Press release on behalf of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan and Peace in Kurdistan

Scotland’s ruling party, and the third largest party by membership in the UK, has released a statement that calls for an end to the illegal isolation of Abdullah Ocalan and for a reinstatement of peace talks with him as representative of the KurdsIt urges the UK government to protest the unacceptable treatment of the HDP,  

and emphasises the SNP’s long-standing advocacy for Kurdish rights.

(Foreign affairs are not devolved, but the SNP currently has 47 out of 59 Scottish MPs in Westminster, as well as running a minority government in Edinburgh.)

The full statement is below.

  • The SNP recognises the urgent necessity for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. 
    • The SNP has been a long-standing advocate for Kurdish rights in Turkey as well as in Iraq and Syria, and has commended the Kurdish people for their fight against extremism and their progressive leadership on social issues (such as women’s rights) in the Middle East.   
  • With regards to your statement that the Biden administration in the US is working to interfere and take sides in domestic Turkish politics, the SNP is not in the place to comment but we do acknowledge that Turkey may be a NATO ally and an important friend of the United Kingdom, but that does not prevent us from raising important human rights and security concerns. 
  • We call on the Government to make it absolutely clear to President Erdogan that the suppression of political parties and the jailing of elected leaders are totally unacceptable in any country that wants to be seen as an advanced modern democracy. 
  • We urge the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to call on the Turkish Government to immediately end the isolation enforced on Abdullah Ocalan (the Kurdish leader and philosopher currently imprisoned in isolation in appalling conditions and without legal representation by Turkey). Keeping Mr Ocalan in a state of aggravated solitary confinement for over 20 years is an inhuman punishment in breach of both domestic laws and international conventions to which Turkey is a signatory.  
    • SNP colleagues in Westminster have raised Mr Ocalan’s case in the Chamber of the House of Commons and have sponsored and signed Early Day Motions to this effect 
  • We urge the FCDO reinstate the peace talks with Abdullah Ocalan as the representative of the Kurds  
  • In the past SNP MPs have signed letters to the FCDO, written by the “Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question”, in which we called for the UK to live up to its obligations and commitments to human rights throughout the world and stand up for decency in international relations.  

For more about the Freedom for Ocalan Campaign in the UK see  The campaign is being taken up by organisations in growing numbers of countries, including by the Congress of South African Trade Unions who have led a call to the United Nations.

For any further information on the SNP statement please contact Roza Salih, assistant to Chris Stephens MP,

Sarah Glynn

for Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

+44 7803 052239