Speaking to Serkan Demirel of Medya Haber TV on Friday, Middle East expert Hamit Bozarslan condemned the Erdoğan regime’s use of isolation against Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned under strict conditions for 25 years in Turkey’s Imralı Island Prison, defining it as a form of vengeance.
Bozarslan, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, highlighted the significant influence Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Öcalan’s voice could have among the Kurds, potentially undermining the narrative of the Turkish regime.
Bozarslan elaborated on the desire of the Erdoğan administration to cultivate a generation marked by vindictiveness and devoutness, pointing to a self-appointed autocracy that disregards the checks and balances essential in democracies. The professor’s remarks align with broader criticisms of Erdoğan’s governance, which is seen as one which bears grudges and enacts revenge against perceived enemies, including political figures like the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and the philanthropist and democracy activist Osman Kavala, as well as Öcalan.
The discourse surrounding Öcalan, particularly the government’s claims of a rift between him and the Kurdish political movement, could be exposed as baseless if his isolation were lifted, Bozarslan suggested. This suppression of Öcalan’s voice is perceived as a tactic to maintain control over the narrative and prevent any disruption to the government’s assertions.
Furthermore, the expert drew parallels between Erdoğan’s approach and that of other global leaders known for their vindictive politics, such as Trump and Putin, emphasising the destructive potential of power when devoid of rationality and unchecked by democratic institutions.
Bozarslan’s insights provide a critical perspective on the strategies of the Erdoğan administration, highlighting the broader implications of using isolation as a weapon of political revenge.