Abdullah Ocalan writes to Nelson Mandela

Kurdish national leader, Abdullah Ocalan, has written a letter to South African former president and leader of the ANC, Nelson Mandela. In the letter Ocalan recalls his capture in Kenya, in 1999 and tells Mandela of the efforts to ensure a democratic and peaceful solution of the Kurdish question.

The letter reads as follows:

"It is the struggle that you had led in South Africa that finally removed the regime and mentality of Apartheid that created conflicts. Later a democratic model that succeeded in making people live peacefully together and based on freedom, equality and democracy was established. This model of democracy is a source of aspiration for all peoples including the Kurdish people.

Our aim consists in ensuring the democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, which has been for so long turned into a source of conflict and a deadlock. We also aim to see the culture of democracy reign in the Middle East and to make the states more responsive to democracy. I have made efforts toward this end for many years. However the international hegemonic powers, which impose a deadlock against our efforts for a solution up to date, still do all within their power to invalidate our efforts for democratic solution and peace. The policies that are imposed to date are the decisions taken at the 1921 Cairo Conference under the leadership of the then world hegemonic power England. These policies intend not only to leave the Kurdish question in a deadlock but also to place those countries where Kurds live - Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria and hence the Middle East - under their own control.

The USA was later included in this plan. The fact that I was kidnapped as a result of an international pursuit by the English, US and Israeli intelligence services after which I was handed over to Turkey, kept at the Imrali Island Sole Inmate High Security Prison to date and prevented in all my efforts for a resolution, is also the result of those policies today.

But on the other hand I headed to Europe to end the deadlock these policies imposed and to realize the expectations of my people from me: democratic solution, honourable peace and the hope for freedom. However these powers put pressure on the relevant European states and coerced me to go outside the European boundaries. They shut off the European airports to me. When I finally arrived in Greece I indicated to them my desire to go to South Africa. I was promised that I would stay temporarily in Kenya and then I would be taken to South Africa. This is why I accepted Kenya as a stopover. While I was at the Greek Embassy in Kenya, the Greek Ambassador kept on telling me that they were waiting for a response to the request made to South Africa. However only much later it would become clear that neither the Greek Government nor Embassy had made any official applications to the South African Government and it was all a scam. This is how they mislead and delayed me. Later they took me out of the Greek Embassy in Kenya and forced me to board the Turkish airplane waiting at the Kenyan airport.

My journey to Africa was to reach South Africa and meet up with you to share your experiences which I value dearly. However such an opportunity has been taken away from us. My desire to go to South Africa full of friendly emotions however remain as they are. Although my South African journey, my desire and efforts to come together with you have been prevented I continue to harbour my feelings of friendship, respect and affection for you and the South Africa people from the Imrali Island Prison. I have full confidence that you are closely following up our struggle for democratic solution and peace and contributing to the democratic and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question. With such feelings and thought I send my greetings and respect to you Mr Nelson Mandela and all the South African people."