Municipality of Florence demands freedom for Öcalan
The Florence City Council issued a decision on July 31, demanding the release of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and the recognition of Kurdish rights and autonomy.
Florence Councillors Miriam Amato, Tommaso Grassi, Donella Verdi and Giacomo Trombi submitted a proposal to the council with the demand, “Freedom for Öcalan”, and the decision was taken in the session held on July 31. It has since been published on the council’s website.
The statement mentioned the presence of a Kurdish movement led by Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan from 1978 onwards due to the lack of recognition for the rights of the Kurdish people, who have been divided in four.
The proposal which has since been accepted stressed that the movement rightfully went into armed resistance in 1984 due to their rights failing to be recognized, but have issued unilateral ceasefires and calls for peace dozens of times during the ‘90s, which were developed under the lead of Öcalan.
The document stated that Öcalan, who had come to Italy as a result of his search for a struggle that acts with the demand for freedom and democracy, had a right to asylum that should have been recognized as protected by the law.
The document also stated that Öcalan was abducted from Kenya and has been held in an “island prison” such as Imrali since, and added that despite the conditions of his imprisonment, Öcalan has not given up on democracy and peace and has been trying to lead the PKK movement in this direction.
The document stressed that especially in the last two years, there has been a severe isolation in place and Öcalan has not been allowed to meet with his family or lawyers, and referenced human rights violations in Turkey.
The document also mentioned that between July 2015 and October 2016, cities were evacuated and some 500.000 people were exiled from the region.
The burning and bombing of close to 30 residential areas was also mentioned in the document which stressed that Öcalan still spent great efforts to stop the war and install a peaceful political solution despite these.
The declaration on the City Council’s website also mentions the Turkish invasion attacks in Afrin.
Florence City Councillor Miriam Amato (Potere al Popolo Group) and Donella Verdi (Firenza Riparte Group) said the following in their statement:
“With the decision approved by the Florence City Council, we have demanded that the Government and the Foreign Ministry submit an official demand to Turkish authorities for the release of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) Leader Abdullah Öcalan. The City Council has once again declared its affinity with the Kurdish people, who have been subjected to constant violent and oppressive attacks by Turkish governments for decades, officially with this decision. The demand for the release of Abdullah Öcalan is the official declaration of solidarity with the Kurdish people, who have been subjected to oppression in Turkey and been intense participants in the war against ISIS, and the search for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish-Turkish conflict in his person. It is also an invitation to the Turkish government to reopen the dialogue with the representatives of the Kurdish people and to uphold all minority rights.
On Öcalan’s trial, the European Court of Human Rights has stated in 2003 that the Kurdish leader’s trial had been unjust, his right to legal representation had been limited and he had had to face inhumane conditions as he was imprisoned. In the last 2 years, Öcalan’s rights have been further restricted, and he has been unable to have visits by his family or lawyers.
For these reasons, our act is for the correct recognition of the Kurdish issue by all, and to fortify solidarity for its solution. This act is so all rights of the Kurdish people and their autonomy are recognized.”
PEACE PRIZE AND “HONORARY CITIZENSHIP”
Throughout Italy, Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan has been awarded various peace prizes for his political identity and his peaceful role, as well as “honorary citizenship” titles by municipalities of Palermo, Naples, Palagonia, Reggio Emilia, Riace, Martano, Pinerolo, Campobasso and Castelbottaccio.