Freedom for Ocalan Committee renews call for his release

The Committee for the Freedom of Ocalan has published a new information file detailing the importance of Abdullah Ocalan for the Kurdish freedom movement and for the resolution of the conflict in the Middle East. It is available to download here (pdf). A full statement from the Committee is below:

The Kurdish question in Turkey entered a new phase with the publication of Abdullah Öcalan’s Newroz letter on March 21, 2013, 2014 and 2015, calling for negotiations for peace and democracy. Following these statements an almost three-year negotiation process took place.

However, when it became clear that the peace process would produce concrete results, the Turkish President Erdogan changed his attitude and actively endeavoured to stop the ongoing peace negotiations by isolating Öcalan in prison, in direct contrast to the Kurdish leader’s declaration for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey. Consequently, Öcalan has been barred from all contact with his legal representatives for over three years. More recently, this isolation has been escalated to include preventing access to his family and his negotiation team as of 5th of April 2015.

The Kurds view Abdullah Öcalan as their key chief negotiator and representative of their political aspiration. Therefore, the Kurds, and their friends in Kurdistan, Europe and all over the world began a global campaign to call for the freedom of Öcalan, and other political prisoners in Turkey. The results of the campaign were astounding and overwhelming, with over 10 million signatures collected globally, in support of reconciliation and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey.

But, unfortunately, the strategy by the AKP government demonstrates a lack of desire to address the Kurdish question in the country and rather chooses to continue the policy of deliberate annihilation implemented militarily and judicially on the Kurdish people. Finally, with Erdogan’s ending of the Kurdish-Turkish peace process on the 24th of July 2015 a new total war against the Kurds has been under way. Since this date, Kurdish mountains, villages and geography have been under daily attack and bombardment. For almost a week the Turkish Special Forces, supported by the army, has declared a state of emergency in Kurdish towns and are undertaking extrajudicial killings in the region.

This recommence of the war against the Kurds comes in a period where the PKK is fighting and defeating ISIS and an ongoing historic resistance of the Kurds in Syria against ISIS – where there are subsequent efforts to push for greater democratisation of society, gender liberation and ecological protection. This consequently means that all attacks against the Kurds are harming the fight against ISIS and gives ISIS time and morale to target western values and civilians too.

The only way to secure the region and the whole world is to stand against the disastrous policies of Turkey. Mr Ocalan is a key actor for stability, the fight against radicalism and a peaceful solution both in Turkey and Syria. Restart the negotiations, and take the necessary steps to reach a bilateral ceasefire and a permanent peace can only be realised if he gets free.

On the other hand there is no solving the Kurdish question in Turkey without the direct and active involvement and willing participation of the international community. The EU Commission and Parliament have a legal, moral and ethical responsibility to take a firmer stance through stopping the isolation policy toward Öcalan and encouraging Turkey to restart a real negotiation process.

Ending the isolation and ensuring the freedom of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan will not only strengthen the democratic peace process, but also consolidate the fight against ISIS, which is a common objective of the international community and the Kurds. In this sense, Mr Ocalan plays a pivotal role in the rational quest for a lasting, democratic and peaceful solution to the deep-rooted crises in the Middle East.

The Committee for Freedom of Öcalan

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