'Freedom Ship' will sail from Greece to Italy today

The 'Freedom Ship' action group began its program on Monday with a series of meetings with parties and non-governmental organizations in Athens. The delegation will leave Athens for Naples today.

As part of the Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Initiative's "The time has come-Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, Peace in Kurdistan" campaign, a Freedom Ship, carrying academics, politicians, artists, writers, peace advocates, representatives of the women's movement and activists from Germany, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Greece, Italy and England, departed from Lavrio in Athens today to reach Naples.

The ship will be welcomed in Italy on 12 November, the date when Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan arrived from Greece to Italy 23 years ago.

The Freedom Ship activists arrived in Greece and on Monday started their program.

The group held meetings at the headquarters of the main opposition party Syriza (Radical Left Coalition), and met with LAE (People's Union) and NAR (New Left Stream) parties.

During the meetings, attention was paid to the role of Greece in the international conspiracy, and demanded concrete steps to be taken to end the isolation on Öcalan and act for his freedom.

Italian philosopher and writer Salvatore Malinconico, KCDK-E co-chair Yüksel Koç, former deputy Nursel Aydoğan and former mayor of Cizre, Leyla İmret, met with LAE.

Malinconico, who is also a member of the Italy Freedom for Öcalan Committee, said: "The freedom of Abdullah Öcalan can solve the decades-old problems of the peoples of the region."

Stating that they are also working to remove the PKK from the "terrorist organizations list", Malinconico said: "We expect support from the LAE on this issue."

Welcoming the delegation, LAE Secretary and former Minister of Environment Dimitrsi Stratoulis said: “We want to work for the Kurdish issue and the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan. It is an honour to host such an action.”

The delegation, which had bilateral talks throughout the day, also met with the non-governmental organizations in the city.

Meetings were also held with Kurtovik Giana, Gianopulos Nikos, Rolhoizer Axim and Fares Antonis from the Political and Social Rights Network DIKTIO.

Lawyer Stefano Mannironi spoke about Abdullah Öcalan's democratic confederal paradigm.

HDP Honorary President Ertuğrul Kürkçü drew attention to the isolation and the Turkish state's genocidal attacks against Kurds and the increasing chemical attacks on guerrillas.

Gianopulos Nikos from DIKTIO stated that it is unacceptable to keep Öcalan in prison and in severe isolation conditions and said: "The Greek people stand by the Kurdish people."

Meeting with Syriza

Another meeting during the day was with the main opposition party SYRIZA (Radical Left Coalition).

HDP Honorary President Erdoğan Kürkçü, HDP former term deputy Besime Konca, HDP former mayor of Cizre Leyla Imret and Kurdish politician Eyüp Doru held a meeting at Syriza headquarters. Syriza Refugee Commission chair Manolis Saris, Syriza Rights Violations and Human Rights representative, Korina Repousi, who was also one of Öcalan's first lawyers, Panos Lambrou, a member of the Syriza Headquarters, and Anneta Kavadia, a member of the Syriza European Parliament, were present.

Ertuğrul Kürkçü spoke about the isolation of Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan and the anti-democratic environment that developed with isolation.

Kürkçü pointed out that Imralı is the first place where all anti-democratic practices in Turkey are implemented and emphasized that a democratic Turkey can only be possible with the removal of isolation.

Besime Konca explained in detail the extent of AKP-MHP fascism in Turkey and said that the Turkish state has become a threat to neighbouring countries as well. Konca pointed out that approximately 6,000 HDP people were imprisoned and pointed out that the current government has arrested everyone opposing the government, especially the Kurds.

Referring to the Imralı torture system, Konca called on Syriza to step in against the policies of the Greek state, which had a role in the international conspiracy.

Speaking at the meeting, Anneta Kavadia said that they attach importance to the visit and called on Turkey to end the isolation and ensure Öcalan's freedom.

Panos Lambrou said that Syriza is a sister party of the HDP and is the home of the Kurds and emphasized that their stance on ending the concept of war against the Kurdish people is clear, and that a democratic Turkey will only be possible if the rights of the Kurds are recognized.

The Time has Come

During the day, a panel titled "The Time Has Come - Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, Peace in Kurdistan" was held. It was attended by Ibrahim Bilmez, one of the lawyers from the Asrın Law Office.

Lawyer Bilmez spoke about the history of the international conspiracy against the Kurdish people in the person of Öcalan and talked about the absolute isolation imposed on him.

Pointing out that the Turkish state has turned Imralı into a torture center, Bilmez said that Öcalan has been waging a historical resistance that thwarted the international conspiracy. Bilmez said that the duty of the peoples is to ensure Öcalan's freedom.

The Freedom Ship will leave from Lavrio port today and sail towards Italy.