The Syria-based People’s Protection Units (YPG) press office has released a video glorifying Abdullah Öcalan, the honorary leader of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In the video, various the members of YPG and YPJ (Women’s Protection Units, an all-female military organization) are seen praising and commending PKK’s chief ideologist, calling him “the sun not only to the middle east, but to all of the world as well”.
One of the militia members says about Ocalan: “He is our life, our mind, our everything.” “If his ideological power hadn’t been with us, we wouldn’t know what to do in such a situation. Raqqa would have never been rescued from the darkness of recent years,” he added.
The video also featured women of YPJ, with one female militant saying “As the members of the Women’s [Protection] Units, we will not accept a life without leader Apo [Ocalan’s nickname].” Ocalan is an advocate of a form of feminism called Jineology.
The YPG press office is one of the key local media entities of US-backed forces operating in Syria.
PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the US, the EU and Turkey. Ankara considers that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, YPG and YPJ, are interlinked with the PKK.
The US denied the allegations, and had went as far as to create the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of various militias in 2015, with YPG as the chief one, in order to disguise supplying them with arms and help. This is one of the reasons of rising tensions between the US and Turkey.
PKK is an organization founded in 1978 with an initial aim to establish a Kurdish state that would include a part of Turkey. Now, its official cells are based in Turkey and Iraq. It has been involved in armed clashes with Turkish security forces and conducting multiple attacks across the country.
Abdullah Ocalan, one of the chief founders of the group, was arrested in 1999 on charges of formation of an armed organization and is currently imprisoned on Imrali island. Though serving life imprisonment, Ocalan is still considered the honorary leader and figurehead of the organization. He has published several books from prison, the most recent in 2015.