Kalkan: 2023 was a year of great struggle - PART ONE

Duran Kalkan said that 2023 "was a year of resistance on all fronts."

KCK Executive Committee Member Duran Kalkan said that "2023 was a year of great struggle."

Now that the end of the year is approaching, how do you evaluate the year 2023? Where do you see developments, and what are your goals for the coming year?

The year 2023, which we have previously defined as a year of hope and resistance, is coming to an end. It was indeed a year of great struggle, of total resistance on all fronts. Of course, there was also the earthquake on February 6. In this sense, it was also a year of pain.

But, first of all, I would like to congratulate all comrades, especially Rêber Apo (Abdullah Öcalan), our people and our international friends on the new year. I wish everyone who is waging the struggle for freedom and democracy great success in 2024. Also, I respectfully, gratefully and with love commemorate all our heroic martyrs in the person of our comrades Leyla Sorxwin and Axîn Mus, the great martyrs of 2023.

2023 was a year of great struggle. It also brought great gains and accomplishments. On this basis, we believe and hope that the year 2024 which we are now entering, will be a year of a broader, bigger and more comprehensive struggle. In all areas, on all fronts, the struggle for freedom and democracy will spread, grow, deepen and achieve greater gains. 2024 will be the year of revolutionary victory. It will be the year of victory for the struggle for freedom. In this sense, 2023 entrusts an important legacy to the new year. In 2023, we really resisted as a people, as women and as young people.

The year 2023 was, above all, a year of great struggle for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. It was a year of resistance on all fronts. The developments created by these resistances have also renewed and restored hope. The results of the struggle in 2023 clearly showed that an equal, free and democratic life is possible, that it can develop in every field, and that it is possible to create a new world on the basis of such a life. In this sense, we also call 2023 a year of clarification, a year of crystallization. Who is friend, who is enemy, who is right, who is wrong, who is narrow minded, who is progressive; these have been revealed. It was clearly seen that great gains can be achieved through struggle. All pessimism and despair were broken and destroyed. Instead, the hope, belief, will and assertion that resistance and struggle will always create great gains and bring about victories developed and strengthened more. It was a year of revolutionary claim and will, a year of revolutionary faith. It was a year in which all pessimism collapsed, a year in which we regrouped, gained hope, gained a deeper consciousness of freedom and democracy and embraced the struggle more strongly. Everyone evaluates this in their own way. But, of course, the revolutionary democratic forces should evaluate it the most, as well as our people, international friends, women and young people should. Because they lived the year to the fullest. They left their mark with their actions, their consciousness and what they did. Therefore, they are the ones who understand the results of the year best. They are the ones who will make the most accurate evaluation.

We believe that Rêber Apo makes the most powerful evaluations. He definitely defines the year the best. Now we feel and understand this in our hearts and consciousness. But of course, the maltreatment on [the prison island] Imrali is known. In order to deprive all humanity, our people, everyone of Rêber Apo’s correct and profound thoughts, a system of torture, isolation and genocide is being carried out on Imrali. But we can also understand and feel what Rêber Apo’s evaluations would be. We are also waging a struggle. Therefore, we can make sense of what we are doing and what we should do. Rêber Apo taught us how to make sense of it, that we have the power to make sense and give meaning. If we are good disciples, we can define the year by giving it meaning, by looking upon its achievements. Accordingly, we can make accurate and adequate predictions for the following.

The year 2023 has already come to an end. We define it as a year of hope and resistance led by the resistance in Imrali. In every sense, it has been a year of great resistance against the torture and isolation system of Imrali, in order to destroy this system and in order to achieve the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. In all four parts of Kurdistan and abroad, the guerrilla, people, women, young people, our international friends, all patriotic and democratic forces participated in this resistance. The peak of this was 10 October, when the global campaign for freedom was launched. The campaign developed under the slogan of ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’ was the finale of this resistance. We can also say that the most meaningful and important mobilization of 2023 was the campaign of October 10, which also left its mark this year because it showed determination, a comprehensive goal, integrity, insistence, will and belief.

