Sabri Ok: No solution to the Kurdish question without the freedom of Öcalan

KCK Executive Council member Sabri Ok said that "no solution to the Kurdish question without the freedom of Öcalan."

KCK Executive Council member Sabri Ok spoke to ANF about the conspiracy against Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The first part of this interview can be read here

The coming days will mark the 25th anniversary of the 9 October 1998 conspiracy. [The day that Öcalan was forced to leave the Middle East, after Turkey threatened Syria that they would start a war, if Öcalan would not be handed over.] What should be done in this 26th year of the conspiracy?

Before answering this question, I would like to respectfully greet Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], from whom we haven’t heard anything in 31 months, but also to commemorate M. Halit Oral, Selamet Menteş, Aynur Menteş, Aynur Artan, Ahmet Yıldırım, Sema Yüce and all the others who were martyred by burning their own bodies under the slogan “You cannot darken our sun” in the prison and other areas of the struggle against the October 9 international conspiracy. Also, I would like to respectfully remember the friends of the south Kurdish regions of Zap, Avaşîn, Metîna and Xakurkê who got martyred by resisting with their sacrificial spirit nowadays, which is the harshest of our 50-year freedom struggle. Generally, I would like to respectfully commemorate all the martyrs of our struggle, and we promise that we will definitely keep their memories alive and realize their goals.

The forces of capitalist modernity tried to implement their policy of redesigning the Middle East with the international conspiracy against Rêber Apo 25 years ago. Rêber Apo and the Kurdistan Freedom Movement were in a position of influence on the Middle East policies that had to be seen and taken into consideration. Either the Middle East would be democratized with the solution of the ‘Kurdish question’ under the leadership of the PKK, or it would be prevented at all costs.

This is partly why the international conspiracy took place. After the conspiracy, there were those who calculated that the PKK would be liquidated and there would no longer be a ‘Kurdish question’. As a matter of fact, many circles wanted to speed up the process by engaging in many searches and counter-struggles; but they failed. Let alone the neutralization of Rêber Apo and the liquidation of the PKK, Rêber Apo realized a mental explosion in Imrali and prepared the paradigm of democratic modernity, which realizes the awakening of humanity against capitalist modernity. He called the process on Imrali ‘my third birth’.

With its struggle, the PKK has reached a position that affects and sometimes determines the developments and balances in Turkey and the Middle East. A great trick of the rulers is to erase the peoples’ memory of history. Because they have always been the ones who write history, not the ones who make it. With the conspiracy of October 9, they wanted to destroy everything associated with the name of Kurdistan. Those whose faith, will and purpose were not enough for this and who were not in line with it, took a different course. But those who walked in comradeship and loyalty are still continuing their struggle, albeit at a heavy cost. Those are now both making and writing history. It is important to know that as long as Rêber Apo is not physically liberated, the conspiracy and the ‘Kurdish question’ will always remain unsolved. In this sense, it is certain that for 25 years we have been engaged in a struggle against the conspiratorial forces at every level. No matter what they do, the PKK created by Rêber Apo and the struggle of the Kurdish people who are awakening and rising up, will never be stopped. All these difficulties are the birth pangs of freedom. The PKK and the Kurdish people have full faith in this.

The date of 9 October is persistently reminded to the Kurds in different dimensions. It is certainly no coincidence, that the occupying-genocidal Turkish state launched the invasion of the regions of Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê [in North and East Syria] on 9 October 2019. The message intended to be conveyed by this is that the international conspiracy against the Kurds, in the person of Rêber Apo, continues. If the US and the Coalition forces had shown a clear stance against the invading Turkish state, it would not have been possible for the genocidal Turkish state to start the invasion of Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê on October 9, 2019. The international powers supported the occupying Turkish state not by preventing it, but by encouraging it, and after a certain point, they wanted it not to advance any further. This was undoubtedly for their own interests. In other words, the US, EU, Russia and other powers involved in the international conspiracy, played a role in the occupation of the region of Afrin [in North and East Syria] or the occupation of Serekaniyê and Girê Spi, and supported the Turkish state. With this, the Turkish state sent the message that ‘just as international powers supported me when Rêber Apo was imprisoned, now international powers support me against the revolution in Rojava’. In other words, the conspiracy continues.

