The International Conspiracy in Abdullah Öcalan’s words

In the book The Age of Masked Gods and Disguised Kings, Abdullah Öcalan well explained how the International Conspiracy was devised, why, and what were its consequences.

Twenty-one years on it is important to reproduce Öcalan’s words as they surgically go to the core of the isolation regime imposed on him and more broadly of the entire Kurdish question and the reasons why Turkey won’t make any effort to solve it.

It is not me but this free Kurdishness that serves the sentence of solitary confinement in this single-inmate island prison, wrote Öcalan eleven years ago. "That this sentence is not about the individual Abdullah Öcalan is clear from the imprisonment policies implemented daily during the nine years I have been in isolation on Imrali—they are not the policies that are applied in the average Turkish prison.”

Reminding the poor role of the European institutions Öcalan wrote: “After the betrayal of friendship by the Greek nation-state and her relationship with the Republic of Turkey being added to the equation of interests, I was handed over to the USA (thus, the CIA). When I was first taken to the Imrali Prison, I was met by the then president of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), Silvia Casale. She said, “You will stay in this prison and we shall try to find some kind of solution under the supervision of the Council of Europe.” I was thus chained to the rocks of Imrali; doomed to live a destiny more severe than that of the mythological Prometheus.

Talking about the beginning of the International Conspiracy, Öcalan wrote: “It is important to discuss how and why I left Syria, as this started the chain of events that eventually led to my abduction. My departure from Syria resulted from the contradiction that arose yet again from the value I put on friendship and Israel’s Kurdish policies.

After its founding, shortly after World Word II, Israel tried to patronage the Kurdish issue but was so sensitive that she had no tolerance for the alternative solution to the Kurdish issue proposed by our movement that became more influential. Our proposed alternative did not serve the interest of Israel. I should not, however, deny their efforts; MOSSAD did indirectly invite me to work with them on their own solution. But I was not open to, nor desired, this—neither politically nor morally.

On the other hand, the Syrian-Arab government never wished to surpass their tactical alliance with the PKK leadership. An alliance with the PKK had been part of Syria’s answer to the threats that had been coming from Turkey since 1958 and Turkey’s extreme pro-Israel tendencies. The PKK did not object to such a tactical relationship. (No one wanted to see that this relationship could lead to an alternative Kurdish policy; thus, the efforts of the Turkish administrations were ineffective.) But, seeing that Hafez al-Assad obtained the Syrian leadership due to the power struggle between the USA and the USSR, Syria was in no position to maintain any of its tactical alliances after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Even this short reminder shows that, although political pressure by the USA and military pressure by Turkey undoubtedly played a role, the real power that forced me out of Syria was Israel. It should not be forgotten that Israel and Turkey already had clandestine agreements in the 1950s, and with the second “anti-terror” agreement of 1996 the anti-PKK alliance between the USA, Israel and the Turkish Republic was complete.

Another critical factor was the anti-PKK coalition which the Turkish Republic had entered into with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), both of whom already had relations with the USA and Israel; in other words, with the Kurdish Federal Assembly and its administration established in 1992.

The combination of all these adverse factors led me to leave Syria in 1998.

Besides, I knew that it was time to leave. I had already been in Syria too long, lured by the political developments around Kurdistan and the friendship that I had hoped would result in strategic cooperation. I have to admit that high-ranking officials in the Syrian government had warned me about its disadvantages. Yet, I did not want to give up my belief in the power of friendship and cooperation between peoples. For the same reason I left Syria for Greece. I wanted to develop ties of friendship with the Greek people, to learn from its classical culture and its tragic history.

My only alternative was to go off into the mountains of Kurdistan. Two factors made me decide to not do this. First, my presence would attract massive military force. This would lead to serious damage to the civilians in the area and my comrades; it could also lead to the armed struggle becoming the exclusive means of obtaining a solution for the Kurdish question. Second, it was a pressing need to educate the youth joining our organization.

In short, the official and unofficial claims in Turkey of “we have him cornered” and “see the results we have obtained” do not altogether reflect reality. Notwithstanding this, Turkey is still trying to ensnare Iran and Iraq in the same way it did Syria. The outcome of Turkey’s alliance with Syria and Iran can also not be predicted. If the antagonisms between the USA, EU, Israel, Iran, Russia and China intensify, will the Turkish Republic be ready for the consequences?”

Talking about his peregrination around Europe, yet another dark page for European governments (some of them were calling themselves ‘progressive’ as in the case of the Italian government) Öcalan wrote: “My three-month peregrination between Athens, Moscow and Rome was not without value, though. This adventure led me to understand the essence of capitalist modernity— the basis on which this defense is built—despite its many masks and disguises. If not for this insight, I would either have been a primitive nationalist aspiring for a nation-state, or I would have ended up in a classical left-wing movement. Thus, my change in thought and policy can be ascribed to this forced adventure.

It has now become clear to me: The real power of capitalist modernity is not its money or its weapons; its real power lies in its ability to suffocate all utopias—including the socialist utopia which is the last and the most powerful of all—with its liberalism. Unless this power of liberalism is analyzed thoroughly, no ideology will escape being the humble servant of capitalism.”


Showing how the International Conspiracy failed in its purposes, Öcalan wrote: “The fallacy that the conquering ideology of Islam and the nationalist ideology of liberalism had wiped out and excluded the Kurds from history was destroyed by the free Kurd—a free Kurdish individual and a free Kurdish society. In fact, it is not me but this free Kurdishness that serves the sentence of solitary confinement in this single-inmate island prison. That this sentence is not about the individual Abdullah Öcalan is clear from the imprisonment policies implemented daily during the nine years I have been in isolation on Imrali—they are not the policies that are applied in the average Turkish prison.

I came to understand that Turkey cannot decide to either fight or to make peace in its own name. The role that has been assigned to Turkey is to be the vulgar gendarme, the watchdog and the prison guard of all Middle Eastern peoples in order to make them more susceptible to the oppression and exploitation of the capitalist system. Hence, stable Turkish and Anatolian societies—both in and outside Europe—are of critical importance to the system. Turkey’s relations with NATO and the EU should be understood in terms of these policies.

I must admit that I expected that the European Court of Human Rights would find my arrest to be unlawful. Only this verdict would have led to a fair trial. But it was not made. The court later had no choice but to determine that it was an unfair trial. After a prolonged wait for a fair trial the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe scandalously agreed to close the case, probably in return for important political concessions from the Turkish government.”