London MED TV Television in Turkish
August 28, 1998
“Teleconference” with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan by telephone from an
unidentified location, moderated by Gunay Aslan, including Duygu
Leloglu from NTV, Tayfun Talipoglu from ATV, Huseyin Aykol from Ulkede
Gundem, Ali Haydar Yurtsever and Fikret Aydemir from Milliyet, Mehmet
Comert from Ihlas News Agency, Dogan Ozguden from Info-Turk Belgium,
MED TV Stockholm correspondent Mahmut Baksi, Nuray Bayindir from Ozgur
Politika, Cemal Ucar from Dem Agency, Ahmet Yumrukaya from Dunya, as
well as Greek, Norwegian, Belgian, Romanian, Arabic, and AFP
correspondents and a Soviet official, Kurdish parliament-in-exile
chairman Yasar Kaya, and Haci Ahmet from eastern Kurdistan in the
studio — live
(The transcript has been translated by FBIS)
[Aslan] Good evening, Mr. Ocalan.
[Ocalan] Good evening.
[Aslan] Without wasting too much time, I would like you to express
your thoughts to the Turkish and Kurdish media on this historic day.
[Ocalan] Esteemed media representatives, I would first like to extend
my thanks and respectfully greet you with a holy call for peace
through the MED TV channel. For some time now, we have been
encouraged by requests from the EP [European Parliament] to lay the
grounds of favorable conditions for a political solution. In
addition, we were also encouraged by sympathetic sectors in Turkey
that favorable results may result if the PKK [Workers Party of
Kurdistan] launches an initiative for a political solution. I must
quickly add that war, if not triggered by an important conflict and
issue, is insanity. Moreover, meaningless terrorism and violence
should never have anything to do with human relations. Our most
important concern is that we, with roots dating back hundreds of
years, must not be victims of violence that can even lead to genocide.
In reply to constant questions on whether the PKK is capable of taking
a step on the Kurdish issue in particular as well as on the
fundamental issues in Turkey and regional peace, we say the following:
I believe that there are no other people and organization with a
greater longing for peace than we if this great violence is stopped,
even if for a limited period of time, and if the method of dialogue is
adopted in basic human relations, in human rights issues, in
furthering democracy, and in resolving political issues.
Consequently, I hope that those circles who seek the same goals as us
are consistent in their desires and not involved in petty accounts. I
hope that we will not be deceived. We are only too glad to be able to
launch such a step. The initiative we seek to launch is similar to
the one we launched in April 1993 during the Ozal period.
That initiative created hopes, even if limited. I decided after
consulting with my organization that it is appropriate to launch such
a step in view of the conditions reigning outside and inside in
I would like it to be clear, however, that this step should not be
interpreted as though we are very strong or very weak or cannot bear
the situation any longer. I sincerely believe that taking such a step
meets what is required of a civilized and modern administration and is
the most appropriate initiative to be launched at this most critical
stage in Turkey’s history. This step is connected to securing a
lasting democracy, which is the most important issue on Turkey’s
agenda even though there are claims that the Kurdish issue is the
biggest problem, and human rights.
We have full faith that peace will be secured in Turkey, in the
region, and in the world if we can only advance this sensitive step,
which is similar to the one we took in 1993 and which gives a chance
to the Turkish public if it only does not let itself be provoked by
those circles who think that their interests lie in war.
I have to stress that there are preparations under way for the 75th
anniversary of the Turkish Republic. I would like to add that we are
not against the Turkish Republic. Moreover, the republican system,
which means a people’s government, is our choice of government as
well. It has to be admitted, however, that this republic did not
really embrace democracy for the past 75 years. The main problem
faced by Turkey is to instate democracy in the republic — in other
words, to democratize the state. All the political circles in Turkey,
both the left and the right wing, voice this opinion every single day.
All the political parties and civilian organizations in Turkey
repeatedly call for democracy. The shortcomings of the republic on
this issue should be assessed honestly and realistically. I am not
blowing the issue out of proportion and am not saying all this just to
debase the republic. The 75-year-old republic did not let its people
have a taste of democracy. It did not give too much of a chance to
democracy. Except for a high-level oligarchic circle, nobody
understood anything about democracy. The people, in particular, did
not have a taste of democracy. The word democracy was used all the
time; however, its requirements were never met. On the contrary, the
republic imposed the concept of antidemocracy through its
constitution, legislation, and various organizations including the
leaderships of political parties. This state of affairs created a
demagogy around democracy. The main issue faced by Turkey is to free
democracy from being a subject of demagogy and to have it embraced by
the people. This is not tantamount to defaming the republic and
certainly does not mean dividing the republic; it is tantamount to
seeking to democratize the republic.
This is in Turkey’s interest. In this way, Turkey, which is gasping
for breath now, will start breathing once again. Those acting on
behalf of the republic should set themselves antidemocracy as a
target. One should not forget that since its establishment, the
republic has subjected the Kurdish people to a great injustice, using
uprisings and antidemocratic actions as an excuse. A great injustice
was committed against various ethnic and religious circles as well.
Injustices were committed against all the poor people of Turkey as
Since the 1970’s, in particular, something like tens of thousands of
persons lost their lives in a period of violence and oppression
similar to what happens in the worst fascist regimes. We were the
products of this situation. We were not the ones who created the
Kurdish problem. The Kurdish issue has been part of the Turkish
Republic since its establishment.
I believe it is important that I talk about a couple of articles in
the Amasya circular, which is the first document that laid the grounds
for the establishment of the Turkish Republic and which was personally
formulated by Mustafa Kemal. I want to refer to this circular because
everybody in Turkey, in particular the army, thinks they are
Ataturkists. They claim they are Ataturkists. This may be true;
however, we should not forget that the grounds of the Erzurum, Sivas,
and Ankara congresses and the opening of the Assembly were laid by the
The Amasya circular was written during a most difficult period in
Turkey. The naked truths were revealed during the period of the
Amasya circular. In other words, the Amasya protocol or circular
belongs to a period which should have been be treated extremely
delicately because it laid the grounds for the republic. I would like
to read one or two articles of the Amasya protocol.
The borders of the Ottoman Empire consist of the land settled by both
the Kurds and Turks. The Kurds are an integral part of the Ottomans.
All the national and social rights of the Kurds have been acknowledged
in order to guarantee their free progress.
All the decisions at this meeting were adopted jointly. In reply to a
question by Edip Adivar in Izmit on September 1921, Ataturk said it is
essential that the Kurds assume the post of mayorships in those
neighborhoods where they are a majority. In this process, those were
the views of Mustafa Kemal. In other words, the Kurds have at least
as much of a share as the Turks in the foundation of the republic.
The later process, as I have stressed, is antidemocratic. It also
runs counter to the foundation on which the republic rests. I stress
that this must be realized. I emphasize that the honorable
politicians and army members must assess the foundation of their
Here lies the misunderstanding. The word brotherhood is being uttered
frequently, and it is also being said that, despite the sharing and
the brotherhood, Turkey’s unity and sovereignty must not be
questioned. Fine, but who is involved in this unity? And who is
attacking the rights of those involved in this unity? Why should it
be separatism to ask you to understand this? Why should it be an
attack on Turkey’s sovereignty? On the contrary. Who is hurting the
essence of the sovereignty by not acting in line with its foundation?
I stress that this must be understood. By resorting to the greatest
violence regarding this point and by erasing even the name of a people
from history — as was done in the beginning — certain circles
attacked both Turkey’s unity and its sovereignty. Consequently, we
are not guilty. Those who deny the reasons for all this must be held
accountable. I will leave this aside, too, as a significant
Currently, it is impossible to deny that Turkey is going through a
grave crisis — one at least as bad as the one in the 1920’s. The
nation may not be in danger, but society and democratic life are at
least as important as the nation, and that is what is in the greatest
danger today. I stress that all this must be kept in mind and that
the chances for a democratic effort in the name of our peoples must
not be wasted. Just as the Turks needed the Kurds in the early
1920’s, they need them today for democracy. The term brotherhood,
which is being uttered so frequently today, can become concrete only
on the basis of democratic sharing. Everything else is demagogy.
As for the criticism of the PKK violence, we are the side that suffers
the most from this violence. If, under conditions of a severe
imbalance of power, we opted for an essential defense method in order
to protect ourselves from destruction and safeguard our most
legitimate human rights, identity, and culture, this is called
self-defense and is cited in the UN Charter, even in the Turkish
Constitution. Let us not forget everything that we are being denied
— our humanity, our national identity, our human rights. And I am
not even speaking of democracy and human rights.
Everything is being denied us. What were we supposed to do if not
resist? Would it be in Turkey’s interest if we had accepted this
great injustice? Would the Turkish people or the Turkish nation
emerge from this honorably? I do not think so. A nation or people
who tramples on another, on the other’s identity and name, with such
injustice can never be happy. Such a nation will never see the end of
Consequently, our violence, which is based on self-defense, must be
assessed correctly. PKK terrorism is mentioned frequently. If this
is very important to you and if you intend to prepare the ground for a
political method and a democratic solution, I say today, on the 75th
anniversary of the republic and in the face of the difficult problems,
especially regarding democracy, that we are ready to do whatever is
asked of us in order to set Turkey — a country that is pressured
almost more than any other in the world — on the right course once
again, save it from the heavy war bill, put an end to the grave human
right violations, and enable Turkey to stop being a toy in the hands
of the mafia, as the press reports daily. If they insist and if we
(?believe) that they are very respectful, we, too, will respect the
law on condition that they abide by the word and spirit of the law,
basic human rights, and democracy. We are not afraid of that at all.
It is not we who violate it. Everybody knows who it is that claims to
be respectful of the law but violates it daily and commits the gravest
crimes. We alone can offer support in the fight against those people.
There is talk about the violation of the republic’s basic principles.
