On the 15th of February, 1999, the President of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Abdullah Öcalan, was handed over to the Republic of Turkey following a clandestine operation backed by an alliance of secret services directed by their corresponding governments. Disgusted by this outrageous violation of international law, several intellectuals and representatives of civil organisations launched an initiative for the release of Abdullah Öcalan. With the opening of a central coordination office in March 1999, the International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan” started its work.
The International Initiative regards itself as a multi-national peace initiative working for a peaceful and democratic solution of the Kurdish question with Kurds, Turks and all people of Mesopotamia living peacefully together. Even after his imprisonment, Abdullah Öcalan is still regarded as the undisputed leader by a majority of the Kurdish people. Hence it seems reasonable to assume that the solution of the Kurdish question in Turkey will be closely linked to his fate in the future. Many Kurds see him as a safeguard for peace and democratisation. Therefore the Öcalan case needs a feasible perspective for a solution. The International Initiative is committed to play its part by intense lobbying and public relations work. Regular publishing and a balanced policy towards the public are a central part of its work.