Freedom for Ocalan: Let There Be Peace!


By Rebwar Rashed:

The occupation of Kurdistan by four different countries meant many problems for the Kurds, among them having the world as an enemy. These four countries, always totalitarian and believing in the doctrine of military might with semi fascistic and fascistic behavior, were successful in using trade- and economic relations, i.e. buying weapons, to withhold Kurds from having friends.

The same reasons were behind the abandonment of Mr. Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Liberation Movement. After more than four months in a position of being an unwelcomed guest in Europe, seeking a political refugee status, Mr. Ocalan was abducted on February 15th 1999 in Nairobi by Turkey´s friends in an international conspiracy.

The Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit announced on February 17th that he would be given a “fair and just” trial.

The European democracies already had good knowledge about the fascism mentality of the Turkish state’s institutions, especially its racial and discriminatory history towards Kurdish people, not only toward a well-known freedom fighter of the same people. Mr. Ocalan’s only guilt is that he is struggling for the national- and democratic rights of Kurdish people, one of the indigenous people in the Middle East.

Since his capture, Ocalan has been placed mostly in isolation in the Imrali Island prison. Since July 2011, Ocalan’s lawyers have not been allowed to see their client in Imrali. It is the 725th times that his lawyers’ request to visit him was rejected by the Turkish Interior Ministry.

Mr. Ocalan took a peace initiative on the Kurdish New Year Eve, 1 Newroz (21 March) 2013 and asked the Turkish government to start a reconciliation process. The AKP government, believing in Islam radicalism and ultra-nationalism, chose a totally different path, which was more enmity against Kurdish people, betting on ISIS and other terrorist Islamist organizations and sectarian war.
Today, 14th of February, it is for 26 days that Turkey has been attacking Afrin, a small Kurdish border town. At the same time Turkey is building military complexes inside KRG territory in the Bahdinan area and building border-walls alongside of Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Turkey´s aim now, as it has been in the last 100 years, is to conceal the Kurdish issue inside of Turkey. There has been a devastating suppression with severe atrocities, but to no avail. The Kurdish people continue to grow stronger, more organized and better fit for their struggle.

Now as Kurdistan lies in the middle of a fragile and unstable region, the Kurdistan Liberation Movement is the one and only democratic movement with clear goals for pluralism, secularism, gender equality, social justice and devotion to life. The idea is to build a democratic confederation for different entities.

The political, economic and social doctrine for this world view and the principles of this democratic confederation is outlined by Mr. Ocalan. He is the voice of peace, friendship and co-existence. He is the person who bravely stood for fighting a few thousands-years-old patriarchal system in the area.

The keyholder for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question, for a co-existence of the diversities based on mutual interest and mutual respect is Mr. Ocalan.

The world and especially the Turkish people are gaining nothing by having him in prison, isolated far away from his people.

The current total isolation of Ocalan is a grave violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) too. It should be a matter of great concern for Western democratic countries, for democrats, liberals, conservatives and every individual who has a conscience and a good moral reasoning for human rights and liberty.

History tells us that death penalties, life sentences and other inhumane punishments do not do any good for people.

Socrates, the Greek philosopher who has been credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy and as being the first moral philosopher and proponent of the western ethical tradition of thought was sentenced to death by drinking hemlock on February 15th (died 399 BC), the same day as Mr. Ocalan was abducted. He was charged with corrupting the youths of Athena and refusing to recognize the gods acknowledged by the state.

The 17th February 1600, on the same day as the Turkish government back in 1999 accused Mr. Ocalan for treason, Giordano Bruno who was an Italian philosopher, mathematician and cosmological theorist was charged with heresy and the Catholic Inquisition found him guilty of denial of several core Catholic doctrines, including eternal damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the virginity of Mary. Mr. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori. His only crime was that he was insisting that the universe is in fact infinite and could have no celestial body at its “center”.

We human beings regret many of those harsh punishments, especially when we realize that the victims were right. Their only crime was that they were ahead of their time. Mr. Ocalan is another individual who is ahead of his time.

Kurdish people, along with other indigenous peoples in the area such as Armenians and Assyrians, have suffered greatly. Death and taking lives can never be compensable. Yes, we can regret it after, but we can never compensate them.

In this very hard day Kurdish people need friends and supporters of the Kurdistan National Liberation movement and the freedom of its leader, Mr. Ocalan.

The Kurdish people ask therefore you, anywhere you are, to urge:

  • Turkey to end Mr. Ocalan’s isolation and to release him immediately;
  • Turkey to return to the negotiating table and to find a lasting peaceful political solution to the Turkish-Kurdish bloody conflict. Solving the Kurdish issue in Turkey means a solution to the Kurdish problem in other countries such as Iran, Iraq and Syria. Thus a peaceful solution for the Kurdish issue will bring about a stable platform for democratic changes, pluralism and secularism;
  • Turkey to stop attacking Afrin as it’s a peaceful city which never been a harm to Turkey. Escalating the war is a path toward evil. Turkey has still a chance to choose the path of peace, friendship and togetherness. It’s everybody’s duty to encourage Turkey to go back to the negotiations table and to find a political solution to the Kurdish issue. Turkey will soon or later acknowledge that violence, aggression and oppression do not pay off;
  • The US and EU to delist the PKK so that it can contribute to a stable, democratic and friendly region. Designating the PKK as a ‘terrorist’ organization was wrong from the beginning for various reasons. Turkey uses the US and EU for its racist and radical Islamist ideology, especially in its unjust war against Kurdish people.

Rebwar Rashed is Co-Chair of the Kurdistan National Congress – KNK

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