It is not we who are violating them. On the contrary, Turkey’s elite
circles, its administration, has caused this to happen by subjecting
us to extreme oppression and boundless violence. There is talk of the
great damage incurred by secularism. That is obvious; when the
Turkish state attacked us with helicopters, we were not distributing
We did not draw hundreds of thousands of children to Koran courses.
It was the state that did that. I am not saying that I am for or
against all this. That is not what I mean. I mention this because it
is an issue that is being discussed widely today. We were not the
ones who paved the way to the mafia gangs. Those who granted them
unlimited possibilities so that they could kill a revolutionary are
responsible. There are daily reports to this effect in the
press. This is not good for Turkey. I say that we are ready to do
whatever is necessary in order to be able to fight all this — not
because we are weak but in order to be able to make even a limited
contribution to democracy and to the brotherhood of peoples. As a
step to this end and in response to the longings for peace throughout
the world, to the EP decision, and to the quite powerful Turkish
public opinion, we have decided to launch an indefinite cease-fire as
a first step — I do not want to describe it as unilateral, even
though it can be interpreted that way — as of 1 September so that
some consistent long- or short-term steps can be taken — and we are
not saying that these are the terms — in order to resolve the issues,
including the Kurdish question, under more favorable political
If I elaborate on this a little, and if it is going to be more
meaningful in practical terms, our cease-fire may be two weeks, one
month…. [pauses] We find it appropriate to have a cease-fire given
the current election atmosphere, the amnesty issue that is being
debated, and more urgently, to enable the new command levels in the
Turkish army to make an assessment of the situation. Furthermore,
most basically, we consider a cease-fire appropriate to ensure that
this grave crisis is overcome in a more democratic way, to put an end
to this secret war which is really hard on us and is costing a great
deal, and because we know that Turkey does not benefit at all from
this but rather is hurt by it. All the internal and external
conditions indicate that we are in a more suitable position than in
1993. We want to react sensitively to that.
I believe that this is also in line with the expectations of domestic
and foreign public opinion. That is why, if operations are not
carried out against us, if operations designed to destroy the
guerrillas are not carried out, we are in control of our guerrillas
and they will not carry out any attacks. Let me say it again: In order
for conditions to improve and a more suitable political struggle
atmosphere to be created, we will not allow any acts of violence from
our side. I believe that none of us will resort to any provocations.
I do not think that provocations similar to the ones in 1993 will be
carried out. We are in control of our forces in this regard.
The length of the cease-fire, I stress once again, will be determined
in line with the positive nature of the developments that will occur.
The election period may be considered the maximum period, but I am not
giving any guarantees. If the other side resorts to provocations, if
operations are carried out, we will obviously exercise our legitimate
right of self-defense. Really, though, that would not be our
preference. We say enough to this long-lasting war. We believe that
our peoples will gain a lot from politics, that they desperately need
this, and that this is the core of the problem which must be resolved.
Today, we are offering the key to the solution of the problem. That
is how this must be understood.
The concerned circles, the sensitive circles must not assess this as a
tactic. We do not have such an intention. We may see this through to
the end as a sincere step if guarantees are given, positive conditions
are created, and our interlocutors are credible. Then it will be seen
that we are not a separatist power for Turkey and that we do not hurt
its unity or sovereignty. On the contrary, as a side that knows very
well what labor is and what liberation means, we will do our share for
strong Turkish unity and for a Turkey that is not too dependent on the
outside, one that is based on the sovereignty of its peoples. In other
words, as I always say, we are a most powerful force of democracy and
light for Turkey. We do not accept anything else. At the same time,
however, we are also a force of light and democracy for the Kurdish
people. We are not a separatist force, as is being claimed. I want
to stress that it is important to understand this well.
Methods based on violence should really not be upheld much. If
conditions dictate, we can develop our violence more than ever. In
fact, violence was implemented to the highest degree, but no results
were achieved. There must be no resort to these methods. The world
problems are now being resolved without violence. Look at the Chechen
problem in Russia, the Colombian problem, the Irish problem, and even
the Palestinian problem. Turkey, which needs this modern approach
more than anyone else, must fall in step because this is the only way
it will achieve happiness. If we are given a chance — and I am
saying this in front of our public opinion, a public opinion that
wants these problems resolved as soon as possible: Give us a chance to
show our consistency and our constructive approach toward rights and
democracy. If we are given a chance, we will take steps in the right
direction, and everybody will see.
I want to end my statement here. If you esteemed media members want
to ask me questions, I will consider it an honor to answer them. Once
again, our thanks and greetings for having heard us.
[Aslan] We thank you, sir, for making this announcement on MED TV.
[Leloglu] Mr. Ocalan, it is being said that the organization has
become marginalized in the southeast. Can you comment on that please?
And the second question is: Will HADEP [People’s Democracy Party] take
part in the elections? And if it will, will you support it? What
will your stand be in the general elections?
[Ocalan] Greetings. A lot has been said about the marginalization of
the PKK. As I stressed at the beginning of my speech, I am not making
this call and starting this initiative because we are powerless or
because we have become marginalized. That is not the reason. I want
to launch this initiative as a response to the desires and demands of
internal and external sensitive circles and of the lofty public
opinion. Let me say this about marginalization: As you know, in my
previous speeches I pointed out that efforts have been made in line
with the 1992 concept to destroy us or marginalize us — that is,
ensure that we turn into groups that disband on their own. The
current situation is definitely not that.
There are certain journalists who carefully assess the PKK’s internal
situation and current power. I gave an example in a recent speech.
You honorable press members must follow all that. Sukru Elekdag, for
example, who has reliable sources of information, has said that the
PKK is not marginalized. I cannot give you better proof than that.
He says: A 300,000-strong army is on its toes, waiting there day and
night. It is not I who is saying that there is a 300,000-strong
army. It is the journalist with the reliable sources who is saying
it. The situation is even graver.
How can you talk of marginalization in such a situation? The presence
of such a big army means a very big war. Otherwise, why should such
an army be on its toes for marginalized groups? In other words, the
situation cannot be explained in terms of marginalization. In fact,
it is even graver. The situation is graver than what it was in 1995
The situation in the south has also been reversed. Turkey’s military
force is trying to the protect the KDP [Kurdish Democratic Party]
there. Not only has Turkey not destroyed the PKK, but it is spending
a tremendous amount to keep an army of some 30,000-40,000 men there to
protect the KDP. The same is true for the village guards. The guards
do not guard; on the contrary, the army is trying to guard and protect
them. That is how grave the situation has become. It may be that we
have weakened. A careful journalist or anybody who is interested in
the issue, however, will accept the seriousness and gravity of the
My answer to your second question is that more than with HADEP, our
policy is concerned with the establishment of a general democratic
platform. We approach the matter from a wider perspective. We do not
approach it only in terms of a narrow election framework. We say that
Turkey desperately needs a democratic leap forward. This [word
indistinct] exists in HADEP. We believe that anyone who believes in
democracy must work for such a platform. I believe that one aim of
our initiative is to strengthen such a political and democratic
effort. I believe that this will really take place.
[Talipoglu] As a person who visits the area frequently, I want to ask
you the following. I understand that you are not abandoning arms but
merely silencing them. You say that you do not know for how long and
that the period will depend on the stand the other side will adopt.
What kind of specific steps are you expecting? That was my first
question. My second question is: What has changed to cause you to
reach this decision? After all, martyr cemeteries have been dug in
almost all the villages and districts of this country for the past 15
years. The bodies of the guerrillas are nowhere to be seen. A lot of
blood has been shed. Everybody in the country wants the bloodshed to
stop. What was the change that made you come to this decision? What
are we going to tell history?
[Ocalan] Greetings to Mr. Talipoglu. We did not create this
historical problem. It is not the first time blood is being shed.
Remember the Dersim uprising; some 60,000 persons were killed. Let
alone cemeteries, their bones are nowhere to be found. In fact,
nobody knows exactly how many were killed and where. Remember the
Agri uprising, the Seyh Sait uprising. Who is responsible for all
that bloodshed? I do not think that we can say it was only the Kurds
who were responsible. It would be greatly unfair to always blame the
Kurds. As I showed you in the document, the Kurds helped you
establish this republic. The Kurds gave the Turks most critical
support during a most difficult period for the latter. You must see
that. The honorable press members must remind their public of certain
historical truths. That is the first thing.
It is true that there is a martyrs cemetery in every village and that
the cemeteries of the PKK guerrillas are unknown. Let me reiterate,
however, that unless there is democracy or even a freedom of
expression — and this is not true only for the Kurds… [pauses] Any
intellectual who says something honestly is in prison. Those who
illegally make millions are out free, but those who want to write the
truth are imprisoned. This is true in connection with the Kurdish
issue. People whose only crime is to write a few articles are in
prison. So what do you expect us to do under such conditions? On the
one hand you say that the Kurds are as much the owners of these lands
as the Turks, that all their national and social rights will be
recognized; on the other hand, even our name is denied. That is what
led to the violence. We are surely the side that should be held least
responsible. We wanted our identity. We wanted our democracy. We
wanted our culture. Can anybody live without culture? Can anybody
live without democracy? What do you expect us to do after even our
name has been denied? Despite that, I say that the best option is to
live together, and I am not saying it out of fear. I wish there had
been no bloodshed on either side, that there had not been any of the
incidents that daily break our hearts, and that we could have resolved
the problems by discussing them in a broad democratic platform. Who
is shunning the democratic platform? When were we asked to participate
in such a platform that we refused? Look at Ireland, look at the
bloodiest of enemies — the Arabs and Israel, look everywhere in the
world. The Turks and Kurds have shared a common history. No other
people helped the Turks as much as the Kurds. Read in all the history
books, you will see that it is true. In return, we should not have
gotten a unilateral denial of our rights. That is what caused the
bloodshed, the martyrs. I respect the martyrs of both sides, but I
say: Enough, there must not be another drop of bloodshed.
