In an interview with Denge Welat radio, Murat Karayılan, Executive Committee member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) spoke about the 22nd anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan’s arrest.
On the 15 February 1999, when the PKK leader Abdulah Öcalan was abducted in Nairobi and taken to Turkey, Karayılan said: “15 February is a date remembered as the ‘Black Day’ (Roja Res) of our people and humanity. This global plot ended up with the imprisonment of the leader Apo (Karayılan’s preferred name for Abdullah Öcalan) … Starting with the US, the planners of this plot committed a crime against our people. The plot was planned against the Kurdish people as a whole, not just against leader Apo or our movement. He wanted to solve the Kurdish question, yet they have planned this attack, because they did not want the Kurdish question to be resolved. Therefore, it was a plot, which aimed at the continuation of the Kurdish genocide. Twenty two years have passed since that day and history has revealed this truth”.
Commenting on the stance of Abdullah Öcalan during the 22 years of his isolation on Turkey’s Imralı Island, Karayılan said: “Leader Apo has been showing a stance of a magnificent resistance for 22 years against multidimensional torture. Such a historical resistance and attitude in deed has resulted in the failure of the global plot. We have given thousands of martyrs in our struggle as our people have been struggling for 22 years as well, but leader Apo is the leader of this resistance. For us, resistance against the plot is a matter of national existence and freedom”.
Karayılan also shared his views on the importance of Abdullah Öcalan’s ideas on the evolution of the struggle of the Kurdish people and on the struggle of the people of the Middle East. “Leader Apo continued to produce ideas in isolation; his contemporary ideas renewed the minds of our people. The struggle and the ideology in Kurdistan launched by his leadership have paved the way for our people to play a pioneering role in the Middle East. Our people are an important actor in the region thanks to their strategic vision. If Kurdish people constitute such a power in the region today, it is because of the role of the line of leadership and the efforts of the leadership. If it was not for this line and the ideology, would Kurdish women and men bring ISIS, which nobody was able to defeat, to their knees so significantly? What I mean is that, what leader Apo has given to the Middle East in person and to the Kurdish people, is so worthy that it is beyond any price”, he said.
Sharing his evaluations of the international campaign for the freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, Karayılan defined Öcalan as the “Mandela of the 21st century” and said: “Today, especially and undoubtedly working classes, unions and non-governmental organisations around the world embrace leader Apo. With the paradigm he suggested, leader Apo responds not only to the problems of the Kurdish people, but also to the problems of the peoples of the world. Maybe we were not able to spread the paradigm of our leader to the whole world in time. Honestly, we were late in this matter, yet anyone who encounters these ideas sees that there is something new in these ideas. That is why a campaign for the freedom of leader Apo has been launched by various groups in Britain, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany and many other countries.
“In this sense, it can be stated that today, leader Apo is the Mandela of this moment. Mandela was a world-known figure at the end of the 20th century and became a symbol with his struggle against the apartheid regime. Today, leader Apo becomes a world-wide symbol with his struggle against Turkish fascism”.
Defining the current Turkish regime to be “more racist than the apartheid regime”, Karayılan said: “Apartheid, as the regime of the white elites, marginalized the people of South Africa with extreme racism. Today, the practices of the fascist-racist regime of the Republic of Turkey (or ‘TC’, Karayılan’s preferred term) are the same as, or even more severe than, apartheid – so much so that the 66th article of the TC Constitution declares explicitly: ‘Anybody who holds Turkish citizenship is a Turk’. That means they dictate to us to be ‘Turks’ by force. The racism of the Turkish regime is so similar to the racism of the apartheid regime. In short, the apartheid regime has been resurrected in Turkey on behalf of (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan and (Devlet) Bahçeli. The symbol of the struggle against them is leader Apo. That is why, leader Apo is the Mandela of the 21st century”.