U.S. Engineered Ocalan Kidnapping


Washington has not been bashful about taking the credit for engineering the kidnapping of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkish commandos.

In its Feb. 20 issue, The New York Times quoted an unnamed “senior” U.S. official as saying: “We spent a good deal of time working with Italy and Germany and Turkey to find a creative way to bring him to justice.”

Interestingly, the official did not mention Greece, where U.S. pressures were ultimately decisive.

The U.S. government put its long arm to the service of the Turkish hangmen. In the first place, the U.S. put diplomatic pressure on Syria, Russia, and the West European states to deny the Kurdish leader the right of political asylum.

Washington was obviously not at all bothered by the fact that the right of political asylum is included in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, to which the United States was an original signatory. But its European allies found it less easy to collaborate openly with the notoriously corrupt and repressive Turkish regime, and that obliged the U.S. rulers to be more “creative.”

In the case of Syria, where Ocalan had been living in exile for a number of years, U.S. pressure was augmented by a direct military threat from Turkey, and an implicit one from Israel.

In the framework of its military alliance with Turkey, the Zionist state has for some time been directly involved in Ankara’s war against the Kurdish liberation movement.

The U.S. officials quoted in the Feb. 20 New York Times admitted that Israel had monitored Ocalan’s departure from Damascus, after the Syrians were forced to expel him.

Ultimately, the “creative” methods used by the United States led to eavesdropping on the Greek embassy in Nairobi and listening to Ocalan’s cell phone calls as he sought a place of asylum.

That much was admitted by U.S. officials quoted in the press. They did not admit that the United States actually organized Ocalan’s delivery into the hands of a Turkish commando squad operating illegally in the Kenyan capital, although it is hard to see how this act of international gangsterism could have been carried out without U.S. involvement.

Ocalan was handed over to the Turkish commandos by a driver provided by the Kenyan government, the U.S. officials said

In an interview with the Kurdish exile TV station MED-TV, however, Ocalan’s aide, Semsi Kilinc, said that the Kurdish leader was handed over to the Kenyan police-supposedly at the behest of Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos-despite their pleas that he be transported to the Nairobi airport in a Greek embassy car.

It was a whole police force that was involved, according to Kilinc, not just the driver of the car transporting Ocalan. A number of policemen and police cars forcibly separated Ocalan from his companions.

Ocalan’s companions have accused Pangalos of deliberately shipping him to Nairobi because the Greek minister knew that the Kenyan government was subservient to the United States and Israel and because, in the wake of the recent bombing of the U.S. embassy there, the city was flooded with American intelligence forces.

Nairobi was the perfect place for the United States to maneuver Ocalan into the hands of the Turks, after it had prevented the European governments from granting him asylum. Pangalos’s decision to ship Ocalan there must have been part of a some kind of deal with Washington.

When the Turkish government began to display Ocalan as a sort of war trophy under a giant Turkish flag, blindfolded, evidently drugged, and surrounded by masked commandos, the complicity of Greek officials in his kidnapping touched off a huge political scandal in Greece, forcing the resignation of Pangalos and other responsible government chiefs.

The fallout hit the Greek premier Costas Simitis as well. It created an internal crisis in the ruling PASOK party.

The leading Greek daily, Elevetherotypia, carried headlines calling Ocalan’s betrayal by Athens as a national disaster and a national shame for Greece. It ran a banner headline calling the day that Ocalan’s capture was announced (Feb. 16) “Black Tuesday.”

The collaboration of at least a part of the Greek government in the trapping of Ocalan has not, however, been rewarded by the chauvinist Turkish regime. Shortly after Ocalan was taken to Turkey, the Turkish government and its housebroken press launched a hate campaign against Greece, based on “leaks” from the Kurdish leader’s “confessions” to his jailers.

Turkish president Suleyman Demirel demanded that Greece be put on the list of “terrorist states,” along with Iran and Libya. The United States was forced to reject the Turkish allegations.

The Turkish government also chose the moment of Ocalan’s kidnapping to launch new major military offensives against Kurdish liberation forces in Kurdistan of Turkey and Kurdistan of Iraq. This timing made it absolutely clear that the Kurdish-Turkish conflict is a war, not a question of terrorism.

Ankara was obviously hoping that Ocalan’s capture would demoralize the Kurdish resistance. But it had the opposite effect. It united the Kurdish people as nothing in recent history has done.

In cities throughout the Western world where there are Kurdish communities, Kurds rallied to express their fury at a ruthless regime that is trying to destroy them as a people and against the hypocritical Western “democracies” that have betrayed them, while betraying their own proclaimed “democratic” principles.

In Turkey itself, Kurds and their supporters braved murderous official and unofficial repression to denounce Ankara’s hangmen. In Europe, the Western powers’ complicity with the Turkish genocide has aroused a wide spectrum of forces that defend democratic rights.

In Rome, on Feb. 24 , 40,000 people marched in protest against the international plot against Ocalan and the Kurdish movement. The demonstration included the Italian left organizations, as well as a number of trade-union organizations.

The Italian protesters also denounced their government’s refusal to grant asylum to Ocalan, calling the betrayal of Ocalan and the Kurdish liberation fighters the shame of Italy and the shame of Europe.

The greatest shame of all, however, falls on the United States, and only defenders of democratic rights in the United States can wipe it out. It is in their own direct interests as well, because U.S. government complicity with repression in other countries cannot fail to have an effect on the democratic rights of American citizens.

Those interested in supporting the protests of the Kurdish community in the United States can contact the American Kurdish Information Network at akin@kurdish.org or call (202) 483-6444.

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