OPEN LETTER TO THORBJORN JAGLAND, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Dear Mr Jagland

 RE: TURKEY’S NON-COMPLIANCE WITH ‘NELSON MANDELA RULES’ AND THE CASE OF ABDULLAH OCALAN AND POLITICAL PRISONERS IN TURKEY

 The Council of Europe’s abject failure to condemn Turkey’s treatment of prisoners cannot be excused and now threatens to undermine the credibility of the core values of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As you well know, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners was first adopted by the UN in 1957. They were revised in 2015 and adopted as ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ unanimously by the UN General Assembly to honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, ‘who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for global human rights, equality, democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace’. Continue reading

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Women delegation from Ireland, Britain and Italy call for the unlawful prison policy of isolation to end.

PRESS RELEASE

 For immediate release

 13 January 2019, Diyarakir, Turkey

 The health of Hakkari 55 year old MP Leyla Güven, who started a hunger strike on 8 November 2018, has reached a life-threatening stage.

Leyla Güven, who is on the 67th day of a hunger strike, has become too weak to  meet with her lawyers. Continue reading

A CALL FOR ENDING THE ISOLATION OF ABDULLAH OCALAN AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN TURKEY

International Initiative – Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan

&

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

12 January 2019

 We, the undersigned, call for an immediate end to the solitary confinement of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and other political prisoners in Turkey who are being held in gross violation of their human rights and of the norms of the internationally agreed-upon Mandela Rules. Continue reading

Revolutionary Youth Movement of Kurdistan – Internationalist Relations Committee on efforts to lift the ban on the PKK.

     Call: The wish for freedom cannot be banned
    Deutsche Übersetzung: “Der Wunsch nach Freiheit lässt sich nicht verbieten“
    After 25 years of failure – to snuff out the dream of democracy, freedom
    and peace – the German and Turkish governments are still among the
    leading countries fighting globally against democratic protests and
    emancipatory struggles. 25 years ago, the PKK was banned in Germany, yet
    throughout this time the PKK and its project of Democratic Confederalism
    have only grown in significance and appeal. It is no wonder that the Taz
    in September 2014 headlined ‘the PKK belongs to Germany’. On December
    1st we will take to the streets of the German capital to affirm the
    strength of this freedom struggle and the failure of the German-Turkish
    front against democracy – together, as democratic activists, feminists,
    anti-fascists and internationalists.

Continue reading

Your Freedom and Mine: Booklaunch Edinburgh.

Report

On Thursday, 15 November 2018, we hosted a successful event in promotion of the new book Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey. The book is a compilation of pieces from a variety of contributors with various perspectives from across the Kurdish movement. It centers on the illegal imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan, the ideological leader of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination, and in particular the role and impact of the various international campaigns that have been founded in solidarity with the Kurdish struggle. Continue reading

HDP MP Ms Leyla Güven on hunger strike.

Please see here the HDP’s statement on Ms Leyla Guven, MP for Hakkari in prison since 31 January 2018, who began an indefinite hunger strike to protest the politics of isolation imposed on Mr Abdullah Ocalan at Imrali Island Prison.

12.11.2018

HDP MP Ms Leyla Güven began an indefinite hunger strike in prison to protest the politics of isolation imposed on Mr Abdullah Öcalan at İmralı Island Prison.

On 7 November 2018, during the third hearing of her case at Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court, Ms Leyla Güven announced that she began an indefinite hunger strike in protest of the politics of isolation imposed on Mr Abdullah Öcalan at İmralı Island Prison.

Continue reading

OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY FREE ABDULLAH OCALAN!

“Freedom is never given; it is won” A.Philip Randolph

Peace in Kurdistan

Dear Prime Minister

We issue this appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of Abdullah Ocalan,leader of the Kurdish people, who has now spent almost two decades in solitary confinement at Imrali Island in the Sea of Marmara, since 15 February 1999. Continue reading

The 20th Anniversary of Abdullah Ocalan’s Expulsion from Syria

PEACE IN KURDISTAN

FREEDOM FOR ABDULLAH OCALAN NOW!

