Besê Hozat: All the practices in Imrali are policies of Kurdish genocide

"Öcalan is the leader of a people, representing the will of millions. It is necessary to create conditions of freedom, security and health for him. Pressure must be intensified against relevant institutions to break the system of torture and isolation."

In an in-depth interview, Besê Hozat, co-chair of the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council, discusses, among several other topics, the current situation in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan in detail. She describes the guerrilla resistance in North and South Kurdistan and explains the importance of the struggle against ecocide and feminicide.

We publish the first part of the interview below:

First of all, can you give us an overview of the development of the global campaign aiming for the physical freedom of the Kurdish peoples leader Abdullah Öcalan and for a democratic solution to the Kurdish question? What is the status of the international institutions that are responsible for this current situation?

The global campaign aiming for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo [Leader Abdullah Öcalan] has reached a very important stage. It is developing day by day, becoming more universal, and accordingly, the embracement of the campaign has increased. Many internationally recognized intellectuals, writers, academics, politicians, and philosophers have written letters to the ‘European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ (CPT); also, dozens of world-renowned Nobel Peace Prize winners wrote letters to the CPT. The prison writings of Rêber Apo are widely read and discussed everywhere. In northern Kurdistan and Turkey, reading and discussing actions are being organized. This is of extreme value. Understanding the thoughts and paradigm of Rêber Apo leads to a very serious change and transformation. It leads to a change in mentality and liberates people and society. The more Rêber Apo is understood, the more the struggle for freedom grows and deepens.

The struggle for the freedom and embracement of Rêber Apo is developing. The widespread attention given to his paradigm is very important and sacred for society and humanity since this is a struggle to liberate the peoples. Increasing attention to this must be considered a fundamental struggle for freedom. The physical freedom of Rêber Apo and the freedom of the Kurdish people are completely interwoven. The efforts to liberate Rêber Apo physically are, in essence, efforts to free the Kurdish people, humanity as a whole, and women in particular. This subject needs to be approached as such. The physical freedom of Rêber Apo would mean the resolution of the Kurdish question on a democratic basis and the freedom of Kurdistan. It would mean the democratization of Turkey. It would mean the democratization of the Middle East. Rêber Apo’s freedom is the determinant of all of this.

Rêber Apo is not one person. Rêber Apo represents the will of millions, he is the leader of a people. From this point of view, the slightest progress regarding his physical freedom directly amounts to progress in terms of the democratic solution to the Kurdish question. It also amounts to development and progress in terms of the liberation of Kurds and the liberation of peoples. In this sense, the global freedom campaign is advancing and developing, making significant progress.

It is important that the campaign continue to gain strength. We see that there are various efforts and attempts to prevent this in European states. The global push for freedom has seriously benefited European society and all peoples in general by bringing change, transformation, revitalization, and dynamism. The global system of capitalist modernity is obviously concerned about this. We are aware of efforts to prevent and weaken the global freedom campaign. The forces responsible for this are the forces behind the international conspiracy. They do not want the paradigm of the democratic nation or the system of democratic modernity to become known by broad society and humanity. A stronger struggle must be waged against attempts to obstruct, prevent, and weaken the campaign. We need to double and triple our efforts to achieve our goal. The most meaningful reaction to adverse approaches is to expand the struggle. We must persist and achieve the goals of the campaign; this is of great significance.

The resistance in the prisons continues to be one of the main pillars of the campaign. A really honorable resistance is being developed there. Again, the families of prisoners and society as a whole are conducting a very powerful struggle. Of course, this struggle needs to be further developed. The second stage of the campaign was initiated. Our international friends and democratic forces who started this campaign, developed a perspective on this basis. In this sense, we need to appeal to the societies more. From time to time, we see that there are shortcomings in the development of the campaign. We need to overcome these quickly.

Also, the guerrilla is participating in the campaign the strongest with their actions and resistance. There is nothing much to say about that. But we need to develop the social pillar, the pillar of social resistance, on the other hand, much more strongly. We need to spread and develop the paradigm stronger.

There has been no progress in terms of disrupting the Imrali system of isolation and torture. The struggle of society has burdened and pressured the CPT, the ‘Council of Europe’ (CoE), the ‘United Nations’ (UN), and the ‘European Convention on Human Rights’ (ECHR), which are all relevant international institutions. In general, both the campaign for Rêber Apo and the struggle that has developed as a whole have put both the state and the fascist regime in Turkey in the process of collapse, putting them under serious pressure. This must be intensified even more. Lawyers are applying regularly to meet with Rêber Apo; it is important that this is continued.

Rêber Apo is the leader of a people. Whether he meets with his family or not, it must be prioritized that he be visited by his lawyers. This is his most natural right, according to both Turkish and international law. Right now, the Turkish state is committing a great crime by obstructing lawyers from seeing Rêber Apo. The Turkish state is committing a crime against humanity by breaking and violating the law as a whole. There is a situation of great lawlessness. It is Rêber Apo’s most natural and legitimate right to meet with his lawyers, to meet with others, and to have the right to communicate with the outside world as he wishes, but this is being prevented in a very unlawful and immoral way.

There are also other friends who are being kept on Imrali island with Rêber Apo. The families of these friends are also constantly unsuccessfully applying to meet them. As a whole, there is a situation of isolation within isolation, which is applied to all the prisoners and especially to Rêber Apo. Whether the other friends on the island see their families, lawyers, and guardians, it is most important that Rêber Apo meets with his lawyers because he is not an ordinary prisoner. We cannot treat his situation in the same way as the situation of other prisoners in Imrali. Rêber Apo is the leader of a people, representing the will of millions. It is important that lawyers prioritize meeting with Rêber Apo. Pressure must be intensified against the relevant and responsible institutions to break this system of torture and isolation. It is necessary to create conditions of freedom, security, and health for Rêber Apo.

The CPT is now finding it difficult to maintain their current position, they are being pressured to clarify this situation. The CPT has to disclose information. We see similar pressure in the meetings of the CoE. It is very clear that the Turkish state is also under pressure. We need to pursue this in a stronger way. The relations of the CoE with the Turkish state need to be questioned.

What kind of relationship exists between the CPT and the Turkish state that they violate the international law they have created themselves, that they violate even their own law? What kind of dirty relationship is this? It is necessary to understand the background and content of this relationship very well, to expose it, and to wage a strict struggle against it. The CPT clearly states that torture in Imrali is a system of absolute isolation. The CPT itself says that this is a crime against humanity. Similar things are said during meetings with the CoE. And Turkey is a member of the CoE. The CPT is an institution affiliated with the CoE. Why do they further tolerate this situation? Why do they condone it? Why are they complicit in it? All the practices in Imrali are policies of Kurdish genocide. We always point this fact out. The policies of Kurdish genocide are the policies carried out in Imrali. These are the policies being implemented on Rêber Apo. The policies being carried out there are widespread. The CoE, CPT, and ECHR are partners in this. The US and UK, who developed the international conspiracy, are partners in this. Why are they partners in such genocide policies?