Posted by: hevallo | February 5, 2010

Abdullah Ocalan’s Lawyer’s Speech to European Parliament Meeting.


Valued Participants of the Conference,

We are together once again to discuss the Kurdish issue. Unfortunately there is nothing positive to speak of on the Turkey front. Last year we tried here to explain and prove that the AKP (Justice and Development Party) were not how they seemed and that they had no intention or desire of solving the Kurdish issue in a peaceful manner or bringing democracy to Turkey.

In the past year the AKP’s practice and policies have in this respect, proved us right.

To have made accurate assessments regarding the political climate and agenda may have been positive, however to have been right has meant that the Kurds have paid a heavy price. For example, I stand before you today as a person who has been handed a 6 year 3 month sentence for being the member of a terrorist organisation. The only reason for this sentence is a one hour meeting I had with my client Abdullah Öcalan, in the presence of prison officials. Furthermore the whole of this meeting, where we discussed the Kurdish issue, was recorded on tape by these officials. This decision has not been finalised because we have appealed, however according to the court’s decision I am a dangerous criminal and you should be careful when associating with me!

A while ago the Turkish government declared that it would begin a ‘‘Kurdish’’ initiative. Later on this initiative became the ‘‘democracy’’ initiative and then finally the ‘‘national unity and fraternity’’ project.

Initially the initiative created hope in society, including the Kurds, however soon after, the true nature of this project became apparent. Although not taking a single concrete or tangible step regarding the initiative project, the AKP governments ‘‘initiative’’ has meant arrests and imprisonment for Kurds. Approximately 1400 people including 177 children, human rights activists, and politicians have been arrested. People who in previous years attended this conference and shared their views and worries with you; former DTP Joint-Chair Selma Irmak, Diyarbakır Sur Municipality Mayor Abdullah Demirbaş, women’s workers Pergüzar Kaygusuz and Sara Aktas are currently in prison. IHD (Human Rights Association) Diyarbakır Branch Chairman Muharrem Erbey was also arrested and put in prison because of the speeches he made in parliaments around Europe regarding imprisoned children and extrajudicial killings.

Furthermore two of Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers, Ebru Günay and Şinasi Tur have also been in prison for nine months without an indictment or charges brought against them. In other words they do not even know what they are being accused of. Meanwhile the circles who are causing a storm regarding the human rights abuses against those being tried in Ergenekon and other similar cases, fore mostly CHP (Republican Peoples Party) Leader Deniz Baykal and other supposed social-democrats are not even raising their voices against the human rights abuses against the arrested children.

They called it the Kurdish initiative, however in time it has become clear that the AKP are only carrying out an initiative for their own benefit. They are disregarding and rejecting the requests and representatives of the Kurdish people. On one side the AKP are fomenting the threat of a military coup and on the other they are making sure that the Kurds are exposed to conditions that could only be seen in a military dictatorship. Following the March 29th local elections, Kurds began getting arrested en-masse in events similar to those in the September 12th 1980 military coup.

Lastly in December 2009, Mayors and politicians who were chosen with the majority vote of the public were arrested and taken to court in single file, their hands in handcuffs. The photos of this incident have been being firmly inscribed into the collective memory of the Kurdish people.

My client Abdullah Öcalan is also a point of discussion on every platform that the Kurdish issue is discussed; in fact a false conception has been formed in public opinion that it was Öcalan who created the Kurdish issue. At this point I think it is important and crucial that I share with you some of the views and opinions of my client. In his last defence my client cited;

‘‘In this defence I would like to talk regarding peace. I would also like to criticise the approaches against me.

The (Turkish) State are labelling me a ‘terrorist’ and thus distorting the situation. While our side, the Kurdish side is using my health and prison conditions as an excuse to protest and demonstrate. I do not accept these approaches and find them cheap; in fact they make me very angry. I know that I mean a lot for some people; however this issue must not become deadlocked on one person. This issue is a social issue, it is a political issue. It is a Peoples’ freedom and identity that is in question. These types of political matters can only be solved with a political mind and political methods. My conditions are being discussed and demonstrations are taking place. This type of approach can become a tool of the games that are being played. I am repeating it once again; my individual situation is not important.

What is important for me is the situation and freedom of my people and the 5000 comrades in prison. The improvement of my conditions or my freedom can only become an issue after them. My conditions and situation depend on the conditions and situation of my people and comrades. I am as well as they are. This is how I am approaching this issue. And this is how it should be known. My understanding and relationships are based on a life of comprehension. We have to create a life based on comprehension. A person who comprehends is a person who becomes free. Only a person who becomes beautiful through freedom can be the possessor of a meaningful life.

I am only voicing my opinions.

