Thursday, 19 January 2012

Abdullah Öcalans’ resistance and a reply

Kurdish Peoples’ Leader Abdullah Öcalan refused to see his brother Mehmet Öcalan at the island prison of Imrali today (January 19th). It was the first time Mehmet Öcalan had been allowed by the Turkish Ministry of Justice to travel to Imrali since October 12th 2011. It has been even longer since Öcalan’s lawyers were allowed see him, the last visit to the maximum security prison which is known as ‘Europe’s Guantanamo’ was on July 27th 2011; making it six months of total isolation for the Kurdish Leader. In a message passed on to Mehmet Öcalan via the prison authorities, Abdullah Öcalan was reported to have said: ‘The situation is very delicate here. It is not appropriate for us to accept the visit.’
            Those who have experience or know of prison life will be aware that refusing visits from family members and lawyers is a form of resistance against the injustices of prison authorities and the state. One can say that Öcalan has refused the visit to disarm the state and end the blackmailing campaign they have been carrying out against himself, the Kurdistan Freedom Movement and Kurdish people by preventing his family, lawyers and the Kurdish people from getting news from Imrali. In essence Öcalan has said to the state, ‘you cannot use my situation here as a tool for blackmail, if I am not going to conduct useful meetings in which I have information regarding developments, then there is no point.’
            Undoubtedly the AKP government and Turkish state will use this as an excuse and claim that Öcalan is in self imposed isolation. However the news that the Ministry of Justice refused a request from Öcalan’s lawyers (yes there are still some on the outside!) on the grounds that the boat wasn’t working at the same time Mehmet Öcalan and the relatives of two other prisoners were travelling to Imrali on that specific boat will falsify this claim. This also reveals once again that the isolation of Öcalan is arbitrary and a political decision by the AKP government.
            The current situation is also reminiscent of the 1980s; the prison resistance of leading PKK members such as Mazlum Doğan, Kemal Pir, Mehmet Hayri Durmuş and ‘The Fours’ lay the foundations for the modern Kurdish National Movement. At a time when mass arrests continue raising the number of Kurdish political prisoners to around 15,000 it seems the resistance behind the walls of Turkish colonialism will this time lay the foundations for the ultimate freedom of Kurds and Kurdistan.

A couple of hours after Mehmet Öcalan returned from Imrali a bomb went off in Colemerg (Hakkari) city centre; killing a sixteen year old and wounding fifteen other people. The police began attacking bystanders after the explosion. As is well known Colemerg is at the heart of Kurdish movement (the BDP won 90% of the vote in recent elections) and has been targeted by paramilitary groups who have been threatening civilians and creating provocations around the city. An Islamist group calling themselves Mezit also circulated leaflets there recently threatening people who had ties to the Kurdish movement. The PKK had warned of provocative incidents in the city and asked people to be wary. According to the PKK, Mezit is the new name of JITEM and an instrument of the Turkish deep state. The Turkish media have already claimed that the bomb attack targeted a police vehicle, however Hakkari province governor has said in a statement that the police vehicle veered off the road and lost control, leading to three police officers being injured.

Therefore can we ask: is this attack the latest reply against Abdullah Öcalans’ and Kurdish peoples’ resistance?

Memed Boran


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