Europe saw widespread demonstrations on Saturday condemning the incommunicado detention of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held in solitary confinement in Turkey’s İmralı Prison for over two years.
The protests underscored the deep concern for Abdullah Öcalan’s well-being and the urgent need to put an end to the extended isolation.
Protesters, including Kurds and their European supporters, raised their voices against the absolute isolation imposed on Öcalan with large banners, placards, and flags.
The demonstrators also condemned the silence of the international institutions, particularly the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), and called on them to fulfil their responsibilities and address the Turkish government’s practice of imposing isolation in İmralı Prison, which violates international law.
Thousands of people participated in the demonstrations that took place in several European cities including Germany’s Berlin and Stuttgart, Austria’s Graz and the French capital Paris, pledging to continue their actions until they hear word from the PKK leader.
During the demonstration at Berlin Alexanderplatz square, Hüseyin Yılmaz, co-chair of the Berlin Free Kurdistan Assembly (NAV-Berlin), strongly criticised the continuing isolation of Öcalan, describing it as an attack not only on Kurds but also on the peoples of the Middle East.
Yılmaz further criticised the Berlin police, who he said, “cannot even tolerate pictures of Öcalan”. He went on, “If we can live a peaceful life in Europe and the world today, it is thanks to the struggle of the Kurdish people against a mentality of barbarity.”