic and continuous manner to surrender the human will with brutal methods. We salute the resistance of Rêber Apo against the system of torture on Imrali. Also we would like to respectfully salute with all the actions developed by our people and especially by the women in the four parts of Kurdistan for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. The actions developed by our people in the frame of the “You cannot darken our sun!” campaign as a result of the capture of Rêber Apo. We commemorate all the martyrs of Kurdistan with gratitude. And accordingly we renew our promise to increase the struggle and to succeed.

The torture system of Imrali is in essence a system that is wanted to be developed step by step not only in Turkey but also by the global hegemonic forces. It is the intention and purpose of the capitalist modernity to keep the organizations, individuals and pioneering personalities that they see as opponents within such a system of torture. The conclusions drawn from the experiences gained from all the prisons of the world are being applied against our Leader in the genocide prison type of Imrali. It is a system where all kinds of isolation and torture methods are applied in order to dehumanize people and make them unable to think. It is the most ugly and brutal invention of the dominant male mind. The widespread use of this system is also being considered. In fact, the male-dominated system is intimidating all freedom forces in the world with the Imrali system. The aim is to draw all anti-system forces on one line and to discipline them.

Therefore, it is also the duty of the democratic and free forces in the world, to fight against the system of isolation and torture on Imrali. This struggle is a stuggle for humanity. It is extremely important and vital to approach it with this consciousness and sensitivity and to wage an organized, radical struggle.

What are the reasons why the forces of capitalist modernity attacked especially the leader of the Kurdish people Abdullah Öcalan so brutally?

October 9 is also the day when the great revolutionary leader Che Guevara was assassinated in 1967. We would also like to respectfully remember this great revolutionary leader. It is obvious that the forces of the hegemonic system and the colonialist state of Turkey did not choose the date of October 9th by chance. The hegemonic mentality, the dominant male system that murdered Che Guevara is now attacking Rêber Apo, the leaders of the revolution, especially the women and the youth who search to be liberated and to liberate themselves. But their resistance, the resistance of humanity continues.

The representatives of the patriarchal system are aware of the geostrategic, geopolitical and historical significance of the revolution in Kurdistan. It includes the women’s revolution in its bosom, and they know how much these revolutions have the ability to influence and drag all of humanity. The Middle East has always played a very strategic role in human history. Whichever power dominated the geography of Kurdistan was influential in the Middle East. Therefore, it is estimated that when such a historical geography, women and peoples meet with the ideology of freedom of our Leadership, they will not accept any state or sovereign system against them. The organization and uprisings of free women, free people and societies deeply shake the foundations of the five thousand year old patriarchal system. Therefore, there is a deep fear of the energy and potential of women and people living in the Middle East geography that could lead to a universal human revolution.

In this context, it is also understood how the capitalist modernist system led by the USA and Israel sees Rêber Apo as a danger. The ruling system saw the revolution developed by our Leadership, the Leadership of the women and of the revolution in Kurdistan and responded with a comprehensive and organized international conspiracy. By trying to limit the effect of Rêber Apo, they tried to prevent, deflect and use the development of the women’s revolution in Kurdistan and its impact on the whole region and the world.

Essentially, it can be said, that in the person of Rêber Apo, they targeted the profile of a free human being with a will that they could not control. As it is known, Rêber Apo’s approach of valuing, developing and liberating human beings, his efforts to realize the revolution in life without postponing it to the future, the fact that his daily life style and stance are always freedom-oriented, and his consciousness, will, creativity, initiative, principled and flexible style in creating free life and relationships are very important. Our Leadership is a different Leadership that has imposed itself on all humanity with its way of thinking, its content and the level of putting it into practice. He has organized his personality on the basis of freedom values.

