Peace in Kurdistan Campaign writes to Theresa May for Öcalan
"The absolute isolation of Abdullah Ocalan is tied to the war that the Turkish state forces have been waging against the Kurdish people in Turkey and Syria", said the letter.
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has written an open letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May to appeal for the immediate release of Abdullah Ocalan.
In the letter Peace in Kurdistan Campaign writes: "There is no doubt that Abdullah Ocalan is one of the most significant political leaders in the history of the Kurdish people. He has inspired a movement that today attracts the loyalty of millions of people within Kurdistan, but his influence reaches across borders and continents; in 2015 a petition demanding his freedom gathered 10,328,623 signatories".
The Campaign underlines how "for the Kurdish people, Abdullah Ocalan has a status and significance equivalent to that which Nelson Mandela had for his people in South Africa. His freedom is critical to a lasting peace in Turkey, Syria and Kurdistan".
The letter continues recalling that Ocalan has not been able to meet with his lawyers since 27 July 2011. And that he last met with a family member on 12 September 2016.
"The absolute isolation of Abdullah Ocalan is tied to the war that the Turkish state forces have been waging against the Kurdish people in Turkey and Syria", adds the letter.
"To end this constant war - says the letter - a first step must be Abdullah Ocalan’s release".
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign recalls that "since the early 1990s he has proposed negotiations with the Turkish authorities. Talks he held with the Turkish government between 2013 and 2015 encouraged optimism. A joint public declaration made at the Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul on 28 February 2015 suggested that a peaceful and democratic solution was within reach. However, President Erdogan’s intervention ended the negotiations and the peace process was replaced by war and a futile attempt to impose a military solution".
Drawing attention to the human side of Ocalan's condition, the letter says: "On 4 April 2019 Ocalan will be 70 years old, he has spent more than a quarter of his life behind bars. He deserves his freedom. If Turkey had a courageous leader with foresight and political sense he or she would ensure that this happened. Such a leader would earn widespread respect if they did so. They would have chosen the path of peace instead of the descent into war".
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign underlines that "President Erdogan has demonised the Kurds and branded any manifestation of their aspirations for identity and representation as terrorism" and adds that "the dangers of dictatorship are real".
A process of peace and reconciliation with the Kurds would help start to reverse this destructive trajectory, says the letter.
"As Abdullah Ocalan approaches his 20th year locked up inside a Turkish gaol - concludes the letter - now is the time to grant him his freedom. It is long overdue".