10 February 2015


Once again the Kurdish people are forced to mark a terrible moment in their history.

With each year that passes the injustice of Ocalan’s continued incarceration deepens but the determination of the Kurdish people to secure their freedom and justice only strengthens.

This year the Kurds have collected millions of signatures on a petition calling for Ocalan’s release and for an end to the ban on the PKK. These demands are most timely and their demands should be heeded by those who have it in their power to effect a change.

The world has been hugely transformed since that fateful day in 1999 when, as a result of a coordinated security operation across three continents, Abdullah Ocalan was apprehended in Kenya and taken to Turkey.

Today the ugly phenomenon of ISIS now poses a ruthless and murderous threat to the peoples of the Middle East and the world.

The Kurds have demonstrated their commitment to peace and democratic principles not least by their formidable resistance to ISIS over the past few months in the town of Kobane in Rojava.

For years Ocalan was held in total isolation as allegedly Turkey’s most dangerous prisoner and sole inmate on Imrali Island.

The peace process would hardly have existed without Ocalan and it is largely thanks to his efforts that it has come so come so far having latterly edged forward with the onset of negotiations although it remains at the stage of “talks about talks”.

Despite his imprisonment Ocalan has stood firm in the course that he embarked upon for the last 20 years which is to achieve a historic reconciliation between the Turkish state and the Kurds by bringing about an enduring peace.

As Peace in Kurdistan, it is our firm belief that Abdullah Ocalan should be freed from captivity for the simple but important reason that the Kurdish people deserve justice and for the practical reason that the peace process needs to be given a chance to succeed.

Ocalan’s full participation in the negotiations as an equal partner and leader of the Kurdish team is absolutely essential to achieving the breakthrough for which everyone genuinely longs and most certainly deserves.

Therefore to end the suffering and call a halt once and for all to the bloody conflict that has needlessly claimed so many lives, it is necessary to give Abdullah Ocalan his freedom. Turkey’s leaders must come around to conceding this crucial and ultimately inevitable proposition.


Peace in Kurdistan Campaign


Read a solidarity message sent to the press conference by our patrons