20 years ago, the Kurds of Anatolia were struggling for the recognition of their culture by Turkey. Their leader, Abdullah Ocalan, first of all found refuge in Damascus, close to Hafez el-Assad, but was then kidnapped by Israël and Turkey after an international chase. He is still being held in a Turkish military base. It is since his incarceration that the Kurdish movement has begun to move closer to NATO. The officer of the Greek Intelligence services who accompanied him during his flight now speaks.
- The abduction of Ocalan by Israel and Turkey
In the 1970s, Ocalan and his comrades fought for the democratic rights of the Kurds and the people of Turkey.
The Turkish state killed some of them, others were imprisoned, and others were forced into exile to the mountains.
And that’s because the Turkish state is afraid of democracy, because it does not want to give democratic rights to the people of Anatolia.
In the 1980s, Ocalan put the Kurdish Issue in the global spotlight and sought its political solution in order to give democratic rights to the Kurdish people and the other ethnic and religious groups in Anatolia.
The Turkish state has been conducting an international campaign, and by taking advantage of the strategic value of Anatolia for NATO and the West, it has made them jointly involved in the crime it is committing against the Kurds and the other ethnic and religious groups in Turkey.
In the 1990s, with social, political and democratic struggles, Ocalan liberated women from the oppression that they were suffering for decades and brought them to the forefront of social, cultural and political life.
In the 1990s, Ocalan spread to the other ethnic and religious groups of Anatolia the love and the need for common struggle for Freedom and Democracy.
In the 1990s he sought Peace with the Turkish state.
He pursued peace many times, with a unilateral ceasefire, and each time the Turkish state closed the doors of the reconciliation and responded with torture, imprisonment, unresolved murders of men, rape of women, setting villages on fire, bombing and desolating Kurdistan.
The last call for peace was on September 1, 1998, when he sent an open letter to the Turkish government, asking for peace to prevail and stop the war and the blood.
The response of the Turkish state was threats towards Syria in order to extradite him.
Then an international conspiracy began to take place to arrest the leader of the Kurdish liberation struggle, Mr. Ocalan.
His trip from Damascus to Athens, his departure on the same day for Moscow, where he stayed for 33 days, and his subsequent trip to Italy, where he stayed for 66 days.
He then went to Russia, from there to Tajikistan, then to San Petersburg, and after that came his transfer to Athens and the adventure in Minsk, Belarus and Nairobi.
For much of this adventure, I was next to Mr. Ocalan. I saw Netherlands and Belgium launching F-16 fighter jets and sealing their airspace in order to refuse entrance to the airplane that was carrying Mr. Ocalan.
I saw Germany violate its own Constitution and cancel the arrest warrant pending against the Kurdish leader so that Italy will not extradite him into Germany.
I saw US Undersecretary of State Strobe Talbot moving to Rome until he succeeded in deporting Ocalan from Italy.
I saw Italy becoming self-ridiculed and urging the Kurdish leader to leave the country, the same time that the President of the Italian Republic, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice made public statements, saying Mr. Ocalan would be given asylum.
I saw Yevgeni Primakov, a remarkable politician with a long service in the KGB and the Russian Foreign Ministry, bending over the pressures of his US counterpart, Madeleine Albright, and driving Mr. Ocalan out of Russia.
I saw the Greek government providing official guarantees to Mr. Ocalan, in order to go to Africa, in the country that had been proposed to him. This proposal, these guarantees I myself have transferred them to the Kurdish leader.
I saw the CIA stationchief in Ankara going to MIT offices a day after our landing in Nairobi and telling the Turkish government that he "has Ocalan in his hands and that he can deliver him to Turkey on the basis of an agreement."
I saw the head of the National Security Council of Israel visit Ankara, a day before our landing in Nairobi, and to collaborate for two days with MIT and the Operations Department of the Turkish Armed Forces, with no statements regarding the nature of this collaboration.
I saw the same Greek government that had given state guarantees to Ocalan, to give orders to a diplomat of the Greek state and to an active senior military officer to "throw out the leader of the Kurdish Liberation Movement from the ambassador’s home".
I saw the same Greek government that had given state guarantees, to look for help in hired muscles and when it couldn’t find any, to send a group of police officers to "throw out the leader of the Kurdish Liberation Movement from the ambassador’s home".
I saw the Kenyan government agree with the Greek Ambassador that he would give up an aircraft for the leader of the Kurdish Liberation Movement for a destination of his choice and the same day to abrogate the agreement, abduct Mr. Ocalan and hand him over to the Turks.
Almost 20 years have passed and Abdullah Ocalan remains a prisoner on an island, under horrible conditions that could best be described as white torture.
All his lawyers’ efforts for a trial in an International Court have proven to be in vain, and it seems like the same invisible hand coordinating the global conspiracy behind his arrest, is still pulling the strings and refusing him any form of real justice.
For years the Turkish government has been holding Abdullah Ocalan under solitary confinement, and there are concerns about his deteriorating health.
Now is the time, for cooperation between the democratic forces of all countries that participated in some way in the global conspiracy for his arrest, to put pressure on their governments, and to begin the countdown for the release of the Kurdish leader.
This is our debt to him and to the long-suffering Kurdish people.
It is also a debt to our own country.