Italian municipalities reject Turkish pressure over Öcalan

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its expectation of cooperation against the PKK "from the Italian authorities.

Numerous Italian civil society organizations and municipalities have written letters to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to reject the Turkish regime's pressures over honorary citisenship to Abdullah Öcalan.

In the letter bearing the signatures of 16 organizations, it was reminded that Öcalan has been held captive in a single cell in Imralı for 21 years. The municipalities that awarded the honorary citizenship have been subjected to the pressure by the Turkish state.

"We reject Turkey's pressure on the Italian municipalities," - said the letter, after pressures received by Castelbottaccio, Castel del Giudice, Tufara and Fossalto municipalities which awarded the honorary citizenship to Öcalan.

The letter said that "awarding honorary citizenship to Mr. Öcalan meant to contribute to peace, and enable him to resume negotiations and reaching a solution within the framework of political and freedom of expression".

The letter reminded of all the opponents filling Turkish jails and added: "We expect the Italian government to urge Turkey to respect the right to speak in one's mother tongue as well as to respect human rights of all prisoners including Öcalan. We also expect the government to urge Turkey to respect the Italian municipalities' decision and respect for the Italian constutution."

On 4 March Fossalto muncipality in the province of Campobasso (Molise region) awarded honorary citizenship to Öcalan. Following this decision, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its expectation of cooperation against the PKK "from the Italian authorities against this initiative and similar initiatives that may occur thereafter" in a statement issued on 6 March.

Tufara, Campobasso, Castelbottaccio, Palermo, Napoli, Palagonia, Reggio Emilia, Riace, Martano, Pinerolo have also in the past awarded Öcalan honorary citizenship.

The letter was signed by the following municipalities and organisations:

Il Bene Comune – mensile culturale

Associazione Padre Giuseppe Tedeschi

Libera Molise

ANPI Molise

UDS Campobasso

Casa del Popolo di Campobasso

Casa del Popolo di Termoli

La Fonte – rivista mensile

Cita in visibili Termoli

Legambiente Molise

Ass: Solidarietà senza confini

Associazione primo marzo

Comune di Castelbottaccio

Comune di Castel del Giudice

Comune di Tufara

Comune di Fossalto