Sabri Ok: Our future lies with President Öcalan

Sabri Ok analyzed in detail the situation and importance of the Kurdish people's leader, Abdullah Öcalan, as well as the development of the global campaign for his physical freedom.

Sabri Ok, member of the KCK Executive Council, spoke at length about the situation and importance of Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan, as well as the development of the global campaign for his physical freedom.

For three years, there has been no news from Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. The harsh conditions of solitary confinement, which are against human decency, the law, and morals, persist. Writers, politicians, intellectuals, professors, and activists are debating Rêber Apo’s ideas and suggestions at the same time. People all throughout the world are calling for Rêber Apo’s physical freedom. What is your assessment on this situation?

First, I would like to congratulate the Kurdish people and the entire Islamic world on Eid al-Fitr. The situation of Rêber Apo is undoubtedly always on the agenda of our movement, of our people, and of the international friends of the Kurdish people. For more than three years, there has been no news from Rêber Apo. This situation alone is reason enough for our people, our movement, and our international friends to rise up with all their strength. In fact, everyone should rise and stand against it. It is impossible for anyone who knows Rêber Apo, not to be affected by this situation. Because of this, Rêber Apo’s paradigm offers millions of people – especially women and young people – a perspective on both the future of humanity and their own lives, everywhere in the world. Today, millions of people are protesting to demand Rêber Apo’s physical release, but no one knew the Kurds before. Rêber Apo affects people in this way.

The more Rêber Apo’s paradigm and his prison writings are spread and read, the more the support for Rêber Apo grows. This is what the Turkish state aims to prevent, and that is the reason why the Turkish state does not want Rêber Apo to breathe. That is why such pressure is being imposed on Imrali. Despite the brutal conditions on Imrali, there is great resistance. To understand the Turkish state’s approach to the Kurdish question, it is necessary to look at what is happening in Imrali. They are approaching Rêber Apo with this consciousness. They insist on their occupation-mentality, they are conducting a genocide against the Kurdish people, and they are waging this dirty war. The fighting force against this is the global struggle for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo. From now on, this struggle will continue in a more planned and organized way.

It was announced that the global freedom campaign under the name ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’ has entered its second phase. How do you assess the stage the campaign has reached so far? How do you analyze the protests and events conducted within the framework of the campaign?

This global campaign was launched on 10 October of last year. It was initiated because of a very important and honorable cause. Both in Kurdistan and around the world, the campaign is growing and developing day by day. It is a very important campaign, but whatever is said or done for the physical freedom of Rêber Apo will be incomplete and insufficient if it has not reached its aim. This will be the case until Rêber Apo regains his physical freedom. The campaign is continuing in a steady, planned, and determined manner. In a few days, thousands of patriotic Kurdish people and their international friends will hold a sit-in in front of the ‘European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ (CPT) in Strasbourg. Also in this regard, right now, several conferences, concerts, and meetings are being organized by different platforms in many European cities, to be held soon. Well-known people from many parts of the world also make efforts in this regard. The foundation for a movement based on the global campaign has been established, and I believe it will develop further. The Kurdish people should focus 24 hours a day on what is happening in Imrali and what responsibilities they have towards Rêber Apo. According to this, they should take their stance and act.

One should point out that in North Kurdistan and Turkey, society has risen and many striking actions have taken place there lately, but I want to underline this again; it is still insufficient. All Kurds, whether organized or not, members of the party or not, should think about what they can do for Rêber Apo and act accordingly. Everyone should know that our future lies with Rêber Apo, and that the enemy intends to destroy our future along with him. Therefore, more action should be taken by our people, and a wider struggle should be waged in political and legal fields.

As it is known, when it comes to Rêber Apo and the Kurds, the doors of the system of capitalist modernity and law remain shut. This is why they have developed the international conspiracy. If this were not the case, would the CPT have kept silent about the unlawfulness of the Turkish state? If the same situation had arisen elsewhere in the world, their approach and reaction would have been different. This situation should anger us even more; it should cause our struggle to grow even more.