Our Leadership formed its personality traits by radically criticizing the lifestyle of the hegemonic system and developing its alternative step by step. For example, he once said, “I will not be the man of this age”. By killing the characteristics of the dominant male and in the same time creating the free male personality in his own, he had a different perspective, style and method of struggle. He first practiced the new, beautiful and correct in his own personality and reflected it to the PKK and Kurdistan. The reality of our Leadership has directly reflected on all peoples and beliefs living in the Middle East, Turks, Arabs, Persians, Turkmen, Armenians, Assyrians, Circassians, Laz, Greeks, Greeks, Alevis, Sunnis, Êzîdis [Yazidis], Yarsans, Christians and Jews with his personality, stance, struggle and resistance. The will and color of women, peoples and marginalized belief groups in the Middle East are emerging on this basis. There is a paradigm of freedom that has spread all over the world in the person of our Leadership and the Leadership of the PKK and PAJK.

Our Leadership has acted with the goal of developing an alternative life and a system that can cover the Middle East and all of humanity. He tried to develop the revolution in Kurdistan by drawing the right conclusions from the experiences of all the revolutions that humanity has seen, overcoming the mistakes and completing the deficiencies. The KCK and the KJK have developed their system on this basis. In this context, for the first time, it aimed to realize the women’s revolution, the revolution in Kurdistan, by creating free human, free women and free men models outside the borders of hegemonic masculinity and from within the colonized people of Kurdistan.

The leader of the Kurdish people Abdullah Öcalan waged a great struggle to develop especially the women’s liberation struggle. What can you tell about this?

As the women’s movement, we have evaluated many times that the international conspiracy was also a conspiracy against the women’s liberation struggle. This will be much clearer when we look at our history. The most fundamental characteristic that distinguishes our Leadership from all other leaders is its approach to women’s freedom. Rêber Apo has always paid attention to the presence of women in his own life and in the establishment of the PKK. The desire to develop comradeship and friendship with women is a very important point that emerged in our Leadership’s childhood years. It is noteworthy that no leader has ever emphasized women’s comradeship. They could not save themselves from seeing women as the second sex. The way women existed in revolutions was only on the basis of wife, sister and mother. The leaders of different revolutions could not show an approach that would overcome this.

Throughout the history of our struggle, our Leadership has continuously developed women’s participation in the revolution with their independent decision and personality. In his personal life, he took comradeship with women, discussing with women, making decisions with women as a principle. He looked at working and living with women strategically. His greatest ambition was to discuss, decide and struggle together with developed, liberated, conscious and strong-willed women. For this, he paid special attention to the development of women within the organization. He criticized women’s backwardness a lot, while including women in the foundation of the PKK. Women were present at every stage of our struggle.

After the 90s, Rêber Apo constantly organized women’s research groups in the houses where he stayed. He personally led women’s education and discussions and thereby he always had infinite trust and faith in women to understand and apply the philosophy and style of the Leadership in the most accurate and adequate way. His analyses and dialogues on women’s liberation are very historical, as they are pioneering and liberating. He took the approach of overcoming the blockages, backwardness and liquidationism within the PKK with free women’s personalities and organizations. Rêber Apo always kept the women’s power within the PKK in a position that constantly criticized and put forward the truth. Rêber Apo always aimed on educating, changing and transforming the dominant male understandings within the organization. The male commanders who did not understand the style of the Leadership and did want to, have not been left to get in higher positions. He also developed social change and transformation under the Leadership of women. In essence, Rêber Apo tried to teach how to have a correct comradeship with women within the PKK and in society. Bringing women to a level where they stand on their own feet and take their own decisions, not in the shadow of men. As for example can clearly be seen in the person of Sakine Cansız. She made an extraordinary effort for the emergence of free women. She protected, educated and paved the way. When mistakes were made, she constantly gave them opportunities to get up and walk again. Sakine made incredible efforts to create women’s Leadership in practical life and to realize its correct representation. In this context, Rêber Apo has always taken the approach of achieving the revolution in Kurdistan under the Leadership of women as a basis to develop it on.

