Ocalan handed over to the butchers

On the evening of Monday 15 February, Mr.Abdullah Ocalan, the highly-respected and much-loved leader of the PKK (Workers’ Party of Kurdistan) – the party representing the national aspirations of the Kurdish people of south eastern Turkey – was handed over by the imperialist hyenas and their stooges to the tender mercies of the Turkish butcher regime.

Thus ended Mr.Ocalan’s four-month search, following his expulsion from Syria on 19 November, for political asylum in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Syria was threatened by Turkey with military action unless she complied with the Turkish demand for the expulsion of Mr.Ocalan. Syria, which shares a border with Turkey and Israel, being acutely aware of the aggressive military agreement forged between Turkey and Israel in 1996, and the ominous January 1998 military exercises conducted by the Turkish and Israeli warships, accompanied by a US destroyer, in the eastern Mediterranean seas off Israel’s Haifa port, complied.

Collusion between Turkey, Israel and the US

It is a measure of the total lack of scruples, conscience, honour and sense of justice on the part of bourgeois governments, that country after country denied Mr.Ocalan’s request for political asylum. During his four-month odyssey, he travelled from Damascus to Moscow and Rome; leaving Rome on January 16, he attempted, unsuccessfully to land in France, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands, ending up on the Greek island of Corfu, from where he was flown by the Greek authorities to Nairobi; where he spent 13 days in the Greek embassy.

On the 15 February, being tricked into believing that all arrangements had been made for his safe travel to the Netherlands, he was persuaded to leave the Greek Embassy accompanied by Kenyan security guards and Greek embassy officials, who handed him over to a team of Turkish special forces at a pre-arranged spot on route to the airport. The fable, being spread in some quarters, about the gallant Turkish force kidnapping Mr.Ocalan from under the noses of the Kenyan authorities and Greek diplomats, is not just false but unbelievably stupid. Accompanied by the butchers from the Turkish Special Forces, and handcuffed, Mr.Ocalan was taken to a waiting jet that took off for Turkey at 7.30pm.

Ocalan’s capture (abduction would be a more appropriate expression) was the result of an operation involving a complex network of secret alliances between the intelligence services of Turkey, Israel and the US. According to

The Times

of 18.2.99,

“Despite strong denials from the United States and Israel, it appears that Ankara was able to call on the services of the American and Israeli intelligence services to keep track of Mr.Ocalan’s movements across Europe and to provide positive proof that he was in hiding inside a Greek diplomatic compound in Nairobi, following his arrival in Kenya on a private jet.”

The circumstances of his capture, and the motivations for the involvement of US imperialism and Israeli Zionism, are made patently clear in the very organs which denounce the PKK leader as a

“brutal terrorist”


The Times

, for instance, says that Mr.Ocalan’s

“presence in Kenya was no secret to the US, nor to Israel. Mr.Ocalan uses a mobile phone and his conversations would have been intercepted by American electronic eavesdropping satellites. Both the US and Israel had good reasons to help Ankara’s hunt for him.

“Washington was grateful to Turkey for publicly confirming its continuing support for the military base at Incirlik to be used by the US Air Force for flights over northern Iraq, following threatening noises from President Saddam Hussein; and Israel has developed close military ties with Turkey because both countries share a common concern over Syria” (



Blood for Oil

The whole affair revolves around the sordid business of blood for oil. In order to usurp and monopolise the Arab people’s fabulous oil wealth, US imperialism is prepared to commit any crime. Hence its continued aggression against Iraq; hence its inhumane stubborn opposition to the lifting of sanctions against Iraq, which have claimed a million Iraqi lives during the past eight years.

Since the Turkish fascist regime is essential to the maintenance of the southern flank of the aggressive war-mongering NATO alliance, since it provides bases for US aggression against other countries in the Middle East, US imperialism is prepared to overlook the brutal treatment by the Turkish regime of 20 million Kurds, constituting one-fifth of Turkey’s population. It is the same US imperialism, which, in the name of

“protecting the rights”

of the Iraqi Kurds, maintains a no-fly exclusion zone over northern Iraq by warplanes stationed at the US airbase at Incirlik in Turkey! It is the very same US imperialism, which, in the name of the

“human rights”

of the people of Kosovo, is threatening, as we go into print, to unleash the monstrous firepower of NATO on Yugoslavia.

