Ocalan, Osman (Ferhat)

Ocalan, Osman (Ferhat)
(1958- )
   Osman Ocalan is the younger brother of Abdullah (APO) Ocalan, the longtime leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). One of six siblings, the younger Ocalan was for many years a leading member of the PKK, particularly its professional guerrilla army, the Kurdistan Peoples Liberation Army (ARGK), now called Hezen Parastina Gel (HPG), or the Peoples Defense Force.
   For many years Osman Ocalan was active in northern Iraq and Iran. He had a reputation for being a tough guerrilla leader without the sophistication of his elder brother. He fell into temporary eclipse after his forces were deemed to have performed poorly when attacked by the Iraqi Kurds and then Turkey in northern Iraq in October 1992. In June 1993, the PKK removed him from power. Osman Ocalan was held in an isolated cell for three months and then interrogated for 52 days before being tried. Subsequently, he again became a top PKK leader for several years.
   Following the capture and imprisonment of his older brother Abdullah Ocalan in February 1999, Osman Ocalan even became for a short period of time one of the main leaders of the PKK's presidential council named to act on a daily tactical basis for the now imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan. Osman Ocalan at first called for a violent reaction to his elder brother's capture but soon fell into line with the new policy of promoting peace. However, in 2004, Osman Ocalan, along with Nizamettin Tas and Shahnaz Altun, left the PKK and attempted to establish a new group near Mosul, Iraq, which they called the Patriotic and Democratic Party of Kurdistan (PPDK or PWD). They accused Abdullah Ocalan of being a despot comparable to Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler and claimed that he had ordered the murder of a number of dissidents. The younger Ocalan now maintained that he was against armed struggle and favored solving the Kurdish problem through democracy and federalism. However, his attempt to establish a new party failed. In October 2008, Osman Ocalan claimed that the PKK had tried to assassinate him on two separate occasions. Kani Yilmaz, another former high-ranking PKK member who had left the party after the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, was assassinated by a car bombing.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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