Karasu: The freedom of Leader Öcalan is the freedom of the Kurdish people
Mustafa Karasu said that Abdullah Öcalan took the greatest revenge in history on those who carried out the International Conspiracy by introducing a paradigm that eliminated their reason for existence.
Mustafa Karasu, member of the Executive Council of the KCK spoke about the international conspiracy that led to the abduction of Abdullah Öcalan on 15 February 1999 and underlined the importance of the international campaign launched on 10 October 2023, "Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, Political Solution to the Kurdish Question.
The Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan has been held in complete isolation on the prison island of Imrali for almost 25 years. What can you tell us about these 25 years, about Öcalan’s resistance, but also about the resistance outside Imrali?
On the occasion of the upcoming anniversary of the international conspiracy, first and foremost, I would like to send my grateful and respectful greetings to Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] who has shown great resistance in the prison of Imrali 25 years, representing the will of the peoples, the will of the Kurdish people. On the 25th anniversary of the conspiracy, we condemn the conspirators and promise once again that we will hold the conspirators to account and that we will liberate both Rêber Apo and the Kurdish people.
These 25 years have indeed been a historic time for the leader of a people. 25 years! Being in prison for 25 years and representing the will of this people honorably and worthily in prison for 25 years is very extraordinary, a very important stance. For 25 years, Rêber Apo has been under constant special warfare attacks, under attacks of a psychological war. All kinds of psychological pressure is being exerted on him. But still, despite all this pressure, Rêber Apo never gave in and never surrendered. He did not complain that there is “such and such” pressure” or persecution. He acted with the awareness that he was taking revenge against the war waged by the genocidal colonialism. In the same time he also gave a message and told us: “You are the ones being imprisoned”. He said this for the Kurdish people, for all the peoples and societies that did not achieve a free and democratic life. He revealed that even though he was in prison, he was free with his stance and thought, that he never gave up his stance of freedom, and that he never lived a second outside the rule of freedom.
In this respect, Rêber Apo’s 25-year struggle is really worth analyzing and examining. What emotions did he experience? How did he spend his days? What was he concentrating on, and what did he want to do for the success of the freedom struggle of the people, for the success of the freedom struggle of humanity, for the liberation of women from the male-dominated system? It is really necessary to research and document these, to put them in writing, to make them the subject of novels, literature, research and analysis. Because the conditions under which Rêber Apo lived are very severe. He was kept in a solitary cell on an island. Later, some other comrades were brought to the island too as prisoners. But before, he was always in solitary confinement on an island.
International actions are important
He once stated: “I am standing firm here, I am carrying out the resistance in order to realize the aspirations of those who gave their lives in the struggle waged under the slogan of ‘You cannot darken our sun'”. He said that he took great strength from the resistance under this slogan. On this occasion, I would also like to gratefully and respectfully commemorate all the people who took action under the slogan “You cannot darken our sun” in Europe, Turkey and all over the world. They protected Rêber Apo while the conspiracy was being carried out and put up a great struggle. Today, if the conspirators have not succeeded, if the great struggle against the conspiracy has to some extent been rendered ineffective, it is because of the efforts of these people. They should always be remembered. Again, I commemorate with those resisting in the prisons, those who put their lives on the line fighting against the pressures on Rêber Apo in 2018 and 2019.
Today, once again, a great resistance is being put forward in the prisons for the freedom of Rêber Apo. I also commemorate with respect and gratitude Comrade Viyan, who took a stand against the captivity of Rêber Apo. She openly said, “There is no life without Rêber Apo”. She revealed an attitude against the captivity of Rêber Apo that all humanity, our people, militants and everyone should show.
Rêber Apo defined 15 February as the “Day of the Kurdish Genocide” and today, as every year, fasts are being carried out. I believe that all our people will continue this tradition and fast on 15 February as well.
For 25 years, neither our people nor our comrades in prison have remained silent against the captivity of Rêber Apo. They have indeed engaged in a great struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo. There will soon be a big rally in Europe on 17 February for the freedom of Rêber Apo and for the Kurdish people to attain a free and democratic life. There is also a big march in North Kurdistan right now. There was a campaign launched with the slogan ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’. Today, North Kurdistan is organizing big marches within this framework. On 17 February, all Kurds should participate in the march in Cologne. Kurds from England, Sweden, all over Europe, Canada, Australia, wherever there are Kurds they should go to Cologne. They must show the attitude of the Kurdish people for the freedom of Rêber Apo. They must show what Rêber Apo means to the Kurdish people. I believe that these actions of resistance will have important results. I send my respectful greetings to all those organizing and participating in these actions.
International Conspiracy aimed at separating Rêber Apo from people but failed
The conspiracy against Rêber Apo expresses a purpose. The conspirators thought that if they took Rêber Apo in captivity, they would separate the head from the body and thus liquidate the body in time. They acted with such an approach. They considered the imprisonment of Rêber Apo as the liquidation of the freedom of the Kurdish people and the liquidation of the PKK. They had such an approach, because in history there have been Kurdish revolts, Kurdish resistances, and almost always their leaders were captured and executed, and then they crushed and liquidated all those resistances and the effects of that resistance within society.