As it is known, an agreement involving the ‘Kurdistan Democratic Party’ (KDP), Iraq, the UN and the Turkish state was imposed on our Êzidî [Yazidi] people in Şengal [Sinjar]. The date of this imposition is October 9, 2020. None of this is a coincidence. What they mean is that the October 9 conspiracy hangs over the heads of Kurds like the sword of Damocles. Therefore, our people have to raise the struggle against the October 9th international conspiracy in all parts of Kurdistan, abroad and wherever they are, by showing the greatest resistance of all times. Not only meetings, workshops and conferences, but more effective forms of radical action and reaction such as marches, rallies, etc. have to be developed. Especially in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey, the October 9 conspiracy has to be opposed differently. Young people and women from all walks of life should protest against the international conspiracy and take a stand on that day. The conspiratorial forces have to be held to account in such a way, that they will not even mention October 9 again, let alone constantly remind the Kurdish people of October 9, as they did in Rojava and Şengal. They must know that they are guilty and that they are being held accountable. In this sense, the October 9 conspiracy should be the justification for great consciousness, for recreating oneself and, above all, for being in absolute action.

The politics of the AKP-MHP-led fascist government is based on fear and polarization, which has made Turkish society unable to breathe. If the economic crisis in Turkey were in any other country, all hell would break loose. But there is not a peep in Turkey. Why is this the case? How do you evaluate the attitude of the Turkish opposition, socialists and democrats on this issue?

It is true that Turkish society is historically statist. It is also true, that there is no other people who have built as many states as the Turks and have never lived without a state. But to explain the deadly politics of the current opposition in Turkey and to explain everything through this ‘either the state comes to power or the raven dies’ [Turkish idiom meaning that either you have a state or the worst things will happen ] would not be right. First of all, it is necessary to have a look at the AKP and the person of Tayyip Erdogan. The AKP and the personality of T. Erdoğan are the results of the Fethullah Gülen line, which was paved the way after the coup of September 12, 1980. Since then, it has always been the politics of the Islamic right that has dominated Turkish politics. It is also possible to call it political Islam. Tayyip Erdogan's mayoralty in Istanbul, his later rise to prominence as a political figure against Erbakan [Prime Minister of Turkey from 1996 to 1997] and the GME [Greater Middle East Project] project sufficiently reveal what the AKP and Erdogan are and what they stand for. Of course, there is also the so-called July 15 coup attempt, which Erogan said was ‘a blessing from God’. The army, the bureaucracy, the state and Erdogan reconciled. Political Islamists, classical Kemalists, Eurasianists all came together and Erdogan was their sword against the PKK, a figure who was fighting against Fethullah Gülen in disguise. If it is asked who benefited more from this than who, it would not be wrong to say that Erdogan and the AKP became the state by infiltrating the state, and therefore today’s state is the reality of the AKP. His whole aim was to liquidate the Kurdish Freedom Movement and bring the political genocide he started in Imrali to a sucsessfull end. Everything was permissible for this. Turkey’s economy and politics were to be determined accordingly. And so they did. But whatever they did, they failed.

On the contrary, Turkey is today mired in a quagmire. Its political reputation and credibility in the international arena has weakened to the point of non-existence. Its economy has hit rock bottom, hunger, poverty and unemployment have broken records at this level for the first time. What is natural and people’s right is to organize a very strong social reaction against the AKP-MHP government, which is so unresolved and experiencing problems in every aspect. However, due to the state of the opposition, the AKP should be grateful. We think that no country in the world has ever been governed as smoothly and comfortably as Turkey, despite such multiple problems. Because there is no opposition. The Kurdish Freedom Movement and the Kurdish people are already in continuous resistance. It is clear that the revolutionary socialist forces in Turkey are still not organized enough to develop a radical social opposition. However, the conditions are incredibly favorable. The democratic, left and socialist forces have to be able to play their role in such an abundant and extremely favorable process. They have to integrate with society at every opportunity and make every problem a justification for struggle. Otherwise, there is no opposition in Turkey.

