International labour union leaders from across the globe continue to protest against the absolute isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) confined at Turkey’s Imralı island prison.
Italy’s CUP Labour Union international representative Antonio Amarosso and President of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (TUC) Mike Arnott have jointly called on the Council of Europe and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to urgently address Öcalan’s situation, held in absolute incommunicado status at İmralı Prison since March 2021.
Speaking to Erem Kansoy of Medya Haber TV on Saturday, the union representatives emphasised the significance of the freedom of Öcalan and stressed the need for a strategic campaign that would spread across Europe advocating for his freedom.
“Öcalan’s ideas are not just concerning an authoritarian regime like Turkey, but they also unsettle Europe,” asserted Amarosso.
Comparing it to the campaign that led to the release of Nelson Mandela, the union spokesman argued that a similarly formidable effort was required for Öcalan’s liberation.
TUC’s Arnott said it would be a “tremendous feeling” to see Öcalan freed, and underscored that the PKK leader’s ideas are critical to the future of the Kurdish people worldwide.
The ongoing absolute isolation of Öcalan, who has been in custody since 1999, is a contentious issue both within Turkey and internationally. Human rights organisations and political entities have criticised the conditions of his imprisonment, raising concerns about the severe violation of rights.
Turkey, on the other hand, maintains that his imprisonment is in line with national security interests.