Michael Arizanti
Passionate about Kurdish affairs and human rights

PKK in Kurdistan is an anti-nationalist movement

Who´s in charge of North East Syria? Abdullah Öcalan or Hakan Fidan? Or both?
Hakan Fidan & Abdullah Öcalan

You might find many psychological, emotional and other explanations as to why young people in Europe can be attracted to PKK. But the fact is that many of those who join this violent cult use phantasmal and theoretical arguments. Admittedly lame and irrelevant, but still there. Here, grassroots social efforts are needed to prevent further recruitment of young people to the PKK. But above all, a strong response is needed to the distorted political arguments used by PKK recruiters to legitimize their crimes and authoritarian ideology. In this work, Kurdish organizations play an important role. They must engage in the fight against political sectarianism and fanaticism. As long as this work is not coordinated with the military, Peshmerga and police efforts, there is a risk that young people will be attracted and recruited by PKK or other representatives of Qandil.

Kurdish intellectuals do not like the PKK’s military-like structure but are intimidated by it.

In 1997 Abdülmelik Fırat was invited by Öcalan and Iraqi Kurdish groups of [Massoud] Barzani and [Jalal] Talabani in Bashur to mediate a truce between them. At the time, the United States had intervened in Iraq and the PKK was fighting with Barzani and Talabani’s forces. Also, the Turkish military staged operations in Kurdistan against the PKK then. We saw that a truce was not possible between the Kurdish factions. At the time the Kurds did not have the maturity to realize games were being played through them by the Iranian, Turkish regimes – today is a different story.

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On Aug. 8 2008, Öcalan addressed the prosecutor of the Ergenekon trial, there it was made clear that unless the deep state in Turkey has been exhausted, the PKK will survive. It was made clear by Öcalan that the deep state supports PKK violence. As long as the deep state is alive, the PKK will not vanish. If democracy prevails in Turkey, the PKK will be no more. Kurds have been suppressed for years. They have even been regarded as non-existent in the Turkish Republic.

Abdülmelik Fırat (grandson of the Kurdish rebel leader Sheikh Said) stated:

I call on all deputies to understand that they are all part of this Kemalist system and that they do not have the power to stand up against this system.

The name Abdullah Öcalan may not sound familiar to most people, but is known to everybody in Turkey.

Writing in in 2007, a columnist named Sosun Welat explicitly accused Öcalan of serving as an agent for MİT and blamed him for perpetrating a “systematic betrayal and treason to [the] Kurdish cause.”

“Öcalan played a double agent role for years,” Welat wrote. “His rise and fall was well planned and controlled by [the] Turkish state. He and PKK provided cover for [the] Turkish state to … destroy [the] Kurdish heartland, its way of life, culture, language.”

Welat and other observers believe that prior to the forming of the PKK, in the mid-1950s, Turkish intelligence infiltrated Kurdish activist groups and helped establish their Communist credentials, thereby providing a legitimate excuse to oppress Kurds in the name of preventing the spread of Communism (which would, of course, please Turkey’s then-new allies in Western Europe and the U.S.).

Then in the 1970s, so the theory goes, Turkish intelligence facilitated the emergence of PKK, hoping to use it as a counterforce that would weaken other Kurdish insurgents. “MİT planned to split Turkish leftist groups by creating (its own) Kurdish leftist group, PKK — but apparently it got out of control,” said Emrullah Uslu, an analyst at the Jamestown Foundation and a professor of political science and international relations at Yeditepe University in Istanbul.

According to at least one eyewitness, Öcalan’s ties to MİT even go back fifty years.

In 2012 Turkish journalist Mehmet Avni Özgürel, who himself has been linked to MİT, told local media that he saw Öcalan attend meetings at a foundation operated by Turkish intelligence in the 1960s, when the future PKK leader was still a student.

Özgürel’s allegations about Öcalan’s unsavory arrangements with non-Kurdish organizations were painted with a fairly wide brush. He told the Aksiyon weekly magazine that besides his links to MİT, Öcalan had relationships with senior political figures in foreign countries, including the U.S., UK and Greece.
“I don’t want to elaborate on this [Öcalan’s relations with other countries] now because one day I want to prove it with documents that show where and with whom Öcalan met,” Özgürel told the publication.

According to Öcalan’s former right-hand-man, Hüseyin Yıldırım, “Öcalan controls the PKK and the ‘deep state’ controls Öcalan.” As Yıldırım sees it, “Öcalan made an agreement with the ‘deep state’ at İmralı [prison] to save his life.”.

PKK in Kurdistan is an anti-nationalist movement. Excerpt from Öcalan’s book “Democratic confederalism”:
1.) Democratic confederalism in Kurdistan is an anti-nationalist movement…Its goal is not the foundation of a Kurdish nationstate. The movement intends to establish federal structures in Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq that are open for all Kurds and at the same time form an umbrella confederation for all four parts of Kurdistan. p 34
2.) In contrast to this, the theory of the democratic modernity offers an adequate approach to all national communities in Turkey to solve their national problems. Community based project of a democratic Turkish confederation would both strengthen its internal unity and and create the conditions for a peaceful coexistence with the neighbours that it lives with. Borders have lost its former meaning when it comes to social unity. p 37
3.) The Iranian society is multi-ethnic and multi-religious and blessed with a rich culture. All national and religious identities of the Middle East can be found there. This diversity is in strong contrast to the hegemonic claim of the theocracy…already some kind of federalism exists. When elements of democratic civilisation and federalist elements including Azeris, Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs, and Turkmens intersect, the project of a “Democratic Confederation of Iran” can emerge and become attractive. p 40
4.) As long as we make the mistake to believe that societies need to be homogeneous monolithic entities it will be difficult to understand confederalism. p 25
5.) The foundation of a separate Kurdish nation-state does not make sense for the Kurds…founding of a Kurdish nation-state is not an option for me. p 19

About the Author
As a seasoned writer and expert on Middle East Affairs, Michael Arizanti has dedicated his career to shedding light on the complex political and social issues that shape in the Middle East. With a particular focus on Kurdish Affairs and human rights, Michael Arizanti has become a leading voice in the field, offering insightful analysis and commentary on the most pressing topics of the day. Throughout his career, Michael Arizanti has demonstrated a deep commitment to promoting justice and equality for all, advocating tirelessly for the rights of marginalized communities and challenging the status quo. His work has been published in a wide range of prestigious outlets, and he have been recognized for his contributions to the field with numerous accolades. Whether writing about the latest developments in the Middle East or speaking out against human rights abuses, Michael Arizanti is a passionate and dedicated advocate for positive change. With a unique perspective and wealth of experience, he continue to be a driving force in shaping the conversation around some of the most important issues of our time.
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