A comprehensive assessment made by Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan 25 years ago, shows that the essence of ongoing debates surrounding the Treaty of Lausanne remains unchanged to this day, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Committee Member Zübeyir Aydar said on Sunday during a conference on the treaty held in Switzerland.
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s message, that Aydar referred to, was sent in 1998 to the Kurdistan International Lausanne Conference on the 75th anniversary of the signing of the treaty.
Aydar stated that the topics discussed at the conference held in the Swiss city of Lausanne over the weekend were entirely consistent with the 1998 message. He emphasised that Öcalan’s words were still relevant today and served as a guiding principle for the event’s conclusionary declaration announced on Monday.
In the wake of his message on 23 July 1998, the PKK leader also participated in a TV program via telephone and expressed his views on the Treaty two days later in 25 July.
During the broadcast on MedTV, Öcalan described the Treaty as a conspiratorial agreement and argued that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had actually been willing to grant a certain level of autonomy to the Kurds. However, he alleged that the treaty, which was signed in collaboration with a few Kurdish parliamentarians -who actually rejected the Kurdish identity and brought by İsmet İnönü, one of the Lausanne Conference delegates from Diyarbakır (Amed) – resulted in one of the most tragic genocidal processes for the Kurdish people.
Öcalan further asserted that Turkey’s structure, based on this treaty, was in a state of profound crisis and argued for its reconstruction as a necessity. He emphasised that the conference on legal aspects of the treaty on its 75th anniversary should be regarded as a symbolic and essential step towards a democratic restructuring.
Seven months after making these remarks, the PKK leader was abducted by Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) in Nairobi, Kenya in February 1999 and imprisoned on İmralı island in Turkey. He is being held in solitary confinement since then.
During the 2023 Kurdish conference in Lausanne last week, Aydar also highlighted the incommunicado detention endured by Öcalan at İmralı Prison for over 28 months. “It is crucial that we stand in solidarity with all Kurdish leaders,” Aydar said.