International Peace Delegation meets CPT officials on Öcalan's isolation

The International Peace Delegation headed by Mandela’s lawyer Essa Moosa that wanted to visit İmralı on February 15 against the isolation of Öcalan but was obstructed by the Turkish state is having meetings in Strasbourg with CTP and EC.

Conditions of isolation on Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan have been in place for the last 17 years. Despite all peaceful efforts of Öcalan, the Turkish state continues and intensifies the isolation. As the isolation of the Kurdish leader continues, civilian killings have started in Northern Kurdistan. Despite all the insistence from Kurds, European institutions keep their silence.

An international delegation headed by Nelson Mandela’s lawyer Essa Moosa from the International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative wanted to visit İmralı on February 15 but was obstructed by the Turkish state. The delegation is now having meetings with the CPT, PACE and political groups in Strasbourg.

Following a meeting with CPT officials, the delegation later met with the Kurdish community in Strasbourg and visited the “Freedom for Öcalan Vigil” that has continued for 4 years.

Along with Moosa, the following are attending the meetings in Strasbourg for ending the isolation of Öcalan:

Janet Biehl, writer from the US, Federico Venturini, academic in Leeds University in the UK, Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley, academic from Cambridge University, Germany Federal Assembly parliamentarian Andrej Hunko, Eirik Eiglad, author and translator from Norway’s New Compass Publishing and Joe Ryan, UK Parliament Justice and Peace Commission Chairman.The committee also involves several names from the science, arts and politics communities like Prof. Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Prof. David Graeber and John Holloway.

Judge Essa Moosa of the High Court of South Africa who is heading the delegation made a statement to the press regarding the talks they had with Strasbourg officials yesterday, which was participated by Axel E. Fischer, Kristen M. Jensen, Uwe Müller, Bijana Prilja and Jordi Xulca from their side.

Moosa underlined that; "We came here for peace but Davutoğlu came for war. As the International Peace Initiative, we visited Turkey to mediate in order for Turkey's resumption of peace talks with the PKK and Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan. We were denied a meeting with Öcalan. Yet, all the societal circles we talked to during our visit called for the resumption of the peace process."

Recalling that Öcalan is denied meetings with his lawyers for 4 years and with his family for 16 months, Moosa described this situation as a violation of human rights and said they wanted to talk to the officials from the CPT (Committee for the Prevention of Torture) and the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) to have them take initiative on the matter.

Moosa said they asked the CPT officials why they didn't follow the proposal they had submitted to Turkey last year that Öcalan must meet his lawyers, and why they didn't place sanctions on the Turkish state for not fulfilling this proposal.

Moosa said they voiced two demands to CPT and PACE officials during their talks ongoing for 2 days; to convince Turkey to return to peace talks and judge Turkey for the crimes committed against Öcalan. He said their talks were met positively, adding that they believed their initiative would end up in favorable outcomes.


Speaking after, EUTCC chair Karina Westrheim said the removal of the PKK from the international list of terrorist organizations was one of the main subjects discussed during their meetings with officials. Stressing that PKK must be removed from the terror list in order for the achievement of peace, Westrheim said they also highlighted Europe's silence in this regard, noting that many parties and organizations in Europe were of the same opinion with the international peace delegation, but evaded responsibility when it comes to take a concrete step in practice.


Fr Joe Ryan from the Westminster Justice & Peace Commission called attention to the petition for Öcalan's freedom, as part of which over 10 million signatures have been collected so far. He pointed out that; "Öcalan represents a folk and he is a major actor to stop the escalating conflict. The CPT and PACE must take urgent action before the conflict escalates further."


In line with the international delegation, Öcalan's lawyers İbrahim Bilmez and Mahmut Şakar, as well as members of the "Freedom for Öcalan Initiative" are also having talks at the CPT and PACE regarding the ongoing isolation of the Kurdish leader.


As many as 40 activists from across Europe are also joining the Freedom for Öcalan vigil outside the Council of Europe building which is ongoing since June 2012 to ask the European Council, European Parliament, European Union countries and western countries like the USA to "stop their political, military and economic support to Turkey, for the freedom of the Kurdish Leader Mr Abdullah Öcalan and for the recognition of the Kurdish peoples' status in all parts of Kurdistan".

The International Peace Delegation and activists will resume their talks and activities today.