For example, our Leadership laid the basic strategic building blocks for realizing a radical break from the dominant male system with ‘Killing the Man’ in 1996, the ‘Theory of Rupture’ in 1997, and the ‘Ideology of Women’s Liberation’ in 1998. Rêber Apo attached great importance to the independent development of the women’s organization within the PKK and to the participation of women with their own will and organization. He constantly criticized the dominant male approaches within the organization and took various measures against dominant understandings. On this basis, Rêber Apo has never abandoned the approach of creating the grounds for the development of the free female personality. For this reason, the YAJK organization, which was announced at our first women’s congress in 1995, decided to carry out its activities under our Leadership, not the PKK Central Committee. After the abduction of Rêber Apo by an international conspiracy, the YAJK became a autonomous women’s party by itself as a result of great struggles against the dominant male understanding within the organization.

In order for the women’s liberation struggle to grow, our Leadership has constantly developed a level that includes ideological deepening, new concepts and theories, its organizational models and answers to the questions of how to live. Rêber Apo also determined the discussions and principles of how to create new and free relations as well as the existing enslaving relations between men and women. The Imrali prison writings and negotiations that have developed, dimensioned and enlarged the women’s freedom struggle much more. Rêber Apo has developed and liberated Kurdistan society in the person of women’s freedom.

In the history of us women, the response to our Leadership’s approaches that values the works by/for women has been the sacrifice and resistance of thousands of women in prisons, as seen in the person of comrade Beritan, Zilan and thousands of female martyrs. The reflection on society was the development of a new sociality, a new level of freedom, and the participation of liberated women in all revolutionary work at all levels. Our love and devotion to our Leadership has constantly developed, grown and liberated us women. On this basis, women have been the most supportive of our Leadership, his ideology of freedom and his work.

Therefore, among the reasons for the development of the international conspiracy that started on October 9th, the results created by our women’s liberation struggle play a major role. Because the radical women’s liberation struggle, which our Leadership developed, concerns and fears of the male-dominated system. In this context, we believe that without understanding the male-dominated character of the international conspiracy against our Leadership and the fact that it was developed with the alliance of hegemonic masculinity, the real essence of the reason for the conspiracy cannot be fully understood.

It is known that the capitalist modernist system was developed through women’s slavery. Five thousand years of written history is the history of sovereign masculinity’s construction and exploitation of women and society. Today, it is increasingly understood that the written history does not include the history of women, oppressed peoples, beliefs and groups. Their history has been incorporated into the history of the dominant male, dissolved and destroyed within this history. Not content with this, the dominant male mind and system have seized and stolen all the creations, production and labor of women and humanity by force and have realized the continuity of their system on this basis.

Rêber Apo’s radical approach to the line of women’s liberation in the Kurdistan revolution, the fact that he nullified the discourses, ideologies and lies of the dominant male world about women in every aspect, the continuous development of women in military command, politics, organization and ideology within the PKK, the participation of women in all social activities in Kurdistan society on the basis of Leadership, the role played by women in the brotherhood and unity of peoples have caused a very serious fear and anxiety for the current dominant system.

It is noteworthy that women participated in all revolutions, but such a mass, collective women’s Leadership started to develop for the first time in the revolution here in Kurdistan. In other revolutions, as is known, the dominant male understanding did not allow women’s independent, free participation and autonomous organizations. After the revolution, women returned to their old positions in their homes, to their status as the second sex.

The most fundamental strategy of our Leadership in the revolution is the strategy of creating free people and free society. That is why he has set before us the task of realizing the women’s revolution. The women’s revolution is not just about women gaining some rights. It is the reconstruction of the entire social life based on women.