Abdullah Ocalan, founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has led the struggle for Kurdish rights for many years. 9th October marks the twentieth anniversary of his expulsion of Abdullah Ocalan from Syria, where he had lived in exile for nearly 20 years. The Kurds view the expulsion as part of an ‘international conspiracy’ against Ocalan and themselves. Abdullah Ocalan was subsequently abducted from Kenya on 15 February 1999 and taken to Turkey, where he was subjected to a show trial and has been imprisoned ever since, kept on Imrali Island, Turkey’s equivalent of Robben Island. For more than 10 years he was isolated as the only prisoner on the island. Continue reading

FREEDOM FOR OCALAN CAMPAIGN – BOOK LAUNCH Abdullah Ocalan, Manifesto for a Democratic Civilisation, Volume II: Capitalism – The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings

The book is published by New Compass Press, Norway: new-compass.net and International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan-Peace in Kurdistan, Germany: Freedom-for-ocalan.com; info@freedom-for-ocalan.com
The book was translated by Havin Guneser; the preface was written by Dr Radha D’Souza.

Report by Trevor Rayne

The launch of the English translation of this important work was hosted in London by Unite the Union and supported by Peace in Kurdistan and Centre for Kurdish Progress on 19 June 2017. Approximately 50 people attended. Unite, along with the GMB union, launched the Freedom for Ocalan Campaign in 2016. Opening the meeting, Simon Dubbins, International Director of Unite, described Abdullah Ocalan as ‘one of this century’s and the past century’s biggest political thinkers’ and emphasised that Ocalan’s release is essential to any meaningful negotiations towards peace in Turkey and the Middle East. Dubbins described his visit to Diyarbakir and how he witnessed ‘the brutality and unrestrained violence of the Turkish state’ towards the Kurdish people, for whom Ocalan is their leader. Unite has come to recognise the significance of the Kurdish struggle in the Middle East, and in Britain the Trade Union Congress passed a resolution on trade union rights in Turkey, which included demands for the recognition of Kurdish rights and freedom for Abdullah Ocalan. Simon Dubbins introduced presentations by Dilar Dirik and Radha D’Souza.

Dilar Dirik, a Phd student at the University of Cambridge, addressed Ocalan’s writings and said that this second volume is one of five books written as part of his self-defence, while held as a prisoner by the Turkish state on Imrali island. Dilar outlined the conditions in which Ocalan is held, his isolation and denial of elementary legal rights, and Ocalan’s efforts to initiate a peace process. She stressed that Abdullah Ocalan views his own isolation as integral to the isolation of the Kurdish issue; they are inextricably linked. In the same way, the fate of Ocalan is tied to fate of the Kurds, which is in turn the key for the prospects for democracy in Turkey.

In his first volume, Civilisation: the Age of Masked Gods and Disguised Kings, Ocalan explains that in order to understand contemporary capitalism and overcome it we must understand previous societies, going back to the emergence of patriarchy. Dilar said that Ocalan traces systems of hierarchy and domination back to the development of the City state, some 5,000 and more years ago. She said that Ocalan sees that there was always an alternative stream within these societies that contributed to their cultures. In the third volume, on a Sociology of Freedom, Abdullah Ocalan says that we need to re-examine how we look at religion, mythology and philosophy in order to realise the potential that is carried within the alternative over the ages. The fourth and fifth volumes explore the Kurdish people’s situation and propose a democratic confederal system as a way of overcoming the hierarchical and domineering nation state. This is not just a way forward for the Kurds but also for the wider Middle East and the world.

Dilar pointed to achievements in Rojava where Ocalan’s theories have been put into practice. Here women are central to their own emancipation, the re-ordering of society and practice of everyday life. Dilar concluded by referring to the dehumanisation of society under capitalism and its tragic manifestation in the recent burning down and death in Grenfell Tower, London. We need to organise, she said.