Israel too, for its part, is ever-ready to commit the most heinous crimes at the behest of US imperialism, for she cannot hold on to her colonial conquests of looted Arab lands and continue to deny the national rights of the Palestinian people, without the full financial, diplomatic and military support of US imperialism.

It is these facts, not concern for human rights and democracy, which drive imperialist policy and explain the real reasons for the US-Turkish-Israeli nexus.

Unprecedented Wave of Protest

The news of Ocalan’s capture by the Turkish authorities (more correctly, hand-over of Ocalan to the Turkish authorities) predictably sparked off an unprecedented wave of Kurdish protests across Europe and other parts of the world. Spontaneously, angry demonstrators stormed Greek embassies and fought pitched battles with the police in some 20 cities – some even going to the length of setting themselves alight. In London, 15 year-old Nejla Kanteper, set fire to herself. Greece has paid, and will continue to pay, a heavy price for her betrayal of Abdullah Ocalan. Not only have Greece’s diplomatic missions been the target of angry protests by the Kurdish community and its friends in major cities of Europe, but also the stability of the Greek government itself is in question. Three Greek ministers, including the Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, have been forced to resign in the aftermath of the Greek government’s complicity in the Ocalan affair.

As the news filtered in that Mossad, the Israeli secret service, had a hand in the seizure of Mr.Ocalan by the Turkish authorities, the Kurdish community in Berlin directed its anger against the Israeli consulate in the city. In characteristically brutal fashion, Israeli security guards at the consulate shot dead three protesters and wounded a further 16 – some very seriously. Israel has sought to justify this cold-blooded murder of innocent, if angry, Kurdish protesters as an act of “


in a “

situation of dire emergency”

. Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, has also sought to deny his country’s involvement in the affair leading to Mr.Ocalan’s capture. On both counts, Israeli authorities, in keeping with their character, are telling barefaced lies.

Kenyan embassies in Paris, Vienna and Bonn were also the targets of Kurdish protests.

Kurdish Liberation Struggle is Invincible

To press home the undoubted advantage gained by Turkey from the kidnap of Mr.Ocalan, 4,000 Turkish troops, in complete violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and international law alike, have crossed Turkey’s mountainous southern border for the purpose of what they hope will be a crushing blow at the PKK, which they further hope has been rendered so demoralised and in such a state of disarray by the recent events as to be able to offer no resistance to the latest Turkish offensive. In this the reactionary Turkish regime is sadly mistaken. Previous similar offensives on a much bigger scale, especially the one in 1995 when 35,000 Turkish troops invaded northern Iraq for six weeks, have been marked by utter Turkish failure in stamping out Kurdish resistance. This offensive will go the way of all such previous offensives. And this for the following reasons.

Kurdish people are denied their national rights; in Turkey they are denied even the right to speak and be educated in their own language, the right to use Kurdish in official documents or to broadcast in it.

Having failed to win a measure of autonomy by peaceful means in the Turkish part of Kurdistan, the PKK was left with but one option – to wage armed struggle for national liberation. This struggle has been going on for 14 years, during which time the Turkish army has committed the most abominable atrocities, practised gruesome torture and inflicted unspeakable and indiscriminate cruelties on entire villages and regions.

Far from extinguishing the flames of the Kurdish national liberation struggle, the brutal actions of the Turkish military have only served to fan them into an uncontrollable conflagration. In its leading article,

The Times

of 17.2.99, while expressing satisfaction at the abduction of Mr.Ocalan to Turkey and denouncing him as a “

brutal Marxist terrorist”

, is nevertheless obliged to add:

“With his capture, however, it is Turkey that is now on trial. Ankara’s fight against the PKK has been bloody, short-sighted and self-defeating. The army, which runs the campaign, has brought disgrace on Turkey with its record of torture, indiscriminate attacks on Kurdish villages and scorched earth policy. Turkish politicians have prosecuted anyone advocating normal minority rights and cultural autonomy; they have failed to make the necessary minimum concessions to stop even moderates among the Kurdish community seeing the PKK as their champions. As a result, Turkey has been pilloried in the Council of Europe, denounced in the European Parliament, censured by human rights organisations and refused the chance of early application to the one organisation that it regards as the embodiment of its post-Ataturk European quest – the European Union” (The Ocalan Test).

