Following the 22nd anniversary of the imprisonment of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, a group of Egyptian and Arab intellectuals have come together in a new project called the Arab Initiative, which aims to investigate the historical links between the Kurdish and Arab peoples, while seeking justice for Kurds worldwide.
Political Scientist Professor Etiya Ehmed spoke to Hawar News about the new initiative. “It should have been established earlier, but I hope we will do very good things together”, she said.
‘We stand by Öcalan’
Professor Ehmed said that the strict isolation of Öcalan is unacceptable. “We are very pleased to be part of an initiative that supports the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan. We are against the isolation imposed on him by Turkey”, she said, adding, “His family and lawyers are not able to visit him due to a strict ban on visits, which is especially unacceptable, and is against local and international human rights treaties”.
Ehmed also shared the Arab Initiative’s stance on Turkey’s offensive in North and East Syria and Iraq. “When we consider the brutality of the Turkish state against the Kurds in Syria and Iraq, as well as the barbaric attacks against, and occupation of, Afrin, we can say that the Turkish state is the official sponsor of terrorism in the region”, she said.
Eight thousand signatures for Öcalan petition
The initiative also aims to investivate the Kurdish question and the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan. “But we will also work for his immediate release from prison”, said Ehmed. The Arab Initiative has already collected eight thousand signatures in a petition calling for Öcalan’s freedom.
“Many people do not know a lot about the Kurdish question”, said Ehmed. “We aim to make the issue more familiar throughout the world. The Arab Initiative is as important as the international initiative that supports Öcalan. The greatest proof of this is that we have collected signatures from a vast array of intellectuals, writers, academics, and researchers from many Arab countries”.