Abdullah Ocalan Must Be Freed!
the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
18 February 1999
The Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM)
strongly condemns the kidnapping of Abdullah Ocalan, chairman of
the Kurdish Workers Party, and the murder and repression of the
Kurdish masses protesting his arrest.
The kidnapping of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan
marks another bloody chapter in the imperialists' long-standing
effort to crush the Kurdish people's struggle. This was the culmination
of a coordinated manhunt by the world's secret police forces. Ocalan
was hounded and pursued from one country to another. A U.S.-orchestrated
Turkey-Israel rapprochement originally drove him out of Syria. In
Russia, the neo-KGB contemptuously dismissed the Russian Parliament's
welcome of Ocalan and sent him packing, allegedly after consultation
with the CIA. The Netherlands refused him entry to plead the Kurds'
case before the International Court of Justice. And the highly guarded
secrecy surrounding the basic facts of his kidnapping in Kenya itself
stinks of reactionary intrigue and conspiracy.
Beneath the thinnest veneer of parliamentary democracy, Turkey is
a torture state, ruled by a military utterly beholden to the U.S.,
Germany and other imperialist countries. London bobbies, Paris gendarmes
and other police forces across Europe made the support of their
governments for the Turkish regime brutally clear by their bloodthirsty
attacks on the Kurdish youth demanding Ocalan's freedom. When Israeli
goons shot and murdered three Kurdish youth and wounded many more,
this latest act of Zionist terrorism was backed by the U.S., which
justified it by calling the PKK "terrorist". What is the
difference between the PKK and armed organisations in other countries
whom the U.S. labels "freedom fighters"? The most important
distinction is whether a group fits in with U.S. imperialist interests.
The many thousands of Turkish and Kurdish revolutionaries who have
passed through that country's hellholes in recent years have a saying:
they are in the small prisons within the big prison that is Turkey.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups have denounced
the widespread and systematic torture of those in the hands of Turkey's
legal system, not to speak of the government death squads that simply
murder opponents in their homes or offices or on the street. What
does it say about the Turkish system of justice that every day now
thousands of Kurds are putting their lives on the line simply to
demand a UN commission to ensure Ocalan will not be tortured and
killed? After all, the oppression of the Kurds is the law of the
land in Turkey. It is still forbidden to teach the Kurdish language
in school. Kurdish parliamentarians and poets languish in prison
merely for discussing Kurdish rights. The Turkish ruling classes'
true intentions for Ocalan are seen not in their feeble lip-service
to legal procedures but in the fact that they have promised a "short,
swift" trial, turned away his Dutch lawyers at the country's
borders, and arrested 350 members of the pro-Kurdish parliamentary
Turkey's rulers and their Western backers are dancing with joy.
But their pompous boasts are already being drowned out by the cries
of outrage and defiance that are rolling through Europe's urban
centres. A new generation of Kurdish youth has risen to fight oppression,
and they have fully demonstrated their unquenchable thirst for liberation.
What 50 years ago was a problem confined to a remote corner of the
former Ottoman Empire is now rocking the capitals of Europe, and
the Kurdish cause is gaining the sympathy and support of millions.
The shantytowns of Turkey's cities, swollen with Kurdish refugees
from the military's counter-insurgency war, are seething. Turkey's
rulers and their imperialist backers will, as Mao Tsetung said of
all oppressors, surely know no peace. Abdullah Ocalan must be freed
from their clutches.