Ocalan Family Critical of Factions within PKK

12/11/2012 RUDAW By HEVIDAR AHMED – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Relatives of Abdullah Ocalan say that some members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are using the imprisoned leader as a tool to achieve their goals. Mehmet Ocalan, brother of the PKK leader, said that a Turkish official told him he was in a difficult situation. “He told me that I was between two big mountains — the PKK and Turkey,” Mehmet Ocalan said. “He’s right.”

He added, “But we consider ourselves servants of the Kurds as well. Let the activities and work of the PKK continue unhindered; we do not want any authority or posts. As the family of Ocalan, we only want for things to be done honestly and justly.”

It is not only Mehmet Ocalan who believes his family has been marginalized by the PKK leadership; his brother Osman Ocalan has grievances as well. Osman Ocalan was a member of the PKK leadership council for several years where he was known as “Farhad.” He left the PKK in 2004 and has been living in Koya since. He talked to Rudaw about why he left the PKK. “They made me leave,” Osman said. “They were a few individuals who conspired against me. Now it is the same people who are working against my brother Mehmet Ocalan and pushing him out as well.”

Osman Ocalan described the complicated situation for the Ocalan family. “Some individuals in the PKK leadership do not like the Ocalan family being involved in politics,” he said. “Ocalan’s relatives do not want to speak to the media in Turkey because they are afraid that their stories will be distorted, but the media affiliated with the PKK is not giving them a chance to speak.”

Mehmet Ocalan Ocalan also criticized some members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) for their disrespectful attitude at the party’s congress last month. “We have been struggling for 37 years and have never used our history of struggle to achieve personal gains,” he said. According to Osman Ocalan, BDP congress organizers changed the schedule for Mehmet Ocalan Ocalan’s speech three times and eventually did not allow him to speak.

“I am aware that what happened to me at the congress was not planned by the BDP leadership, but some individuals want to manipulate Ocalan for their personal goals. I left the congress for this reason,” Mehmet Ocalan said.

The PKK was founded in 1978 by Abdullah Ocalan and a number of other individuals. It announced armed struggle against the Turkish state in 1984, under the banner of “Independence for Kurdistan.” Abdullah Ocalan was captured on Feb. 14, 1999 in Kenya through a coordinated operation between the intelligence forces of several countries. After the arrest of Ocalan, the PKK changed its slogan, which now emphasizes “Democratic Autonomy.” “After the arrest of Ocalan, some individuals inside the PKK wanted to rise. But they are weak on the national level and are harming the struggle and the Kurdish revolution,” Osman Ocalan said. “They are these same individuals who are now controlling the PKK media.”

Mehmet Ocalan added: “Some PKK officials want to assume Ocalan’s position as leader.””Now Murat Karayilan’s authority inside the PKK has diminished as well and he is cleverly protecting himself,” said Osman of the acting PKK leader. “His powers have been reduced by leftist groups inside the PKK, but he is being quiet about it because he does not want to cause problems for the Kurds.” The Turkish government denied Abdullah Ocalan’s family – along with his lawyers – the right to visit him in prison for 14 months. Mehmet Ocalan was finally able to see him at the end of September. Osman Ocalan told Rudaw that the imprisoned leader sent a message via Mehmet Ocalan that said new developments would take place.

According to Mehmet Ocalan, Ocalan is continuing his struggle and has been talking with the Turkish government. Osman Ocalan expects the Kurdish issue is resolved in Turkey and his brother to be released in the upcoming year. He said, “In 2013, the Kurdish issue will be solved in Turkey. A solution to the Kurdish issue and freedom for Ocalan will happen together. The Turkish government knows well that solving the Kurdish issue is in the hands of Ocalan.”