If the Turkish administration, or those who rule the Turkish Republic
today, intend to destroy the Kurds, if they think that the Kurdish
identity has been obliterated, that the Kurds are fast disappearing,
and will soon be completely annihilated, then you cannot expect any
honorable Kurd who is loyal to his language and culture and who
respects the hundreds of thousands who shed their blood, to meekly
extend his neck to be massacred. You Turks uphold your honor and
national honor. I do not belittle that. Every nation must be like
that. I know that Mustafa Kemal is a great symbol of national honor.
I respect that too. But why do you deprive the Kurds of that? Why do
you not accept that the Kurds have a national honor and an identity
honor? I am not the only one saying that; it is cited in the
foundation of the Turkish Republic. If you accept that, and some say
they do, then I say let us stop this violence. Let us not use
violence for another second. It is I who wants that. This must be
given a chance. I repeat, I am not saying this out of fear or because
we are incapable of using violence. It is because we really must. If
the other side stops violence, you will see our real demands. We will
be able to show you what real brotherhood means. This opportunity is
not being given. That is why blood is being shed. That is why there
is meaningless violence. We are very sad about that. You must also
be sad. Why do you not organize press campaigns to stop it? Is this
not the most basic problem? You do not write it, but sometimes 50
soldiers are killed a day, and sometimes 50 PKK members. Are these
not terrible figures? Why do you not make an issue about that? Why
do you not organize a campaign to stop it? The press is using banner
headlines daily in connection with a smuggler, a Mafia smuggler. What
is the value of that? On the other hand, you write only a few lines
when 10, 20, or 30 soldiers are killed.
Is the value of a Turkish soldier so low? Why do you not dwell on the
pain involved? Why do you not come up and say enough? I think that
is the answer to the first question.
As for the duration of the cease-fire, or why we felt the need for
that.. It is certainly not because we were obliged to. It must be
seen as a goodwill step we took with the hope that it will lead to a
positive echo from the circles we must take into account. We found it
appropriate to take this step not because we were unilaterally obliged
to, but because certain circles conveyed indirectly to us that
positive steps may or should be developed and that it would be useful
if we contributed to that.
I think that in the coming couple of weeks we will see if this is
true, if positive developments will really take place. If that
happens, it will be very good. If not, we will have no choice but to
go on with the process that we have been going through for years.
[Talipoglu] What do you mean by concrete developments?
[Ocalan] The most important aspect of that… [pauses] I find the
fact that you are here today as meaningful. You will notice that this
is our second important news conference with honorable Turkish
Let me repeat: I find this meaningful and I respect that. As far as I
am concerned, this is a positive step, and it must be developed.
The second positive step is to prevent any harm from coming to a
single soldier. This is important. We think of the soldiers more
than our guerrillas. The death of even one soldier disturbs us. We
do not rejoice in that at all. It is very difficult for us. If the
Turkish state does not attack us, the soldiers will not die, the
mothers will not cry. What is wrong with not sending soldiers to
attack us and not having soldiers die? Regardless, the Kurds are
Kurds and will continue to exist. More civilized methods are resorted
to everywhere in the world. If that is done, the mothers will stop
crying. What is the meaning of all that? Enough of military
operations! Two armies carried out an operation and achieved no
results. Enough! I think that this has no place in the logic of war.
This can go on for 50 years, 100 years…. Some 60,000 have been
killed so far, and if it continues, another 600,000 will be killed.
There is no end to that. That is why I say: Enough! To stop the
death of so many Anatolian youths, more than the guerrillas, who were
killed — something that grieves us… [pauses] And the numbers are
not important; 10 on our side or one from the other side — it is the
same pain. We must not rejoice in the deaths. Stopping this will
really put an end to our suffering. Unless we are
attacked…. [pauses] The army can stay where it is, we are not saying
that it must withdraw completely. You will notice that some people
say: The Turkish Army must withdraw and then we will declare a
cease-fire. That is not what we are saying. In fact, we say that we
are going to implement the cease-fire unilaterally. If the other side
attacks us, it means it has ill intentions. Then we will surely not
bow our heads meekly and be massacred. We will defend ourselves. I
have said this before.
Ours is a most innocent, a most moderate demand. The army can stay
with all its force. We are not questioning the Turkish state’s
We are submitting various assessments on the right foundations for a
sound unity. Why is this not being taken seriously? The number of IRA
members is maybe one-thousandth of the British army, or even one-ten
But what did Britain want? Only that the IRA should declare a
cease-fire. The IRA refused for a long time, but we have seen that
after it declared a cease-fire, the problem has been moving toward a
solution. It is similar to our case. We are declaring a cease-fire
even though our firing force is greater than the IRA’s and our
capability to use violence is far greater. I say that certain
positive steps must be taken. I want to sincerely believe it will
happen. If it happens, it will be a truly historical development. It
will be a great step toward democratization on the 75th anniversary of
the Republic. It will mean the speedy improvement of human rights and
of Turkey’s image both at home and abroad. Democracy is at a deadlock
at the moment. The basic characteristics of the Republic are being
challenged. They can be reinforced in a more meaningful and
democratic framework. A very high financial price is being paid. It
can stop. And most importantly, the economy is at a standstill in the
war areas. The economic crisis is going from bad to worse. Stopping
the war can bring great economic relief. These are not gains that can
be underestimated for Turkey. And what will be the price of that?
Turkish soldiers will not die, and PKK members will not die. Is this
not a good thing? It must be encouraged. I hope that the value of our
initiative will become obvious. I do not want to say anything else.
[Baksi] Does this cease-fire concern only the TC [Turkish Republic],
or does it involve the KDP as well? Is there such a desire on both
sides in south Kurdistan? Are you ready for such a thing? Not only
I, but the Kurdish public, our neighbors, and Europe are curious about
that. Such a cease-fire would be as important as the one with the TC.
[Ocalan] Greetings to you Mr. Baksi. It is true that there is a
serious problem here. Earlier, I had issued insistent calls in the
south both for a cease-fire and for a political dialogue for the
solution of certain important internal problems between
us. Unfortunately, such a will was not observed on the other side. It
still is not. Of course, I would have liked a cease-fire followed by
a political dialogue process.
However, the will for that is not observed on the other side. If I
say something unilaterally now, it will have no meaning. There is no
organization that will reply to us. Consequently, I cannot give you a
clear answer regarding this issue today. If the other side’s will
clearly emerges, if they say: “There is a peace problem among the
Kurds, the Kurds have certain domestic political problems, let us
solve them, for example by holding a peace conference,” then my answer
will be positive.
On this occasion, I reiterate my call once again to the concerned
power circles, mainly the KDP: Let us stop the violence in order to
discuss and resolve the problems between us both in the democratic and
in the political dimension.
However, the Kurds have the mentality of feudal lords. If the KDP
leaders think that they can finish us off by relying on the great
enemy, I cannot do anything. I hope that we will start a
normalization process with the Turkish Republic on which they rely.
Maybe then they too will see the light and be inspired by the positive
atmosphere. What else can I say?
[Yurtsever] What was the greatest factor that led you to declare a
cease-fire? Was it the changing political balances in the region, the
fact that the United States introduced a new dimension to the
Syrian-Israeli relations, any possible changes in the Ankara-Damascus
ties, or were you given an advanced recipe for the solution of the
Kurdish problem say through the EU or the United States? What were
the signals you say you received from the internal and external public
opinion? Can you be more specific about that?
[Ocalan] Greetings Yurtsever. I tried to answer this question very
openly. The reason you say that the answer is still unclear concerns
the essence of the issue: I cannot be more specific because there is
nothing clear to be specific about, or because that is what the
There are indeed certain decisive factors. In more general terms, I
can talk about a deep crisis. The concerned circles also talk about
that. It is true even if they are not explicit about it. You must
all see that.
More specifically, I believe that the solution of the political
deadlock in Turkey can be speeded up by means of PKK initiatives. The
start of a political process depends on the taking of certain steps by
the PKK. It is because I believe in that that I declared my
Also, a new military command level has now assumed office. Certain
assessments have been about Kivrikoglu. It has been pointed out that
he has a civilian and political aspect. I hope that it is true. The
military does not mean only violence. It was pointed out at the
military ceremonies held in Ankara today that the Turkish army is one
of peace, of honorable peace. There was talk of its political and
civilian sensitivities. So the initiative we took today can give the
army this chance. In other words, giving this a chance cannot be
considered a bad step. Furthermore, there have been remarks to this
effect since the late President Ozal’s time. It is being said that it
is appropriate to revive this once again. It is even being said that
the conditions are graver than in 1993 and thus make such an
initiative more essential. These are the assessments being
made. Earlier, I quoted assessments made by certain sensitive
columnists. Circles that feel more responsible about this issue may
value such an initiative. So, I think that my initiative is
appropriate. Let me repeat once again that I cannot be more specific,
because as you know no party in Turkey, including the army, can speak
openly and truly. They say one thing and do another. It is obvious
that there is an extensive demand for a peace process. There is an
extensive belief that the issue must be moved to a political channel.
I believe in that too. This has also been effective in my taking this
step. These are the factors that played a role. Our step has nothing
much to do with marginalization, with the south, with the latest US
initiatives, or with the relations between Turkey and Syria.
