Appeal: Act for Öcalan

The Time for Freedom is Now – Freedom for Öcalan Shall Prevail!

Dear friends,

As part of the Kurdish offensive “Dema Dema Azadiyê ye – Now is the time for freedom”, we want to start a campaign based on a basic principle that Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan has always referred to: Freedom Shall Prevail. We also firmly believe that peace will prevail. We believe that through our common struggle his freedom can also prevail.

Abdullah Öcalan, has been held in isolation, in violation of basic principles of human rights, for 22 years on the prison island of İmralı in Turkey.

As you may recall, on March 25, 2021, following the dissemination of rumors concerning Öcalan’s health, the Turkish authorities allowed him to have a phone conversation with his brother which lasted only 4-5 minutes. Since that brief conversation, no information has been provided concerning his situation, and all efforts by his lawyers and family members to communicate with him or obtain information about his health have been blocked by Turkish authorities. His detention rights are being violated systematically by the Turkish state, which holds back basic writing and reading material, and prevents him receiving familial and legal visits. The uncertain situation faced by Öcalan remains an issue of great concern.

The importance of Abdullah Öcalan for the Kurds and for the broader Middle East is clear. As the recognised leader of a large part of the Kurdish society, but also as a political figure esteemed by many in Turkey, only his liberation can bring a long-term peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. Abdullah Öcalan’s theories point a better way of organising society in place of the structures that are currently destroying our planet.

Both the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in Strasbourg are responsible for Öcalan’s situation, as Turkey is a member of the CoE and ratified the Convention that created the CPT over 30 years ago. On August 5, 2020, the CPT published a report on the situation in İmralı Island Prison following visits to Turkish prisons in May 2019, and stated, concerning the conditions at İmralı, that “In the opinion of the committee, such a situation is unacceptable.”

In October 2020, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution on Turkey’s repression of opposition groups. This states that “the Assembly reiterates its call on the Turkish authorities to authorise, without any further delay, the publication of the 2016 CPT report and to implement all remaining CPT recommendations, including those pertaining to the situation of Mr Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners who remain cut off from contacts with the outside world at the İmralı F-Type High-Security Closed Prison, as already referred to in its Resolution 2260 (2019).”

The recent lack of engagement and absence of consequential action from both the CoE and the CPT is very risky, placing Öcalan’s life in danger at a critical time for the Kurdish people. The authoritarian Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is now waging an open war against the Kurds on various fronts, in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. To realize his neo-Ottoman ambitions and cement his grip on power, Erdoğan is seeking to establish and broaden zones of occupation in Kurdish-majority areas of northern Syria and northern Iraq, and he sees the Kurds as the primary obstacle to his expansionist strategy.

From the confinement of his island prison, Öcalan has distinguished himself as a voice for peace and dialogue. His health and wellbeing are a national concern for the Kurdish people and of great consequence for the entire region and beyond. The systematic violations of Öcalan’s most basic human rights continue, while disregard for rights is becoming a global problem. We cannot stand idly by while violent forces seek to silence the oppressed  and eliminate hope for a better future. Öcalan, and the revolutionary process that is taking place in Kurdistan, represents a great hope for socialist, democratic, feminist and ecological movements all around the world. This hope cannot be allowed to be eliminated. We must take action.

For this reason, we are organizing a sit-in strike of 1,000 people in front of the CoE and CPT in Strasbourg. We vow to be politically, diplomatically, socially and culturally active until the responsible organizations, the CoE and CPT, address this urgent matter.

At this critical time, your active participation is of great importance to us. The sit-in strike will begin on October 2 at 1:00 pm local time with a press conference in Strasbourg near by the CoE.

We invite you and your organization to stay with us for a week, and take your turn in the shifts of activists at the site of the action. We ask you to act for Ocalan’s freedom!

Accommodation and food will be offered in the tents on site, and, if necessary, the alliance can also cover travel expenses.

We will distribute a detailed program for the “Freedom Will Prevail” campaign soon on a new website www.act-for-ocalan.com that is currently being established.

The different groups will stay for the following dates. Please select the dates that suit you and let us know if you will be able to join us.

1st group of 1000 people: 2-9 October

2nd group of 1000 people:  10-17 October

3rd group of 1000 people: 17-24 October

4th group of 1000 people: 24-31 October

To learn more and to participate, please contact:

Agir  (Germany): +49 15781462782 or [email protected]