The writer of this editorial makes the assertion in the previous paragraph that Mr.Ocalan is “

no martyr to Kurdish aspirations for a homeland but a brutal Marxist terrorist”

; however a mere two sentences later, in the paragraph quoted above, presumably written by the same author, the truth oozes out that the vicious Turkish attempt at suppressing all Kurdish national expression has given birth to a virile and vibrant revolutionary liberation struggle, which has thrown up Mr.Ocalan as the most representative spokesman of the aspirations and struggle of the Kurdish people for a homeland of their own, which alone explains the spontaneous outburst of anger, leading in some cases to attempted self-immolation, among the Kurdish community following the capture of Mr.Ocalan.

If the reactionary


leader writer can see in this expression of anger nothing more than an “

an alarming co-ordination”

of “

violence and fanaticism inherent in the PKK philosophy”

, that is not the fault of the Kurdish people, who quite rightly view Mr.Ocalan in the same light as the Italians – and not just the Italians – do Garibaldi. And one has to be totally bereft of all finer human feelings not to have respect for a Garibaldi or an Ocalan.

Hypocritical bourgeois calls for a Fair Trial

Mr.Ocalan is presently in an island prison, undergoing interrogation, and in all probability torture, at the hands of the Turkish military, notorious for its brutality and bestiality. Bourgeois newspapers and politicians, including `left’-wing bourgeois politicians, have, with characteristic hypocrisy demanded a free and fair trial for Mr.Ocalan, who faces charges of “

terrorism, treason and separatism”

before a state security court, where civilian rules do not apply.


Financial Times

, in its editorial of 17.2.99 says now that the Turkish government has got its most wanted man under arrest , it is “

essential that the legal process against him is carried out properly, and in complete openness”

. At least the

Financial Times

has the decency to add that there are “

genuine doubts about Turkey’s capacity to offer him a fair trial”


By comparison the


leader of the same date addresses its remarks to Bulent Ecevit, the Turkish Prime Minister, with the following stomach-churning insincerity:

“Mr.Ecevit, the man who also ordered the invasion of Cyprus, must understand that Turkey’s peace at home and its credibility abroad depend on decent treatment of the captured terrorist and on a scrupulously fair and transparent trial. The first onus will be on Turkey’s Government to prove its charges against Mr.Ocalan” (17.2.99).

In view of the fact that if, in the course of the short editorial,

The Times

thrice describes Mr.Ocalan as a


, holds him responsible for a

“bloody 14-year campaign”


“has claimed some 30,000 lives”

, in view of which

“Turkey had every right to demand his extradition”

, and which asserts that

“the PKK record of assassinations, anti-Turkish violence and extremism across Europe fully justifies the ban imposed in Germany and some other countries on this group as a terrorist organisation”

, what difficulty should the Turkish authorities have in proving their charges against him before a state security court? He stands even fewer chances – and this is saying something – of getting a fair trial before a Turkish state security court than did the Irish freedom fighters before the notorious Diplock Courts.

Mr.Ocalan is no criminal. He is a national liberation fighter against Turkish oppression and occupation of his homeland, whom Turkey has no right to try.

Mr. Ocalan must be Freed Unconditionally

The only demand that can, and must, in all fairness be made is the one which says that as Mr.Ocalan has been illegally kidnapped by the Turkish authorities with the full assistance of US imperialism, Israeli Zionism, as well as the Greek and Kenyan governments, he must be unconditionally released and sent back to Kenya, following which his request for political asylum must be granted in a country of his choice. This is the demand which must be put forward by every class-conscious worker. This is the demand that must permeate the working-class movement. This is the demand that must be echoed by the whole of progressive humanity.

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