A conspiracy against peace
Throughout history mankind has often been witness to political conspiracies and intrigues. Since time immemorial the ruling powers have used plots as a means to maintain that power.
Throughout history mankind has often been witness to political conspiracies and intrigues. Since time immemorial the ruling powers have used plots as a means to maintain that power. Hence numerous examples can be found, whether amongst the Sumerians or the Roman Empire. This is the historical background of conspiracies and the Kurdish people have often found themselves the victims of such.
I believe that the international conspiracy that led to my extradition to Turkey on the 15th of February 1999 is a most important episode in the scheming tradition of the ruling powers. My Odyssey through Europe began on the 9th of October 1998 with my departure from Syria. It would take me to Athens, Russia and Italy. From there I was forced to return to Russia and once again to Greece. Its end came with my kidnapping from Kenya. I talk of an international conspiracy because the whole course of events, in which a coalition of powers from four continents took part, as well as political intrigues and economic interests, also contained a complex mix of betrayal, violence and deception.
Although 11 years have gone by, I believe that this international conspiracy against the Kurdish people that focused on me personally, is still of interest today. Understanding its causes and effects can help elucidate the present political circumstances.
The prime objective of the leading player – the USA – was undoubtedly to liquidate our liberation movement. With their Greater Middle East project the US planned to fan the flames of nationalism and create new, small nation-states in order to maintain control of the Middle East for decades to come. Of course in a project of this nature there is no room for liberation movements. This is the direct link between the Greater Middle East project and my being handed over to Turkey. Events since 2003 bear me out in this respect. Confronted with a balance that offers a choice only between the international ruling powers or regional reactionary forces, the fact that we embody a third, true alternative makes us a target for ideological and political attacks.
Along side this main theme, there were two further goals of relevance. On one hand it was hoped that my death or my reaction to abduction would push the situation into an ethnic conflict, that is to say war between Turks and Kurds. What we can observe in Iraq today is what was actually planned for Turkey. By weakening it at all levels – political and economic – Turkey should have become bound to the USA. My level-headed behaviour and speaking out for a peaceful solution thwarted this plan. An “iraqification” of Turkey could be avoided. I put all my energy into supporting a peaceful solution. I did this willingly because I was convinced that only this was in the interest of the people. But also because I have always maintained an independent, liberal stance. This was exactly why we were a thorn in their side. The Kurdish freedom movement had always interpreted its 20-year struggle as a defence of the brotherhood of the Turkish, Kurdish and all middle-eastern peoples. It always pursued the aim of creating a democratic union. During that time we have counted on our own strength and our own free will. We always carefully endeavoured to preserve our own sovereignty. For this reason, despite the extremely critical situation, I maintained the political line for a peaceful, democratic solution we had been developing since 1993. This was in accordance with our policy; it was our response to the conspiracy. So if the conspiracy failed to completely fulfil its aims, this is to a great extent due to our strategy for peace and a democratic solution.
On the other hand there was also an economic dimension to this political conspiracy. I have always emphasised that the Blue Stream natural gas pipeline project must be regarded as being a part of this network of connections. Blue Stream is a huge pipeline that carries Russian natural gas right under the Black Sea and into Turkey. Recently I heard through my lawyers of an article in a Turkish newspaper containing the confessions of a Turkish bureaucrat who had been in service at the time. This project had been vetoed by Turkey due to unfavourable conditions. Following my expulsion from Russia on the 12th of November 1998, orders from the Turkish government suddenly reversed this situation. This changed the fate of the project. This bureaucrat also revealed that after my expulsion from Italy, the Italian firm Eni was allowed into the project. This example alone shows how, connected to me personally, business deals are closed at the expense of the Kurdish people. These sordid relationships certainly extend considerably further than it had been possible to expose up to now.
The European States claim over and over that they stand for democracy and human rights. However they barred all their doors against me and didn’t undertake any real attempt to play a constructive role in solving the Kurdish question. On the contrary, they simply submitted to the will of the US and NATO and as an arena for the conspiracy took on an unhappy, dramatic part. That fact gives yet another demonstration of the true face of the European system.
The role played by the Greek government in this context was quite particular. When I went there, invited by some friends, and was kidnapped and taken to Kenya – breaching national and international law – it turned out that Greece had been assigned the most sordid role of all. Here was the clearest display of the lies, treachery and hypocrisy that make up the concept of a conspiracy.
Italy’s behaviour however, compared to the other countries, was slightly more positive. There too I was isolated and every attempt was made to get rid of me. I believe that during my stay in Rome a decisive role was played by a cell of the Gladio organisation, against which the Italian government was powerless. The Italian government just didn’t possess the necessary self-confidence and strength to make its own decisions. Despite this I must stress that in contrast with the Greek leadership, the whole affair following my arrival was handled within the limits of the law.
I would like to emphasise once again that I want to do everything I can to counter these wheelings and dealings with peace and a democratic solution. As in the past Turkey isn’t responding to our peace efforts but is following a strategy based on eliminating the liberation movement and this can also be interpreted as a continuation of the international conspiracy. In this respect the strategy of peace and democracy is important not only for Kurds but for all the peoples of the Middle East.
Those who were the conspirators, the national and international reactionary forces, still hold the reins. In the same way, the powers that are leading the struggle for democracy and freedom will continue this struggle and march on their way resolute and convinced exactly as the Kurdish people will. The scale of this conspiracy has shown how important it is that the oppressed and the peoples of the World counteract capitalism’s global offensive with their own global democracy, and strengthen this position. This is what I believe, today as I did then.
*This article by Abdullah Öcalan was translated by David Macdonald in 2010 for the International Initiative “Freedom for Öcalan - Peace in Kurdistan”.