Kalkan: The squares of Newroz are full, and the slogan “Bijî Serok Apo!” can be heard everywhere

The squares of Newroz are filled to the brim, and the slogan “Bijî Serok Apo!” can be heard everywhere

Duran Kalkan, member of the KCK Executive Council, about the current situation in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world. In addition to the current Newroz celebrations and their political and social significance, in this first part of the interview, Kalkan talked about the situation in the struggle for Abdullah Öcalan's physical freedom.

Newroz is coming up soon, there are already celebrations in many places and a lot of people are coming together. What is your view of the celebrations this year? What influence do they have on the general struggle? And do you have a call you would like to make to people?

The time of Newroz has started. On this occasion, firstly, I would like to congratulate my comrades, especially Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], our people, all peoples, women, young people, all our international friends, workers and laborers. I wish all those who struggle for freedom and democracy great success in the new year of Newroz.

We greet this Newroz with the struggle of the global campaign for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. Already before, we have declared it the Newroz of Rêber Apo, the Newroz of freedom, and has been marked as the Newroz of freedom and victory. Indeed, already in the very first days, it reached millions. In Kurdistan, in North Kurdistan, partly in South Kurdistan and Rojava, as well as abroad in various parts of Europe, already millions of people have taken to the streets and squares. It is already clear that if the mobilization continues like this, tens of millions will become active by the day of Newroz. One can express this clearly, because the main mass has not yet mobilized. For example, Amed has not yet shown its strength, as with Germany and Europe in general. Rojava is just getting started. Rojhilat has just started with Mahabad. It is spreading everywhere, and it is doing so in a strong way. The Jin, Jiyan, Azadî uprisings of the people of Rojhilat are continued by their celebrations of Newroz. They have a much stronger and more concrete expression of their demand for freedom.

The first steps have already been taken; millions have filled the squares. Eventually, it will reach tens of millions, maybe even 30-40 million will be on their feet. We are experiencing the biggest, most magnificent, most widely participated, and, at the same time, the most enthusiastic and hopeful Newroz of all time. The strongest realization of the meaning of Newroz is taking place. The enthusiasm is really at its highest level. One can easily see this. The squares of Newroz are filled to the brim, and the slogan “Bijî Serok Apo!” can be heard everywhere. The people call for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. So are the speakers on the stage.

So, on the one hand, there is great enthusiasm and excitement, but on the other hand, there is also a very clear demand. This Newroz is being participated with the determination to gain the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. Our global freedom campaign, which aims for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo, has reached a peak with Newroz. At this rate, there will not be a necessity for a next phase, there will be a general peak, a culmination. If this continues, this will be the case in terms of the embracing of Rêber Apo, in making clear the demands for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo, and in the massiveness and enthusiasm of the people.

People are coming together with great enthusiasm and are pushing their demand for Rêber Apo’s physical freedom together. There are tens of millions now. It is the Kurdish people, women, youth, workers, and laborers, the neighboring peoples, the peoples of the Middle East. This is all humanity, women, youth, workers, and laborers—all the oppressed. There is global unity in this. The embrace of Rêber Apo and the rise of his physical freedom reached a level where no one can stop it anymore. No one can stop this march to freedom.

The Kurdish people and their international friends, as well as all the oppressed, have decided to ensure the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. They are making this clear in the Newroz celebrations, and they will surely be successful. In this sense, this Newroz has not only brought our global struggle for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo to a peak, but also showed its victories and achievements. It proved that it would be victorious. It has shown that the struggle is unstoppable and unbreakable. These issues are very, very important.

There is indeed excitement and enthusiasm to celebrate, enthusiasm to struggle, and enthusiasm for liberation. This is not just an ordinary phase of celebration. It is like breaking all the bonds of slavery, breaking the shackles, and thus being reborn. The current enthusiasm shows that. Isn’t this in line with the legend and spirit of Newroz? It is said that Newroz is the beginning of a new day, a new year, and a rebirth. Right now, millions, tens of millions, are experiencing liberation, a realization of the meaning of freedom in this Newroz, and this great march for freedom is an unstoppable march. No matter what anyone does, no matter how much they attack, this will for freedom of the women and youth of the Kurdish people, of all oppressed humanity, and of all peoples will not be stopped. It will march until victory, and in the end, it will surely triumph.

