Freedom March to Gemlik: "Let's solve the Kurdish question together"

HEDEP Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları called for contact with Abdullah Öcalan and appealed to all democratic forces to solve the Kurdish question together.

Since Saturday, people from 122 places in Turkey have made their way to Gemlik. The district in the province of Bursa is the starting point for boat traffic to the prison island of Imrali in the Sea of Marmara, where Abdullah Öcalan and his fellow prisoners Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysi Aktaş are being held. The "Freedom March to Gemlik" was called by the HEDEP (Peoples’ Party for Equality and Democracy), DBP (Democratic Regions Party), DTK (Democratic Society Congress), TJA (Free Women’s Movement), Peace Mothers Assembly, as well as many non-governmental organizations such as MATUHAY-DER (Marmara Assistance and Solidarity Association with the Families of Detainees and Convicts), ANYAKAY-DER (Anatolian Association for Assistance and Solidarity with the Families Who Have Lost Their Relatives). They are calling for the release of Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question.

Hundreds of buses and cars were stopped by Turkish police on their way to Gemlik. A large group, including members of parliament from HEDEP, was stopped twenty kilometres from Gemlik. The co-chair of HEDEP, Tülay Hatimoğulları, made a statement there and repeated the demand for access to the Imrali prisoners.

Tülay Hatimoğulları pointed out that for days, demonstrations and events have been calling for Abdullah Öcalan's isolation to be lifted in order to create the conditions for a dialogue on a solution to the Kurdish question. The police have been on high alert since yesterday and have stopped the rally to Gemlik everywhere. "Yesterday, many of our friends were detained, attacked and physically assaulted. Today, people from the Aegean region and Izmir province were stopped and detained. There were similar obstructions in Istanbul. Right now, people from all over Turkey want to come here in droves. We are facing serious pressure and obstructions from the law enforcement authorities," said the HEDEP co-chair.

Tülay Hatimoğulları emphasised that a large part of the population is in favour of resolving the Kurdish question as quickly as possible by peaceful and democratic means and continued: "There is no way for the people of Turkey to live in a democratic environment without resolving the Kurdish question. In order to end the wars and conflicts in the Middle East, the Kurdish question must be resolved as soon as possible. The Kurdish people in Rojava must be given a status and regain their rights. As long as the Kurdish issue in Turkey is not solved with peaceful and democratic methods, as long as the isolation on Imrali continues and Mr Öcalan is not recognised as an interlocutor, we and all the peoples of Turkey will be victims of conflict, war and divisive politics for a long time."

Tülay Hatimoğulları appealed to all democratic forces in Turkey and internationally to stand up for justice, law and fairness: "Let us work together to help solve this problem and ensure the freedom of Mr Öcalan.”