Kalkan: Öcalan's resistance is against the attempts to exterminate Kurds

Duran Kalkan spoke extensively about the Imrali system of exile, torture, and genocide and the resistance to it.

In this in-depth analysis, Duran Kalkan, member of the KCK Executive Council, addressed the latest developments in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world. Kalkan talked about the recent actions and the developing campaign for the physical freedom of the leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Öcalan, and the solution to the Kurdish question. 

Kalkan said: "The Imrali system of exile, torture, and genocide, as well as the international conspiracy assault, marked its 25th anniversary on 15 February. The hundredth year of the genocidal assault against the Kurdish people has also begun. As stated by Rêber Apo, 15 February 1925, ought to be remembered as “Kurdish Genocide Day.” We must first acknowledge that this particular situation has never occurred before. Not in the past, not in the present. There has never been a 100-year genocide attack on any society. As a result, it is not appropriate to refer to this issue as the 'Kurdish question.' To describe it as a genocidal attack carried out against the Kurds would be oversimplified. This is a special situation. This onslaught is comprehensive, and has been planned and rehearsed for over a century.

There has never been an attack like the one carried out within the framework of the international conspiracy, whether in the past or in the present. The Imrali system of exile, torture, and genocide is also like this. These are not like regular attacks. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to and take seriously the conspiracy attack, the Imrali genocide, the system of torture, and isolation. This oppressive and attacking system is unheard of. These are blows meant to destroy everything. Those who planned this century-long genocide still want to see it through to completion. They are attacking to eradicate the Kurds from history and to annihilate them by looting all of their resources and opportunities. They assert that 'Kurds are terrorists, Kurds commit crimes, Kurds don’t listen to rules'.

There had been no news or information from Rêber Apo and his other comrades on Imrali for three years. Neither the Turkish law, nor the European Union law, nor the US law legally allows such a thing. But they apply it and no one objects. They don’t even apply their own laws. It is an astonishing situation. Was that law written so that it would actually be implemented or was it written to deceive society, laborers, women, and the youth? Are all those things which have been written lies?

When we look at the Kurdish question from this perspective, and look at the situation of the Kurds and the situation of Rêber Apo, then we see the reality of the historical and current power and state system."

Kurds have been resisting for a century

Kalkan continued: "In this respect, ‘25 years’ is easily said. Is there any other society in history that has resisted 100 years of genocide? Has anyone been subjected to such a holistic genocide? But the Kurds are still resisting. We really need to understand the hundred-year struggle correctly. What did they do, what did they go through, how many martyrs did they give? How much destruction have they experienced? Their values and opportunities were destroyed. These things are never questioned. As if those who did this have the right to do so. As if this was a right granted by God. Kurds, on the other hand, are as if they have been given the fate of being subjected to these massacres.

The attack on Imrali is of this kind, and so is the resistance of Rêber Apo. There is a 25-year resistance against the Imrali system of torture, isolation and genocide. We have stated before, Imrali is not a prison. It is not a hostage house either. It is actually a management center for the last 25 years of the genocidal attack that has been going on for a century. For 25 years, this genocide has been carried out on the basis of the Imrali system. Because Rêber Apo represents the will and is the representative of Kurdish freedom and existence. That is why he was kidnapped and put on Imrali. Rêber Apo is wanted to be destroyed by this attack. It is the Kurdish people, the Kurdish society, that is wanted to be destroyed in the person of Rêber Apo. With the attack on Rêber Apo, the Kurdish genocide is wanted to be completed, it is wanted to be realized. Therefore, the Imrali resistance was the resistance against such a destructive attack in the enemy’s headquarters for 25 years.

This resistance must also be understood correctly because the possibilities and opportunities for this exist. You can create something with little means and opportunities. This is success. Yet, there is no such opportunity in Imrali. One side has no possibilities, no opportunities. Zero. Even below zero. The other side has everything. It has all kinds of means. It has the means of repression and it attacks. In other words, there is such an unequal war and struggle. The Imrali resistance is a resistance carried out in such an environment of power imbalance. So we really need to understand the Imrali resistance correctly. In all aspects, the lessons of the Imrali resistance are very instructive. It has proved everyone wrong. What was the most revolutionary opinion presented at the start of the conspiracy? That there must be objective conditions. There must be a certain possibility, opportunities at one level or another, so that they can fight intelligently, in a planned way, in style, in a brisk manner, in order to enlarge them and win. There is none of this in Imrali."