Rêber Apo said, “Newroz is much more beautiful and meaningful with the PKK.” This is indeed the case. He added, “We did not start the PKK on Newroz day for nothing.” The PKK is a Newroz party, and the Kurdish people have become Newroz people through the struggle of the PKK. The foundations of the PKK were laid during the Newroz period. Each Newroz made the struggle bigger, new aspects were added to the struggle through actions and developments. Thus, a freedom struggle, a freedom movement, a freedom march—the reality of a free people that grew and took shape with Newroz has emerged. Women’s freedom and the dynamic struggle of young people formed the basis for this.

Of course, it must be stated that all these developments are based on the work of Rêber Apo, his labor, struggle, consciousness, and spirit. He took the torch of freedom from the depths of history and redefined and reshaped it for the present. He formed a new mentality, political theory, philosophy, and way of struggling and gave these to the Kurdish people. He gave it to women, young people, and all people. Thereby, he showed the way of Newroz and said that the one who fights in the spirit of Newroz, in the spirit of resistance, victory, and freedom, in the spirit of unity, is the one that succeeds. In this respect, the physical freedom of Rêber Apo makes Newroz more meaningful. Everyone associates Newroz with the reality of Rêber Apo.

On that note, I commemorate all the martyrs of Newroz with respect, love, and gratitude by remembering comrades Mazlum Dogan. Zekiye, Rahşan, Bêrîvan, and Ronahî. There are hundreds of guerrillas who fell martyrs during Newroz. All of them contributed to what we see as Newroz today. Today’s Newroz is particularly identified with the resistance of Mazlum Dogan.

During the Newroz of 1977, I was in Amed (Diyarbakir) with Mazlum Dogan. There were a few days left until Newroz, it was probably around March 15-16, and we wanted to write a leaflet to distribute on this occasion. We decided to do so since there was Newroz excitement. We sat down, and while he was talking, I was writing on the typewriter. We spent hours on it until we filled a page that we were satisfied with. He defined Newroz according to what he had learned from life and according to what he had understood as good concepts. We defined Newroz. Comrade Mazlum used all the good, true, and beautiful words which he knew to define Newroz. We didn’t distribute it afterward because comrade Haki had already prepared one in Antep and sent it to us. When we saw it, we left the one we had prepared so that there would be only one leaflet and distributed the one from Antep.

What do I want to express? For comrade Mazlum, Newroz was the total sum of goodness, beauty, truth and freedom. He had such a strong and deep consciousness concerning Newroz. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that he took his action on the day of Newroz. He has put his consciousness into his action. That is why Rêber Apo calls him a Contemporary Kawa. The efforts of Rêber Apo and the struggle of our martyrs made Newroz what it is.

Today, it is precisely this consciousness, this spirit, that mobilizes millions and tens of millions with their enthusiasm and excitement for freedom. It is the effect of this. Everyone calls it Mazlum’s resistance, Mazlum’s spirit of freedom. This spirit of freedom is really great and requires the right understanding. Of course, we have the duty and responsibility to understand Newroz according to Rêber Apo, to the martyrs, and to Mazlum Dogan, to eliminate and overcome our contradictions. We must definitely do this during this Newroz period. We must struggle with great enthusiasm and excitement. We must see Newroz as a great day of resistance, a day of freedom, and a day of liberation. At the same time, we must purify ourselves from our own mistakes and shortcomings. In the tradition of Newroz, in the tradition of the resistance of the oppressed, in the tradition of true freedom, we must create a renewal that overcomes our own shortcomings and renews ourselves. The right approach to Newroz and the right embrace of Newroz are precisely like this. This is how we approach it.

I once again congratulate everyone on Newroz, but at the same time, I call on everyone to continue this spirit, to turn the coming days into days of increased action, and to bring these Newroz actions demanding the physical freedom of Rêber Apo to the highest level. I especially call on the people of North Kurdistan to unite in Amed. I call on our people in Europe to turn the Newroz organized in Germany into the biggest Newroz ever. I call on our people in Rojava, in South Kurdistan, and the Kurdish people all over the world, children, old people, young people, women, men, everyone, to fill the Newroz squares and show an appropriate attitude and will. This is a battle of will, a battle of attitude. It has come to this. Demanding and claiming the physical freedom of Rêber Apo means claiming your own freedom, claiming your existence, claiming Kurdishness. It is to participate in the Kurdish struggle for existence and freedom, to connect, to want to exist and live free. Kurdish freedom is the freedom of all peoples.

