“Ocalan is the living embodiment of his people’s hopes and demands for peace and freedom. Peace in Kurdistan stands with the Kurdish people and their demands for the freedom of Abdullah Ocalan. He remains the best guarantor for achieving an enduring peace settlement.”
PEACE IN KURDISTAN
Abdullah Ocalan remains the guarantor for peace and must be freed
On the 23rd anniversary of the plot against Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, Peace in Kurdistan reiterates our demand for his release and calls for the recognition of his role as a peace maker and the right of the Kurdish people to choose their own political leader.
The reality is that the internationally coordinated action that led to the capture and arrest of Abdullah Ocalan in 1999 must now be judged as a failure in its basic strategic objectives. The elaborate plan involving international powers was not simply about catching an individual. It was targeted at ending the independent national political movement of the Kurdish people. What Kurds view and justifiably describe as an “international conspiracy” was meant to bring an end to the independent Kurdish movement that Ocalan had founded and stifle their political activities by cutting off the leadership.
But the bonds between the leader and his people have not been severed, which is a remarkable testimony to the tenacity of the Kurdish political consciousness.
The Kurdish people’s commitment to the cause is a lasting achievement of the activities of Ocalan and will endure as his political legacy.
Over the last 23 years, the isolation in prison and the strict measures imposed to silence Ocalan have all failed to halt his authority and influence among Kurdish people. The Kurds remain steadfast in their support for the movement that he created, they still choose him as their leader, and they remain fiercely loyal to the political programme that he has developed including the blueprint for a reshaped Middle East that Ocalan has outlined as a step towards achieving human progress and liberation.
Despite continued state repression, the war waged against the Kurds and all their institutions, the Kurdish movement remains solidly aligned with Ocalan and guided by his perspective on building a future for Kurdistan and the broader Middle East shaped by his ideas embodied in the concept of democratic confederalism.
It must be extremely frustrating for the Turkish rulers and their allies that despite all the legal, military and propaganda actions taken against Ocalan and the Kurds they have been unable to break the leader or the Kurdish movement.
Ocalan, held in prison under extremely inhumane conditions, is about as physically unfree as any human being can be. But his ideas run free among the Kurdish people exactly as they did when he was at liberty. Physically, Ocalan is silenced and prevented from speaking to any of his supporters, but through his powerful writings and within the collective memory of the people his words are as alive as if he was able to speak to an audience directly. Ocalan still exercises an influence like no other Kurdish political figure of modern times. This influence is undiminished because Ocalan articulates the main demands and wishes of the Kurdish people. A leader with such demonstrable influence clearly has much to offer and contribute to the future politics of his people and the region.
The lesson of the years of incarceration since 1999 is that Ocalan is the undiminished figurehead of the Kurdish people. The political movement that he founded has adapted to changing circumstances and continues to expand. Ocalan remains a key player on the political scene despite being in jail and he is an inspiration for new generations of young Kurds who have never known him to be physically free. The Kurds cannot be humiliated and are undefeated by all the repression and military campaigns by Turkey no matter how brutal these are being waged and no matter the level of sophistication of the weapons technology that the Turks are able to bring to bear.
Abdullah Ocalan is a unique modern Kurdish leader whose reputation continues to grow. His has stood firm in his call for peace over all these years and has issued repeated proposals for achieving peace with Turkey.
Ocalan has the potential to play a key role in any future peace process once Turkey is dragged back to the negotiating table. Turkey’s allies should act responsibly to bring about peace by persuading those in charge in Ankara to grasp the opportunity offered by Ocalan to end the war, thereby ending the political repression and social conflicts that have blighted Turkey and the region for far too long.
For the Kurds freedom and peace are indivisible. Ocalan is the living embodiment of his people’s hopes and demands for peace and freedom. Peace in Kurdistan stands with the Kurdish people and their demands for the freedom of Abdullah Ocalan. He remains the best guarantor for achieving an enduring peace settlement.
15 February 2022
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Maggie Cook, UNISON women activist; Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, journalist, Nick Hildyard, policy advisor, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Dr Les Levidow, Open University, Elfyn Llwyd, John McDonnell MP; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, journalist, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University, Trevor Rayne, writer, Joe Ryan, Bert Schouwenburg, International Trade Union Adviser; Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, journalist, Steve Sweeney, journalist, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Federico Venturini, Associate Researcher, University of Udine, Italy; Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.