The campaign will surely bring about positive results. The assertiveness and determination is clearly seen in all our patriotic people, in the women and youth who are leading the action, and in all our democratic friends. There is not the slightest weakness or pessimism. Everyone is focused on this action and its success. They are saying, “The torture and isolation system of Imrali will be destroyed and Rêber Apo’s physical freedom will be achieved.” Two and a half months have passed. Every day for the past two and a half months, there have been demonstrations, new participants, new statements. There has been great participation in the last period as well. The hunger strike resistance of revolutionary prisoners, which started on 27 November,  has completed its first month, which also added strength and motivation. The campaign was like a new beginning, it mobilized everyone. On the other hand, there are marches and rallies everywhere. The mass actions of the youth and women never stopped, as well as the statements and participation never stopped.

There was also a reading campaign on December 10. It was called upon to read the books of the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan. What can you tell us about this?

The aim of the reading campaign was to better understand the Rêber Apo. This was a very interesting action and a very important and meaningful action. It was an action to be carried out precisely for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. In other words, it was an action that corresponded to his reality. Because Rêber Apo means consciousness. Rêber Apo means a new mentality. Rêber Apo means a new lifestyle and way of life. Rêber Apo means the power of meaning. He defined himself as a power of meaning and described his point of view as “meaningism”. He saw giving meaning to life as more valuable than anything else. And he created such a perspective and philosophy. Consciousness and the power of giving meaning are essential attributes of Rêber Apo. He opened the door to everything.

In the struggle for the physical liberation of Rêber Apo, the effort to read his books, to discuss his thoughts, in other words, to educate oneself, to raise one’s consciousness, to liberate one’s mentality, is an effort that completely corresponds to the reality of Rêber Apo. In this respect, the campaign was correct and meaningful. Those who organized it must have understood the reality of him well. I can only add that this should be continuous. The days of reading Rêber Apo should be continuous, the time should be continuous. Everyone should read Rêber Apo, read the prison writings, study the new paradigm whenever they are in difficulty, are stuck, helpless, or left without a solution. They will find the solution to every problem there. The perspective of the solution is there, the ways and methods are there. All our people should read it, our international friends should read it. In this regard, I especially call on the young people.

In regard to the struggle for the physical freedom of Abdullah Öcalan, how do you evaluate progress, and how great are the chances that you achieve your goal in the coming year?

During a program last week, our friend criticized why the knowledge about Rêber Apo is weak in Turkey and weak in the Middle East. She was right. In fact, there is a misconception, a very dangerous one, as the friend pointed out, that because Rêber Apo is Kurdish, and we are Kurds too, we think we know everything that Rêber Apo knows. This is a very bad point of view. Those who say that the defense writings were “published in Turkish first, later translated into Kurdish, we have read and learned it before anyone else, we understood it well enough,” are actually those who do not understand at all. Rêber Apo once said at the beginning of a lecture. “My criticisms concern mostly those who say ‘these points are not for me’.” Therefore, we can organize this saying as follows: those who understand Rêber Apo the least are those who think they understand him the most. I don’t mean that he is incomprehensible. This should not be misunderstood. But he cannot be understood by simply reviewing and looking at his work. It requires constant reading and studying.

In this respect, reading and becoming conscious with the thoughts of Rêber Apo must be continuous. Those who need it should read more. Women need to read more, because they are the most fundamental force for freedom. They need freedom more than anyone else. Young people should read more. In fact, the Kurdish people should read more and present what they understand. Otherwise, they will be wrong. What they know is not enough. The peoples of the Middle East should read more. Our people in the north, young people, should read more. They must understand, study, and watch. Especially for the youth, I call for a mobilization to read constantly in order to understand Rêber Apo more deeply.

