Freedom for Ocalan

Freedom for the Kurds

By David Morgan


The kidnapping by Turkey of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), has provoked the justified outrage of Kurds throughout the world. The underhand methods used and the images of his maltreatment that were released by Turkish television illustrate the true barbarism of the Ankara regime for all to see. It will become ever more difficult for Turkey’s western backers to cover up for its atrocities and war crimes in the future.

Ocalan’s capture was a totally illegal act of international banditry carried out by Turkish agents with the full collusion of the CIA and MOSSAD, the result of Turkey’s strategic alliance with the US and Israel. Turkish intelligence simply would not have been able to pull off such a major operation alone.

One outcome is certain. The apprehension will be met with the fiercest resistance by the Kurdish liberation movement led by the PKK. The immediate response of the Kurds has been impressive and demands the full support of progressive forces everywhere.

The biggest demonstration London has seen since the 1980s took place on 20 February when around 10,000 Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan (Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran) marched to Trafalgar Square in a massive display of solidarity with Ocalan.

There must be more events like this with the left and the trade-union movement joining them in support and by this putting more pressure on New Labour to change its pro-Turkish policy which is the very opposite of anything resembling



The Kurds have spoken out with one voice for the immediate release of their courageous Kurdish leader who has given them hope, dignity and the ability to call themselves Kurds again after decades of oppression. The world outrage and mounting resistance since Ocalan’s apprehension shows the utter failure of the policy of the US which has been to try to detach Ocalan and the PKK from the Kurdish people.

It is in fact the tribal leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan, especially the KDP of Massoud Barzani, who are becoming more alienated from their people by signing the Washington Accord and denying Ocalan assistance, since his expulsion from Syria last October.

It is becoming apparent that the agreement with the Iraqi Kurds, which included clauses against the PKK, was one aspect of an international diplomatic conspiracy against the PKK which culminated in the arrest of their leader. Certainly the PKK itself believes this. Washington itself has made carefully worded statements to the effect that it was

“not directly involved”

in the operation in Kenya.

Washington and its craven allies in Europe have been bent on portraying Ocalan as a terrorist in order to whitewash the atrocities committed by their NATO partner – Turkey. Since the Cold War, Turkey has been firmly a part of the western imperialist camp, a source of stability in the Middle East for the West, built up as a regional power and supplied with arms from the US, Britain and the rest of Europe.

It first persuaded the West to give it assistance by exaggerating the threat it faced from communism, now it uses the threats of Islam and terrorism to keep the channel of military supplies and financial aid flowing.

The genocidal war it has been fighting against the Kurdish people, who amount to over 20 percent of the population of Turkey, has ultimately been carried out on behalf of western governments. All their hands are steeped in the blood of the Kurds spilt in Turkey’s dirty war. Of that there can be no doubt.

The full details surrounding the PKK leader’s abduction in Kenya by Turkish agents have yet to be investigated but the clear complicity of Greece and the Kenyans was straight away apparent.

The Greek betrayal in particular provoked an immediate response all over Europe with the occupation of the Greek Embassy in London’s Holland Park and the self-immolation of the 15-year-old Kurdish girl, Nejla Kanteper, gaining sympathetic coverage in the British media and shocking the British public into paying attention to the Kurdish plight.

Such acts of self-sacrifice indicate the strength of feeling for the cause of Kurdish liberation among the people and their understanding of how the Kurdish nation has been the victim of repeated betrayals throughout its history. The arrest of Ocalan is just the latest example.

If there can be any positive aspect to this shameful episode in international relations, it will be seen in the increasing unity and determination of the Kurdish resistance. Newroz (New Year) on 21 March has traditionally become the start of increased activity.

This year there is greater reason than ever for the spark of resistance to be ignited all over Turkey. Kurds in Europe have been urged to employ all legal means to raise the level of activity, in Turkey all means necessary are now legitimate.

Europe and the US must be held responsible for any catastrophic consequences following on from the arrest of Ocalan. They had the opportunity to play a role in finding a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question when Ocalan came to Rome last November. He then expressed hi willingness to stand before an impartial international court of justice, but Europe did not want to intervene and remained silent while Washington continued to call Ocalan a terrorist and Turkey clamoured for his extradition. All appeals from the Kurdish side were rejected, including a list of modest demands on basic human rights in Turkey.

It is undoubtedly the cowardice and callousness of western politicians who bear the greatest responsibility for all that follows from now on. It is hard to exaggerate the sense of betrayal now felt by

all Kurds.

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