Again in the 1970s, they executed the leaders of the revolutionary movement and then crushed the movement itself. The Turkish state thought that such a result would be achieved with the captivity of Rêber Apo as well. They believed in this. Indeed, with the captivity of Rêber Apo, the international powers were already saying “there will be no PKK anymore after 6 months”. Turkish state officials already claimed that they had “finished their job” via the captivity of Rêber Apo. They had expressed this many times.
There was Ertuğrul Özkök; he was the Editor-in-Chief of the news paper Hürriyet. He used to say: “War axes buried in the ground will never come up again.” Important generals were saying, “History will say that the biggest organization in the world is the PKK, but it will also say that the Turkish army, the Turkish state, suppressed it”. Such assessments were made in ’99.
From that day to today, 25 years have passed. Rêber Apo has grown, our movement has grown, and the struggle of our people has grown. Our people embrace RêberApo today more since that day. As the international conspirators and the Turkish state thought, their calculations that the organization and the people would break away from Rêber Apo did not work. Yes, it is true; liquidationism emerged immediately after the conspiracy. Liquidationism was actually a situation created by the international conspiracy. It was part of it, it was a formation they created. But they quickly lost their ground in the movement. It is known how they went down in history.
Very intense pressure was exerted on our people. But our people are always standing up for Rêber Apo. The conspirators failed in this aspect. The conspiracy could not achieve its goals. Yes, Rêber Apo is still in captivity, we have not yet liberated Rêber Apo, but we have frustrated the aims of the conspirators. The international conspirators have not achieved their goals. Today our movement is loyal to Rêber Apo, our people are loyal to Rêber Apo. The number of Rêber Apo’s international friends has increased even more. Rêber Apo’s reputation has increased even more. When we compare the reputation of Rêber Apo during the conspiracy period with his current reputation, we see that the impact of Rêber Apo’s reputation, the impact of his ideological power on the people, on the organization, on humanity is much greater then before. Everyone accepts this. In this respect, the situation has not materialized as they had planned.
The paradigm of our leadership is really important. It is the product of Rêber Apo’s life in the prison. It reveals how valuable life in prison can be. In history there are examples of great loneliness, seclusion and concentration in prisons. As a result of that concentration, there are thoughts, prescriptions for salvation and calls for humanity. Rêber Apo also entered such a concentration in imprisonment. As soon as he arrived on Imrali, he directly asked himself, “How can I take revenge on these conspirators?”, “How can I frustrate these conspirators?”, “How can I hold these conspirators to account?”. Here, Rêber Apo’s way of holding to account revealed a paradigm that eliminated the ideological foundations, the historical foundations and the reasons for the existence of those who carried out this conspiracy. And thus he really took the greatest revenge in history. He took revenge on the 5000-year-old male-dominated statist system. This is very important. He saved humanity from the statist mentality, from the statist hegemony. Rêber Apo destroyed and shook this statist hegemony, the hegemony of this statist ideology. Now the ruling classes and the statist system are facing the beginning of the end. With the paradigm of Rêber Apo, an ideological move, an ideological breakthrough has taken place that will bring the end of this statist system. This is very important. At the moment, the historical significance of this is being revealed, and step by step it will be understood even more. Again, he put forward an ideology that overthrew the male-dominated system over women. He put forward a stance, a paradigm that liberates women from the male-dominated system. This is very important.
Also, there are great crimes against nature taking place. Humanity co-exists with nature, society co-exists with nature, but the statist system, especially the forces of capitalist modernity, have severely damaged the bond between society and nature. A complete opposition to nature has emerged. This anti-nature is actually anti-human, anti-society. Rêber Apo put forward a very strong ideological stance against this. While isolation was being imposed on Rêber Apo, while Turkey wanted to cut him off from humanity, from society, from everyone, he, with this intensification, revealed an important attitude against this male-dominated statist system. He has created an important development. The consequences of this will be great. Rêber Apo’s paradigm is a milestone for humanity. His solution will indeed destroy that sovereign-exploitative system. It will destroy the statist system. Undoubtedly, Marx, Engels and classical socialists and socialist leaders have also made very important evaluations. They put forward an important attitude against capitalism, against the exploitative system. However, they could not overcome statism. Statism, the state, is a system that brings exploitation into existence and ensures the continuation of that exploitation. With this paradigm, Rêber Apo actually took a very big step for socialists. He liberated socialists and social thought from the statist mentality.
‘Democratic Nation’offers a solution to nationalist religious conflicts
All this will, of course, be valued, even more and will spread to the whole of humanity. This thought has now spread, is being spread, read and learned. Especially women are very happy about it. The concept of ‘Democratic Nation’offers a great power of solution against nationalist religious conflicts. It is already a great ideology of liberation for the Kurds. Kurds can only attain their freedom with the understanding of the Democratic Nation, with this paradigm. Narrow nationalist approaches, let alone leading the Kurds to freedom, confront them with genocide. Rêber Apo’s understanding of the Democratic Nation, his understanding of a solution based on the sibling-hood of peoples, and his attitude towards this statist understanding will definitely lead the Kurdish people to a free and democratic life by saving the Kurdish people and the freedom struggle from the deadlock.
