Protests were held in several European cities over the weekend against the continuing incommunicado detention of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been two-and-a-half years to date. The demonstrations were part of the ongoing international campaign “Freedom for Öcalan, a Political Solution for Kurdistan”, launched on 10 October.
🔴Demonstrators across Europe have again called for freedom for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish conflict in Turkey.#FreeOcalan4PoliticalSolution | #PoliticalPrisoners
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) November 12, 2023
Kurdish youth movements led demonstrations in Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Austria, attracting thousands of participants. The demonstrators called for Öcalan’s release.
Defending Öcalan’s right to meet with his lawyers and family and ultimately securing his release are the main objectives of the campaign. According to the campaigners this will allow him to contribute to a just and democratic political solution to Turkey’s long-running Kurdish conflict.
As part of the global initiative, marches were held in cities including Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bremen, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart in Germany, Lausanne and Zurich in Switzerland, Pais, Draguignan and Marseille in France, Turin in Italy and Vienna in Austria.
Öcalan, as the founder of the PKK, is recognised as a key figure in the Kurdish liberation movement. He has been held in solitary confinement in Turkey’s İmralı Island Prison since 1999. The severity of his isolation has escalated in recent years, raising international concerns for his welfare.
Öcalan has had no contact with the outside world for over 31 months. His last meeting with lawyers was in August 2019, and his last communication with anyone outside the prison walls, a brief phone call with his brother, dates back to March 2021.