20th of June at the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association in Vertigo at 5pm.


The University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) has recognised Abdullah Ocalan, the founder and leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for his fight for freedom, justice and self-determination of the Kurdish people, for which he has been imprisoned by the Turkish state since 1999.

Ocalan has redefined the historic struggle of the Kurds as one of achieving democratic autonomy and called for dialogue between the PKK and Turkey with the aim of replacing armed conflict with democracy and reconciliation, continuing his life long fight for freedom, equality between peoples and recognition for the Kurds. [1]

Our association confers on him the highest honour of Honorary Life- Membership in recognition of his contribution towards contemporary Kurdish politics and in reshaping the wider political landscape of Turkey and the Middle East. Just like in South Africa, the Turkish government could not help recognise that Ocalan is a true, respected leader of his people. Internal and external necessities forced the government into talks with him. These talks have been going on for a while now.

Previous recipients of an Honorary Lifetime Membership of USSA include Nelson Mandela when he was imprisoned in South Africa.

The award will take place on 20th June at the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association in front of an audience of students, academics, representatives of the Kurdish community in the UK and supporters of the Kurdish struggle.

From prison he has written extensively on the history of the Kurds and on the need for a democratic and peaceful solution. The success of the pro-Kurdish HDP in the recent Turkish General Election owes a great deal to the example and inspiration of Mr. Ocalan.

Accepting the award on behalf of Mr Ocalan will be Ceylan Bağrıyanık who is travelling to Glasgow for the ceremony from Diyarbakir in Kurdistan. Ms Bağrıyanık is a leader of Kongra Jinen Azad (Free Women’s Congress) in Kurdistan and a member, alongside Kurdish MPs and political representatives, of the delegation who have engaged in mediation between Mr. Ocalan and the Turkish Government in order to seek to progress the peace process which was initiated by Ocalan. His Newroz declaration in March 2013 changed the grounds for politics in Turkey, if not for the whole Middle East.

Roza Salih, USSA Vice President Diversity and Advocacy, said

“I am really pleased that USSA is recognising the struggle of Abdullah Ocalan by giving him a life honorary membership. Mr Ocalan deserves this award: he wants democracy for the Kurds and wants the Kurdish ethnicity to be recognised with people living in an equal society based on human rights.”

Joining Ms Bağrıyanık at the award ceremony will be representatives of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK).


For more information please contact:

Roza Salih, USSA Vice President Diversity and Advocacy-
ussa.vpda@strath.ac.uk 0141 567 5028



Roza Salih and Ceylan Bağrıyanık will be available for interview on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th June. Please contact Roza to make arrangements. They will be meeting with MSPs at Parliament during Ms Bağrıyanık’s visit to Scotland.


Who is Abdullah Ocalan

Abdullah Ocalan – Resources/books

Ocalan: On my thesis of the Democratic Nation Resolution 

Free Ocalan Campaign

Freedom for Ocalan