Source: ALBA Movimientos / The Dawn News / October 12, 2017
The Kurdish question is related to Iraq, Iran, Syria and particularly Turkey. It is one of the biggest unsolved national problems in the Middle East. For many years, Turkey, and more recently ISIS, have been threatening the Kurdish people with genocide. Innumerable lives have been lost in this conflict. Kurdish cities and villages have been destroyed and massacres have taken place. Millions have had to flee and are displaced in other territories. Thousands of women have been sold off as slaves by ISIS or given to mercenaries as pay. The Middle East is in a profound crisis. But not everything is in the shadows. There still is hope!
Abdullah Öcalan is the founder of the Kurdish Workers’ Party. He has led the struggle for Kurdish rights for centuries. In 1999 he was kidnapped in Kenya and transported to Turkey. During his long years in prison, he wrote multiple books that encourage the democratization of Turkey and the entire region. Recently, he inspired the feminist revolutionary movement in Rojava, Northern Syria.
Öcalan is currently in isolation, and has been for the last 30 years, in the Imrali prison. This is the equivalent of the Robben prison where Nelson Mandela was kept for 18 of the 27 years he spent in jail due to his struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
Despite his terrible conditions, Öcalan hasn’t given up and maintains hope for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts of Middle East, especially for Kurds.
In northern Syria, people inspired by his texts have created a democratic, multi-ethnic and multi-religious system. Öcalan has become a symbol for peace and democracy in this punished region.
He has managed not only to transform the Kurdish society and led them from a state-centered perspective into a democratic confederation, but also has had enough courage to establish a dialogue with the Turkish state. Besides, he has laid out the theoretical and practical bases for the Rojava Revolution, the Liberation of the Yazidi-Kurdish people of Shingal, and the HDP project in Turkey. Prison bars haven’t kept him from being a source of inspiration for all of those who struggle.
The immense majority of Kurdish men and women identify themselves with Öcalan’s ideas. Between 2005 and 2006, 3.5 million Kurds signed a declaration in which they declare him their political representative. He’s the most trusted leader and the most important symbol of struggle for freedom, peace and democracy among the Kurds. Like Nelson Mandela, Abdullah Öcalan represents the political will of his people and his release is critical to achieve peace in Turkey, Syria and Kurdistan.
Öcalan has dedicated his life to struggle for peace and democracy as a means to solve the Kurdish situation. He has declared numerous unilateral cease-fires and presented constructive proposals. Since 1993, successive Turkish governments have engaged in dialogue with Öcalan, acknowledging his central role in the search for a solution. Between 2012 and 2015, the government of the AKP held negotiations with him for two and a half years, during which Öcalan proposed a step-by-step plan to achieve peace, which ranged from measures to build mutual trust to a permanent political solution for the Kurdish question. Negotiations collapsed in April 2015, but Öcalan’s proposals served as a “Roadmap” that is still relevant.
Öcalan’s situation is equivalent to that of the Kurdish people. There can’t be freedom for Kurds without freedom for their political prisoners. Öcalan’s freedom is vital to end the military approach to the conflict and achieve the vital goal of peace negotiations.
The time has come!
Considering the worsening of the crisis in the Middle East, while Turkey slides into a dictatorship, Öcalan’s proposals for peace and democracy become more urgent and necessary. He’s the architect behind a proposal for peaceful coexistence, and his release could enable a true reconciliation.
The opportunity is available. Conditions are perfect to achieve it.
It is time to listen to the people who claim: “Freedom, not slavery! Peace, not endless war! Democracy, not dictatorship!” Those are Öcalan’s demands.
February 15th, 2019 will be the 20th anniversary of his kidnapping and imprisonment. On April 4th, 2019, Abdullah Öcallan will turn 70 years old. We want him to be outside prison to celebrate with him. The time has come!
World campaign “Freedom for Öcalan”
As the leader of the Kurdish people and a promoter of peace, Öcalan is indispensable to solve the Kurdish-Turkish conflict. But he can’t fulfill this role from prison, due to the harsh conditions and his extremely restricted communication. As of now, he is completely isolated from the rest of the world. Ending his isolation is the first—and urgent—step. And for that we need your support.
Millions have marched through the streets for many years. Over 10 million people around the world have signed the petition for his release. We need your voice too!
Freedom for Öcalan!
Please support this campaign by signing the petition here and speak about it in your community.
www.freeocalan.org | @freeocalan | P.O. Box 100511, 50445 Colonia, Alemania