Bayık said: “Our friends launched an international initiative for Öcalan. We need to do our part and bring it to a conclusion. This is our main work.”
KCK Executive Council Co-chair Cemil Bayık participated in the Special Program on Stêrk TV. This is the first part of the interview.
The isolation against Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan continues. He has not been heard from in any way for almost 3 years. How do you evaluate the campaign that has been started recently, in relation to the isolation against Abdullah Öcalan?
There have been many conspiracies throughout history, but I don’t think there is a conspiracy like the one [meaning October 9, 1998, the day Abdullah Öcalan was forced to leave the Middle East, which led to his odyssey through half of the world and ended with his abduction to the prison island of Imrali] that has been carried out against Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. It is a very complex conspiracy, so a strong stance against it is necessary. Rêber Apo analyzed the conspiracy and reacted accordingly, also by looking at those who planned the conspiracy and the reasons for it. By his own person, he managed to frustrate the conspiracy. He created a fundamental alternative to the existing system from which the conspiracy emerged. He created an alternative for our movement, the Kurdish people and the whole of humanity. He gave a powerful paradigm to humanity. This is how Rêber Apo responded to the conspiracy. It can be seen that our people and our movement have always strongly rejected and stood against the conspiracy. Our comrades, in particular, in prison understood the conspiracy very well and so comrade Halit Oral organized his action with the slogan “You cannot darken our sun”. With this slogan, he made a call to the people of Kurdistan. He stated that the Kurdish people and the movement represented by Rêber Apo are in great danger. On this basis, he called for a strong stance against the conspiracy inside and outside the prisons. The guerrillas also took a strong stand against the conspiracy.
If Rêber Apo thwarted the conspiracy, it was because of the support of the people and the guerrillas. Rêber Apo also reflected on this later. In this regard he said: “Had it not been for the people and the guerrillas, it would have been difficult for me to resist the conspiracy. I thank both the guerrillas and the people.” Why was there a conspiracy against Rêber Apo? Because he created a free Kurdish identity and the struggle for democracy and freedom in Kurdistan developed in connection with it. This struggle was growing day by day and affected not only the Kurdish people but also the peoples of the Middle East. The forces of capitalist modernity recognized this as a great danger for themselves because they wanted to intervene in the Middle East and when they intended to intervene, the struggle developed by Rêber Apo was an obstacle and a danger to their plans. In order to intervene in the Middle East and shape it according to their interests, they wanted to eliminate the danger posed by Rêber Apo. They estimated that they would not be able to achieve their goals with the intervention they would make without limiting the effect of Rêber Apo, and that they might even get the opposite of what they were aiming for. Therefore, they developed an international conspiracy to weaken the movement and the Kurdish people.
The main aim of the conspiracy was to wipe out Rêber Apo, the PKK and the free Kurdish people. Just as Rêber Apo stood against the conspiracy, our people stood very strongly against the conspiracy. A high price was paid for this. Kurdish women, in particular, have stood up strongly against the conspiracy. By doing so, they have set an example for the movement and the Kurdish people, but also for all women around the world. Today, the Kurdish question has reached the whole world because of their strong stand against the conspiracy. Until today, the Turkish occupation state is trying to prevent all uprisings in Kurdistan from reaching the world. It doesn’t want the world to know about the situation. But Rêber Apo, the PKK, the Kurdish people and especially the Kurdish women stood against this policy. A high price was paid and great pain was suffered, but it was possible to take the struggle out of the framework of Turkey and Kurdistan and spread it to the whole world. The world became aware of the Kurdish question. The struggle of Rêber Apo, the PKK and the Kurdish people started to be seen. And it was through this struggle that we made friends all over the world.
These international friends also started to take part in the struggle of the Kurdish people. In England, for example, the trade unions carry out a great struggle. Concerts were organized in Italy, France and many other European countries. In the last world congresses of the trade unions, they made a mark by demanding the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. The embrace of Rêber Apo, our movement and the Kurdish people is growing every day. Based on this, the international friends of the Kurdish people have launched a campaign; “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question”. This has been developed entirely by our international friends, apart from our movement and our people. This is very significant and important because it shows that the Kurdish question has now spread all over the world. Peoples, socialists, women, young people, ecologists, artists, intellectuals, writers, academics and so on from many parts of the world have declared that they are participating in this campaign. This is an indication that the international conspiracy can no longer keep Rêber Apo in prison.
The conspiratorial forces, the fascist Turkish state and some treacherous collaborating Kurds are trying to develop an absolute isolation with the aim of limiting all the impact of Rêber Apo, but they will not get any results because Rêber Apo is now all over the world. Rêber Apo once said: “Wherever my prison writings are, wherever my books are, there I am”. Rêber Apo’s prison writings and paradigm have reached every part of the world. Today, Rêber Apo lives not in Imrali, but all over the world, and no one can stop this. The most obvious proof of this is the attitude of the international friends of the Kurdish people. They have now started this big campaign and stated that Rêber Apo’s physical freedom must be guaranteed and that the Kurds must have a status. They emphasized that they will raise the struggle for this. On this occasion, I would like to greet and congratulate all those who have developed the campaign, who are participating in it, who are making efforts and calls in this regard. And I would also like to express my gratitude on behalf of our movement and the Kurdish people.