It is certain that the CHP and other established parties are in complicity with the AKP-MHP fascist government. That is why Erdogan and Bahceli rule Turkey so smoothly and comfortably. The opposition of the CHP and other establishment parties is in collusion with the government, that is, with AKP fascism. A few years ago in Jordan, bread prices were raised by 25% or 50%. Against this, the Jordanian people immediately stood up and reacted, and the state had to take back the increase in bread prices in the face of this reaction. In Turkey, society is being beaten to death every day, so to speak. But despite this, there is no opposition that gives a damn. Neither the opposition, led by the CHP, has developed any social reaction to the daily hikes, nor to the fired workers, nor to the hunger and poverty. They themselves have even said that people should not take it to the streets. Therefore, there is no opposition in Turkey. An opposition that does not talk about the Kurdish question and refrains from fighting for democracy and freedom, is a lying opposition. This is the biggest advantage of AKP-MHP fascism. But this will undoubtedly not go on like this for ever. On the one hand, the Kurdish democratic politics and the development of the revolutionary democratic movement in Turkey. On the other hand, it is necessary to know that important developments can take place in a process when society has had enough.

The attacks of the occupying Turkish state against the [by the guerrilla controlled] South Kurdish Medya Defense Zones continue. The Kurdistan Freedom Guerrilla is showing a historic resistance against these genocide policies of the occupying Turkish state against the Kurds. How do you evaluate the attitude of the Kurdish people, Kurdish legal politics and Kurdish parties in the four parts and in Europe against these attacks?

Our war with the occupying Turkish state continues not only in the South Kurdish Medya Defense Zones, but in all four parts of Kurdistan, wherever there are Kurds, on all levels, politically, militarily, psychologically and morally. This is a total war. The genocidal Turkish state has been in an uninterrupted attack with all its power, especially for the last 8 years. It is clear that it is waging this war with the support of NATO, regional reactionary forces and Kurdish collaborators. In addition, all the reserves, all the potential, economic and political power of Turkey is being spent on this war. Using the advantage of being a member of NATO and its geopolitical and geostrategic position, it acts by trampling on the law of war without recognizing any rules, humanitarian and moral standards. It uses thermobaric bombs and chemical weapons against the Kurdistan Freedom Guerrillas. Unfortunately, the world, Europe and international powers remain silent despite these grave war crimes of the Turkish state.

The aim of the genocidal Turkish state is to bring their so-called ‘Collapse Plan’ to success. Hence the heavy isolation of Rêber Apo. It thinks of nothing but liquidating and destroying the PKK and the Kurdistan Freedom Guerrillas. It wants to believe that it will achieve this and tries to convince society and international powers of this. The resistance of the Kurdistan Freedom Guerrillas, especially in the last 8 years, despite the use of all kinds of technical and chemical weapons by the fascist Turkish army, is truly magnificent. Although the occupying Turkish army, the second largest power of NATO, mobilized all its means and attacked with all its might, it could not push back the Kurdistan Freedom Guerrillas. For 3 years, a fierce war has been going on in the South Kurdish regions of Zap, Avaşîn, Metîna, Xakurkê and other Medya Defense Zones.

This means that the occupying Turkish army has not achieved the results it desired. On the contrary, it is stuck at some points. The Kurdistan Freedom Guerrilla still maintains its capacity for action and continues its resistance with new tactics and techniques. But it is important to know that this resistance is the most difficult and at the same time the most glorious resistance of our 50-year struggle. The war is total, and on all economic, political, psychological levels. Our people, all revolutionary organizations and institutions have to struggle according to the principle of revolutionary people’s war by living the spirit of the process. Otherwise, it is both unfair and not right to put all the problems of the struggle on the shoulders of the guerrillas. In fact, it is the serhildan [the people’s uprisings] dimension of the revolutionary people’s war that the enemy fears the most. Kurdish youths and women in Kurdistan and metropolitan cities make life poisonous for them. The genocidal-colonialist Turkish state should no longer dare to play with the honor and future of the Kurds.

