Europe has a particular responsibility to act quickly, firmly and decisively to demand the release of imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, said political economist and Progressive International General Coordinator David Adler.
Adler expressed deep concern about the perceived reluctance in Europe to criticise the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and to speak out against the imprisonment of many activists and political figures in Turkey, in an interview with Erem Kansoy of Medya Haber TV.
According to Adler, Öcalan’s vision is vital in addressing pressing global challenges and conflicts that require a new, pluralistic, democratic and peaceful way of living together.
“I think Öcalan’s ideas, theories, and political action have been already a source of so much powerful social, political, and economic action to try to deliver a new, pluralistic, democratic, and peaceful mode of coexistence,” Adler stressed.
He emphasised that Öcalan’s imprisonment is not only an attack on his own person or community, but on the ideals he represents.
As General Coordinator of an international organisation that unites and mobilises progressive left activists and organisations, Adler believes that Öcalan’s case is symbolic and urged progressive organisations and individuals to pool their resources and efforts to demand Öcalan’s release.
Öcalan, the founder of the PKK, has been serving a life sentence in a Turkish prison on the northwestern island of İmralı since 1999. There have been brief periods over the years when he has been able to meet with his family and lawyers, but he has been held in total isolation since an interrupted phone call with his brother in March 2021.
The last time his lawyers were able to contact him was in August 2019, and his family’s last in-person visit was in March 2020. Öcalan’s solitary confinement has drawn widespread international condemnation over the years.
Recently, a global campaign was launched in 74 centres around the world calling for an end to Öcalan’s absolute incommunicado detention and for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict in Turkey.