CENI WOMEN’S OFFICE FOR PEACE
The Syrian war started with the expulsion of Abdullah Öcalan
His freedom is our freedom
On 9 October 1998 Abdullah Öcalan was expelled from Syria, due to pressure from the Turkish government. As a result of an international plot he was later kidnapped and since 1999 has been in a Turkish prison, held under the most severe conditions of solitary confinement. Nevertheless in 2007 the Turkish state started negotiations with him as the representative of the Kurdish freedom movement. However, since 5 April this year he has been cut out of the negotiating delegation and has been kept completely isolated. This treatment of a significant political prisoner holds an entire society hostage and has a detrimental influence on peace negotiations in the Middle East.
Peace negotiations with the participation of Abdullah Öcalan, as well as his freedom, are directly linked to the freedom of the people in the Middle East.
The NATO-organisation Gladio, which engineered Abdullah Öcalan’s international isolation, aims to weaken his ideological power as a political actor. His voice stands for a free Kurdish identity, women’s liberation and a decisive step forward in the struggle for a democratic Middle East. Through the establishment of Democratic Autonomy in Rojava (North Syria) is becomes clear, that the Kurdish movement offers an answer and perspective in a situation of violence and destruction.
Abdullah Öcalan needs to be freed in order to play his role in the democratisation process of the Middle East.
Abdullah Öcalan describes the revolutionary developments in Rojava as follows: “40 years ago we said Kurdistan is a colony and started our liberation struggle. This particular place is a garden in which many identities, cultures, believes, colours and realities live alongside each other. The construction of a free society is only possible through the construction of democratic autonomy.”
Democratic structures, which already exist in all four parts of Kurdistan, especially the strong organisation of women, reflect decades of Abdullah Öcalan’s efforts to find a democratic solution for problems that plague societies in the Middle East.
Almost the whole of Syria is destroyed or is under the rule of Islamic State (IS) mercenaries. The crucial decisions in the Syrian civil war, however, were not made in Syria itself, nor by the local population, but rather in Turkey and other countries. The Kurdish population in Syria’s north – which for decades was denied their right to speak their mother tongue, and who did not possess passports – decided against participation in the civil war with the Syrian army, in favour of a third way.
The population built a self-government system and thereby largely prevented the war from engulfing Rojava. Many Syrians who found refuge in the Kurdish north are participating in this new autonomous system; they are living and fighting alongside the Kurds, against the mercenaries of IS. Yet the Rojava delegation continues to be excluded from the peace conferences in Turkey and Switzerland.
We women demand:
- Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners!
- Freedom and democratic autonomy for all peoples in the Middle East!
- Lift the ban on the PKK!
Cenî – Kurdisches Frauenbüro für Frieden e.V.
FREEDOM FOR OCALAN CAMPAIGN
Freedom of A. Öcalan Will Guarantee
Success of the Peace Process in Turkey
9 October 2015
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