FREE ABDULLAH OCALAN
PIK statement on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of his abduction
Abdullah Ocalan was captured in Kenya in 1999 and flown to Turkey where he has been imprisoned ever since. For millions of Kurdish people in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq and across the diaspora, Abdullah Ocalan is their inspiration, guide and chosen representative. His participation in talks is essential if there is to be a resolution of the worsening conflicts in the Middle East.
In 2013, Ocalan’s call for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to withdraw from guerrilla activity in Turkey resulted in negotiations with the Turkish government and a cessation to hostilities. In April 2015 Abdullah Ocalan was put in complete isolation, prevented access to his lawyers and family; thus Turkish President Erdogan ended negotiations and has NOW said that any such talks will never be resumed. Instead, President Erdogan has talked in blood-curdling language about the ‘liquidation’ of all Kurdish opposition to his government which he brands as ‘PKK terrorists’. The result has been an all-out war on the Kurds in Turkey and attacks on them in Rojava, in Syria.Tanks and heavy artillery have been deployed and used indiscriminately in urban areas. Many hundreds of civilians have been killed, including over 84 children, but the Turkish government insists that all the dead are terrorists and that no civilians have been killed.
The European Union Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) is to visit Istanbul from 14th to 17th February 2016 with the intention of visiting Abdullah Ocalan, held as he is in isolation in Imrali Prison, to visit and discuss with the Turkish Ministry of Justice and with political parties, government officials, lawyers and representatives of civil society bodies, in order to promote the resumption of the peace process in Turkey. This excellent international initiative consists of delegates from 12 countries including the UK, USA, Germany, Venezuela, Ecuador, Canada and Belgium and is led by the distinguished Judge Essa Moosa, from the High Court of South Africa. As a young lawyer, Judge Moosa acted as a legal representative for Nelson Mandela and his colleagues when they were tried by the apartheid regime in South Africa.
If the tragedy unfolding in Turkey is to be ended, it is essential that there are talks and that Abdullah Ocalan can resume the search for a peaceful path for his people within Turkey and throughout the Middle East.
Democracy is the only solution
In 2009 Abdullah Ocalan signalled his intention to guide the Kurds onto a peaceful path with his publication ‘Road Map for Peace’. His proposal is for a break with ethnic and religious separatism and secession and for the building of democratic inclusiveness for different social identities, the equality of women and priority to be given to the ecology. This project is being put into practice in Rojava, Syria. Abdullah Ocalan described the trajectory for Rojava saying, ‘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, beliefs, colours and realities live alongside each other. The construction of a free society is only possible through the construction of democratic autonomy.’
The people of Rojava are Kurds, Arabs, Armenians, Turkmens and others and they work together and are building grass roots democratic organisations in which women are guaranteed equal rights and authority equivalent to that of the men. The people are also defending what they have achieved from the barbarous Islamic State recruits and mercenaries. When the people successfully defended and liberated Kobane in January 2015 the world applauded their achievement. It was a signal that the Kurdish people and their allies were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their ideals and to defend their freedom. They were defending our freedom too. However, for President Erdogan and the Turkish government the defeat of Islamic State by Rojava was seen very differently: it was a threat and the Turkish state began preparations for war against the Kurds.
It must be insisted and repeated that neither Abdullah Ocalan, nor the PKK nor the parties in Rojava want to establish a separate Kurdish state. What they want is peaceful negotiations, democratic rights and democratic autonomy. For as long as the PKK is designated as a terrorist organisation President Erdogan and the Turkish government will prosecute its war against the Kurds in the name of fighting terrorism and will commit heinous crimes in the name of defending the state.
Ending the isolation and ensuring the freedom of Abdullah Ocalan will not only strengthen the democratic peace process, but also consolidate the fight against the Islamic State, which is a common objective of the international community and the Kurds. In this sense, Abdullah 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 International Peace Delegation of the EUTCC is attempting to take a step along the road towards that solution – which surely must come. We wish it success.
Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan and all political prisoners in Turkey!
Freedom and democratic autonomy for the Kurdish people and all peoples in the Middle East!
Lift the ban on the PKK!
14 February 2015
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596
Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall, Melanie Gingell