On the eve of the birthday of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, Medya News presents a portrait of his mother, Üveyş Öcalan, who deeply inspired him. Üveyş Öcalan has also been embraced by millions of Kurds due to her committed stance and life story.
Üveyş is known to have deeply influenced Abdullah Öcalan and inspired him with her strong personality and her courageous character. She refused to obey undue pressures throughout her life, noted Abdullah Öcalan.
“The power of my mother, the fighting character of my mother and the impact of these influences on me has led me to reflect more on the women’s issue”. These are the words of Abdullah Öcalan when he was talking about mother Üveyş in one of his speeches.
Abdullah Öcalan’s ‘best teacher of moral values’
In several excerpts from Abdullah Öcalan’s theoretical writings, one can find a number of references to his mother, whom he describes as his “best teacher of moral values”.
Abdullah Öcalan has spoken on numerous occasions about the personality, the strong stance and the immeasurably hard work of his mother in having to raise seven children in poverty. She has been a role model for him, he has stated, in developing a character who can and will ‘resist’.
Born in the village of Amara in the Halfeti district of Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa, Üveyş married a man whom she later witnessed killing a woman (this was during their marriage). Üveyş could not remain silent over this and testified against her husband. Based on her testimony, her first husband was jailed for killing a woman.
A goatherd, shepherd and agricultural worker with an independent spirit
Üveyş later married Ömer Öcalan and gave birth to seven children. She is known to have worked all her life to support her family. Having worked as a goatherd, shepherd and agricultural worker, Üveyş was known to be an independent and hard-working woman.
Abdullah Öcalan was her second child and he witnessed the daily struggles of his mother during his childhood years, which he acknowledges had a major impact on him. After he established the PKK with some of his friends on 27 November 1978, it would be never be possible for his mother to meet with him regularly. She died on 11 April 1993.
People who knew her stated that she always understood her son was working to a meaningful and solid goal. She reportedly stated she was never angry with him, despite her longing to see him more regularly.
‘The truth of Kurdistan is the truth of a mother’
“She had an impact on our women’s freedom movement in several ways. She has been a source of inspiration for leader Apo to suggest women’s liberation ideology. She was a strong woman and a strong mother with a rebellious and fighting spirit, who taught her children not to obey and to struggle”, concluded the Kurdistan Communities of Women (KJK) in a statement they issued on the occasion of the anniversary of her death.
Medya News presents an excerpt from one of Abdullah Öcalan’s speeches in which he pays tribute to his mother:
“My mother never let us be oppressed and at the same time, she raised us as fighting individuals. In our village, everyone would know my mother and her fighting spirit. She was a complete storm of rebellion. She was so fearless: no matter who was standing against her, she used to fight with no fear. So, she was quite a character. If she had not been my mother, I would be such a weak person.
With her dying breath, she told people: ‘Do charity for the people, pray a lot’. Our charity and our prayer is our struggle. The truth of Kurdistan is the truth of a mother. I can say that seeing Kurdistan as our motherland, we have made the wishes of all our mothers come true”.