My conditions here are evident; I have been kept here in solitary confinement for 11 years. The Irish lawyer who came from England recently was also amazed at my conditions. She asked; are you always alone like this? Of course I have a 30-40 year political experience. For the past 11 years here I have studied and deepened my comprehension of sociology. Parallel to this I can make assessments and cite my views. However they are even begrudging me this and telling me not to speak. I am telling the officials here as well; I am a person with honour, my stance here is an honourable stance. They have given me cell punishment for the 12th time here. They are trying to suppress and intimidate me with these types of punishment. You can kill me but you cannot tell me to stop speaking. I am a prisoner here and I am aware of this. As a prisoner I can promise my people and comrades that I will complete my final march in an honourable and worthy manner. This is my only aim. This is all that I can do from here. This is a responsibility towards my people. For this I am trying to endure these conditions that are worse than death.

There is one thing that I am certain of and that is that I am trying to live here in a manner that is worthy of my people and comrades.

We tried to bring peace despite all our difficult conditions. We struggled for this. However it wasn’t to be, we would have liked to be successful, but we weren’t. Essentially the requirements for peace were clear and very simple. The tears of people can be stopped with two words: Peace Negotiations. Those who have lost their loved ones could pressure the government by saying these two words. This is how simple it is. To not lose hope I would like to appeal once again to the President, Prime Minister and General Chief of Staff. Everyone must play their part for peace. This is the prerequisite for being a State; it is what a serious State must do. The resolution of this issue is really not that hard.

We stated our opinions clearly regarding this issue, and it was not that hard to take some steps, however these were disregarded. I have analysed and examined all the universal experiences and models of a road to peace in Imralı, and as a result of this I made a great effort, worked and wrote about how our country could attain peace. However these efforts were disregarded.

It is being said that 40-50 thousand people have died in total on both sides. Yes, but how much of a lesson has been learnt? You cannot account for this by saying it is ‘‘terror.’’ You cannot trick people by using these definitions. If there are 50 thousand casualties this isn’t ‘‘terror’’ but war.

If there were this many casualties in any other country, they would come together, negotiate and find a solution. I did not insist that somebody should come and speak or negotiate with me. I pointed out different addresses, different methods and made assessments, however these were also disregarded. State officials are still saying that they will continue killing until the last ‘‘terrorist’’ is dead. As you can see they are exploiting the emotions of the people and making policies using blood. They are saying we have martyrs, but they do not even respect their own martyrs. Considering that there has been a war and people have died then peace must be attained so that deaths can be stopped. Being a Statesman requires doing this. We have been struggling for peace since 1993 and for the past 11 years I have been trying to continue it here. We tried to attain peace, but our efforts were futile. 50 thousand people have died and yet rather than prevent further deaths they are using these deaths to exploit people.

They are fomenting the fire by calling it ‘‘terror’’ and ‘‘separatism.’’ For the past 17 years we have been saying that we do not want to form a separate State, that this will not solve the problem. They are saying that they have martyrs, what about our martyrs? Despite all our suffering, the suffering and losses of our People, we persuaded and prepared them for peace, but what did you do? You fomented the suffering and pain. We tried to make a breakthrough for peace before (in 1999) as well and it cost us the lives of hundreds of our comrades. And lastly our friends came from Kandil, despite knowing all the dangers that would face them, they came to contribute to peace. We saw how the Government-State treated the arrival of our friends from Kandil. What we aimed for with the arrival of the Peace Groups was to show that; despite all their suffering the Kurds were ready for peace and to also prove that our attitude would be positive if a solution was developed.

However this was ignored. I would once again like to thank the peace groups for coming and our people for their reception. As I said before, despite all our suffering, the suffering and losses of our People, we persuaded and prepared them for peace. This was disregarded. The State has no respectability here. There is a war and humans are dying, Statesmen need to prepare (the people) for peace like they prepare (them) for war. Those who know how to fight must also know how to make peace. There are examples from history; Gandhi fought, he waged his war and then knew how to make peace. There is also the example of De Gaulle. Also there is Churchill, he entered the 2nd World War, fought and in the end knew how to conclude with peace. It is clear what they did for peace. This is the respectability and seriousness of a Statesman. We fought for our identity, our freedom and our rights.

We are a Movement that has thousands in prison; we have a People behind us. There are thousands who are in the mountains in this cold, the reason why they are there needs to be comprehended.’’

My client Mr. Öcalan has been voicing these opinions in meetings and written defences for the past 11 years. Due to these opinions and ideas he is being given solitary cell punishment and his lawyers are being put in prison. We believe Mr Öcalan’s recent written defence (the Road Map) to the ECfHR has been intercepted and seized by officials because it has similar opinions and ideas. This document is yet to be issued to the ECfHR and lawyers. Anyone with a little common sense and reason in Turkey will agree that all the structural problems including economical and human rights abuses are due to the Kurdish issue being left unresolved.

For a Democratic Republic where all these problems have been overcome it is of vital importance that the State of the Republic of Turkey and its Government listen to reason, regardless of where it comes from, and stop ignoring the interlocutors of this issue. First and fore mostly all the organs of European Union and European Council and all other organisations in Europe that are concerned with this issue must encourage Turkey in this respect.

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