Kurds and their supporters have demanded urgent information on imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan’s health and safety, in a series of demonstrations held across European cities on Saturday.
The demonstrators criticised the silence of European institutions in the face of Turkey’s continued isolation of Öcalan. Gatherings took place in France, Germany, and Switzerland echoing a statement issued by the Kurdistan Democratic Communities Congress – Europe (KCDK-E).
The KCDK-E called on the Kurdish community and all those concerned about the life and well-being of the PKK leader to alert and mobilise international organisations, particularly the Council of Europe and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).
Demonstrators in Reutlingen, Germany, took part in a march where they distributed leaflets shedding light on the conditions of Öcalan’s isolation in İmralı Prison.
Activists in the suburb of Villiers Le Bel near the French capital Paris declared, “There is no longer any limit to our hatred and our anger,” and vowed to escalate their struggle wherever possible. Activists in Corbeil, another Parisian suburb, called for increased mobilisation throughout Europe.
Meanwhile, in Biel, Switzerland, protesters demanded freedom for Öcalan along with all political prisoners in Turkey. They also drew attention to Turkey’s military aggression against Kurdish-led northern Syria.
Öcalan, who has been held in solitary confinement on İmralı Island since his arrest in 1999, has been completely cut off from the outside world since a disrupted phone call on 25 March 2021. Despite his lawyers’ persistent twice-weekly applications for visiting rights, the pleas have gone unanswered. Öcalan’s last meeting with his legal representatives took place on 7 August 2019.