Political parties, organizations and NGOs to march to Gemlik in protest at the isolation of Öcalan

In 1998, Turkey, assisted by NATO, threatened Syria with war, forcing Abdullah Öcalan to leave the country on 9 October the same year. That day, the international conspiracy began.

When Abdullah Öcalan went to Rojava in 1979, the contents of the Kurdish liberation movement were still largely unknown. With the Kurdish leader’s arrival in Syria, a new era began in the region. After crossing the border secretly, Öcalan and his comrades-in-arms stayed in a village near Kobanê for almost two months. Over time, the Apoists were talked about beyond Kobanê in all of Rojava. This continued until 1983, when Öcalan eventually went to the Bekaa Plain in Lebanon, which was used by Palestinians. The PKK camp in the Bekaa Plain became a magical attraction. From almost all families in Rojava, at least one member went to Lebanon to meet Abdullah Öcalan. After the PKK started its armed struggle on 15 August 1984, the Apoist ideology spread not only among the Kurds, but also among the Arab and other population groups. As its influence grew, the hegemonic powers felt threatened and intervened with the international conspiracy that led to Öcalan's forced departure from Syria on 9 October 1998 and, after a months-long odyssey across several continents, to his deportation from Kenya to Turkey on 15 February 1999. Since then, Öcalan has been held as a political hostage on the prison island of Imrali, most of the time under conditions of total isolation. There has been no news from the Kurdish leader for the past 31 months.

A press conference was held in Istanbul to mark the upcoming anniversary of the beginning of the international conspiracy. The press conference was attended by the People's Democratic Congress (HDK), the Greens and Left Future Party (Green Left Party), People's Democratic Party (HDP), Free Women's Movement (TJA), Democratic Regions Party (DBP), Peace Mothers Assembly, as well as representatives of many non-governmental organizations and political parties.

The press statement was read out by the HDK Co-Spokesperson and Green Left Party MP for Istanbul, Cengiz Çiçek, who stated that the isolation of Öcalan, a grave crime against humanity, took on a new dimension with the strict incommunicado imposed on him for the past 31 months. Çiçek stated the following:

“The aggravated isolation, which could also be defined as a suspension of law on Imrali, raises concerns among the Kurdish people and other peoples living in the Middle East. The continuation of the state of incommunicado leads to great social anger. The inhumane isolation that Mr. Öcalan has long been subjected to goes against not only the international conventions that Turkey is a party to, but also against the principles of universal law and the Constitution. The isolation of Öcalan is executed contrary to laws, morals and humanity and causes the Kurdish question, the greatest problem of Turkey, and most fundamental issues in the Middle East to remain unresolved.

Those treating the peoples and the oppressed with hostility are obvious. They insist on enmity against people by aggravating the isolation on Imrali. We will persistently keep saying that those who maintain the policy of isolation are those who condemn this country to gangs, drug mafias, enmity against migrants and refugees and femicides. For this reason, the isolation on Imrali also provides one of the most basic grounds for any form of unlawfulness, exploitation, inequality and injustice.

It is not possible for the Kurdish people to become free and attain a status without Mr. Öcalan’s freedom. Nor is it possible to eliminate the economic, political, cultural and religious exploitation experienced by the peoples of Turkey. The absolute isolation on Imrali and the related deadlock in the Kurdish issue are a result of the AKP-MHP government’s desire to cow society into submission unconditionally. For this very reason, the aggravation of isolation conduces toward the further usurpation of Turkey’s peoples’ right to democracy. This is why the struggle against isolation is also a struggle for freedom for the Kurdish people and democracy for the peoples of Turkey.

In line with the mentioned principles, Mr. Öcalan is the one person to achieve, negotiate and enable a realist and lasting solution to the Kurdish question. He proved this truth with his experiences from the last two processes of talks for a solution. The darkness of death gives way to the light of life every time Mr. Öcalan’s voice reaches society. Frustrating the policies of war and exploitation with his perspective of a democratic solution, Mr. Öcalan stands against the monopoly capital and war barons that feed on bloodshed, suffering, tears. He stands with the peoples, the faiths and the oppressed and their will for a common, equal and free living. He is a companion of this will. With this commitment and determination, we will march to Gemlik from four points and regions to break the Imrali isolation. We will share the details of this planning with public opinion later on.”

The list of signatories is as follows:

Kurdish Institute

Marmara Assistance and Solidarity Association with the Families of Detainees and Convicts (MATUHAY-DER)

Anatolian Association for Assistance and Solidarity with the Families Who Have Lost Their Relatives (ANYAKAY-DER)

Democratic Regions Party (DBP)

Free Women's Movement (TJA)

Peace Mothers Assembly

Mesopotamia Cultural Center (MKM)

Immigration Monitoring Association (GÖÇİZ-DER)

Asrın Law Office

Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD)

Greens and Left Future Party (Green Left Party)

People's Democratic Party (HDP)

People's Democratic Congress (HDK)

The list of participants is as follows:

Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP)

Labour Movement Party (EHP)


Socialist Solidarity Platform (SODAP)

Federation of Socialist Assemblies (SMF)

Revolutionary Party

The Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP).