Executive Committee member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK), Duran Kalkan was interviewed in a special programme that was broadcast on Medya Haber TV and shared his views on the upcoming anniversary of the Rojava revolution and the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held for almost 23 years in a prison built especially for him on Imralı Island in the Sea of Marmara, Turkey.
Kalkan talked about the 19th July, which marks the nineth anniversary of the Rojava revolution.
“The tenth year will be the year, in which the revolutionary reality will be evaluated, cross-examined and brought to consciousness more deeply and the revolutionary developments will be experienced more with a stronger move,” he said.
Defining the nineth anniversary of the Rojava revolution as a “big turning point” in the history of revolutionary struggles, Kalkan continued: “What the revolution was and what it was not, how it developed, what it created… With a deeper cross-examination of all these questions as such, the freedom revolution will be understood more. It is, of course, the freedom forces of Rojava, who will achieve that. It is our people and all of the peoples in Rojava, in North East Syria, who will achieve that.”
The Rojava revolution was not a local revolution, Kalkan underlined “Rather than being directly linked to Syria, it was more in relation with the freedom revolution of Kurdistan; it was more in relation with the democratic developments in the Middle East. It marked a new epoch for humanity, was englightening for all of humanity.”
Kalkan drew attention to what has been achieved within 10 years in North and East Syria. “The answer to this question is also important. First of all, a force like ISIS was defeated. Not only ISIS, but also all radical groups such as Al-Qaida that have long been used by the AKP-MHP [Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party and Nationalist Movement Party] fascism, were defeated by the Rojava revolution, he said.
“This fact alone was very important for the Kurds, for the peoples of the region, for the whole of humanity. This was a war of freedom, this was a defence.”
Revolution should be understood properly and embraced well, Kalkan added. “Rojava gave more than ten-thousand martyrs. The pioneering youth, the daughters and sons, of the Kurdish people, of the people of Rojava and of international peoples who joined this revolution as internationalist fighters.”
With reference to such an internationalist struggle waged in Rojava that he highlighted, Kalkan shared his criticism of the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on 28th June in Rome.
“The last time, when they held a meeting in Rome, this was a very dangerous situation, a very bad situation,” he said.
“And now, those who did not even join the battle against ISIS, those who actually tried the make ISIS more dominant in the region, now they try to claim the outcomes of the revolution.”
Kalkan strongly criticised Italy. “If you have anything to say against ISIS, you must say it in Raqqa, not in Rome,” he said.
“We have already condemned Italy. What exactly did Italy do against ISIS to host a meeting of the struggle against ISIS? Where was the capital of ISIS? Where was ISIS defeated?
With the Freedom for Öcalan campaign ‘people are actually striving for their own freedom’
Kalkan also shared his views on the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan by first saluting the hunger striking prisoners in Turkey and Abdullah Öcalan himself.
“I salute leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] and his Imralı resistance. I also salute the resistance ongoing in prisons for 225 days for the physical freedom of leader Apo. Prisons are actually the living spirit of the 14th July,” he said referring to the 14th July prison resistance of Kemal Pir, one of the founding cadres of the PKK and other leading figures of the PKK, Hayri Durmuş, Akif Yılmaz and Ali Çiçek, who on 14th July 1982 went on an indefinite hunger strike in which all four lost their lives.
Kalkan cricitised the ‘normalisation’ of isolation and appealed for people to approach this issue with sensitivity.
“Isolation is a fascist, genocidal, colonialist practice and attack. The practice of isolation in Imralı shows that. In 5 days, leader Apo’s 22 years and five months will be completed in prison. Some say he is imprisoned for 22 years, simply by ignoring the five months. These people, who round down the time passed in isolation to 22 years have obviously not experienced any isolation, any prison themselves. Because if they had seen, they would know that let alone five months, five seconds in Imralı is of great value that one cannot disregard,” he said
One should be sensitive about talking about the isolation and evaluating the isolation, Kalkan suggested, “because this relates to the struggle. All perspectives, all stances regarding the isolation manifest how the struggle is approached.”
Kalkan stated that the struggle for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan is intertwined with the struggles of the peoples around the world.
“The struggle aimed at the physical freedom of leader Apo spreads everywhere. This struggle is becoming the freedom struggle of the Kurds, the freedom struggle of women, the democratisation struggle in Turkey and in the Middle East at the same time,” he said.
That is, he further explained, “there is no seperate freedom struggle for leader Apo apart or isolated from these struggles. These struggles are all intertwined. With regard to the physical freedom of leader Apo and in the person of leader Apo, people are actually striving for their own freedom, for their own democratic lives and for his world to be a place where we all can live humanely.”
He saluted all those, who take part in the ‘Dem Dema Azadiyê ye [It is the time for freedom]’ campaign: “We salute and wish success to all those who try to understand leader Apo and join in the freedom and democracy struggle that he represents.”
Kalkan said, the isolation reveals the conditions of democracy not only in Turkey, but also throughout the world.
“The isolation in Imralı actually reflects the situation of Turkey and of the world. It shows that there is no democracy, no free life; that freedoms are being repressed; that there is fascist oppression and terror, that there is genocide,” he said.
“Not only on a national level, not only with regard to the situation of the Kurds in Turkey; but also with regards to the comprehension of the sitution of the world on wider regional and global levels, the Imralı isolation is a significant indicator.”
Kalkan went on: “The grounds shown for the isolation are all made up excuses. They fabricate, lie and give false excuses. We should see this fact.
“There is a great struggle. The bigger the attack, the more it is maintained with the heaviest torture applied on fake grounds, on made-up excuses, the deeper, the stronger is the resistance against it. This resistance is so valuable and important.
“Therefore one should understand Imralı resistance correctly. We are trying to understand it correctly. The struggle given there continues outside. This struggle has spread in Kurdistan, in all four parts of Kurdistan, in Turkey and in all corners of the world.”