On the other hand, we also need to see that the physical freedom of Rêber Apo is necessary for all of us. The action for his freedom, is the action of liberating ourselves spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually, rather than the action of just providing physical freedom for Rêber Apo. The act of educating and organizing ourselves is the act of reaching a free personality on the basis of the sociology of freedom. The enemy tries to put obstacles between us, they put bans. There has been no news from Rêber Apo for a thousand days. No information can be received. All kinds of pressure, torture and cruelty are applied. It is indeed a center of genocidal coordination. The Kurdish genocide is organized, managed and carried out on the basis of the Imrali system. All this torture is not only to put pressure on Rêber Apo, it is actually to deprive us of Rêber Apo’s thoughts because we need them so much.

Secondly, it is because of our inadequacies. If we were sufficient, if we understood correctly, if we fought successfully, if we were all Apos, as one philosopher put it, the torture and isolation practices on Imrali would have no meaning, they would only turn into personal revenge. They are trying to take revenge on Rêber Apo for making the Kurdish people, the women, the youth conscious, and the people conscious, for making them oppose this order, injustice, exploitation and oppression. It has a vengeful dimension. These repressions can only mean that. Our inadequacies actually cause these repressions to be prolonged, to take on more weight. So we are the ones who are insufficient. The isolation and pressure is actually being imposed on us. Everything is partly based on our inadequacies and weaknesses. Let us remove ourselves from this ground of weakness and inadequacy. Let us understand Rêber Apo more correctly. Let us implement our paradigm more successfully. In every field, in the field of ideological struggle, in propaganda, in agitation, in art, in literature, in social education, in organizing and guiding society, in war, in defense, in politics, in diplomacy, in economic and social life, if we apply it everywhere, and if it is seen, that everyone has become an Apo the torture system will have no meaning.

Rêber Apo has already said that wherever his prison writings are, there he is. Prison writings have spread everywhere. Therefore, everyone is reading and learning about Rêber Apo. The enemy tries to close the doors and tries to prevent even the slightest sound from coming out. But that has already been overcome. Rêber Apo has already broken the walls of isolation on Imrali with his prison writings. He shattered them and spread himself all over the world. Everyone is now educating themselves with the thoughts of Rêber Apo, reading Rêber Apo. They learn the truth about free life and the way of struggle from the thoughts of Rêber Apo. Therefore, Rêber Apo is everywhere. He is in the hearts and minds of all humanity all over the world. He is in the center and in front of the struggle for freedom and democracy.

In this respect, the torture system is being inflicted to prevent Rêber Apo. The forces of the international conspiracy hope that if they impose isolation, and prevent the thoughts of Rêber Apo from reaching the outside world, from reaching revolutionaries, patriots, the people, women and youth, they will weaken and narrow the struggle and ensure success and that we cannot do it. So let us approach this with great anger and reaction. Let’s say we can do it and let’s do it. Let’s not just make an empty claim, let’s do it. A global action campaign for freedom has been put forward. By joining it with all our strength we can achieve our goal, so let’s all participate, let’s participate everywhere. Let everyone be part of the freedom campaign all over the world with new and creative actions and forms of participation, deepen it even more, make it multifaceted. Let a great revolution of freedom, a struggle for freedom emerge. If we do this, this system of Imrali, torture, isolation and genocide will collapse. It will have no meaning anymore. Those who insist on maintaining it, cannot. So this is what we need to do. Now we are evaluating these once again on the occasion of this end-of-year-evaluation. We are questioning ourselves again and again on this basis. We understand more correctly.

We enter the year 2024 with a more accurate understanding of the reality of Rêber Apo and prepared for more successful implementation. 2024 will be a year in which the action campaign for the physical freedom of the Rêber Apo and the solution of the Kurdish question grows and develops much more and gains great victories by breaking the Imrali, torture, isolation and genocide system. 2023 was the most meaningful year of effective strategic action and 2024 will also be a year of victorious action. The absolute goal will be to bring the campaign for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and the solution to the Kurdish question to victory. We do not and will not accept any goal other than this. We believe with all our hearts and minds that this will be realized, and to the extent that we develop the struggle on this basis, we will definitely be victorious. Everyone should believe and trust in this. 2024 will be the year of victory for the struggle for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. With great faith, I call on everyone and the struggle to grow on this basis, and I salute everyone who takes action.