I would like to make a point here: the assessments made about us are
merciless. It is being said that even if the PKK wants to, it cannot
implement a cease-fire because it does not have the will. This was
mentioned by Sukru Elekdag in his article about certain circles. This
is a view expressed by many. I am now showing that we have the will
to declare and implement a cease-fire. I have started this initiative
with the freest of wills. In other words, the assessments are not
Contrary to claims, the PKK is not dependent on outside forces. This
is an important issue that must be well understood. Certain sensitive
circles are concerned about this point. With our initiative, they
will see that they can believe us. There is no other factor. The
essence of the issue is as I have said. I believe that certain
circles in Turkey who do not want to give up the war rent will want to
continue with the war, claiming that so much blood has been shed, or
that there are martyrs ceremonies in every village. They are not
acting logically. They act this way because they are very involved in
the war rent. We must be careful about their provocations. There
will definitely not be any games or provocations on our part. We are
sincere. I think that the sensitive circles in Turkey are now leaning
toward such a tendency. This has become a strong view in Turkey.
That is my hope, and that is the right thing to do.
[Yurtsever] Did you receive a very concrete sign from Ankara that led
you to reach this decision? Is Ankara involved in this?
[Ocalan] It would not be right for me to speak on behalf of Ankara.
Furthermore, this issue is widely exploited in Turkey. We are faced
with the danger that a demagogy can be resorted to in order to hurt
the conditions and to prevent any positive developments. What I want
to say is that the view that is interested in a political process has
matured since 1993. That is my guess. I do not want to speak on
behalf of others. Such a tendency is developing in all the circles.
Reports to that effect have reached us. I do not only mean the army.
I am observing all the important establishments, including the public
opinion. This must be assessed well. I wish everything were more
open, that there were a more suitable method, but the reality of
Turkey does not allow for more than that. Actually, you press members
have a duty to perform in this regard.
You must tell the broad public of your democratic opinion that such
initiatives must be started. I am begging you to do that. This is
not a propaganda. At the time, we were suspected of exploiting the
leave in the army. This is not a matter of leave. It has gone beyond
that. We will not exploit that. It is appropriate for the press to
be more sensitive so that a democratic and political process may start
on this basis. There are no serious obstacles.
And if there are any obstacles in connection with the PKK — as is
being claimed — we are eliminating them now by taking this step. I
believe that the sensitive circles in Turkey view this positively.
That is why you must encourage that. The press is said to be the
fourth force. This force must use its power in connection with
Turkey’s most fundamental problem. There are no obstacles. This is a
duty. It is a patriotic duty and democratic duty. I hope that you
will be brave about that. [passage omitted on repetitive material in
reply to a Greek correspondent’s question on how Ocalan thinks Turkey
[Johansen from Klassakampen, in English with simultaneous translation
into Turkish] Mr. Ocalan, in October, the route of the pipeline that
will transport the oil from Baku to Ceyhan will be determined. Can
you comment on that please?
[Ocalan] Greetings. This is a detail. As far as we are concerned,
there are issues of higher priority. Undoubtedly, political solutions
reached under peaceful conditions will make important contributions to
economic problems as well. In that case, such pipeline initiatives
can be implemented more easily. The solution of the Kurdish problem
will also create a positive and moderate atmosphere for the solution
of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The same is true for
the Aegean and Cyprus issues too. We believe that our path for a
peaceful solution will positively affect Cyprus and the Aegean
problems as well. We are considering the issues as a whole. I
believe that this is the right thing to do. When there will be
wholesale regional peace, there will be a resulting stability, and
economic activities will be developed mutually. And this does not
mean only the pipeline; there is a tremendous economic potential in
these war zones. This will lead to tremendous riches. That may be
the result, of course. The key, however, lies in the political
solution of the problem.
[Ahmad Kamal from WTV, in English with simultaneous translation into
Turkish] What is the best solution for the Kurdish question? Self-rule
[Ocalan] Greetings. You have asked me a question the answer to which
must be considered much later. If the step we have taken is
understood correctly, it is a step to start a political process. We
are not discussing the essence of the problem here. Once the political
process starts, once this very oppressive military tension is replaced
by a political debate atmosphere, then we can hold comprehensive
discussions on whether it will be independence, or federation, or
autonomy, or identity and cultural rights, and so on. In very general
terms, however, I can say that we will not act with prejudice. We
recognize the concepts stressed by the sensitive circles, such as
Turkey’s territorial integrity or integrity in general, and the
state’s sovereignty. We do not want to eliminate these concepts.
However, the content of these concepts must be filled. And it is not
only we who say it.
Some circles say that the state wants to take a democratization step
but is afraid of the PKK. With our initiative today, we are
eliminating the grounds for this fear. It is being said that unity
and sovereignty must be kept in mind. We find this meaningful. Some
circles in Turkey are saying that there should be democratization,
that extensive autonomy must be granted to the local administrations,
and that constitutional amendments must be made. We are taking all
this into consideration.
I believe that there is one single basic principle and it is that if
the Kurdish identity is placed under constitutional guarantee, a rich
solution will be reached in Turkey provided operations are not carried
out to obliterate the Kurds or other ethnic groups. We will not have
a rigid and narrow nationalistic approach to the issue. The issue of
the borders is not very urgent. The tendency in the world is that
borders are becoming meaningless. For us, the most important borders
are human rights, democracy, and looking for solutions to problems
through political channels.
If you notice, national borders and geographic borders are not an
issue. There is no need to be frightened or defensive about that.
More riches will be possible in unity. The Kurdish problem was pushed
to a difficult spot by means of a narrow and nationalistic approach.
Turkey was also placed in a difficult spot as a result of its own
denial of the Kurdish identity. I say that these two dangerous
approaches must be abandoned. The more we keep away from narrow
nationalism, and the more Turkey keeps away from its policies of
destruction and annihilation, the more possibilities will be for a
comprehensive solution package. We will not be very insistent or
pushy. We will not set too many conditions. I repeat, however, that
in our debates, we will attach importance to the human right and
democracy boundaries, to an extensive political dialogue, to sound
constitutional and legal guarantees. This is connected to the
restructuring of the state too. Everybody in Turkey wants that. I am
convinced that within this framework we can reach a solution at an
advanced level. [passage omitted on a question in Russian by
Nikiforenko Louri from the Russian Duma Geopolitical Desk, its Kurdish
translation, and Ocalan’s reply in Kurdish]
[Aslan] I would like to summarize. Our guest said that he and his
deputy friends sincerely support Mr. Ocalan’s cease-fire decision, and
asked him if any international conferences will be held to make the
international public aware of the decision. Mr. Ocalan said that he
wanted to take a step to enable the Turks and Kurds in Turkey to solve
the problem with their free will. He pointed out that there is close
interest from the EU and other institutions to the Kurdish problem in
Turkey and to the Kurdish problems in the other regional states. He
stressed that the Kurdish question has gained an international
dimension. He noted that international conferences to be held on the
issue will help Turkey solve the Kurdish problem, and that the Turkish
state should not feel disturbed by them. He said that ever since the
Kurdish problem gained an international character, the regional
countries, Russia, the EU, and others have been showing an interest in
[Ahmadi from Al Jazirah Television, in English with simultaneous
translation into Turkish] What kind of international or regional
reaction do you expect to your cease-fire decision? From Syria, for
example? How will your decision affect the regional states?
[Ocalan] I believe that it will have a positive effect. There is a
misconception. It is being said that Syria uses the PKK as a trump
card in its relations with Turkey, that it uses it with a bad
intention. As far as I am concerned, this is not correct. I do not
think that Syria makes special efforts to this end. Turkey acts too
suspiciously regarding this issue. It is frequently being said that
the PKK does not have the will to declare a cease-fire. On this
occasion, I have shown that this is not true. Based on my long years
in the Middle East, I can say that contrary to allegations, none of
the Arab countries, specially not Syria, intend to create confusion or
chaos inside Turkey.
If that were true we would have known. Syria could have done this
openly too. It does not do that but it would like to see… [pause]
It is afraid of the alliance developed between Turkey and Israel.
That is what it is questioning. There is also the water issue. It
has reservations about that. Just as in the Aegean and Cyprus issues,
Syria wants a dialogue. I have not noticed that it uses the PKK as a
trump card for that dialogue. I have not heard that it is imposing
this. I underline this. I have not seen anything negative in its
approach to our step. In fact, the impression I have indirectly
gotten is that Syria is pleased with this step. Earlier, when similar
initiatives were taken in 1993 and later, Syria did not oppose them.
In fact, it indirectly indicated that it would help. It would be
unrealistic to claim the opposite.
[Aykol] Mr. Ocalan, you said that the cease-fire is unfortunately not
relevant for the south. There are developments in connection with the
Turcoman state project which you talked about in the past. Even the
KDP is beginning to fear that. There are reports that some 400
Turcoman militia have been armed and trained. A while ago, we heard
that the KDP attacked the Turcomans because of that. While inviting
Turkey to remain in its lands in order to help it fight the PKK, how
will the KDP prevent the Turcomans? A second question: does the
cease-fire in the north mean that the guerrillas in the north will be
withdrawn to the south?
[Ocalan] Greetings. No, it does not mean that the guerrillas will be
withdrawn. The guerrillas will remain where they are. They will
merely not launch attacks. They will not go on with the planned war.
That is what the cease-fire means. If there is an insistent attack
from the other side, the guerrillas will exercise their legitimate
right of self-defense.