Dr Radha D’Souza works as an academic; she teaches law and campaigns for social justice. Radha began by reinforcing the view that Abdullah Ocalan is an important thinker and that this second volume of the Manifesto for a Democratic Civilisation is a deeply philosophical book. Following Ocalan, Radha said that it is necessary to undertake philosophy to do history, and to do sociology it is necessary to do history and without sociology you cannot conduct politics and without politics we cannot change our conditions – hence philosophy is essential to us and the way we live.

Radha asked ‘What is the problem he [Ocalan] wants to address?’ She instanced national liberation movements that demanded a state, but then upon achieving power the state ends up oppressing people and not liberating them. Coming from South Asia, Radha explained that India had an enlightenment tradition going back to the thirteenth century onwards until the times of the East India Company in the eighteenth century. This tradition inculcated an aspect of rebellion in people, saying: do not seek to seize state power but be prepared to rebel. She noted that in the earlier part of the twentieth century, the movement against the Empire in India did not want a unified centralised state, foreseeing this as a potential disaster, but wanted a confederal solution instead. The movement used the words ‘democratic confederation’ and said that India was multi-lingual and multi-cultural and that a centralised state would be destructive. Radha said that she found Ocalan to be very much a thinker and writer of the East.

Abdullah Ocalan asks what makes societies and communities hang together, and he answers: the need to survive. Repeating Ocalan, Radha said that capitalism destroys the conditions of human life; the struggle is no longer about the state but is about human survival. Capitalism saps our ability to rebel, in particular it promotes individualism. With the democratic confederalism that Abdullah Ocalan proposes communities must come together to organise politically, economically and culturally. In the struggle for communitarianism, old structures and traditions still survive and can contribute. ‘It is time for another liberation struggle’ concluded Radha.

Given the perilous state of the Middle East, the critical juncture for the Kurdish struggle and the fact that Abdullah Ocalan has been held in prison since 1999 and given the scope of his writings, questions and contributions from the audience were wide ranging. Estella Schmid from Peace in Kurdistan made the essential point that Ocalan’s ‘thinking comes out of practical issues that have to be confronted’. The books are not final statements but are work in progress. Ocalan puts different aspects of the Kurdish struggle into words, for example the situation in Syria is not the same as in Turkey, so how do you find alternative ways forward for different settings? How can Ocalan achieve a definitive document when he is isolated and imprisoned, denied access to discuss his ideas with others, denied access to many texts that he could use?

Other contributions raised the issue of Kurds and alliances, the relation to the United States, the character of Barzani and the Kurdistan Regional Government, the growing international prestige of the Kurdish struggle and of Abdullah Ocalan. One contributor warned that Turkish President Erdogan wants to restore the death penalty in Turkey and that this is a threat to Ocalan’s life, just as the stance of the Turkish state is killing Kurdish people today.

In his summing up, Simon Dubbins remarked that for the Kurds to have achieved what they have done in Rojava, with women and youth at the forefront, deserves our praise and that for Ocalan to have written the book under such isolation is a ‘truly remarkable achievement’. The overriding message from the book launch must be that we spread the word about the Kurds and Abdullah Ocalan, we get more people involved supporting their struggle and we discuss and we learn as we do so – using the tools and lessons that they are providing us with. Yes, it is time for another liberation struggle.

For information contact
PEACE IN KURDISTAN: www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.org <http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.org>
Estella Schmid at estella24@tiscali.co.uk <mailto:estella24@tiscali.co.uk> – mobile: 07846 666804

FREEDOM FOR OCALAN CAMPAIGN – BOOK LAUNCH

Abdullah Ocalan: Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization, Volume II Capitalism – The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings

(JN) A5 Ocalan Book Launch Leaflet

MONDAY 19th June 2017, 6pm

To understand how capitalism has come to engulf our world, we must understand how it developed out of classical civilization. Its historical roots lie in the emergence of hierarchies, power, monopolies and the nation-state, argues Abdullah Ocalan.

Capitalism – The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings is the second book in a new five-volume work called Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization. Together, they present the synthesis of Ocalan’s political thinking. This volume completes his journey through the history of civilizations, preparing the ground for the upcoming volume on The Sociology of Freedom. Continue reading