‘Who is the real terrorist, Ocalan or Erdogan?’ asks German TV presenter

Georg Restle

Prominent German journalist, Georg Restle, on a programme aired on German state TV ARD compared imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asking, “Who is the real terrorist?”

Commenting on a recent Kurdish demonstration in the German city Frankfurt on the Tagesthemen (topic of the day) programme Restle said:

“The Turkish president [Erdogan] and his cronies are really angry that tens of thousands of Kurds living in Germany of which some carried posters of Abdullah Ocalan protested peacefully for their rights. The Federal German state is accusing these people of “supporting a terrorist organisation.”

“One must ask this question”, Restle continued, “who is the real terrorist? The PKK leader [Ocalan] who has been serving an 18-year prison sentence in Turkey in the toughest conditions, or the Turkish president who has imprisoned tens of thousands of opposition activists and HDP [Peoples’ Democracy Party] MPs who are struggling for Kurdish rights?

“Who is the real terrorist?” Restle went on, “a man [Ocalan] that declared a ceasefire and announced that the PKK would be disbanded, or a president [Erdogan] who has waged a deadly war in Kurdish neighbourhoods with a complete disregard for civilian loss of life?”

The German journalist continues his rant by referring to the UN’s report on clashes in cities in eastern Turkey. “According to the report, 350,000 people have been forcefully displaced by the Turkish army, their houses systematically destroyed. Thousands were killed, women were tortured and raped.”

“Now who is the real terrorist here?” Restle asks again, “of course none of us can say that the PKK is a completely peaceful organisation. They have blood on their hands too. However, this is no longer just a fight against the PKK, this is a fight against the whole opposition.”

“Teachers, politicians, journalists it makes no difference, all of them have been arrested just like Deniz Yucel accused of terrorism. The only crime of these people is standing up against the regression of democracy in Turkey. For this reason, the Federal German government must not allow for the Turkish government to dictate to us who is a terrorist and who is not. Otherwise we will just be supporters of people trying to establish a dictatorial regime through bloodshed,” Restle concluded.