This is the issue that must be explained most clearly. As for the
south, the situation is complicated. Not only that, but the KDP does
not want to bring a meaningful political solution to any of the
problems. It is constantly exacerbating the problem. It is trying to
solve the problem unilaterally. For example, even though the
relations it establishes with every neighboring country are against
the interests of all the Kurds, the KDP resorts to secret methods and
claims that the issue concerns part of the area. In the past, for
example, it hit the Iranian Kurds and then claimed it was a problem of
the south. It then hit the Kurds in the north, and then claimed it
was a problem of the south. If you notice, the KDP has an extremely
wrong approach. The secrecy of its relations surely do not mean that
the relations are right. The KDP is developing very dangerous and
wrong ties with almost every country connected to the
Kurds. Consequently, the KDP should realize that it cannot deceive
anyone. It is conducting very dangerous relations that concern all
the Kurds. These relations constitute a great danger for the Kurds
and concerns almost all of them. History is full of similar
examples. Based on this, I say that the KDP must put an end to this
period. It must put an end to the violence aimed against all the
Kurdish segments, and accept an internal peace and internal political
law among the Kurds. For this, it must come to a dialogue and even to
an urgent peace conference. I renew my appeal: The Kurdish people are
no longer the old Kurdish people. While things are moving toward a
political solution, the KDP must abandon its policies that are against
other Kurdish segments and come to a dialogue on issues that concern
all the Kurds. It must do that openly. It must accept the cease-fire
as a step toward that. I hope that this new initiative will lead to
What will happen if the KDP fails to come to a dialogue? Its position
will exacerbate in the south. We are not happy about that. I repeat:
we want to reach an agreement on the political principles that are
valid for the Kurds. This is the right of all the Kurds as well as a
duty that they must all fulfill.
[Ozguden] Mr. Ocalan, I want to ask you three questions. The first is
about your timing. Is your timing realistic? The Turkish Republic is
celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The celebrations have
already turned into ultranationalistic ceremonies. Another point is
that the Turkish society is currently hysterical about its flag, land,
national anthem, Ataturk and so on. Also, there is an election
atmosphere in Turkey. During the election campaign, even the most
powerful parties refrain from proposing a political dialogue with the
Kurdish national movement. Lastly, have the recent changes in the
upper echelons of the army really encouraged you? Will the fact that
Kivrikoglu became the new chief of the General Staff bring any
significant changes? My second question concerns the international
economic crisis which started in the Far East and now reached Russia.
This situation will lead to authoritarian tendencies in many
countries, including democratic ones.
This may be used as a good pretext by the Ankara regime. What do you
think? My third question is whether you have received an encouraging
signal regarding your initiative from the European countries,
particularly from the Scandinavian countries that have become
specialized in the field of peaceful solutions? Last, but not least,
if the answer to your appeal will be negative, how will the Kurdish
national movement’s power of resistance carry to the third millennium?
How is the national congress developing?
[Aslan] Thank you, Mr. Ozguden. You have asked a very comprehensive
question. Yes, Mr. Ocalan.
[Ocalan] Good evening, Mr. Dogan Ozguden. My response to your first
question is that there may be efforts to crush difficult problems and
cover them up with chauvinistic stands. The other side is also
The Republic does not find itself in such a healthy situation during
its 75th anniversary. The nature of the crisis is out in the open.
This is where these chauvinistic feelings stem from.
What we are doing is offering a choice. We are saying that there is
no reason why one cannot talk about this democratic republic in its
75th anniversary. We are saying that there is no reason why we cannot
view these steps as a method of solution. We, the politicians have to
keep our hopes up. I do not believe that chauvinism can give rise to
too many hopes. The chauvinism pursued for 75 years did not yield any
results. I am not talking about the exacerbating situation. The
crisis under way encompasses all the institutions of the Turkish
Republic. What we are doing is giving them a chace during the 75th
anniversary of the Republic. I hope that this will be taken into
consideration. It is their business if they do not take it into
There is another issue. The political parties are constantly talking
about democracy and democratic alliances. They claim that no
political party can come to power without forming a democratic
alliance. In my opinion, it is evident that such a step will have a
positive impact on developing healthy democratic alliances. Politics
and political alliances will gain in importance and there will be
certain political parties, which will be encouraged to take
progressive steps. A democratic alliance, which includes in its
program Turkey’s most important issue, can even come to power because
it will be the best option. Those political parties that exclude the
main problem from their program cannot exist in Turkey. And such an
understanding cannot take hold in Turkey. An alliance, which avoids
tackling such an important issue, can gain the support of its
grassroots only by force. Turkey’s option for 2000 will be those who
can engage in a democratic discussion, those who bring solutions to
Turkey’s main problem, and those who set up an alliance to this end.
>From wherever you look at it, a broad-based democratic alliance is the
best option available for Turkey. For this reason, I believe that our
step will have a positive impact on this process. In my opinion, the
period of those parties who reject and remain indifferent to such
alliances are over.
With regard to the development of the Kurdish national movement and
the PKK in 2000, nobody should have any doubts that we will survive.
I believe that Turkey’s enlightened circles know this very well. This
is the most backward move that the Kurdish national movement will ever
make. The Kurdish national movement has the ability to advance, but
it will never go backwards. Everybody is aware of this. The Kurdish
issue will become bigger in 2000 and later. We should take into
consideration the world conditions surrounding us before this issue
becomes too big to handle and turns into the main problem in 2000.
Consequently, limited minds may regard the possibility we presented of
securing a solution as a dream.
For great minds who already think about the year 2000, however, it is
the best thing. [passage omitted on economic crisis in the world] I
can answer any other questions if there are any.
[Aslan] I believe there is the question of your expectations from
Europe, in particularly from the Scandinavian countries.
[Ocalan] I would like to say that contrary to popular belief, the
Scandinavian countries are not that interested in the Kurdish issue.
They may have their own way of showing their interest, however. We
did not receive too much support from them and do not have too much
expectations. Our expectations are with the Turkish public. We
attach more importance to the steps that are taken by the public and
sensitive circles in Turkey than those abroad. The Scandinavian
countries, however, can also assume a role on this issue. They can
extend us their support, and we expect them to do so. I believe that
this is the right time to show this support. I think that another part
of the question was the element of timing. The timing of this
initiative is very good, even though Turkey may not show too much
willingness. In my opinion, the transfer of duties at the military
command is very appropriate. I know that the Turkish Army is having a
difficult time with this issue. It is being said that the grounds of
Kivrikoglu’s stands are based on civilian politics. This actually has
nothing to do with us. Supposedly, he is moderate. I hope, for our
sake, that he is so.
This is not a choice, but a reality. I think that it will be good if
it is so. We are also giving a chance. This is a good thing even if
it does not work. In this way, we will have made our mark on history.
The Turkish Army is having a very difficult time. In particular,
those soldiers who are fighting are having a very difficult time. For
this reason, I think that the timing is very appropriate. In my
opinion, launching a peace process toward 2000 is very befitting the
situation in Turkey. Until when can this war continue? Why should we
insist on this war when not even a slight distance has been covered
and when the situation has been exacerbated? This situation helps us
to think about this issue from another angle. This situation actually
tells us that our way is the right way. I am not wrong.
Undoubtedly, there are numerous circles in Turkey who seek to expand
the war. The chauvinistic circles are very strong. It is true that
the political parties are competing with each other and provoking each
other. The realities, however, are stronger than demagogies and
It is neither out of weakness nor resignation that we are proposing a
more lasting method. I am talking about moral issues here. Launching
such an initiative for the World Peace Day is not a sign of weakness.
It also does not mean that we are dreamers. This initiative is a
message to the discerning circles. It will be very good if they
understand this message. Nobody will lose from this. The Turks will
also not lose. The only people who will stand to lose from this issue
are the profiteers. In my opinion, everybody except them will gain
from this. We will be very happy if this step will succeed. If this
step does not yield successful results, however, we are at a better
military position today than yesterday. We are capable of fighting a
legitimate war of self-defense in a more organized manner. As I said
before, we are actually at a better position today to carry out our
military operations the way we like. I think it is important to draw
your attention to this fact.
[Aslan] I would like to remind our guests that there is a new process
launched here. There will be intensive discussions on this process in
the coming days. There will be discussions in MED TV and we hope that
the Turkish media will also take up this issue. Our time is getting
short and we do not want to take up more of Ocalan’s time. Is there
anybody who waives the right to ask a question? We can proceed.
[Comert] I will ask a short question. Good evening Mr. Ocalan. I
would like to ask the following question at first. You say that the
Kurds were not even mentioned in the Turkish Republic and that the
statistics never included us. My question is as follows: A lot of
Kurds claim that they did not exist until Apo [Ocalan] created them.
Why are there so many Kurdish citizens getting killed in southeast
Anatolia if you created them? My second question is that Belgium had
330,000 soldiers some 10 years ago. The number of these soldiers was
lowered to 50,000 because of the cost to the state. There are reports
from various sources that you have 10,000-15,000 militants. Where do
you acquire the financial resources for these militants? How will you
explain this to our nation? There are doubts concerning the origins
of these financial resources.
[Aslan] Thank you, Mr. Comert. Yes, Mr. Ocalan.
[Ocalan] There is an unfortunate saying with regard to the Kurdish
people. It says that the Kurdish people have a lot of traitors. We
did not invent this saying. Those who brought into being such a
saying should be ashamed of themselves.
I take this opportunity to issue a call to the village guards. I
believe that both the state and we will take up their situation once
Their position will gain importance, particularly, during the period
of this cease-fire. We believe that they should be approached
immediately with offers of establishing political and social
relations. The state will anyhow not have any more need for the
village guards. We say that they should no longer be afraid of us and
improve their relations with us.
I think that our forces will show understanding on this issue. We are
thinking of issuing an additional call in the future, if the
cease-fire proceeds. The village guard system is a very important
issue for Turkey. It is a very important economic, social, and
political issue. We will show understanding so that this issue is
The connection of this issue with your question is as follows: No Kurd
will die. We will even try to pardon the Kurd who fought the
bitterest of wars with us. It is not us, however, that pit the Kurd
against another Kurd. Let he who pits a Kurd against another Kurd be
ashamed of himself. I hope that this cursed weapon used against us
for hundreds of years will not be used against us any more. We are
resigned to a hellish sufferance for the sake of an honorable life as
a Kurd. Why should we shoot at a Kurdish child or a miserable Kurdish
woman? What have we got to gain from this? We are feeling great
pain. We hope that this pain will end as soon as possible.
