The ‘Freedom Ship’ today left Athens to reach Naples after a three-night cruise. Among the passengers on the ship are international figures and activists from several countries around the world who support freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, the founder and leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Öcalan has been jailed in Imralı Prison in Turkey since 1999.
The PKK, which has been considered a ‘terrorist organisation’ by Turkey, has been leading an armed struggle for the expanded rights of the Kurdish people living in Turkey for over four decades.
Alongside the appeals of the international figures and activists on the cruise, international supporters of the Freedom for Öcalan campaign aim to raise awareness over Abdullah Öcalan’s detention conditions and his role and capacity to achieve a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish question in Turkey which millions of Kurds, living in the country, have been demanding instead of the violence and repression that the Turkish government has been resorting to.
Swiss physician Dr. Beppe Savary-Borioli is one of the delegates on board the Freedom Ship. Dr. Savary-Borioli is the Medical Director and Spiritus Rector of the ‘Centro Sociale Onsernonese’ nursing home and he is also the Medical Director of the SALVA (Ambulance Service Association for Locarno and Surrounding Valleys) association in Locarno, Switzerland.
“I am here to support the struggle of the Kurdish people, to highlight the deepening isolation that has been imposed on leader Öcalan and to raise the agenda to the international public,” he said, sharing his views with Medya Haber TV ahead of his departure on the Freedom Ship.
“There are two main motives that drove me to participate in this action,” he further explained. The first motive, he said, concerns the “isolation imposed on leader Öcalan. It is the isolation imposed on Kurdish people; the isolation deployed to prevent the struggle of the Kurdish people from succeeding.”
“I believe,” he stated, that “Turkey takes revenge on the people through the isolation of Öcalan.” He spoke of second motive: “Due to the recent developments in Rojava, the new political entity here and the status achieved by the people of Rojava, there is an intense isolation imposed on leader Öcalan.”
The Swiss physician criticised European governments for remaining silent on the detention conditions of Öcalan and on the repression of the Kurds in Turkey. “It looks as if Erdoğan has taken the Europeans ‘hostage’ as he follows a policy based on threatening Europe with a ‘flood’ of Syrian refugees, the numbers of which have reached millions in Turkey now,” he said.
Unfortunately, this policy works in silencing European states regarding the abuses of human rights in Turkey, observed Dr. Savary-Borioli: “Relations between Europe and Turkey are shaped around trade relations. So, Europe approaches the ‘problem’ taking into account its economic benefits.”
“We are here today, we take part in these actions to support the struggle of the Kurdish people as we fully acknowledge these facts about our governments,” he said.
“We are trying to change the attitude of the European public. We see it as our mission to raise awareness among European citizens and to appeal to them to take a stance against their own governments.”