Öcalan Books Day, commemorating the political writings of Abdullah Öcalan, the incarcerated leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), witnessed global participation. Events across several countries saw public readings of excerpts from Öcalan’s extensive literary work, aiming to secure his release and promote a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict in Turkey.
Coinciding with Öcalan Books Day, an International Human Rights Day event in Hanover, Germany, spotlighted women’s rights and Öcalan’s two decade solitary confinement. Speakers reflected on the ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ (‘Woman, Life, Freedom’) movement, stressing the critical role of education in resisting oppression, and recognising Öcalan’s influence on political discourse despite his confinement.
Meanwhile, Stefano Squarcina, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the GUE/NGL Group, stressed the importance of a political solution to the Kurdish issue. In an interview, Squarcina advocated for Öcalan’s release, highlighting it as essential for a peaceful and political resolution, beneficial to the Middle East, Europe, and the Kurdish and Turkish people.
In Suweida, Syria, political activist Aysar al-Welî called for Öcalan’s release as part of the “Freedom for Öcalan – A Political Solution to the Kurdish Question” campaign. Al-Welî emphasised the need for peace and freedom of thought, arguing that the Kurdish movement is non-aggressive, even in the face of overwhelming force. He likened Öcalan’s plight to that of Lebanese leftist leader Kamal Jumblatt (1917 – 1977), and advocated for a fair and democratic retrial.
In Austria, Kurdish umbrella organisation FEY-KOM spearheaded a signature campaign advocating for Öcalan’s freedom. The campaign is a part of a broader international effort to highlight Öcalan’s influence and to seek a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue.
Concurrently, a rally in Celle, Germany, coinciding with Öcalan Books Day and International Human Rights Day, focused on Öcalan’s 24-year solitary confinement. Organisers “Defend Kurdistan” and “Women Defend Rojava” groups received virtual support from notable figures such as Konstantin Wecker, a touring singer-songwriter, who emphasised how Öcalan’s release would promote a fair Kurdish solution.
Juliane Rieder from Celle’s Defend Kurdistan drew attention to Öcalan’s imprisonment and Turkey’s military attacks on Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq. The event stressed that women’s liberation was a central theme in Öcalan’s writings.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Modernity Academy, Jineology in Scotland, and Germany’s Lesekreisinitiative Kassel, organised Öcalan Books Day events. Various activities were also held in Finland, including book distributions and discussions in cities including Turku, Tampere, Helsinki, and Oulu.
In Vienna, the 45th anniversary of the PKK was celebrated, and in Sydney, Australia, an event featured readings from Öcalan’s works and called for his freedom, with participants like Senator David Shoebridge and former Senator Lee Rhiannon.
These events underscore the growing international support for Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish cause, advocating for a nonviolent and democratic approach to the Kurdish issue in Turkey.