At this stage, the responsibilities and duties of the Kurdish people have increased even more. If our non-Kurdish international friends embrace Rêber Apo and his paradigm in this way, if they declare that they will struggle for Rêber Apo’s physical freedom and for the Kurdish people to achieve a status, the Kurdish people must draw a conclusion from this. The Kurdish people have to support this campaign started by their friends, they have to support the campaign in every way and help it to succeed. Some Kurds are now saying that since our international friends have started such a campaign, we should take over the banner of this campaign. This is an appropriate thought because this is what the Kurdish people should do. While the Kurdish people are fulfilling their duties regarding Rêber Apo and the peoples, they may face hindrances. There will be those who want to sabotage, weaken and obstruct the campaign. Our people must not accept this and must stand firm and courageous against them. If our people fulfill their duties and responsibilities in this way, no one can stop the campaign. That is how the campaign will succeed.
What should the Kurdish people, the democratic and freedom-orientated forces in your opinion, do, to make the ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’ succeed?
When I talk about the Kurdish people, it includes the youth, the women, the elderly as well as the children. Everyone who calls him/herself Kurdish, patriotic, democratic, revolutionary, and says that he/she is looking for a free and democratic life in Kurdistan, for a free life in general, and says that he/she stands against occupation, genocide and fascism, has certain duties and responsibilities. Many people see the solution to their problems in Rêber Apo’s paradigm and therefore support him. They want to solve their problems in the way he suggests. Kurds, more than anyone else, need to support Rêber Apo and practice his paradigm and philosophy. Rêber Apo has worked and is still working for the entire Kurdish society, for the Middle East, for humanity, even under the conditions of Imrali. He worked especially for the interests of women. The slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’, which is used by women all over the world today, and all that remains of this slogan, was developed by Rêber Apo.
Rêber Apo always worked for the freedom of women. He declared that society cannot be liberated unless women are liberated. Therefore, he made women’s freedom the basis of his work. Women know this and that is why they protect Rêber Apo and struggle for him. I strongly believe that women will continue to act for Rêber Apo more than anyone else. They will lead the campaign developed by our international friends. In this way, they will fulfill their duties and responsibilities to Rêber Apo. He has also done great work for the young people also known to them. The movement developed by Rêber Apo is a youth movement. If this movement has come so far despite conspiracies, betrayals and attacks, if it has given hope to the people, it is because of the leading role of youth and women that has developed. That is why the PKK is always alive, resisting, realizing changes and transformations and being a hope. I believe that in the future, the young people will participate in this campaign even more. They will also lead it and fulfill their role.
Abdullah Öcalan has also worked with and for the democratic forces and those in search for freedom in Turkey. How do you evaluate their duties and responsibilities?
From the early years of the movement, Rêber Apo took the peoples of Turkey as his basis, just like the Kurdish people. Just as he took responsibility for the Kurdish people, he also took responsibility for the peoples of Turkey. He never made any difference between them. There was a struggle for democracy and freedom in Turkey and a high price was paid at that time. Martyrs lost their lives and many people were executed. Rêber Apo took the revolutionary movement that was developing in Turkey at that time as his basis. He thought about how to continue this movement, how to keep these revolutionaries and martyrs alive. Therefore, he founded the PKK. In other words, he founded the PKK not only for the Kurdish people, but also for the peoples of Turkey and for humanity. He also paid a great price for it. Therefore, the democrats and socialists of Turkey, those who stand against fascism, those who are committed to the values of freedom and democracy, those who say that they are based on the peoples, need to fulfill their duties towards the Kurdish people. If they do not fulfill this duty and responsibility, they cannot say that they are democrats or socialists. A policy of genocide is being carried out against the Kurdish people in front of their eyes. Wherever in the world, a socialist, a democrat, does not accept the genocide of a people and stands against it.
There are many such examples in the world and in history. Just one example: when France intervened in Algeria, when they tortured, massacred, looted and arrested people there, the revolutionaries and socialists of France stood against France. Therefore, France had to withdraw from Algeria. The leftists, democrats and socialists of Turkey should take this as an example. If they turn a blind eye to what is happening, do not speak out and still say that they are socialists and against fascism and genocide, then they are liars.
The criterion of being a democrat and socialist is the attitude towards the Kurdish people. It is the attitude towards the Turkish state. If they do not stand against the policies and genocide of the Turkish state, if they do not stand with the Kurdish people, if they do not stand against the Turkish government, no matter how much they say that they are socialists, democrats and patriots, then they are simply liars. Because the struggle that has developed in Kurdistan today has revealed the true face of the Turkish state in every way. A normal thinking person can see the reality of the Turkish state and its attitude towards the Kurdish people, the Turkish people and humanity. However, one has to doubt the humanity of those who do not see it. The democratic and socialist forces in Turkey are asked to stand up against the isolation of Rêber Apo and struggle for his physical freedom.