Rozerîn Öcalan: It's the first time a radical boycott action of this level has developed in prisons

Rozerîn Öcalan from the PKK-PAJK Prison Committee talked about the prison resistance and the new level of radicalism in the fight against isolation. Mothers are also entering a new phase with their fight.


The protest carried out by political prisoners from the PKK and PAJK for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish question has reached a new level with the transformation of the hunger strike into a communication boycott.

Rozerîn Öcalan from the PKK-PAJK Prison Committee said in an interview with ANF that “the boycott of family visits, the rights to make phone calls and not appearing in court represent a revolutionary approach. This resistance requires a firm stance and a strong will.”

What impact did the campaign “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish question” have on the outstanding results at the local elections?

We can easily say that the work carried out with the campaign "Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish question" has positively influenced and shaped the electoral process. This work took place with the active participation of hundreds of institutions, well-known personalities and friends around the world. The Ankara action of comrades Rojhat and Erdal and the revolutionary operations by the guerrillas created a great fighting morale in society. Hunger strike resistance and the vigils for justice initiated outside under the leadership of our mothers, the Freedom March in Northern Kurdistan, 8 March and the magnificent Newroz celebrations had a major impact on the outcome of this election.

The fact that Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] was put on the agenda also had a positive effect on the election campaign. The election campaign has once again shown that you cannot achieve results if you do not put Rêber Apo on the agenda. The fact that Rêber Apo in Northern Kurdistan was relied upon, albeit not sufficiently, has brought about some developments.

The walls of fear have been largely overcome, and despair has been replaced by the belief that the battle can be won. With the Serhildan of Van, all intimidation and desperate attempts were destroyed. Under the leadership of Kurdish young people and women, a strong spirit of resistance emerged again.

Our comrades in the prisons also joined the campaign by going on hunger strike from 27 November 2023. It was important that the prisons quickly organize themselves and take their place in the campaign, in keeping with our movement's tradition of resistance. Despite all the reprisals, difficult conditions and all kinds of attacks, they did not hesitate to resist the total isolation of Rêber Apo. With the hunger strike, prisoners made a significant contribution to the campaign and took on a vanguard role because they had such a great impact on the public. The prisoners also contributed to the success in the local elections.

The heroic resistance of the guerrillas in the mountains and the revolutionary operations carried out immediately after the announcement of the offensive completely thwarted the enemy's "plan of defeat." Now the Turkish army's will to fight has been broken, the moral and psychological superiority has completely passed to the guerrillas. The Turkish state, despite all its special war apparatus and media, was unable to prevent this, and the apoist spirit displayed by the guerrillas made society lively, moral and resistant again and significantly influenced the election results.

From 4 April, the hunger strike was transformed into a communications boycott. How do you evaluate this?

This is the second stage of the prisoners’ campaign. It is a higher level. It is of utmost importance that our friends in prison have, for the first time at this level, begun such a radical process under the slogan ‘I choose to live in the same conditions as Rêber Apo.’ Cutting off all connections to the outside world, giving up family visits, giving up the right to phone calls, not appearing in court, despite all repression and isolation, is a revolutionary approach that requires a firm stance and a strong will.

It is known that since 2014, the AKP-MHP fascism has mobilized all its power and resources to liquidate the freedom movement. The prisons are one of the most important areas of this attack. This is where fascism is trying to institutionalize itself in every way and it is precisely here that our friends initiated the second stage of their resistance. This is the greatest answer to fascism. Therefore, we welcome this second step and we accept it as a revolutionary decision at the right time and in the right place.

Rêber Apo demonstrated his will and determination even under conditions of the most relentless torture in a place like Imrali. He spends every moment in the greatest battle against the hegemonic powers. Imrali is the center of ideological and actual resistance to both Turkish fascism and the system of capitalist modernity. Our leadership continues every aspect of our fight, even in isolation. Rêber Apo told the international hegemonic powers: ‘I will not make demands on you for myself. Do whatever you want, I will show the resistance of the will and the power of a free life even in the face of the most unbearable conditions, I will take a stand against the most merciless situation, against your coercion and counter it with my resolute stance. I will not show a moment of weakness. While you want to achieve your goal of bringing me into line with your torture system, I will resist based on the democratic-ecological, women's liberation paradigm and mentality.’

In this sense, it is very important that our friends in prison spend every moment and every day with such determination and develop an attitude of resistance in the spirit of the reality of Rêber Apo and his conditions. They aim to understand Rêber Apo even better, assume their responsibility in the current phase and play their leadership role.

This second phase should also be understood as a practical self-criticism. In prison conditions, where all kinds of oppression and torture are implemented, the willingness to live like Rêber Apo 24 hours a day is a very significant and worthy attitude. In this honorable attitude we must see the revolutionary spirit of comrades Mazlum Doğan, Hayri Durmuş, Kemal Pir and Sakine Cansız.

What were the effects of the justice vigils organized by the families? How will the resistance of relatives continue?

The vigils for justice initiated by the mothers were important in this process. The fact that they kept the resistance of Rêber Apo and our friends in prison on the agenda had a positive effect. The mothers' actions created a feeling of sociality and solidarity. People began to question themselves and become aware of their duties and responsibilities. The most important thing was that everyone openly supported Rêber Apo and demanded his freedom without fear. This had an impact not only on those involved, but on society as a whole. This determined stance and the mothers' activism played an important role both in the gradual growth of the offensive, in the mobilization in Northern Kurdistan, and in the election results and the defeat of AKP-MHP fascism.

The press has said that our mothers will take their vigils for justice to the next level. This is a very important and meaningful step. The first phase was about creating an agenda. We think they will now go into planning to further pressure fascism and get results. It appears that mothers will once again lead this process. And this will become more effective and massive, and will not take place in closed rooms, but on the streets and squares. Rêber Apo's demand for freedom will sound everywhere without fear. Of course, the most fundamental patriotic duty is that mothers are not left alone and that all our patriots and democratic forces stand on the side of mothers.

We know that the mothers, the young people of Kurdistan and the women have always stood fearlessly at the forefront of our struggle. From now on they will again be the main vanguard forces. It was always the mothers who carried on the line of the Kurdish freedom struggle. The tradition of resistance remains unbroken to this day and is constantly growing, also thanks to the determined attitude and attitude of our mothers. For this reason, our mothers have always been our source of pride, strength and morale. We will strive to be worthy of their proud patriotic attitude and to develop the struggle and bring it to a result.

Is there anything more you want to add?

The belief that AKP-MHP fascism will take a step back as a result of the resistance that began in Van and the great defeat it suffered has been strengthened in all areas. We can say that the pessimistic atmosphere created by the special war in our society has completely dissipated. This resistance has created an atmosphere of a fully democratic process in Turkey and Kurdistan. In this spirit, we call on everyone to unite around the campaign. Everyone should fulfill their duties and responsibilities to protect Rêber Apo and the resistance of our friends in prison and demonstrate this through actions.

In this process, Rêber Apo's defense writings should be read and discussed everywhere, efforts to understand them should be increased, and everyone should be able to participate based on their knowledge. This happens by living and keeping apoism alive, by knowing and implementing it. This is also an important task and responsibility in the context of the movement. We would like to once again express our conviction that all of our patriots will participate in this spirit, take responsibility and participate actively and with great willingness to sacrifice in the process.