With regard to the origins of our resources, I believe that the
Turkish press knows very well who had a good stroke of fortune with
mafia-like methods. There are questions as to why the European Kurds
are assisting the PKK to this extent. The German police declare the
amount of money contributed to the PKK. Yes, it is true that the
people are assisting us greatly. I must add, however, that we live a
meagre life and are satisfied with very little. You can rest assured
that we did not receive any money from any state and any illegal
money. I hope that correspondents like yourself can investigate into
There is not even one PKK member who is incarcerated on charges of
drug smuggling. On the other hand, international courts are talking
about the high-level politicians, who are involved in drug smuggling
and state-gang connections. There is not even one PKK member
imprisoned on drug smuggling charges. I want to draw your attention
to this fact. We have not forced anybody to contribute money to us.
No state has extended us help. On the contrary, they want money from
us. This is the situation.
The Kurdish people has organized itself in the international platform,
which is really extending support. I take this opportunity to offer
my appreciation. Rest assured that the Kurdish people is capable of
sacrificing all that it has for the sake of this movement. This is
the situation and it is wrong to look for other reasons. I greet you.
[Ucar] Good evening, Mr. Ocalan. The Turkish Government officials
said a day before your cease-fire declaration that they will not [word
indistinct]. They said that they will respond only after you declare
your cease-fire. What kind of a response would you like the Turkish
government to make in face of your cease-fire declaration? What kind
of a statement would you like the Turkish Foreign Ministry to issue in
reply to your call? My second question concerns the appointment of
Kivrikoglu as the chief of the Turkish General Staff. The European
public describes Kivrikoglu as moderate. You yourself has assessed
him in this manner, as well. Is this appointment dangerous? Do you
think that Turkey appointed Kivrikoglu as the chief of the General
Staff out of tactics, in order to improve its relations with the EU?
Do you think that this move will have an impact on the cease-fire? My
third question concerns the United Revolutionary Forces Platform. The
leftist movement in Turkey, the PKK, and the ARGK [People’s Liberation
Army of Kurdistan] are active in this platform. How do you think this
cease-fire will affect this platform?
[Ocalan] The Turkish Foreign Ministry will most probably issue a
classic statement tomorrow. They will probably reiterate the already
known political stand. I do not think that we will be faced with a
balanced self-confident statement. It would have been better if we
could have received another kind of statement.
There are other things that concern us, however. We do not take such
initiatives on the spur of the moment. We are taking these steps in
order to bring solutions to some important problems faced by Turkey.
Those who are involved in this issue will most probably give a thought
to our initiative. In my opinion, they have a lot to gain from an
affirmative response. Otherwise, it is not too difficult for us to
continue on our way. We are anyhow immersed.
With regard to improving the relations with Europe, the appointment
could be used as a tactic. The General Staff can say that they are
ready to establish relations with the PKK after the declaration of
cease-fire. They can, on the other hand, also launch efforts to
eradicate the PKK as soon as possible. Such a stand is tantamount to
deceiving one self. I suppose that the ruthlessness of war has by
this time proved to both sides that the conflicts can not be resolved
with cheap tactics. I believe that cheap tactics will not be enough
to undermine such a initiative, however.
I believe that this process will meet with more understanding than the
1993 process. I do hope it will be so. Of course, the opposite may
happen as well. We are ready for the other eventuality, as well. The
whole world and Turkey will know that we are in favor of peace. I do
not think that this will hurt us.
[Aslan] There was also the question concerning the United
[Ocalan] It is obvious that this initiative will not harm the United
Revolutionary Forces. This is mostly a political organization with a
democratic platform. I believe that they will also take into
consideration our assessments. There are very important points they
have to discuss. Democracy in Turkey is very important for the
revolutionary forces. A political development and platform can pave
the way to other developments. I believe that they will have a
[Liviu Papescu, in English with superimposed translation into Turkish]
Mr. Ocalan, you have been optimistic in your approaches and
assessments. Will you adopt a different war strategy in the event
that Turkey’s response to your initiative is negative?
[Ocalan] Good evening. It is not like we are not thinking about this
as well. I would like to point out that we are very intensive on this
subject. We are increasingly developing our understanding of war and
implementations. We will adopt a diverse outlook on war in the event
that this initiative of ours will not meet with a positive response.
We will, principally, reorganize our military forces. We will
introduce a better understanding of command and unity for our military
forces. We will also take into consideration the possibility of
carrying out more comprehensive actions. It is not like we do not
have any alternatives on this issue. Our military forces can be
advanced to a higher level of military standard after reorganization.
We have initiatives launched along these lines as well. I want to
make it clear that this is not my preferred choice.
I take this opportunity to admit that I forced myself to concentrate
on war in the last period. I did this against my wishes. I forced
myself into this. I want to specify that our military forces will
take more organized steps if our initiative and the political
conditions will not yield solutions. We should not be the only ones
to lay down the arms.
Let there be no miscalculations. It is not right to expect us to lay
down our arms without first resolving the fundamental problem.
Weaapons lose their importance once a difficult situation is on the
way to be resolved.
This is more meaningful. It is inevitable for the Kurds to become
soldiers when the issue is at a stalemate and when there is no serious
solution in view. This is a first step we are taking. There may be
significant ensuing developments. There are important competent
authorities. I believe that these authorities can secure
This, however, should not be a preferred choice. In my opinion, what
is right is to accept this initiative as it is.
[Sofia Iordauldou, in English] Mr. Ocalan, with all respect because I
do not think my previous question was all translated, I do not know if
it was, I will stay at the right timing and the chauvinist attitude of
the Turks. I will repeat that in the recent few days President
Demirel talked about a 132 rock islands that belong to Turkey and not
to Greece. I would like your position on that. My second question is
that the PKK and you personally always accused the Turkish state,
government, and the people for the genocide of millions of Syrian and
Greeks from Asian Minor. Will the political solution also imply the
end of the genocide issue? And, while Ataturkism is still alive and
strong in Turkey, do you really think that there could be democracy?
[Ocalan] Demirel delivers these kinds of speeches all the time. This
initiative, however, does not reinforce the statements issued to the
neighbors. A political dialogue with the Kurds will definitely have a
positive impact on the Aegean and Cyprus issues. In other words, the
initiatives launched by the Greek and the Cypriot people to secure
friendship will only be reinforced. The Kurdish-Turkish friendship
will also become a true friendship. With regard to the Cypriot people,
the chauvinistic prejudices will be eliminated and the two peoples
will approach each other. We will take care that this happens.
Actually, this is the basis of our initiative.
The genocide is a reality. We can never bring back the dead. We will,
however, always talk about the injustices they suffered. We will also
claim that these people have cultural rights. The Assyrians, the
Armenians, and the Greeks have cultural heritages. We believe that all
these peoples should assume their places within the Turkish mosaic.
Undoubtedly, this is prevented by the existence of an extreme
chauvinism. There are efforts to prevent the formation of a
democratic mosaic under the guise of separatism and with claims that
the Sevres Treaty is sought to be revived. Our initiative, however,
will most certainly make a positive contribution to this issue. Only
within the framework of this mosaic can Turkey’s unity and wealth have
any meaning at all. A nice picture will not emerge if the whole of
Anatolia is painted over with black. A mosaic-like Anatolia is really
the best of pictures.
Allegiances have been part of this land for hundreds of years. It
goes without saying that the cultures and ethnic existence of these
allegiances should be respected. Turkey’s unity should be reviewed
within this framework. We will always take care to safeguard this
picture and exert efforts to secure a real democracy. Let nobody
doubt this. This should not be used as an instrument to engage in a
demagogy that we are undermining and dividing Turkey’s unity. This is
wrong and nobody has anything to gain from it.
[Talipoglu] [passage omitted on his views on the Greek correspondent’s
remarks] What will you do during the time until your expectations
become true? Will you wait with your fingers on the triggers on
mountains? Let us say that your initiative was accepted. What will
the PKK do then? In other words, will the PKK set up a political
party? What will happen when this war is over?
[Ocalan] This situation was not my choice. If you noticed, I offer a
cease-fire with the best of conditions for Turkey. You will realize
when you look at other similar organizations that our cease-fire has
the most favorable conditions. This should be received with
understanding. You correspondents know what is going on in the world
and realize the gravity of the issue. I do not think that there can
be any approach more moderate than mine. We made no unjust demands.
The army is at its place. We have not posed any conditions. There is
a great problem at hand. What can be expected? Some modern
approaches should be adopted.
You say that it is not too healthy to wait with arms in hands on
mountains. The guerrilla is seeking for a political solution. Rest
assured that the guerrilla can be transformed into a civilian defense
force in the event that sensible steps toward a political solution are
taken. The guerrilla can always be transformed into a security force.
You can always claim that this is a set up. No, this is not a set up.
We can always be a security force for the people, and I believe we can
perform these duties better than the village guards. A force, which
sacrificed so much for its people, can probably be good at protecting
the people. If you notice, there is no threat to Turkey here and no
claims on borders. A security force can be transformed into a
protective force for the people. I suppose that the Turkish Army,
whose identity is defined in the Constitution and which adheres to
democratization efforts, will no longer need to carry out attacks if
there is a final solution, which is backed up by a provision in the
Constitution. I want to believe that it will not carry out
attacks. For this reason, there is no need for a military force since
there will no longer be attacks. The dissolution will come by itself,
but there should be a very serious political solution under way. The
guerrilla issue will most certainly be resolved if there is a very
serious political solution process under way. This is the most
important issue. The guerrilla issue will no longer pose a problem if
a confidence-building situation is created and earnest political
initiatives launched. As I said before, these efforts can be
transformed into an effective democratic undertaking. The politicians’
response is up to them.
You cannot expect the politicians, who have never told the truth to
their own people, to say something meaningful and fair about us. You
know better than me the Turkish political life.
[Aslan] Will you meet face-to-face with our other colleagues?
