Abdullah Öcalan’s five minute phone call on 25 March has been on the agenda of human rights defenders in Turkey who are concerned about its implications. Cengiz Çiçek, a lawyer who specialises in human rights and who is also a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) executive board, shared his views about jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan’s last phone call.
The last time Öcalan was permitted to contact anyone in the outside world was 25 March, when he was “allowed” to briefly speak by the Turkish authorities because of health concerns that had been expressed about him.
However, the long-awaited conversation with Öcalan was shorter than expected, as the PKK leader protested at the way the phone call had been arranged, defining such methods of the Turkish state as “dangerous” and “unlawful”. The phone call was cut off after approximately five minutes as Öcalan was sharing his criticisms about it. It is still not known whether the call was cut off or the PKK leader hung up the phone as part of his protest.
Öcalan demanded his “right” to be visited by his own lawyers, which he defined as the “legal” way to conduct any communication with him during the phone call. The reason why the Turkish state “allowed” such a phone call with Abdullah Öcalan was to give a message that: “Look, there is nothing to worry about his well-being”, opined Çiçek.
Çiçek: Öcalan’s ‘social peace struggle’ has to be united in a political action
Çiçek pointed out that “the state might have been uncomfortable with him sharing his warnings and that might be why the phone call was cut off. Öcalan has been long been warning that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has tried to use the ‘Kurdish question’ to further build upon its hegemony, but he himself would never allow this to happen”.
Çiçek added: “The social peace struggle that Abdullah Öcalan has been knitting inch by inch has to be united in a political action and a political programme that links his efforts with the struggle against fascism, the struggle against the deadlock regarding the ‘Kurdish question’, the struggle against poverty, ecology, femicides needs to be strengthened”.
‘What we see is that a new regime is being constructed’
“This current situation turns into something rather dangerous other than being only unlawful. The isolation turned into a legal, moral and political imposition against the demands of physical freedom”, Çiçek stated. Such a dangerous situation is not limited to the Imralı isolation, he noted: “We saw an operation on Mount Gare. Then HDP MP Gergerlioğlu was sent to prison. The closure case against the HDP followed this. What we see is that a new regime is being constructed. A new type of regime based on the liquidation of democracy as a whole, including the liquidation of all democratic politics, a democratic order and parliament”.
It is “denial” and “genocide” in its nature and form, Çiçek underlined, that awaits the Kurds in the construction of this new “Turkish regime”.
“Kurdish people need to evaluate this historical and extraordinary context in which the isolation policy is directly linked with the Turkish nation state, which is based upon intentionally seeking to destroy the organised struggle of the Kurdish people”, Çiçek said.
Dynamic power against the rising fascism
Çiçek shared the view that Kurdish people and democratic forces in Turkey have been gathering in strength against the rising fascism. “The Boğaziçi protests and the women’s Istanbul Convention protests show the dynamic of power of the people against fascism”, he noted.
He stated that “the priority of the upcoming period will be upon focusing on the political and social steps that will keep the peoples’ will focused – as witnessed this Newroz – in a sustainable manner in terms of political power in the long run. Practical steps need to be undertaken to acheive this”, he concluded.