The Kurdish community in Europe has held a series of marches and events as part of the campaign “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, Political Solution to the Kurdish Question”, calling for the release of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader, imprisoned in Turkey’s Imrali Island Prison, and advocating for a solution to the Kurdish issue.
The campaign began in Mannheim, Germany with a march drawing hundreds of participants. The energy and commitment of the young Kurds was palpable as they converged at the Democratic Kurdish Community Centre in Mannheim, having travelled from various European cities. Their message was clear: Öcalan’s freedom is central to resolving the Kurdish issue. “We see the solution to all problems in Öcalan’s freedom,” a participant stated, emphasising the influential role of the ideas of the PKK leader.
Support for the Mannheim march came from Kurdish and international youth organisations, indicating widespread support for the cause. The march is set to culminate in a significant rally in Cologne on 17 February, with participants from across Europe joining to voice their protest against what they call an international conspiracy against Öcalan, and to demand his liberation.
In Stuttgart, Germany, the Meryem Women’s Initiative spearheaded the campaign “100,000 Postcards to Imrali” for Öcalan, during which participants penned and dispatched postcards in his support. The women at the event stressed the sentiment that “The freedom of our leader [Öcalan] is the freedom of women and the people,” reinforcing their message with the rallying cry “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî” (Woman, Life, Freedom).
The Kurdish Community Council launched the “100,000 Postcards to Imrali” event in Frankfurt as part of the “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, Political Solution to the Kurdish Question” campaign, with a stall at Hauptwache Zeil.
A stall was also established in Lausanne, Switzerland aiming to familiarise the public with Öcalan’s vision for a democratic and ecological society with an emphasis on women’s liberation. Set up weekly in Rue St.Laurent, the stall serves as a platform to introduce Öcalan’s paradigm. The organisers also asked people to participate in the coming freedom march led by internationalists in Basel on Sunday and the central march and rally in Cologne in Germany on 17 February.
Meanwhile, despite challenging weather conditions in the south of France, Kurdish activists in Marseille continued the second day of their march with unwavering resolve. The march, which began in Marignane, is set to conclude in Marseille, where a rally is to be held outside the representative office of the European Parliament.
In Paris, the Kurdish community marked day 20 of their long march in support of Öcalan’s freedom, distributing thousands of leaflets and informing local businesses and institutions about his situation. The marchers also collected postcards addressed to Öcalan, symbolising their support and calling for his freedom.