22 years have passed since the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan was abducted by members of Turkish intelligence in an aircraft waiting at the international area of Nairobi airport on 15 February, 1999. Kurdish journalists speak to Mesopotamia News Agency for the anniversary of 15 February, 1999.
The 15th February’ date has been marked down as an ‘international conspiracy day’ by millions of Kurds and others ever since Abdullah Öcalan’s abduction in Kenya and imprisonment in Turkey.
Kurdish journalists from Syria and Iran expressed their opinions regarding Abdullah Öcalan’s arrest.
‘Kurds in Iran responded to the international conspiracy’
“Kurds in Iran have been enraged by Öcalan’s arrest and protests have never ended since then. People of Rojhilat (Eastern) Kurdistan (refers to the Kurdish majority regions of Iran) believe that the solution of the Kurdish question would only be possible if Öcalan is free,” said Hiwa Gulmehemedî, a journalist from Iran.
The organisations of Kurds in Iran have become stronger in the last 22 years as a reaction to Abdullah Öcalan’s isolation in Imralı High Security Prison, according to Gulmehemedî.
“There was not a powerful organisation of Kurds in Iran 22 years ago, but after Öcalan was arrested, Kurds became more aware of the situation. Thousands of Kurdish women and men joined the Kurdish freedom movement,” he said.
“Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) was established in 2004, and then the East Kurdistan Democratic and Free Society (KODAR) and the East Kurdistan Free Women’s Society (KJAR). Kurds in Iran responded to the international conspiracy by getting themselves more organised.”
‘15 February was a dark day of human history’
Dilgeş Cudi, a journalist living in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), pointed out that Öcalan lived in Syria for many years before he was arrested.
“People of AANES think of 15 February as one of the dark days of human history. Öcalan’s ideas are a threat for those who hold hegemonic power in their hands, that is why they keep him in isolation,” said Cudi.
“The revolution in Rojava became possible with the ideology that Öcalan introduced to the peoples. AANES is the realisation of his democratic modernity paradigm, we have to defend AANES.”
15 February is a failed conspiracy, according to Reyhan Hacıoğlu, another journalist living in AANES.
“If the conspiracy had been successful, we would not have Rojava today,” she said. “The world did not know about Kurds in the past, but today the whole world knows about Kurds. This is the failure of the conspiracy, millions of people stand by Öcalan.”
‘Women of Sinjar are impressed by Öcalan’s philosophy’
Commenting on the leading role of women in Rojava, Fîrmêsk Elî, a journalist in Sinjar who follows events in the region closely stressed that women take the lead in defending freedom for Abdullah Öcalan as well.
“Women of Sinjar are very impressed by his philosophy, women of our region discuss about his ideas.” he said. “His ideas became more popular after the PKK guerillas saved Sinjar from further massacre when Sinjar was under the siege of ISIS in 2014. Although a very short time passed since then, the women of Sinjar are so deeply impressed by his ideology.”
Women in Sinjar see the freedom of Öcalan as their own freedom, according to Elî. “Not only Yazidi women but also Arab women join the marches for Öcalan’s freedom in Sinjar. In general, people of Sinjar see the Sinjar agreement as part of the 15 February conspiracy, they are against the agreement, they think it is against their will. They want to live freely in the self-governed system as described in Öcalan’s books,” he said