Date and time: Wednesday 15th February 2012 – 1pm
Start Point: Halkevi Kurdish Turkish Community Centre 31-33 Dalston Lane E8 3DF
End Point: Amnesty International
Kurds are marching for the freedom of their leader Abdullah Ocalan!
On February 15th 1999 Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan was illegally kidnapped in Kenya following a joint operation by the CIA & Mossad, and handed over to the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT). This capture had been preceded by an odyssey through Europe in which Mr. Ocalan tried desperately to convince European public opinion and states to claim the plight of the Kurdish people and help create conditions for a political and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey. However economic and military interests and pressure from the UK, Germany and the USA prevented this. As the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Ocalan had begun a resistance movement to end the denial, assimilation and genocide policies of the Turkish Republic against the Kurdish people. The ensuing war claimed the lives of over 40,000 people.
Ocalan has been in isolation on an island prison for 13 years!
Today we are entering the 14th year of Abdullah Ocalan’s isolation on the island prison of Imrali. Special laws have been introduced specifically to prevent Mr. Ocalan from meeting with family and lawyers. Currently he is being denied the right to visits for almost seven months and 33 of his lawyers have been arrested for doing their jobs. This is a grave human rights crime. The EU, USA and international human rights organisations such as European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) are silent in the face of the Turkish states’ crime. Normally Mr. Ocalan has the right to weekly visits from family and lawyers, though even these are for half an hour and an hour respectively. Despite this isolation Mr. Ocalan is resisting and has written 8 books in prison to help end the conflict and develop democracy in the Middle East.
Ocalan’s freedom is the freedom of all Kurds!
The fate of the Kurdish people in Turkey has become intertwined with the fate of Mr. Ocalan. Since its inception in 1923 the Turkish state has not accepted the existence of the Kurdish people and massacred over 250,000 Kurds; and also denied their right to representation and a leader. All Kurdish leaders have either been executed, murdered or imprisoned. This is why the freedom of Mr. Ocalan is a prerequisite for a political and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. As well as being regarded by millions of Kurds and the Kurdistan Freedom Movement as their leader, Mr. Ocalan is also the most important interlocutor for negotiations. The Turkish state has accepted this in recent years and met with Mr. Ocalan to develop a road map for a solution. However the AKP government has refused to sign the protocols drawn up by Mr. Ocalan and have punished him by exacerbating his isolation. Without Mr. Ocalan’s freedom the war between Kurdish people and Turkish state will continue claiming the lives of thousands of people and deepen the divide between Kurds and Turks.
What you can do for peace and freedom in Kurdistan and Turkey
The UK government plays an important role in Turkey’s affairs and has strong economic, political and military ties with the Turkish government. This is why they can pressure Turkey and assist the government to stop the isolation of Mr. Ocalan, cease police operations against Kurdish civilians, release all political prisoners and open the path for a new constitution that can bring about a lasting and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. Please contact us to find out what you can do for solidarity.
HALKEVI Kurdish Turkish Community Centre, Kurdish Community Centre, Kurdish Federation in Britain (FED-BIR), Ozgur Roni Kurdish Youth Parliament, Roj Woman Association.