PRESS RELEASE

 

Organisers

Freedom for Ocalan Campaign Trade Unioun Group (UK) – Kurdish People’s Assembly UK – International Initiative “Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan” – Peace in Kurdistan Campaign – Democratic Unity of Community Centres in UK – Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign – Kurdistan Students Union

 

PRESS RELEASE

1st December 2017

 Demonstration for freedom of Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners in Turkey on International Human Rights Day, 10th Dec 2017

On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, we will call for the release of Abdullah Öcalan, Kurdish freedom fighter, intellectual leader and political prisoner for 19 years.

Like Nelson Mandela before him, Abdullah Öcalan has been a charismatic and intellectual inspiration for his people. In the 1980s he led the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in armed combat against the Turkish State, a state whose violence against the Kurdish people had led to Turkey earning a reputation as Europe’s worst human rights violator. The number of pro-Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey has reached more than ten thousand. In recent years Öcalan has repeatedly called for a political solution to the Kurdish Question, has called on Turkey to lay down its arms and meet Kurdish representatives around a table of peace.

The academic writings of Öcalan have been the inspiration of a new movement in the Middle East: Democratic Confederalism. The idea that administration in the region should be ethnically inclusive, anti-sectarian and fundamentally rooted in gender equality is one that is being put into practice across Northern Syria by the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS). For a region that is better known for sectarianism and gender discrimination these ideas are revolutionary and exciting. Each political position in the DFNS, started by the

Kurds in Syria, is held jointly by a woman and a man, while civil society is being organised on a cooperative basis with great focus on ecological sustainability.

In the international effort to defeat so-called Islamic State (ISIS/Daesh), the military units of the DFNS have been at the frontline of the battle, providing the “boots on the ground” for the International Coalition. The DFNS have lost 6000 lives in this war. Thus far the repayment for this brave fight and heroic sacrifice has been to be excluded from the peace negotiations contrary to UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) which resolves that “the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.” If this exclusion continues it will represent one of the most obscene political betrayals of the conflict.

Abdullah Öcalan is approaching his twentieth year in near complete isolation; he has been denied the right to see his lawyers since July 2011. Although he was allowed a number of visits by the Pro-Kurdish (HDP) MPs during the peace negotiations, some of whom are also now imprisoned, since April 2015 the visits have been blocked and the peace process has been abandoned by the Turkish government. The Kurds are deeply concerned for the wellbeing of their leader. It is time for the international community to call for his immediate release. The power, the intellect and the compassion of Abdullah Öcalan stand in stark relief to the repression, the arrogance and the almost complete abrogation of human rights of those such as President Erdogan of Turkey, who stand against him.

The March on 10 December will start at 12 noon at the BBC and proceed to Parliament Square, where a rally will be held with speakers from different organisations, including: Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary; Simon Dubbins International Director UNITE; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign & Imrali Peace Delegation; Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition; Bruce Kent, CND; Margaret Owen, Peace in Kurdistan – Women Alliance for Kurdistan, Syria and Iraq; Faiz Baloch, Free Balochistan Movement; London Basque Solidarity.

For further information please contact:

 

Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign:

Email: mark@kurdistansolidaritycampaign.org

Tel: +44 (0) 7799285812/ 07799285812

 

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign:

Email: knklondon@gn.apc.org

Tel: +44 (0) 7846666804

 

 

 

 

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Lugalbanda: Lover of the seed. A new version by Doug Nicholls

Beautifully designed, printed and written with some stimulating discussion notes, this book is a fund-raiser for the Free Ocalan campaign. It brings to the attention of a modern readers a poem written 5,000 years ago but still with incredible relevance to us today. The imprisoned political leader Abdullah Ocalan draws attention to the first Sumerian civilization built between the Tigris and Euphrates, in the troubled lands today covered by Iraq and Syria. Continue reading

CALL FOR THE LONG-MARCH & RALLY in LONDON FOR THE FREEDOM OF OCALAN

AND TO CONDEMN THE 15 FEBRUARY INTERNATIONAL PLOT AGAINST THE KURDISH FREEDOM MOVEMENT!
KURDISH PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY: March Date: 11-12 February 2017

The 15 February 1999 international plot reserves its place in history as a dark day for our people, our nation and our movement. Now with the plot in its 19th year, the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Ocalan continues to display immense resistance. We salute our leader with the spirit of the Rojava revolution, the Kobane victory, and the Sur-Cizre-Silopi-Nusaybin-Sirnak resistances. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Videos of Ocalan Award event in Strathclyde now available

On 20 June Strathclyde University student association awarded Abdullah Ocalan honorary lifetime membership. To mark the occasion a panel discussion was organised in which PiK patron Stephen Smellie, renowned writer James Kelman, organiser and activist Roza Salih spoke about the relevance of Ocalan in the struggle for self-determination and called for his release. Reimar Heider (International Initiative) was in Glasgow to accept the award on Ocalan’s behalf. Continue reading

Victory in Kobane: What next for the Rojava Revolution?

