Originally published in The Imrali Post #24
Mustafa Karasu, a member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), spoke out in an interview on the Medya Haber television station about the isolation of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, the Turkish chemical weapons attacks and the current war situation.
Regarding the situation of Öcalan, Karasu said, “Even though there have been visits to Imrali from time to time during the special war, and even though the government has held sporadic talks in the past due to pressure from our struggle, the isolation on the island has lasted for almost 24 years now. No lawyer visits have been allowed since 2011. Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] has also not been allowed to meet with his family, with a few exceptions. It is not known what has been going on in Imrali in the last two years. But we do know one thing: Rêber Apo represents the free and democratic attitude of the Kurdish people in Imrali. He shows the attitude necessary for a representative of a people. For this reason, the Turkish state and the currently ruling fascist AKP/MHP regime have imposed a heavy isolation regime on him.
The reason for this intensified isolation is their policy towards the Kurdish people. Because the Turkish state is pursuing a policy of genocide against the Kurdish people, because it wants to liquidate the Kurdish freedom movement, Rêber Apo is also isolated. The attitude towards him corresponds to the attitude towards the Kurds and their freedom movement. How the Turkish state approaches the Kurdish question becomes clear when we look at the isolation in Imralı and its extent.”
Karasu spoke of a great anger of the Turkish state that is taking revenge on Abdullah Öcalan for making the Kurdish people self-aware: “Because the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom and democracy is the biggest problem for the Turkish state at the moment. This struggle is a reality created with the thinking of Rêber Apo and his leadership. While the Turkish state is fighting against it, its only policy is to crush this struggle, the consciousness, the organisation, the aim and the commitment of this people. It is in this sense that the isolation against Rêber Apo is practiced. He may be physically isolated, but as a leader he cannot be isolated. Isolation of such a leader is impossible and cannot be implemented.”
“An ideology created to overcome capitalist modernity”
Karasu underlines that Öcalan’s thinking today radiates far beyond the Middle East and has an impact on the oppressed worldwide. This, he SAİD, is the core of his leadership role: “It is essentially about showing a way for thinking and mentality. This is the most important aspect of Rêber Apo’s role. Another is directly related to the Kurdish people. The Kurdish people draw strength from his thoughts. We can also say that Rêber Apo is someone who develops and proposes solutions to the world’s problems. In history, such pioneering personalities have developed solutions to the problems of peoples and changed history. Thus, prophets have appeared in ancient history in very troubled times, in times of social, political, cultural and economic problems. They naturally dealt with and tried to solve the problems of their time. Today, humanity can hardly breathe under the conditions of capitalist modernity. The greatest exploitation prevails.The sociality that constitutes the existence of man has been destroyed.
The dissolution of sociality means decay, corruption and dehumanisation. In such a world, Rêber Apo’s ideas show a way out to liberation. There is no other politics, no other ideology that can find a solution to the problems of humanity.
“Marxism could not overcome capitalist modernity”
Yes, in the past, 150 years ago, the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were a great hope, a great light for humanity. Humanity rallied around these thoughts and fought for freedom and democracy. But 150 years later, the product of these ideas was dissolved by the forces of capitalist modernity. However, this was mainly due to its own shortcomings. For one was not able to find a real solution to the problems of hu manity. Now humanity needs an ideology of liberation, it needs a line that shows humanity a way.”
“The struggle for Öcalan’s freedom will be a struggle to eliminate capitalist modernity”
Karasu pointed to the line of women’s liberation and recalled 5,000 years of exploitation, suffering and oppression by the patriarchal state system. “In contrast, Abdullah Öcalan developed the concept of democratic confederalism. In addition, democratic confederalism also includes proposed solutions to other problems of humanity. Rêber Apo developed the theoretical basis for a truly profound ecological approach to the industrial system and the attacks on nature. He created a theory for the liberation of humanity and nature in all its essence. For this reason, he is embraced by the peoples and humanity. This must be perceived. The fact that women are so massively in favor of Rêber Apo is mainly because, through him, an ideological-theoretical basis for the line of women’s liberation has been created. Through his ideas, the line of women’s liberation was transformed from a reactive struggle against patriarchy into a struggle for freedom and rights and to create a free women’s system on an ideological theoretical basis. There is already a struggle for the freedom of Rêber Apo all over the world. The struggle for his freedom will gradually turn into a struggle to guarantee his freedom. It will expand and become a struggle of the peoples to eliminate capitalist modernity.”