[Ocalan] Let me shed light on this issue. I hope that another
discussion of better quality will be held. There may some
difficulties on the way; however, I hope that the possibility of
conducting meaningful tete-a-tete and one-to-one meetings will emerge.
We will know more in the coming days. I would like to say that from
now on we welcome any meetings with the esteemed press members, if
they are interested to hold in-depth discussions on the issue. I call
on them to show sensitivity to this issue and I hope that, in this
way, a more positive period will be launched.
[Leloglu] Mr. Ocalan, there are rumors that you are presently in
Syria. For how long can you count on Syria’s support in the event
that Turkey does not give an affirmative response to your call?
[Ocalan] Good evening. This is a prejudiced approach. It is not
appropriate with the current situation to comment on Syria’s support.
We have always counted on ourselves when adopting policies and
safeguarded all our relations. Our willpower is the determining cause
in all the relations we developed with all the forces and states. In
other words, we have a strong basis. This is also true for Turkey.
We are talking to Turkey from our own freewill. I cannot say that we
are pursuing joint policies and taking joint steps with Syria, because
it is not true. All this issue is misinterpreted in Turkey. All this
could have been conducted out in the open, if they were true. I could
have issued more concrete statements along these lines.
I had tried at the time to further the Syrian issue when we received
indirect messages. We brought the situation to this stage by our own
free will, probably because I am really not interested to put the
pressure on Turkey. Syria could have offered us great possibilities,
if it only wanted. I have to say clearly that Syria did not give us
permission to bring any equipment. This is the situation. Which
support will it cut off? We only go to Syria from time to time because
there is a substantial Kurdish population there. Moreover, the Kurdish
population in Syria has a significant political power. They have real
power. It is understandable, therefore, for us to conduct visits to
Syria from time to time. It is important to understand Syria’s
interest in us from this viewpoint. Syria is not really a problem. It
will be better for Turkey to establish healthier relations with Syria.
It is wrong to consider us an obstacle in establishing relations with
Syria. In my opinion, it is completely justified to think that Syria
can assume a more constructive role on this issue. There have been
initiatives to this end in the past. I hope that this point will be
taken into consideration.
[Leloglu] Do you agree with reports that Greece is openly supporting
the PKK? There are reports to the effect that the PKK has opened a
second bureau in Greece. What have you got to say on this matter?
[Ocalan] The support that may be extended by foreign countries does
not comply with international realities. Turkey has committed a grave
error along these lines. It was Turkey that gave this trump card to
all foreign countries and states. Turkey did everything in its power
so that the PKK does not open bureaus. I would like to give the
incident in Slovakia as an example. Supposedly, the government
approached Slovakia, where MED TV had permission to broadcast, and
offered a business credit for $200 million if they suspend the
broadcasts. The Slovaks then canceled the agreement they had with MED
TV. This is not a good thing.
It is not good politics to use $200 million as a bribe. Turkey did
the same thing in all the Scandinavian countries. Norway was the last
country in the line. The government contributed in the construction
of refineries and oil pipelines.
Norway sought to approach us, but it stopped now. The same thing was
done in Sweden beforehand. They did the same thing in all the
European countries including Russia. They are also threatening
certain other countries. This is not right. They are threatening
Greece. The Greek people have sympathetic feelings for us. This is a
I do not think that the Greek have a very bad impression of the Turks.
It is not right to think like that. This is chauvinism. There are
points of conflict between the Turks and the Greeks. Is it too much
to ask the friendship of Greeks? There are claims that we went into
alliance with the Greeks against the Turks. Claims that we went into
alliance with the enemies of the Turks. In my opinion, this is an
outmoded way of thinking. It is better to further peace both in the
Aegean and Cyprus. It is better if we do not impose this extreme
chauvinism to our peoples. It has become obvious that this chauvinism
poisons political and social relations. My duty is not to feed
chauvinism, but to safeguard the friendship among the peoples.
[Vanafiadis, in English] I wish you were among us so that we could see
your face, your expressions, and see how you react to our comments.
After a 14-year struggle, you have been one of the most wanted men in
Turkey. I have the feeling that Turkey describes you as a terrorist
in the same way as Israel described ‘Arafat as a terrorist. Do you
think that Turkish high-level politicians will one day be ready to
shake hands with you? Will they one day be able to talk about
Kurdistan? How far reaching is the cease-fire you said you will start
as of 1 September? Does it apply in case there are no reactions from
the Turkish forces? What is your time limit in the cease-fire? Do you
expect any provocation in the following days? How long is the logical
period for the Turkish Army to abstain from war?
[Ocalan] Thank you. Greetings. Chauvinism has reached to that extent
in Turkey that even I, who is a Turk to the bone, is declared an
enemy. This is an unjust and meaningless claim. I also believe that
history will prove one day that we, who are democrats and enlightened
people, are doing a service to Turkey. We have never given up our
beliefs and were never the enemies of Turkey. Moreover, we have never
bread any enmity toward the Turkish people. It could be that I have
not shaken hands with the Turkish politicians, because the situation
is difficult. We have continual warm relations with the Turkish
people and these relations will continue to grow. With regard to
Turkish politicians, this process will pave the way to warm relations,
even if the situation seems difficult now. I hope that this will be
so. It will be the circumstances that will dictate these relations.
Even those who fought a bitter war with each other, like ‘Arafat and
Rabin, shook hands in the end, and the end of the world did not come.
Moreover, the Turkish people always say that they are a nation who
advocates brotherhood. I am one of their brothers as well. I am like
anybody else. I am not a stranger to the Turks. I have Turkish
I have intensive relations with the Turkish people. For this reason,
this monster they created actually reflects their distortion. We will
overcome this impression. With regard to the time limit, I do not
think it appropriate to fix a time limit. This cease-fire can
continue for two weeks. I can not give any time limits. The election
process can be considered a kind of a time limit. We can take into
consideration a time limit from one-two weeks to six months or until
next April, May. It can also be continuous. I cannot say anything
definite on this issue. We have to follow some developments from very
close. This will have to suffice.
[Aslan] [passage omitted on the names of those who did not have a
chance to ask a question and the moderator’s apologies] Mr. Yurtsever,
it is your turn.
[Yurtsever] You have made very optimistic comments. There is also a
pessimistic tune to your comments. You declare a cease-fire on the
one hand, and on the other, you say that nobody should expect you to
lay down your arms. While coming to this panel, I was almost
expecting you to say that you laid down your arms and that you were
going to run in the 1999 elections. Would you like to go to Turkey
and engage in politics?
[Ocalan] My greatest wish is to know whether I will be allowed to
engage in politics. We are ready to lay down our weapons if we are
given a chance to conduct politics. We are definitely ready to engage
in civilian politics instead of a politics based on weapons. With
regard to Turkey’s fundamental problems, however, there is a great
system of oppression and no freedom of thought.
Let us look at Haluk Gerger, Ismail Besikci, and Ragip Duran. All
these are pure Turks. In my opinion, they are among the most esteemed
Turks. I wonder if what happened to these journalists, who are not
politicians but learned persons, for expressing their views can happen
to me as well? We are not, as claimed, a big power that poses a great
threat against Turkey. We are only a force that seeks to bring to
light the problems faced by Turkey and resolve them.
Turkey should not confuse the Kurds with all the other peoples who
sought to divide Turkey. The claims that this is how it was in the
Ottoman period and that the Republic put a stop to these activities is
wrong. The Kurdish issue has a very different angle to it.
Furthermore, this is a chauvinistic approach, which debases the
Ottoman period. Turkey’s credibility will increase if it secures a
solution like the ones in Britain and France. Why are we not thinking
from this angle? It is this chauvinistic, narrow approach that
destroyed Turkey and the Ottoman Empire.
This was not a correct method. Let us first determine this fact
The Kurds should not be confused with other people. The Kurds assumed
a very big role when Turkey was first founded as a state and as a
nation. The Kurds assumed a merging force. This is a fact that has to
be given serious consideration. Approaches along the lines of
eradicating us when there is a chance and making peace with us when
there is no chance to eradicate us should be done away with. Why
should we divide Turkey if these approaches are eliminated? Moreover,
there is a globalization under way in the world. Everybody is
interacting. Borders do not mean much any longer. Why should we draw
a little border, which will eventually weaken us? This initiative of
ours and resolving this issue will increase the influence of Turkey
from the Middle East to Central Asia. A democratic Turkey will
constitute a model. This model, in turn, will pave the way for the
Kurds. Why is nobody giving a thought to this? A Turkey, which has
resolved its relations with the Kurds in the best manner, will become
bigger and not smaller. I would like to stress this point once again.
Nobody should have any doubts along these lines. A healthy discussion
should be conducted on this issue. Nobody should fear discussions.
Engaging in politics is a nice occupation. I have to repeat, however,
that politics is not a matter of having somebody lose his job. It is
a respectful occupation. I would very much like to discuss Turkey’s
very deep-rooted problems, especially if we are approached with
understanding. I would even call on the political circles and the
Turkish Army to set up relations with us. Let us at least hold a
discussion on the ideological level. This will definitely be valuable
for Turkey. This discussion should not be avoided. There is nothing
to lose from an ideological discussion if they cannot approach us
politically. On the contrary, there is much to gain from such a
discussion because there is more of a chance to find healthy solutions
to issues once they are brought out to light. I would like to remind
you that important responsibilities befall on the press members to
this end as well.
[Aslan] Mr. Ehlasoglu and Mr. Bayindir, I am keeping your right to ask
questions. I would like to give an opportunity to Mr. Paech first.
[Paech, in English with superimposed translation into Turkish] I
believe that this is the third PKK cease-fire declaration. All the
other cease-fire declarations yielded no positive results. Did you
launch any initiatives vis-a-vis the international countries, such as
the United States, France, Germany, and Britain, when preparing your
new initiative? Did you hold any contacts? Did you look for
international support when crystallizing this initiative? Did you
call on international countries to launch initiatives vis-a-vis
Turkey? Did you launch any initiatives to hold an international
conference on the Kurdish issue?