In Van, a Kurdish woman was raped by dozens of soldiers and village guards. Kurdish youth and women are kidnapped and forced to become spies through torture and coercion. Almost every day in every city of Kurdistan, a child is crushed and killed by panzer and tank tracks. Prostitution and drugs are being spread as a covert but most dangerous form of special warfare. All these are the reasons why the Kurdish people are in revolt every day. Kurds should think: Have there ever been children killed by panzers in the cities of Turkey? Have dozens of soldiers and gangs raped a woman anywhere in Turkey? These things just happen in Kurdistan. It is being done to play with the honor of Kurds, to humiliate Kurds. We cannot be silent against this. When a Kurdish child lost his life under a panzer in Şirnex [Turkish name Şirnak], all legal democratic politics, all MPs and elected officials should have flocked to Şirnex. Women, young people, all democratic institutions and organizations should have stood up and raised hell. When a woman was raped, a serhildan should have broken out. Anyone who does not play a role in this issue, who does not develop a reaction, who does not take part in the serhildan, is in a situation that is disconnected from the spirit of the process and is not aware of the dangers and opportunities. However, the process is really critical. No one should be comfortable and peaceful. There is no reason for the Kurdish people to be peaceful and relaxed when there is still no information about the health and safety of Rêber Apo, when the war continues at every level in the harshest way, and when the Kurdish people are in the grip of genocide. Such people should fear comfort and complacency. It must be in constant struggle and serhildan. Legal democratic politics have to expose the crimes of the occupying Turkish army every day, protest against them and develop a national and international struggle.

Our people in Europe should raise the struggle both for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and in support of the resistance of the guerrillas in the mountains of Kurdistan and against the special war against the Kurdish people, reach out to all unorganized segments of the Kurdish people and increase their organization, develop effective friendships with other peoples and mobilize the social segments they are in contact with.

From Afrin to South Kurdistan, the KDP stands out as a force that legitimizes the oppression and attacks of the occupying Turkish state on the Kurdish people. How do you evaluate this position of the KDP? How will the national unity of the Kurds be realized when the KDP has such a policy and Kurdish parties and organizations do not take a stance against it?

Kurdish history tells us that “Kurmê darê ne ji darê be, dar narize” (If the worm of the tree is not from the tree itself, the tree will not rot)”. In all societies, there have always been those who have distanced themselves from their identity, who put their interests above national identity, who have adopted collaborationism. But this is very prominent among Kurds. This historical proverb already expresses this. This is also the case today. Now we are in a struggle with the genocidal Turkish state everywhere. Afrin, Serêkaniyê, Girê Spi are occupied by the genocidal Turkish state. There are dozens of military bases of the occupying army in Southern Kurdistan. South Kurdistan and Rojava are bombed every day by UAVs and warplanes. The countryside and people of Kurdistan are being massacred. It is very clear what kind of attitude any Kurdish movement should have against such a genocidal power. The KDP has determined its attitude to developing relations with the genocidal Turkish state. Otherwise, the genocidal occupying Turkish state will definitely be tried for war crimes in international courts for the crimes it committed in Afrin. But the attitude of some so-called Kurdish groups alongside the KDP, which legitimize the occupation and genocide in Afrin, makes this difficult. The same applies to South Kurdistan. Without the KDP’s stance, the genocidal Turkish army would have been defeated by the guerrillas by now. It is the KDP that gives the enemy a breathing space. Every day in the mountains of Kurdistan, young Kurdish women and men are martyred by warplanes. How can one be in a relationship with such an enemy of the Kurds? How can one support such a force? Patriotic Kurdish intellectuals and personalities, parties and groups should, of course, see this situation and develop a counter-attitude. Otherwise, it is certain that the enemy is taking great advantage of this.

As for the question of unity among the Kurds, or rather national unity, there is no other example of a people and geography as fragmented and divided as the Kurds. Therefore, more than anyone else, the Kurdish people need national unity. Historically, this policy against Kurdistan has been called ‘the policy of fragment, divide and rule’. This policy is still being pursued. When we look at the world, the USA is a federal country. There is the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League. Russia has the Commonwealth of Independent States. Only the Kurds, who are the most fragmented and divided, are far from this unity. National unity is essential. A national unity with the participation of all parties and groups in the four parts of Kurdistan should be the greatest longing, dream and aspiration of the Kurdish people. But it is clear that such a unity is difficult in the current conjuncture. In that case, it is most correct and possible to form the mortar of national unity with parties, groups and personalities coming together on the patriotic line, and to take the necessary steps on this basis. As a party, we have always acted with a very broad perspective and self-sacrifice in this regard. From now on, we will continue our stance on the basis of patriotism and national unity and deepen our struggle to protect Kurdish gains in all areas.