“Europe practices a policy of interests”
Criticizing the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), Karasu said, “They say this institution was founded to fight torture. But there is also the reality of a Turkey that wants to join the EU. The EU has all kinds of economic and political relations with Turkey. It has its own interests in this sense. That is why the European Union and the Council of Europe turn a blind eye to all kinds of oppression by Turkey, not only with regard to Imrali, but also on many other issues. A Europe that turns a blind eye to the genocide of the Kurds and supports the Turkish state in every possible way will naturally remain silent about the repression in Imrali. Rêber Apo said that he met the CTP for the first time when he arrived in Imrali. He explained that the Imrali system was set up by Europe, by forces of the international conspiracy, and that Turkey was given the task of administration. In this respect, the CPT and the European Union are behaving hypocritically. They talk about democracy and human rights. But when it comes to the Kurdish question, when it comes to their economic and political interests, their own values are forgotten and trampled on. In this respect, the attitude, self-image and values of the CPT and the Council of Europe are mainly dominated by their interests. When these interests are threatened, the values are simply forgotten. I have already made this statement on several occasions in interviews. When he was in office, the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, openly admitted that ever where in the world one conducts politics according to one’s own principles, morals and standards. However, when it comes to the Middle East, one cannot do that. In other words, when it comes to the Middle East or the Kurdish question, European values, human rights and international law are pushed aside. That is a disgrace to Europe.
“The EU turns a blind eye to the genocide of the Kurdish people”
Karasu described the historical dimension of the policy of extermination against Kurdistan and spoke of the Lausanne Agreement, by which the partition of Kurdistan was decided. The Turkish state was allowed to commit genocide against the Kurdish people and this had historical consequences, he said and continued, “If the Turkish state has pursued a policy of genocide against the Kurdish people from the twentieth century until today, this is the result of the agreements made at that time. These agreements still apply. Europe is still fulfilling the requirements of this agreement and turning a blind eye to genocide.”
“Europe has shown loopholes to the Turkish state”
The CPT’s position should also be understood in this sense, said Karasu, and referred to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the “right to hope”, according to which prisoners must have a perspective of freedom: “It has emerged that the Council of Europe and its organisations dealing with the right to hope advised Turkey during the discussions on the right to hope. They explained to the Turkish state how the law could be shaped so that Abdullah Öcalan would not have to be released. They have shamefully shown the Turkish state the way. The Turkish state has taken advantage of this guidance and gap and told Europe that there can be no right to hope for Rêber Apo. This is how the true face of European institutions has been shown.”
“The region will be razed to the ground by the Turkish state”
Karasu also commented on the current war developments and the use of chemical weapons: “The attacks by the Turkish state are many times stronger than the Russian attacks at the moment on Ukraine. There is an attack every second. Every minute around the clock there is war and attacks. If this continues, the Turkish state will raze the whole region to the ground. That is the situation. Chemical weapons are also being used in this war, but there has been big, brave resistance against this for six months. This is what all our comrades are doing there. They are resisting sacrificially, like Sara Tolhildan and Rûken Zelal. The friends there are making the same sacrifice.”
“The Kurdish people must rise up”
Karasu underlined the need for a strong public reaction to the use of chemical weapons and said: “The Kurdish people must stand up. The democratic forces must protest and rise up. The democratic forces in Turkey must also make their voices heard in this sense. The world looks away when it comes to the Kurdish question. In Turkey, the fascist regime is trying to silence anyone and everyone.”
“The attitude of the KDP is the biggest historical disgrace”
Karasu also criticized the KDP: “Of course, the Turkish state is the enemy, it is attacking. Europe has its interests and is closing its eyes to the facts. But the most painful thing is the attitude of the KDP, which covers up these attacks. It is blocking the way for the people who want to go there (to investigate the attacks). It is covering up Turkey’s crimes. The KDP has taken on the task of covering up Turkey’s crimes. Wherever the Turkish state attacks, the KDP provides justification. It provides legitimacy for the attacks on Shengal and Rojava. But it does not blame the attacker. But it is historically the biggest shame that the KDP hides the use of poison gas for Turkey.”