Öcalan has become a global leader

Kalkan added: "In other words, there are no objective conditions, no concrete circumstances. He has nothing except his brain and heart. There is nothing other than humanly resisting with brain and heart power. Therefore, the Imrali resistance is very instructive. Let us pay attention; with his 25 years of resistance on Imrali, Rêber Apo proved that it is possible to fight for freedom and win in all conditions and environments. And even in the most difficult environment. Rêber Apo’s 25 years of resistance on Imrali proved that the greatest revolutionary development and great revolutions can be made if there is a correct understanding and if the power of mindfulness is developed. He achieved a paradigm shift. In such an environment, he transformed himself from a national leader to a global leader. He transformed himself from being the Kurdish leader to the leader of the peoples, the leader of the oppressed, the leader of women. He revealed a mentality that showed the path of liberation for all the oppressed, and put forward his political philosophy. He realized a revolution of mentality, an intellectual revolution on this level and created a new paradigm, a new understanding, new, viable solutions to all the problems posed by the power and state system. Now whoever sees this, says: “We need this.” Therefore, they want to hear and learn more about Rêber Apo’s thoughts. They want to benefit more from those thoughts. Because those thoughts are in their own interests. They produce solutions to the problems people face. The Imrali resistance is such a resistance.

This 25th anniversary was very important. As a whole, we questioned and evaluated ourselves in the line of resistance. We tried to correct and change our mental structures, emotions, morale, understanding and style, in order to renew ourselves in the line of the Imrali resistance. Because the 25th anniversary required this. Indeed, a quarter of a century is enough to make these evaluations.

Like I mentioned before, we have also entered the 100th anniversary of the genocidal attack on Kurdish society. Now the Kurds will struggle against the 100th anniversary of the genocidal attack in this current year. They will fight against the 26th year of the Imrali system of torture, isolation and genocide, the 26th year of the conspiratorial attack on this basis, and the 100th year of the genocidal attack."

Invincible resistance

Kalkan said: "If 25 years of the fiercest attack in history could not destroy Rêber Apo, the PKK, or the Kurdish freedom movement, if, despite the conditions, great advances were made, then this resistance is invincible from now on. And the PKK will do more great things. It will serve the people and humanity more. If the Kurds have not been destroyed by the genocidal attack for 100 years, if they have resisted and ensured their existence, they will not only liberate themselves with the struggle for existence and freedom they will wage with the lessons they have learned from here, but they will make all peoples live in freedom, democracy and brotherhood. For this reason, the Kurdish freedom movement and the resistance of Rêber Apo are being carefully evaluated by all oppressed people, especially by women. It is being handled on this basis and it is spreading and turning into a global resistance. We need to spread this more and more and advance towards victory.

Indeed, the global campaign announced on 10 October 2023 was built around the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and the solution of the Kurdish question. The protests carried out against the 25th anniversary of the 15 February conspiracy reached its peak in the true sense of the word. This is so in every respect.

Let’s pay attention; there is no place where there have not been protests against the conspiracy. It was protested everywhere in Kurdistan, everywhere in the world. We all participated in these protests and reorganized and politicized our emotions, our thoughts, our behaviors according to the reality of the Imrali resistance, which was successful against the conspiracy. This is an important development.

There have also been big protests. For example, young people have been marching in Europe for a month. Not only Kurdish youth, but young people from all over the world, who define themselves as internationalists, have been marching for weeks. They went to the Council of Europe. Finally, they also came to Cologne. It was a big march.

On the other hand, in North Kurdistan, there where groups from Kars and Wan that marched for 15 days. They ended their action on 15 February in Halfeti. They marched united, and dozens of cities and towns were passed through. A lot of work was done for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and for the solution of the Kurdish question, and awareness grew. This is a really big event. Also Rojava is on its feet. Hundreds of thousands, millions are marching. All the people of North and East Syria, from the age of seven to seventy, participated in the protests against the 25th anniversary of the conspiracy."

Resistance in prisons

Kalkan added: "Our imprisoned people are resisting. The hunger strike they launched is nearing the end of its third month and a warning was issued. The revolutionaries carrying out the hunger strike in the prisons said that more radical, stronger actions will be taken. They postponed it until after the election and made clear that if there will be no change, that they will carry out radical action.

Cologne was a determining factor. Let’s call it the great march of Cologne. It was called a million-strong rally. Everyone agrees that hundreds of thousands participated. Protests against the February 15 conspiracy peaked in Cologne. Let’s add all these actions up; millions protested against the February 15 conspiracy and the system of torture, isolation and genocide on Imrali. Millions expressed that their hearts and minds are with Rêber Apo. They demanded the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and a solution to the Kurdish question. Everyone demonstrated and expressed this in their actions wherever they were. These messages were shown and spoken in Cologne in a way that everyone could see and understand. They made themselves heard. They openly expressed and declared the demand for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and that they would be in continuous action until it is realized. A declaration of a new situation, a declaration of attitude. So it is really a summit. The Kurdish society – women, young people, Kurds who had been exiled abroad due to genocide, came together; they put forward their determination and will to live free and demanded the physical freedom of their representative and the dismantling of the Imrali system. They had a considerable number of international friends with them. Friends from all over the world, friends from all over Europe, women, youth, academics, workers, trade unionists, intellectuals, artists… People who serve society at all levels were with the Kurds in Cologne. And they too demanded the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. They shouted that this was their demand at least as much as the Kurds, that they also needed this."