As you have implied, the torture inflicted by the Turkish state on Rêber Apo on Imrali is in no way legitimate, not even according to the law of the enemy. The Turkish state and the AKP are conspirators. The AKP is the party that is playing the most crucial role in the concept of special warfare in Turkey. Many people were surprised at how the global campaign spread all over the world, while the Kurdish people and their international friends gained morale and strength. Undoubtedly, in the coming period, this campaign will be carried out in an even wider and more organized manner.

The war between the Turkish state and the Kurdish freedom guerrilla continues. The Turkish government is still using every available means to harm the Kurdish people. During the close of 2023 and the start of 2024, the guerrilla executed multiple triumphant revolutionary operations. Recent statements indicate that the Turkish government is preparing more extensive attacks against the Medya Defense Zones. What is the current state of the war, and what kind of attacks are you anticipating?

This is an important issue on which the HPG provides daily information. In the last seven to eight months, the guerrillas have taken initiative and carried out several revolutionary operations against the Turkish state with great impact. With their sacrificial approach, the guerrilla obtained very significant results. The technology and forces of the Turkish state received a heavy blow in the Medya Defense Zones. They had to withdraw from many positions, and at many positions they were completely defeated. But the Turkish state is planning a large-scale war; they insist on this. They say that they want to continue the war, the denial of the Kurdish people, and the torture and solitary confinement in Imrali. This is the mentality of the Turkish state and the AKP. It is hard to tell how far they will go, but we know that we have a war ahead of us, a war which will be tougher than it already is. The Turkish state is preparing for this and is utilizing all its means. The guerrilla is always ready. It will be a very tough and brutal fight. Yet, so far, they have not been able to achieve results against the guerrilla. The children of the Kurdish people are heroically resisting in a sacrificial way. They have broken the attacks of the Turkish army, but the war does continue.

The guerrillas, despite incredibly tough circumstances, were able to achieve such positive outcomes in their struggle and resistance against the enemy. This ought to be a point of attention for our people; they should assume this a reference and should fulfill their own duties accordingly. In addition to a political and legal struggle, they should also salute the guerrilla with serhildans and be in constant action. We are now in a process where the willpower of the Turkish state is broken; that is why they are attacking more. They are aware of the dangers they are facing; if their will is broken, their 100-year-old system and mentality will be defeated. To prevent this from happening, they will resist until the last moment, they will mobilize all their economic and political means, whatever its implications may be. Therefore, the war will only grow, and the consequences will be very determining.

The situation is no longer the same. In 2024, Turkey’s destiny and the Kurdish issue will be decided. Success will go to the one who trains harder, is more disciplined, enthusiastic, and has higher morale, as well as the person who fights more tactically and technically proficient. These are characteristics shared both with the guerrillas and our movement. Its ability to lead the war on the battlefield, both strategically and technically, is a result of its strong motivation, morale, and resolve.

On Newroz, our comrade Murat Karayilan shared some news with the press. After 40 years of struggle, the guerrillas have a missile system to neutralize unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV). Everyone was astounded. The Turkish state wanted to sell its UAVs and UCAVs to create a big market, but the world is not blind. The developments in this war are being closely followed. The world knows that the guerrillas have shot down 10–15 of their UCAVs so far. This is why they are so agitated; they are now searching for ways to turn the war around. Of course, we should not be complacent. Complacency is a bad habit. We must believe in ourselves, we must value the fact that we have taken hold of the initiative, but we must know that the Turkish state and the AKP will resist, they will use all their means, and they will attack more aggressively. We are ready for a more intense phase. As I said, the initiative is in the hands of the guerrilla, it has 40 years of combat experience, it has Rêber Apo’s paradigm, the mountains of Kurdistan, the Kurdish people, and their international friends that stand beside them.

For more than 40 years, the Kurdish people and our movement have always stood up for our just cause. The PKK started from scratch and has reached this level so far. No matter how much the Turkish state and the AKP attack, this process will end with the success of the guerrilla. Undoubtedly, this will not be easy, because a high price is being paid every day. But with this spirit, this organization, this struggle, and this determination, the guerrilla will succeed.