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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Thousands mark 15th anniversary of Ocalan arrest in Strasbourg

Forty thousand people rallied in Strasbourg this weekend to demand the release of Abdullah Ocalan on the fifteenth anniversary of his capture, reports ANF. Below are some pictures of the demonstration, in which people joined from all over Europe.

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15 years in Imrali: Free Ocalan!

Below is the text from the latest leaflet from the International Initiative on the 15th anniversary of Ocalan’s capture and imprisonment on the prison island of Imrali. The Leaflet can be downloaded as a pdf here for distribution.

On the 15th anniversary of his abduction we demand: Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan

Who is Abdullah Öcalan?
Millions of Kurds regard Abdullah Öcalan as their political representative. He is the most important exponent
of their struggle for rights and democracy and has become a symbol for the freedom of the Kurds. Öcalan opposes separatism and secessionism and stands for a democratic Middle East with all the peoples having equal rights. The ongoing worldwide signature campaign for his freedom has collected 2.4 million signatures. TIME Magazine has elected him among the 100 most influential leaders in 2013.

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Towards Democratic Solution From Armed Conflict – The Role Played By Leaders On Peaceful Solutions: South African And Kurdish Experiences – Mandela And Ocalan

by Judge Essa Moosa, director of the International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative and chairperson for KHRAG.

A new dawn has appeared on the horizon of Turkish political landscape. For the first time in almost 100 years the Kurdish issue in Turkey are being seriously addressed. The struggle of the Kurdish people in Turkey to enforce their legitimate claim to self-determination in terms of the Sevres Treaty was met with force, execution, imprisonment, banishment, persecution and repression. Such right to self-determination was approved by the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations[1]. The South African people of colour have also struggled, for more than 100 years, for their right to self-determination and achieved their right on 10 May 1994 with the installation of a government of national unity under the presidency of Nelson Mandela.[2] There are striking similarities between the struggle of the Kurdish people in Turkey for their right to self-determination and the right to self-determination of the oppressed people in South Africa.

Both Turkey and South Africa were colonised and subjugated by various colonial powers over the ages.  Turkey was colonised by the Persians, Mongolians, British, French and the Russians.  South Africa was colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. The political and constitutional evolution of Turkey and South Africa, with the passage of time, is somewhat similar.  South Africa, as it is presently constituted, was formed in 1910 when the imperial power of Britain granted to the white population of the country a measure of self-rule on the basis of white supremacy.[3] In 1921 Turkey promulgated its first Constitution in line with the provisions of the Sevres Treaty, following the demise of the Ottoman Empire.  In 1924, Turkey adopted a Republican Constitution on the basis of Turkish hegemony. The Constitution violated the provisions of the Sevres Treaty which granted the Kurdish people in Turkey, a measure of autonomy where there is a preponderance of Kurdish people and independence after a year if the majority of the people in those regions wish to become independent of Turkey.[4]

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The long road to peace and reconciliation in Turkey

Report by David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

A seminar on ‘’the long road to peace and reconciliation in Turkey’’ has taken place in London with guest speaker from South Africa, Judge Essa Moosa, who was on a brief visit to the UK.

The seminar addressed the current opportunities for dialogue between the Turkish government and the Kurds within the context of the slow moving peace process which was in danger on stalling.  

The event organised by Peace in Kurdistan in association with SOAS Kurdish Society, was held at SOAS on the afternoon of 16 November and attended by students, academics and people from wide spectrum of organisations who take an interest in Kurdish issues.

Judge Moosa, a distinguished law maker and a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, was introduced by Birgul Yilmaz, Teaching Fellow at SOAS, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, who chaired the event. He was joined on the panel by Akif Wan, Kurdistan National Congress, UK Representative.

