Prominent French academics, artists and politicians appealed for the freedom of the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan with a statement published in the L’Humanité newspaper in France.
As the hunger strike protest in Turkey’s prisons against the isolation of Öcalan reaches its 130th day, the “freedom for Abdullah Öcalan” campaign continues to grow internationally. New names are lending their voices in support of Öcalan, who has been incarcerated for more than 22 years in Imralı Prison, a high-security island prison in Turkey.
The last time Abdullah Öcalan was able to speak with the outside world was a five-minute phone call on 25 March 2021, which he himself refused to continue in protest, declaring that the Turkish state does not recognise his legal rights and demanding that his lawyers visit him in person on Imralı Island.
A number of French intellectuals, including philosopher Michael Löwy, French MP Jean-Luc Melenchon and the chair of the Armenian organisations in France, Ara Toranian, as well as the American academic Noam Chomsky, issued a statement in support of the campaign in the French newspaper L’Humanité.
French signatories of the declaration stressed the environment of chaos in Turkey and the Middle East and appealed to international forces to make positive steps towards peace.
Recalling the battle against ISIS led by the Kurdish people, signatories made the following comments:
“Despite the efforts of the Kurdish people to find a democratic solution, Turkish President Erdoğan caused violence and bloodshed to increase again. It is time to launch a new solution process. Therefore, it is time to end the captivity of Abdullah Öcalan, who has been kept isolated for 22 years. The ‘Freedom for Öcalan’ campaign calls on politicians and civil society activists around the world to act urgently before it’s too late.”
Signatories of the statement listed the following demands:
“End the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and set him free;
End the pressures on all opponent politicians in Turkey;
Halt all military operations in North and East Syria;
Launch a new solution process with the support of international public opinion.”