In this respect, the Kurdish people will attach great value to this idea of Rêber Apo, they will embrace it, and they already do. Humanity also embraces it. As this paradigm becomes widespread, the face of the world will change. As the thoughts of Rêber Apo spread, the horizon of humanity will expand. Today’s despair will be shattered. Humanity will have great hope, and in pursuit of this hope, in pursuit of the paradigm that creates this hope, they will struggle and follow it, and they will lead themselves to a free and democratic life.
With the beginning of the conspiracy against Rêber Apo, the martyrs who built a barricade of fire around Rêber Apo with their actions under the slogan of “You cannot darken our sun”, who started a great resistance, revealed how the struggle to liberate the Rêber Apo should be, what its line and standards should be. In this respect, it is based on a very strong foundation. By giving their lives, they have already revealed what must be done to realize the freedom of Rêber Apo. In a way, their resistance and stance was an instruction for all of us, for all our people. Since then, great sacrifices have been made. Young people, women, men, old people sacrifice themselves for Rêber Apo. We are going through such a history of struggle.
Today, this 25-year struggle has reached new heights. On 10 October, the campaign ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’ developed. Book-reading events were held so that the paradigm of Rêber Apo is better understood. There is currently an important march in the cities of Northern Kurdistan. All these show that the struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo has gained an important level. At the moment, the struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo is no longer an ordinary struggle. It has become a fundamental struggle for the Kurdish people and in the international arena, humanity and democratic forces are waging a great struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo. Now this is on the agenda of our people, on the agenda of humanity, and on the agenda of all kinds of democratic forces. Gradually, this campaign and struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo will gain a level unprecedented in history. It has gained an important level especially with the participation of women, youth, socialists and all democrats who want to get rid of the state system. On this occasion, I respectfully greet all the international friends participating in this campaign and I salute all our people.
The struggle must be continued uninterruptedly
This struggle must be continued uninterruptedly. Because the freedom of Rêber Apo is the freedom of the Kurdish people. All this pressure and persecution on Rêber Apo is to cause genocide on the Kurdish people. There is a direct link between the freedom of the Kurdish people and the freedom of Rêber Apo. Moreover, a people cannot gain its freedom if it does not claim its leadership. How can a people who do not embrace their leader gain freedom? A people that does not claim its leader cannot deserve freedom. In this respect, our friends, humanity must embrace this leadership for a free and democratic life. Free and democratic life cannot develop strongly in the world without embracing this leadership. I would like to take this opportunity to once again greet all those who support this campaign. They are really doing great work. They are true friends of our people. They are true friends of humanity. They will be remembered as the honor of humanity in the future. The intellectuals, democrats, socialists, philosophers who struggle for the liberation of Rêber Apo today will take their place in history in the future as the most valuable people of humanity, as those who show the most valuable attitude.
There has been an embrace of prison resistance since the past. Even in the 1980s, when we were in prison, our families really embraced it. The current embrace of this resistance by families is based on the embrace of families in the 80s. It is the continuation of that tradition. Even then, our families were under pressure, tortured, detained, beaten and insulted at the prison gates. But they did not give up on their resistance and did not give up protecting their children. Indeed, this is a resistance that will be written in history. This great resistance continues from then till now.
Everyone should support the prisoners on hunger strike and their families
In this respect, all our people should embrace these families. These are the honorable people of our struggle. Despite all the pressures, they do not stop. They did not give up fighting for the future of their children. The genocidal Turkish state exiled and tortured their children, driving them away to the farthest places, but they still embraced them. Here we saw in 2018 and 2019 how the police were punching our elderly mothers, pushing them and dragging them on the roads. In the face of all this, they did not give up resistance. They embrace it today too. This is important. Families embrace it, but it is not enough for only some families to embrace it. The whole people must embrace them. Because our comrades in prison embrace the leader of this people. By embracing the leader of this people, they are fighting for the freedom of the people.
These friends, these comrades, these people were locked up there as a result of their efforts for the freedom of the Kurdish people. They are being tortured in prisons for the Kurdish people. They are serving from 20 years to 30 years for the free and democratic life of the Kurdish people. In the most difficult conditions, without complaining once, without questioning their choices, they reveal their stance in prison. After 30 years, they come out of prison. They show the same stance again.
Some comrades have been imprisoned for 30 years and even though their sentences have been completed, the government still does not release them. The government forces our comrades to sign clauses stating that they regret their crimes. Again our comrades show no regret, they represent the will of this people in prison. In this respect, all our people, democrats, must protect the families of these prisoners, they must not leave them alone. They are the honor of the people. Mothers of peace and mothers of prisoners are the pillars of our revolution. They are a source of morale.