One of the most fundamental characteristics that distinguishes our Leadership from other leaders is the strategic importance it attaches to the creation of free women and men. Creating a free relationship and social level between men and women has been among the most fundamental educational activities. The work that enrages and frightens the given sovereign system the most is the work to liberate women. Our Leadership created its own personality on the basis of a free male profile and reflected this daily and instantaneously to its surroundings, setting an example. On the grounds where our Leadership was present, traditional approaches to women and taboos would be shattered. The free days to come and free relationships would be concretized in the moment. In this context, thanks to the analysis of sociality in Kurdistan and its recreation on the basis of freedom principles, the Leadership of Kurdistan and women’s revolution developed. With the approach that revolution can only be developed with liberated individuals, our Leadership attached more importance to the analysis of personality and women’s liberation than anything else. He constantly made plans to develop women’s liberation efforts and activities and developed them step by step. Taking women’s liberation and Kurdistan’s liberation as extremely intertwined and inseparable, he has always taken the principle of women’s liberation as a basis in the Kurdistan revolution and has dealt with the women’s freedom and our struggle at a strategic level.

Rêber Apo most of all opposed the male-dominated, appropriating understandings developed around women. He said that women should be at the front of social development and liberation, not a man, and that women should belong to themselves and live ‘Xwebûn’ [to live what your real being is]. In order to put this into practice, he wanted women to take part and play a role in all areas of life. Rêber Apo put these ideas into practice with important implementations like co-presidency and equal representation.

Our Leadership’s criticisms and evaluations of the understanding of love within the capitalist modernist system are extremely striking and historical. He rejected the murders committed in the name of love, the hypocrisy, the understanding of property and the enslavement of women. He analyzed the false understandings of love that develop within the capitalist system. He stated that free love cannot develop within the living arrangements of colonialism. Also Rêber Apo analyzed how the family phenomenon in Kurdistan has turned into a deadlock. He stated that free love and free relationships can only develop through social liberation, patriotism, organization and struggle and put forward the principles of love. ”Only slavery, ugliness, immorality, injustice and inequality develop in personalities, lifestyles and relationships that are on the side of the state and colonialism. Those who are not aware of the enemy and do not fight against it cannot feel and express love. A man or a woman who is with the enemy and his collaborators, who is in betrayal, can never be loved. Love has principles and can only develop on the basis of patriotism, freedom consciousness, will and struggle. Free men and women who recreate and restructure themselves on the basis of women’s freedom and social struggle can develop free spousal lives.” As Rêber Apo said. “Love and affection cannot develop without women belonging to themselves, organizing and struggling”.

Therefore, the fact that the conspiracy against our Leadership is so comprehensive, that almost all states are partners in this conspiracy, and that they approve of it, is due to the fact that states are built on the basis of sovereign male character. The state is the most basic strategic tool created by dominant masculinity to exploit and enslave women and society. Obviously it does not want its slaves to leave its hands.

Since our Leadership is the guide and leader of women’s liberation, the international conspiracy of October 9th was developed. For this reason, our women’s liberation struggle has to play a decisive role in frustrating the conspiracy, in achieving results while developing the struggle to ensure the physical freedom of our Rêber Apo. It is not in vain that Rêber Apo, after he was taken to Imrali prison, stated in one of his interviews that women’s liberation was his “most epic work”.

Today, in the world, in the Middle East and in Kurdistan, there is a string of women’s freedom. Women’s organizations and women’s Leadership that is gradually developing on the basis of Rêber Apo’s ideology and philosophy of freedom are spreading. Our women’s liberation ideology and struggle developed by our Leadership is gradually becoming universal and socialized. We have seen and experienced this in the social uprising known as the “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî” uprisings, which developed in Rojhilat [Eastern Kurdistan] and Iran with the murder of Jina Emini in September 2022 and resonated all over the world. The slogan “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî”, which our Leadership created as a magic formula, has developed as a basic approach and argument in Rojhilat and Iran. It turned into a manifesto of struggle. This discourse and struggle is a direct result of our women’s revolution and our revolutionary work in Kurdistan. In Rojhilat, in the North, in the South, in Rojava, in Şengal [Sinjar], in every geography where women militants of the PKK, PAJK following their politics and freedom-loving people live, the seeds of our women’s revolution have been sown. It is growing and developing step by step. This women-led revolution is attracting the attention of the whole world and humanity. Our women’s freedom struggle and resistance has reached a level that involves millions of women and men. In this context, our success rate will increase as we understand and apply our Leadership. Undoubtedly, the most fundamental aspect of frustrating the international conspiracy against our Leadership is to continuously increase our women’s freedom struggle.