Cologne set a great example

Kalkan added: "Cologne is a lesson for everyone, friend and foe alike. Although the Turkish state had tried so hard to convince Germany that it was a ‘terrorist action’, and although the German state tried to block the action, they did not succeed. The results are obvious. So the truth must be seen. A self-evident truth that everyone knows cannot be changed or covered up with false words. So the truth must be seen. There were many calls; they said that the mistakes should be corrected. There were those who said Europe made a mistake too, they should apologize and correct the crime they committed; a crime against humanity… For 25 years, it continues to commit a crime by keeping the Imrali system alive. The Council of Europe manages the Imrali system. This is a fact which is commonly known. Therefore, society told the German state it can get rid of this guilty situation. People who are the brains and hearts of the society warned their own state system by saying “this dark stain cannot continue any longer”. It was indeed a great message for those who understand.

The march of Cologne has shown that no matter what is done, no matter how many attacks are launched, this Kurdish people cannot be destroyed. Kurds can no longer be left without freedom, the genocide against them cannot be completed. Therefore, everyone will accept the existence and free life of the Kurdish people. This will was clearly demonstrated in Cologne with the screaming of hundreds of thousands of people who said, “We learned from Rêber Apo, we want to live together with Rêber Apo”. They will struggle for this and they will surely win.

There are such evaluations and statements. The march of Cologne is described as the summit of the first phase and the beginning of the second phase of the global campaign for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and the solution of the Kurdish question. There was also a conference in Brussels at the same time. The final declaration of the conference was published and demands were put forward. In fact, what would be done in the second phase was partly included in those demands.

In the 26th year of the international conspiracy of 15 February, the global freedom campaign will be carried out at a higher level with new forms of action. How will this happen? There are various opinions. There are statements by those who are carrying out this work. But if the Cologne rally is the beginning of this work, we can get an understanding of what is possible. There will be more social action. So far, mostly small groups have taken a stand. People have made statements everywhere. There have been various conferences, discussions. Of course there have been various mass actions, but nothing like the Cologne rally. It is understood then, that the Cologne rally is not only a protest against the 25th anniversary of the 15 February Conspiracy, but also the beginning of a new kind of action of the global freedom campaign aiming for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. There will be mass actions from now on. Mass actions will come to the fore. It will be in the form of big actions rather than narrow, small groups. This is how we can understand it."

Kalkan said: "Apart from this, the legal struggle will undoubtedly develop. This is very important. Let’s not just detract legal struggle. You may not be ideologically close to Rêber Apo, you may not be mentally close to him, you may not be politically close to him. You don’t even have to be a real democrat. If you are a person who believes in law, you need to oppose the system of torture, isolation and genocide in Imrali. There is no law on Imrali. Imrali has no relation with any principle that has been revealed as law in the history of humanity. It is outside of it. You can talk as much as you want about law, democratic law, justice, law as the basis of everything, but then such lawlessness cannot exist. It is easy to expose this. The legal struggle has a much wider potential. It can bring more effective opposition. In this respect, discussions, legal work and struggle that evaluate and analyze the Imrali torture and isolation system from a legal perspective are very important. This will probably develop.

The press and propaganda will be developed more effectively, so both sharing the protests with the masses more and exposing the practices on Imrali more through the press will be developed more. These will be developed by reaching the widest possible media circles. Those who carry out this work, those who are involved in it are evaluating it.

I can add that I think that new forms of action can also include more sustained, long-term, ongoing actions. It is also necessary to research such forms and methods of action. Because there is an important period of time ahead of us that will ensure both mass mobilization and continuity in action. March is approaching. March 8 is the Women’s Struggle Day and 21 March is Newroz, the Kurdish Freedom Day. The Kurds are a society which, 2500 years ago, gave humanity the belief of freedom against the state, against oppressors. As a gift of freedom, this society is waging the most meaningful struggle in history against genocide. Today, society is at the same point. Therefore, this is a situation exactly in line with the meaning of Newroz.

Newroz can then become the most powerful day of action. A Newroz that far exceeds the 15 February conspiracy protest, involving tens of millions of people, can be developed all over the world. There is 4 April, May 1st. There are important days for struggle. These will be evaluated. In this sense, there will be developments in the coming period. One can easily see this. This freedom campaign will yield results. There must be a level of action that will produce results, that will break the isolation in Imrali, that will lead to steps towards physical freedom. There will be developments in that direction.

In conclusion, let me state the following. Last week my comrade Hêlîn also said that participating in these protests also means to work on ones own liberation. All activists experience this. They carried out their own struggle for freedom. They developed their freedom in spirit, emotion, thought and behavior. They strengthened their will. They will undoubtedly do more of this from now on. On behalf of the PKK leadership, I salute all these actions. I congratulate everyone who participated in the 26th year of struggle against the conspiracy and wish them great success."