The “Great Freedom March”, aimed at addressing the Kurdish issue and seeking the physical freedom of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, entered its second day, moving through the Kurdish-majority regions of Turkey.
Participants, including politicians and representatives from democratic mass organisations, journeyed from Van (Wan) to Hakkari’s (Colemêrg) Şemdinli (Şemzînan) district, and were welcomed with slogans advocating for resistance in prisons. The marchers, adorned with vests reading “Freedom March”, gathered with locals in city centres, promoting peace and democracy.
The march received a warm reception in Şemdinli, where pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) members and citizens joined in support, echoing calls for an end to isolation and immediate peace.
Zeki İrmez, a DEM Party MP from Şırnak (Şirnex), emphasised the march as a peace and democracy initiative, underlining the ongoing isolation imposed on Öcalan for 35 months. He stressed the need to break this isolation for peace prospects in Turkey. Emine Kaya, co-chair of the Med Detainee and Convict Families Federation (MED TUHAD-FED), also highlighted the march’s goal for Öcalan’s freedom, deeming it essential for achieving peace.
The march then proceeded to Yüksekova (Gever), continuing the call for opening İmralı’s doors, referencing the island prison where Öcalan is held. The marchers were greeted by crowds in Yüksekova, reinforcing the demand for an end to Öcalan’s isolation and a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue.
In Kars (Qers), Digor (Dîgor), the procession paid tribute to the victims of the 1993 massacre, laying carnations at the site where 17 individuals were killed by Turkish security forces. DEM Party MP Newroz Uysal reflected on the history of massacres in the Republic’s past, pledging to continue the struggle for life against such atrocities.