Dr. Les Levidow, a lecturer at the Open University and a founder of the Campaign Against Criminalisation of Communities (CAMPACC), emphasised that the release of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan was key to the Kurdish issue and essential to achieving peace in the Middle East. In an interview with Medya News Erem Kansoy on Monday, Dr. Levidow also advocated for the removal of the PKK from the list of banned organisations and called for support in political solutions for the Kurdish question.
Dr. Levidow highlighted the importance of democratic autonomy and the role of Abdullah Öcalan in seeking a peaceful resolution. Stating that “only such a mass democracy can bring peace,” Dr. Levidow criticised the Turkish state’s stance and called for changes that would allow regions to establish democratic autonomy.
He also addressed the broader context of the issue, mentioning the influence of Turkey on the UK’s academia and the need for opposition to such influence. Turkey’s funding of UK academic units leads to self-censorship and promotion of the Turkish government’s perspective, Dr. Levidow said. He also called for resistance to all forms of support for Turkey from the UK, including academic, trade and military links, aligning with the demands of the ‘Boycott Turkey’ campaign.
Dr. Levidow stressed that Öcalan’s continued detention not only reinforced the power of the Turkish government but also hindered peaceful resolution of the conflict. He emphasised the importance of securing freedom for Öcalan and reducing Western collusion with Turkey, which he accused of continuing its war on the Kurds and suppressing their aspirations for democratic autonomy and peace.
In conclusion, Dr. Levidow appealed for UK and international organisations to join the demand for Öcalan’s release, asserting that it was crucial for resolving the Kurdish issue and establishing peace in the region.