The ongoing march for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has entered its 11th day, as part of a 25-day initiative led by Kurdish activists in France.
Organised by the Democratic Kurdish Council of France (CDK-F) and the Kurdish Women’s Movement in France (TJK-F), the march began on 22 January, aiming to draw attention to Öcalan’s incarceration and the broader Kurdish issue.
The participants navigated through Melun on the 10th day, Wednesday, forming a segment of the global campaign “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, a Political Solution to the Kurdish Question”, which was initiated on 10 October 2023.
Erdal Şahin, an activist within the march, spoke on the “unlawful and intense isolation” faced by Öcalan, who has been deprived of familial contact for over two decades. Şahin highlighted the march’s objective to showcase the Turkish state’s disregard for a resolution to Kurdish grievances.
The march is set to conclude at the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in Strasbourg on 15 February, prompted by the lack of communication from the CPT regarding Öcalan’s conditions following their last visit two years ago.
In a related development, the ‘Freedom for Öcalan’ Vigil in Strasbourg, an ongoing effort since 25 June 2012, has welcomed a new group from Bordeaux to maintain its momentum. The vigil, held in front of the CPT, seeks to end the isolation imposed on Öcalan and advocate for his freedom. Engin Sezen, the group’s spokesman, called for Kurdish solidarity and action in response to Öcalan’s continued isolation.
Additionally, Mesopotamia Democratic Culture and Art Movement (TEV-ÇAND), a Kurdish cultural organisation, has voiced its support for a significant rally in Cologne on 17 February, aimed at demanding Öcalan’s liberation. The group emphasised the Kurdish people’s perseverance in their struggle despite attempts to undermine their cause.
Finally, the Justice Vigil by Peace Mothers and prisoners’ relatives outside the Turkish Parliament has brought attention to the urgent need for Öcalan’s release with a press conference attended by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit and DEM Party Women’s Assembly Spokeswoman Halide Türkoğlu. They highlighted the critical role of Öcalan’s freedom in establishing peace and democracy, echoing the sentiments of those on hunger strike in Turkish prisons.