The UK based Trade Union Campaign for Abdullah Ocalan was joined by members of the Kurdish community and over 40 trade unions, local governments, NGOs and others for a press conference in front of the European Parliament demanding international action on the case of jailed Kurdish political leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Turkish authorities have prevented Ocalan from communicating with the outside world for over two years. For the millions of Kurds who view him as their political representative, as well as their international allies, this situation has raised serious fears for his health and safety.
“We are here to say, yet again, that Ocalan’s treatment and isolation breaks international law on human rights. No-one should be treated in this way. We are here to remind European politicians, 100 years after the Treaty of Lausanne divided the Kurds among hostile nation states, that democracy and freedom in Turkey and the Middle East are not possible without a peaceful solution to the Kurdish Question, and that Ocalan holds the key to that solution,” conference moderator Sarah Glynn said to introduce the event.
Speakers representing trade unions, including Unite in the UK, local governments, and social movements across Europe called on Turkish authorities to abide by domestic and international law and allow Ocalan to meet with his lawyers and relatives; on European institutions to provide more information about his case and hold Turkey accountable for its failures to abide by these shared legal standards; and on the international community to work towards Ocalan’s release under conditions that allow him to play a role in negotiations to find a lasting, just, and democratic political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.