[Ocalan] Greetings. I will not say that we held talks or that we
received open support. Relations similar to the ones up to now have
been held, of course. We drew their attention to the developments.
We have not held any special talks to the effect that they will take
any particular steps regarding this issue. The essence of our
initiative takes its source from within Turkey. What has been
decisive is the internal situation, namely the difficult domestic
situation, the deadlock in various fields in Turkey, the realization
that the existing methods will not yield any results, and that such an
initiative may be useful. I thought this was the sensible thing to
do. I thought that even if we do not receive the reply we would like,
we will not lose anything. If the response is compliance and support,
that will be good. If there is no such response, though, we will not
lose much. Once again, we showed both the internal and external
public opinion on world peace day that such an initiative is useful in
this process. If the international forces and the major states take a
stand in favor of peace that will naturally be good.
It would be good if they also told Turkey — stressing the principles,
not their own interests — that our initiative will not hurt Turkey’s
unity, integrity, or sovereignty, and that they will help in the
transition to human rights and democracy. We always expect that.
Turkey must not resent such a thing. Even if it were not for us,
there are international laws in the world. These laws are cited in
international agreements which have been signed by Turkey. If these
major states call on Turkey to abide by the agreements it signed, that
will surely not be against Turkey’s interests. I thank you for your
[Ucar] Greetings. What followed both previous attempts at a
cease-fire by your party were periods when the largest number of
villages were set on fire, and the highest number of villagers were
forced to emigrate. This brings us to the trust of the Kurdish
people. What will you tell the Kurdish people about this?
[Ocalan] Greetings. What we can tell the Kurdish people is that if
this initiative yields positive results, they will start a better
period in terms of their identity, culture, and democracy. They will
be able to return to their villages. The conflict with the village
guards will end. A more comprehensive amnesty will be discussed. All
these may happen. Also, the Kurdish people may join a comprehensive
democratic alliance. In short, if our initiative succeeds, this may
augur a new period for the Kurdish people. The Kurdish people will
then use their power for democracy in Turkey. They will also help
strengthen their economy, because the economy here has come to a
complete halt. This will mean opening an important channel for the
Turkish economy and strengthening it too. The Kurdish people are now
faced with great violence. Such a situation would bring great relief
to them. I believe that the Kurdish people will find it positive.
This is only a hope, though, because the circles that benefit from the
war and that do not want it to end may play an even more negative
role. The Kurdish people must not lose hope. They must be more
insistent than ever for a democratic and peaceful solution.
That is what will lead them to success. We will always respect that.
Anyway, our people’s democratic demands and their national identity
and culture lie at the basis of our politics.
[Bayindir] I understand from your remarks that you want to lift the
collapsing TC. You want to give a new direction and a new life to
this collapsing state. What sort of a style do you expect the Turkish
press to use in order to be more effective in this coming period?
[Ocalan] Greetings. Let me say once again that the state is
collapsing and weakening as a result of its own policies. Rather than
destroying a state, our duty… [pause] Let me explain this way: If a
building is going to collapse, what you need to do is lay its
foundations once again and erect a building on that. With the current
Constitution, the Turkish Republic is on the verge of collapsing on
its 75th anniversary.
Everybody is saying that, not only I. Even the president is saying
that. everybody is disturbed by that. My proposal is to lay strong
foundations this time. What are the foundations? The existing
borders. Let us erect a better building. I am speaking very frankly.
People with different cultures, including Kurds, must be able to live
in this building. Until now, the role given to the Kurds was that of
doorman. This role must end and one apartment in that building must
be given to the Kurds. If a new state is going to be established —
and I am not calling it reestablishment, I am calling it
democratization — an apartment must be given to the Kurds. We must
put an end to our status as doormen. To want this is not dangerous or
unjust. The Kurds who helped so much in erecting this building have
gained the right to live in it properly. That is what I think. I
stress that the authorities in Turkey must think about this.
Otherwise, if an apartment is not given to them, they will erect their
own building, even if that may be difficult. Should they always live
in tents in the lands they have been living in for thousands of years?
Should they always be doormen? Of course they will want to erect a
building. My preference is that it should be set up together, that it
should be shared.
In other words, rather than the state’s collapse, a place must be
given to the Kurds in the more modern building we will erect.
As for the press, of course, it must be sensitive. Particularly the
Turkish media should understand well that we want to start a new
process. It must not make any mistakes. It must not make any
tactical mistakes. I mean the entire press. Such processes are
important. The press should not approach it from a narrow angle. We
must leave behind chauvinistic assessments. There is talk of
brotherhood, of the fact that the Kurds have never been rejected. Let
us add some essence to these remarks. Let us approach the matter more
seriously. That will surely not hurt. I want a revolution for the
press regarding this matter. If the Turkish press contributes to
that, it will play one of its most important historical roles. The
press must make a few concessions and move away from chauvinism toward
basic truths, to human rights, and to the fact that Kurds must also be
taken into consideration. If the press leaves aside the usual formats
and approach to the issue by really listening to what we have to say,
then it will become democratized and honorable. That is what I expect
[Talipoglu] Sir, are the Kurds who are hired as doormen and the Kurds
who have yachts, apartments, hotels, and night clubs in Istanbul and
Ankara different? In other words, are the Kurds in the horsehair
tents different from these Kurds?
[Ocalan] Of course, you yourself are saying that they are different.
There is a significant difference between the Kurds living in
horsehair tents and the Kurds you allow into those places. The former
have no language, nothing. They cannot even learn Turkish. The
latter have turned into Turks, or at least they have broken away from
the Kurdish people and gained a certain status. As Demirel says,
there are 200 Kurdish parliamentarians. Where in the world is there
such a thing? For example, in Britain, you have a Scottish
parliament, a Welsh parliament.
None of the 200 Kurdish parliamentarians come up to say: Let us pass
some legislation concerning the Kurdish people.
I appeal to your conscience. Why isn’t a bill being submitted
concerning the cultural and social values of a presence that is close
to 20 million strong? What kind of 200 deputies are they? There are
similar merchants, capitalists, others. How strong and powerful are
they that they cannot submit a cultural, social, or economic bill for
the people from where they came? This is really not good. These
people are very different. We call on these Kurds too. So far, they
have not been either Turks or Kurds. It is not a good thing to
assimilate within another nation. The Turks will not gain from that
either. The best Kurd for the Turks is not a Kurd who denies his
identity. I want to mention what Mustafa Kemal once said in this
regard. He did not deny the Kurds’ identity at the beginning. Things
changed later. A Kurd collaborator helped suppress a Kurdish uprising
— I believe he was someone like Cemile (?Cat) — and then came to
Ataturk, saying: I served you greatly, I suppressed the uprising.
Mustafa Kemal replied: A dog who has betrayed his nation to this
extent has no place beside me.
Mustafa Kemal did not show an interest in the collaborators.
A Kurd who denies his identity is not a good Kurd. A Kurd who denies
his identity can be involved in every kind of dirty dealing. Such
dirty Kurds played a great role in the development of antidemocratic
tendencies and in the violation of human rights. I say that the Turks
should not prefer such Kurds. A real Kurd is a Kurd who speaks his
own language and lives his own culture on the path of human rights and
democracy. The Turks must not be afraid of such Kurds. The Turks
must prefer such Kurds. This is a reality of the modern world. I
hope this comes true.
[Aslan] Before we finish the teleconference, I want to ask you a final
question. Do you want an international team to observe the cease-fire
you have unilaterally declared?
[Ocalan] In conclusion, I would like to say that this initiative was
not mine. Even though it was difficult and risky, I took this
initiative as a response to certain demands that came directly and
indirectly both from within Turkey and from outside. I reiterate that
this is not a tactic.
On the contrary, it is an initiative found appropriate by these
circles. I would like everybody to realize that. This is not an
empty step, it is not a tactic or propaganda. The Turkish public
opinion, the sensitive circles, and the press must realize that this
is different, and they must add some depth to their attitude toward
it. Realizing that the developments are going through a critical
stage, the Turkish public, political parties, and civilian
organizations must approach this process differently. They must
realize that this is vital for Turkey, and be careful about their
statements and acts. They must not be taken in by provocations. They
must not pin their hopes on chauvinism. That does not make them gain
much. I believe that my wishes and hopes are most meaningful for the
mothers who want the bloodshed to stop. I wish that not a single
soldier will die from now on. That is surely the hope of the citizens
of Turkey. We will be careful about that. Our sensitivity lies in
this first. The rest may be politics. We must trust politics too.
I did not propose the issue of observers as a condition. If such
teams want to come and observe, they may, just like the committees did
in Chechnya in Russia. I think that this may strengthen the
politicization process and help prevent provocations. Consequently,
it would be good if certain international organizations came and
observed, and if Turkey does not object, if they checked on the
In conclusion, I would like to thank the esteemed guests in the studio
for having waited so long. I am honored to have taken such a
meaningful step before you. I must keep on hoping. The problem is
not a simple one. There may have been a lot of suffering as a result
of our actions, many homes may have gone into mourning. However, we
shed the least blood possible for a great historical problem. Maybe
we were the ones who were subjected to the greatest tortures and the
most merciless acts. If we can transport all this into a peace
process, if we can conclude all this in the form of a modern political
solution, we will be happy. This is always my preference. However,
persons should not be expected to give up their identity and culture
— their basic honor. That would be an extreme and very unfair
demand. I hope that on the 75th anniversary of the Turkish Republic,
the new command level of the Turkish General Staff will act with more
understanding, and that this step will be auspicious also for the
solution of Turkey’s exacerbating problems. I greet you all with
respect once again.
[Aslan] Thank you. [passage omitted on other speakers]