How do you evaluate the resistance of Rêber Apo’s on Imrali island and in your opinion, what should be done for his physical freedom?

The resistance and stance of our Leader in the Imrali prison is different from other revolutionary leaders, just like his entire life, struggle, personality and ideology. Rêber Apo’s style of resistance includes the development of an alternative life and system and sharing it with all humanity through his prison writings. Our Leadership also evaluated his personal prison writings in terms of the women’s libertarian, democratic ecological paradigm as a guide for the liberation of society and women. With the Imrali prison writings, Rêber Apo developed the Democratic Confederalism and democratic nation model on the basis of the women’s liberation and collective women’s Leadership. Collective women’s Leadership is a Leadership developed together by women who struggle in all aspects of life. We women have to understand the thoughts of our Leadership in order to put them into practice and we have to work with all our strength to implement them.

On this basis, Abdullah Öcalan is also the leader of our women’s liberation struggle. The male-dominated system planned to keep women in captivity by keeping our Leadership in captivity. However, with his ideology and concrete practices, he still managed to frustrate the male-dominated system and teach women and peoples the ways and methods of liberation. We women who want to be free have been shown the way. The rest will depend on women, societies and peoples supporting and putting into practice these basic life principles and methods.

Therefore, the greatest response to the international conspiracy and the captivity of Rêber Apo needs to be to increase the efforts to understand him, especially his women’s freedom policy, and to put it into practice. It is only by understanding and implementing our Leadership that we can successfully realize our revolution. The deficiencies and mistakes in our work now are due to the inadequacies in our level of understanding and implementation. The only way to live humanely, honorably and honestly is for everyone to strongly embrace our freedom struggle and join the resistance. It is to raise the struggle for the physical freedom of our Leadership.

Rêber Apo has been resisting for 25 years in an unprecedented system of genocide and torture. It should be known that even the slightest contact with the ideas of our Leadership can have a great effect on people and especially on women. Rêber Apo constantly draws women and humanity towards freedom and struggle. Today, even though all connections of him with humanity have been physically cut, individuals who love and want freedom, democracy and ecological struggle have met the Leadership in one way or another. With this acquaintance, the love and devotion of women and people towards the Leadership has developed. The ideology and thoughts of our Leadership are gradually being internalized, especially by women and youth. In the depths of the heart of every person who knows, hears and recognizes Rêber Apo, there is definitely a piece of our him. Rêber Apo manages to imprint himself into every human being, into their souls. He wins people on the basis of freedom.

For this reason, we have to support our Leadership very strongly and have to accordingly increase the struggle for freedom. As women and youth, we have to be at the forefront in every aspect of the freedom struggle. We have to fight for the physical freedom of our Leadership with all our being. We need to develop mobilizations and organizations. We need to frustrate the international conspiracy by increasing our consciousness, organization and activism and building democratic nation dimensions in every field. On this basis, in this critical period we are in for our Leadership, our people, women and our peoples, the way each of us participates has to develop in an extremely effective and historic way.

The ambitious, faithful and determined participation of women in particular, by pioneering themselves and taking upon the struggle as a whole, it is very important and will bring positive and historical developments. Without losing hope, without expecting anything from anyone, let us support Rêber Apo and our struggle with our own minds, our labor, our stance of resistance and freedom, our organization, our own strength and will. On the basis of the women’s revolution, let us realize the Kurdistan revolution in Mesopotamia, the revolution of the peoples to live together equally. On this basis, let us show our very clear and open attitude to the international conspiracy. Let us frustrate the international conspiracy. Let freedom win. May women’s freedom and the freedom of humanity prevail.