In his address Judge Moosa, who heads the International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative, IPRI, argued that the historic developments in South Africa were a benchmark to understand how the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds might be resolved. (see article entitled “Democratic Solution to the Armed Conflict”)

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KCK releases new statement on peace process


On the basis of the 40-years-old struggle in Kurdistan and the democratic struggle carried out for tens of years in Turkey, Leader Apo and Our Freedom Movement, addressing the public opinion in Kurdistan, the Middle East and world, declared their “Democratic Liberation and the Establishment of Free life” project believing that it would help the democratization of Turkey and ensure the settlement of the Kurdish Question. “The Democratic Liberation Manifesto” declared on the 21st of March, 2013,  was the result of the negotiations carried out in Imrali. Leader APO has held the belief that the circumstances in Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world provide the necessary conditions for the implementation of this project.

From 1993 till the present day, Leader APO has made great endeavors for the peaceful settlement of the Kurdish Question and the democratization of Turkey. These attempts have created a very important ground to achieve those ends. As a result of this approach, many unilateral cease-fires have been declared and non-conflict environments have been created.  The last non-conflict situation characterized by a 9-month-long cease-fire is the result of such a historical process. The majority of the Turkish and international public opinion have observed and appreciated the Kurdish Freedom Movement’s determination and its twenty-year-long efforts for a peaceful settlement.

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Sign the petition to free Ocalan!

Sign the petition online HERE!

Dear friends,

The armed conflict between the Turkish and the Kurdish freedom movement that has raged for nearly three decades appears now to have reached an historic turning point. It would be a fair assessment to predict that the achievement of a political solution to this conflict will have a positive impact on the process of change in the entire Middle East.

An important step forward will take place on 8 May when the PKK will start to withdraw its forces from Turkey to Northern Iraq. This is part of an agreement that has been the result of months of painstaking negotiations between representatives of the Turkish state and the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan.

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Statement: Somersault alaturca – Play it again, Sam!

­International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan!”

Press statement, 15 February 2013


14 years after the abduction of Abdullah Öcalan in an international operation by intelligence services, the Kurdish question in Turkey is more current than ever. Not even this act, undertaken in violation of international law, was able to change this.

At one time declared “Public enemy no 1”, today leading Turkish politicians talk about “Imrali” as the authority to negotiate with if the vexed problem is to be resolved.

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14 years too long: “Freedom for Ocalan!”

This text is from a leaflet orginially published by International Initiative – Peace in Kurdistan. It can be downloaded as a pdf here so that copies can be printed for distribution at meetings, protests and other such actions.

Freedom for Ocalan leafletFreedom for Abdullah Öcalan

Who is Abdullah Öcalan?
Millions of Kurds regard Abdullah Öcalan as their political representative. About 3.5 million Kurds have testified this in a signature campaign in 2006. He is the most important exponent of their struggle for cultural rights and democracy and has become a symbol for the freedom of the Kurds. Öcalan opposes separatism and secessionism and stands for a democratic Middle East with all the peoples having equal rights which he has put forward as his perspective for a solution. A worldwide signature campaign for his freedom was recently launched.

Tireless peace efforts
Since 1993, Öcalan has been trying to create conditions that are suitable for a peaceful solution of the conflict. Even after his illegal abduction and imprisonment in 1999, he has remained a consistent advocate of a peaceful, political solution. From 2006 to 2011 he led talks with the Turkish government for a political solution to the conflict. In 2009 he presented his “Road Map for Negotiations”. In July 2011 Erdogan terminated the talks, only to restart them in November 2012 after much bloodshed and a huge hunger strike by political prisoners.

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KHRAG publishes news bulletin

The Kurdish Human Rights Action Group has published a news bulletin, featuring news from the campaign to free Ocalan and more round up of important news from Kurdistan from the last few months. You can download a pdf of the bulletin here (pdf).

Their new website is also full of news, updates and further resources, as well as information on how to add your signature to a growing list of supporters calling for the release of Ocalan from Imrali prison. You can sign the petition by going to their Facebook page – you do not need to be signed up to Facebook to be able to add your name. And then make sure you send it on to family, friends, neighbours and workmates…as many people as you can!