Originally published: https://www.stuc.org.uk/news/congress2024/amended-motion-118/

AMENDED MOTION 118

Passed: Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Free Ocalan

‘‘That this Congress notes that the Kurdish question in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey is one of the major unresolved problems of the Middle East. The conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdish freedom movement has cost tens of thousands of lives while millions of Kurds have become refugees across the world.

‘‘Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has endured 26 years in prison after being illegally kidnapped from Kenya and handed over to Turkey. He has had no contact with the outside world, in violation of both Turkish and international law, for 3 years. His last meeting with his lawyers was in August 2019 and his last communication with anyone outside prison, a phone call with his brother, was in March 2021.

‘‘Meanwhile, Turkey, as a NATO country, continues to bomb Kurdish settlements in North and East Syria and in Iraq as well as oppressing and imprisoning Kurdish politicians and citizens at home.

‘‘Congress reiterates its view that his release is essential to starting a political dialogue to resolve the ongoing issue of Kurdish self determination. Ocalan’s principle of Democratic Confederalism, put into practice in Rojava and inspiring many, including the CUB Trade Union in Italy, offers solutions to many of the problems of the Middle East and beyond, with its methodology of women’s liberation and democratic, autonomous organising.

‘‘Congress regrets the invitation offered to Turkey’s President Erdogan to visit Scotland by the First Minister. President Erdogan’s government has continued the war on the Kurds, refused to hold peace talks, sanctioned the use of violence and legal action against political opposition and attacked independent media/journalists.

‘‘Congress demands that;

The UK Government

  • stops its arms sales to Turkey;
  • through diplomatic and NATO channels, pressurises Turkey to stop the bombing of Kurds in North and East Syria and Iraq;
  • pressurises Turkey to release Abdullah Ocalan;

The Turkish Government

  • releases Abdullah Ocalan;
  • ends its oppression and imprisonment of Kurdish political and cultural organisations and individuals; and
  • enters into negotiations to resolve its conflict with the Kurdish freedom movement.’’

Mover: Dundee Trades Union Council

Seconder: East Kilbride & South Lanarkshire Trades Union Council