In this respect, Newroz shows the way to everyone. It is a beacon of hope for all the oppressed, it is a guide, it shows the way to liberation. Therefore, everyone must unite in Newroz and turn this Newroz into a real Newroz of freedom and victory on the basis of the physical freedom of Rêber Apo, in accordance with its true purpose. My call is on this basis.

While the solitary confinement of Kurdish peoples leader Abdullah Öcalan continues unabated, the struggle for his physical freedom also continues vigorously. What can you tell us about the resistance on Imrali and against Imrali?

Firstly, I would like to respectfully greet Rêber Apo. It has been three years, and there has been no information about the continuously ongoing torture and solitary confinement on the Imrali prison island. There is no hint that the situation has changed. Lately, the doctors have expressed concerns in their statement, in which they have spoken generally about Rêber Apo’s condition and health on the island. Although this statement came very late, it was very important, and it is necessary that similar efforts be made. We need to deepen the legal struggle against this situation, and various other methods also need to be recognized as options for struggle. Because what is very clear is that something can only be achieved through struggle. The current situation will only change through struggle. That is why the struggle is so fundamental and why developments within it are so vital.

On October 10, a global campaign under the name ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’ was launched. In fact, it must be underlined that the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and the solution to the Kurdish question are the same thing, that they are intertwined. This struggle reached its peak on the 25th anniversary of the Imrali system, on the anniversary of the international conspiracy on February 15th.

Those who initiated this freedom campaign, declared that the first phase had been completed and that the second phase had begun. And indeed, the 26th year of resistance against the February 15 conspiracy and the Imrali system has started with intense actions in four parts of Kurdistan and all over the world. A mass mobilization can be seen. So, the second phase of resistance can be called the one of mass resistance. The protests against the international conspiracy were waged to such an extent, and the celebrations of March 8 continued on this basis. Women’s demands for freedom in the four parts of Kurdistan and abroad, and their struggle on this basis, were integrated within the global freedom campaign for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. Everywhere, Rêber Apo was embraced by women, and the physical freedom of Rêber Apo was demanded. These protests were like a first peak of the second stage.

Now the Newroz celebrations are taking this to an even higher level. Indeed, our global freedom campaign is becoming massive in the second phase. It looks like it will reach a level that will surpass all the mass actions that have existed so far. All this is being carried out by the Kurdish people, women, and young people, but not only by them. This campaign was initiated by trade unions, laborers, various other organizations, artists, intellectuals, politicians, and human rights defenders all over the world. It was started by those who are the hearts and minds of people across the world. Now this trend is getting stronger. Why is it getting stronger? Because the system of torture, solitary confinement, and genocide that is spreading from Imrali is unprecedented and unacceptable. It is a question of universally applicable principles of law and fundamental moral principles. Whether one looks at the current situation with a moral approach or a legal one, it is not acceptable. No moral, law-abiding person should be able to tolerate the system of torture, solitary confinement and genocide on Imrali. That is why these people demand the physical freedom of Rêber Apo.

Simultaneously with this global resistance, Rêber Apo has carried out the biggest mental and intellectual revolution in history, on Imrali. He developed a new paradigm that shows the way to liberation for all the oppressed. Despite all restrictions, obstacles, and oppression, he managed to create this and give it expression.

Right now, we are facing the ongoing third World War, which causes threats, famine, or, more generally, the destruction of nature and society. The attacks of the capitalist modernity system are at this level. In such an environment, people are in great search of survival. They live under the danger and threat of extinction. Rêber Apo has given the answer to this search with his new paradigm. People see the path to freedom in Rêber Apo’s paradigm. From the oppressed slave, to the destroyed woman, people are now embracing Jineolojî. Those under the pressure of the nation state embrace the political philosophy of democratic confederalism. Those under the pressure of bureaucracy embrace Rêber Apo’s concept of moral society. Wherever and however one suffers from the oppression of the current power and state system and global capitalism, there is a way out of it through Rêber Apo’s paradigm. Everyone can see and embrace liberation from oppression, exploitation, and persecution through this paradigm. This is very clear and understandable. The deficiency is that the paradigm of Rêber Apo is not sufficiently being conveyed to humanity. When this insufficiency is overcome, the global support for Rêber Apo will increase and grow.

Some call him a philosopher, others say he is the leader of the people, but all of them see Rêber Apo as a guide showing them the way to freedom. The more the ideas and political philosophy of Rêber Apo are conveyed to humanity, the more they will be embraced. It is necessary to believe in this and accordingly develop work in this direction.