“ ‘The victory of capitalism is in its ability to capture the mind.’ Whereas a hundred years ago, if you were poor you would rebel; now if you are poor, you dream of winning the lottery.”

Quoting PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan at the most recent Peace in Kurdistan Campaign/Roj Women event at SOAS University, Havin Guneser of the International Initiative – Freedom for Ocalan Campaign gave a rich exploration of how one of the world’s most vibrant contemporary anti-capitalist rebellions led not only to victory in Kobane following a devastating 6-month siege by ISIS, but the development of a genuine social revolution. As Guneser explained, it was that social revolution, now embedded in the personal lives and working institutions of the people living in Rojava, that ultimately ensured that Kobane had the strength to fight off ISIS attacks. Continue reading

Now Is the time: Abdullah Ocalan Freedom March

On Friday 13th  and Saturday 14th February thousands of people gathered in Strasbourg to call for freedom for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is entering his 17th year in prison on the island of Imrali. The events came after many days of walking as many hundreds of people trekked across Europe to Strasbourg in  a show of solidarity with the PKK leader.  The incredible results of the Free Ocalan Campaign, in which over 10 million people signed a petition calling for Ocalan’s release, were also handed in to officials at the Council of Europe.

Thank you to filmmakers System D for the video!

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10.3 Million Signatures for Peace and Freedom for Öcalan

Free ocalan muralToday, thousands of people have gathered in Strasbourg for the culmination of a huge international campaign calling for the release of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK, on the 16th anniversary of his abduction. An incredible 10.3 million people from across the world signed a petition demanding freedom for Ocalan. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has proudly supported the campaign from the beginning and sent a solidarity statement to the organisers of today’s press conference, as did Margaret Owen on behalf of all our patrons, who were among the first signatories to the campaign. 

The International Initiative, which organised the campaign, today released this statement:

Statement of the International Initiative, 13 February 2015

In March 1999, when the International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan—Peace in Kurdistan” was founded, it was unthinkable. Unthinkable, that Abdullah Öcalan would ever – get out alive. After his forceful abduction from Kenya with the help of Western intelligence services, a seemingly big victory of the Turkish state, the question seemed to be whether Abdullah Öcalan was executed without a trial or after a trial. To even think of “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan” amounted to lunacy. Nevertheless, an impressive number of intellectuals, artists, politicians and activists read the signs of the times differently. Even back then, 16 years ago, they knew that for a sustainable solution of the so-called Kurdish question Öcalan had to be free and a peaceful solution had to be negotiated. This group founded the International Initiative. Continue reading

Solidarity message to press conference on 13 February 2015

 

I Margaret Owen, on behalf of the UK based PATRONS OF PEACE IN KURDISTAN, who are among the “first” signatories of the petition to secure the release Abdullah Ocalan from his 16 year incarceration on the Isle of Imrali by Turkey, greet you.

We send our most fervent wishes to the organisers of the March to Strasbourg and to all those gathering in Strasbourg on February 13th to demand that Ocalan is freed. The long imprisonment of the Kurdish leader is one of the greatest injustices in history, not just for the Kurdish people, but for all peoples of the world who salute Ocalan for his breadth of vision in defending the universal values of democracy, pluralism, gender equality, and freedom.

London, 7 February 2015

Margaret Owen on behalf of Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall

 

ECtHR rejects Ocalan’s case against Turkey

The International Initiative has released a statement regarding the European Court of Human Rights’ recent judgement on Ocalan vs. Turkey case. Read it here:

 

Öcalan vs. Turkey decision: A bad day for human rights in Europe

Statement of International Initiative on the ECtHR decision in Öcalan vs. Turkey (No. 2)

 

The European Court of Human Rights today published its chamber decision in a set of applications by Abdullah Öcalan against Turkey.

The complaints referred, among others, to the isolation conditions on Imrali Island, the aggravated life sentence with no possibility of parole, the overhearing of all consultations with his lawyers and then threat to his life posed by the poisonous substances found in his hair. In the view of Öcalan and his lawyers, these and other violations constitute violations of articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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