Federico Venturini, Research Associate at the University of Udine, Italy, emphasised the critical nature of the role Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has to play in resolving the Kurdish issue and achieving peace in the Middle East, in an interview with Medya News’ Erem Aksoy on Friday.
Venturini highlighted Öcalan’s vision of transcending nation-states to foster communal harmony and sustainable economies, which he believes could serve as a model not only for the Kurdish regions but also for the broader Middle East, including conflict zones like Israel-Palestine.
He noted that the Kurdish plight is overshadowed by other global conflicts, despite the global campaign that has been ongoing since 10 October for freedom for Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question. He asserted that Öcalan’s release is essential for peace talks, given his influential role and symbolic status within the Kurdish community and beyond.
The academic also criticised the Turkish government for having terminated peace negotiations held in 2013-2015, which had recognised the Kurdish identity and sought to address grievances. He called this halt in the talks a missed opportunity for progress. Furthermore, Venturini expressed concern over the strict isolation of Öcalan, calling it a violation of human rights, stating that it is tantamount to torture and urging European and international bodies to intervene.
Venturini praised the democratic confederalism model in Rojava, northern Syria, as a testament to Öcalan’s viable roadmap for peaceful coexistence and ecological sustainability. He urged the global community to recognise and support the Kurdish struggle for rights and autonomy, emphasising the broader relevance of Öcalan’s ideas for global peace and justice.
Concluding, Venturini extended a message of solidarity from Italy, acknowledging Italy’s historical connection to Öcalan’s asylum case and calling for collective efforts to secure his freedom and advance Kurdish political rights.