Workshop by Yazidi and Arab women in Shengal calls for “Freedom for Öcalan”

The workshop organised by Yazidi and Arab women for freedom for Abdullah Öcalan started in Shengal. "We call on Yazidi and Iraqi women to strengthen their unity until they achieve their freedom and the freedom of Leader Öcalan," said the opening speech.

The Yazidi Women's Freedom Movement (TAJÊ) and the Shengal Arab Women's Assembly are organising a workshop with the participation of 160 Yazidi and Arab women in Shengal (Sinjar) on the occasion of 15 February, the anniversary of the international conspiracy against Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan. The founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was abducted from Kenya on 15 February 1999 with the cooperation of international secret services. This act of piracy, contrary to international law, had begun with Öcalan's forced departure from Syria on 9 October 1998. The Kurdish community is taking the upcoming anniversary of his abduction as an opportunity to demand the release of the 74-year-old leader and a political solution to the Kurdish question.

The workshop started with a minute of silence for the women's liberation struggle and all martyrs of the 74 genocides perpetrated against the Yazidi community throughout their history.

Members of the Yazidi Young Women's Union and fighters of the Shengal Women’s Units (YJŞ) are also attending the workshop under the slogan 'We will ensure the physical freedom of Leader Öcalan with Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’.

The hall where the workshop is taking place is covered with posters of Abdullah Öcalan and banners reading 'Freedom for Leader Öcalan’, 'Autonomy for Shengal’ and 'Enough of fascism and isolation’.

The workshop is also attended by a number of Iraqi female activists and members of civil society organisations, including Shahrazat Qasim Xelef from the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, journalist Iman Qasim from Misan, Hamayi Al-Ziyadi, President of Civil Organisations in Nasiriyah, activist Nur Shemari, activist Leyla Sharifi and Bidur Jarah.

The opening speech was made by TAJÊ Spokesperson Riham Hico, who said the following:

"We know that the forces that organised the international conspiracy, which has left 25 years behind, are the same forces that deepen the problems in the Middle East. It is well known that these forces profit from conflicts between peoples, racism, sexism and the plunder of land. That is why they are constantly deepening the war in the region.

They are subjecting society to genocide in the person of Leader Apo (Abdullah Öcalan) and they do not allow the problems in the Middle East to be solved. Leader Apo is the key to solving the problems in the Middle East and Kurdistan. The solutions offered by Leader Apo do not allow the realisation of their goals in the region. The paradigm of democratic nation and women's freedom is the love for peoples and nations. It is precisely for these reasons that they aimed to eliminate Leader Öcalan through the conspiracy.

During the 25 years since the conspiracy, an inconceivable system of torture has been implemented against Öcalan. The Turkish state resorts to all dirty methods to aggravate the isolation imposed on him. All international states, and the CPT, are responsible for any situation that may occur in İmralı. States that remain silent in the face of this inhuman torture are complicit in the crimes committed.

As TAJÊ, we think it is very meaningful to come together under the idea of a democratic nation in this environment of conflict. It is thanks to Leader Apo that we have gathered here today as all the components in Iraq. It is thanks to Leader Apo that we have become organised and able to govern and defend ourselves. We will continue our struggle until Leader Öcalan is freed. We call on Yazidi and Iraqi women to strengthen their unity, increase their joint struggle and wage an organised struggle against the conspirators until they themselves and Leader Apo are free."

The workshop moderated by TAJÊ Diplomacy Committee Member Suham Şengali will continue until the evening.

Following a screening about Öcalan’s evaluation of the international conspiracy and its reasons, four seminars will be organized during the day. Lava Shengali on behalf of TAJÊ, Fatma Mustafa on behalf of the Arab Women's Assembly, Aven Tekoşer on behalf of YJŞ, Avesta Êzidî on behalf of the Yazidi Young Women's Union and Bidur Cerah on behalf of Iraqi guests will make speeches.

After the seminars, the opinions and suggestions highlighted in the workshop will be discussed, and then the final declaration will be announced.