Turkey: A rally organised under the banner “For social peace, for equal and free life”, in Diyarbakır (Amed) on 1 September, focused on the isolation imposed on the imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, the war policies of the state, and attacks on the environment. The rally was led by the pro-Kurdish Green Left and Peoples’ Democratic (HDP) parties.
The call for a political solution to the decades-long conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government was a central theme of the 1 September rally. This focus reflects the devastating impact of the conflict, which has claimed countless lives, led to mass displacement, and wreaked havoc both environmentally and socially. Öcalan is seen as a key figure in resolving these issues. He has previously initiated a peace process that, although not ultimately successful, showed promise in reconciling the divergent interests of Kurds across the fragmented lands of Kurdistan and the nations that govern them.
The Peace Mothers, a group formed primarily of Kurdish women, actively advocate through public demonstrations and dialogue for peace and the resolution of the Kurdish-Turkish conflict. A number of the Peace Mothers at the rally spoke to Mezopotamya Agency.
Nebiha Akay said, “We don’t want either Kurdish or Turkish mothers to suffer. We demand peace and equality.” Akay criticised the ongoing violence against Kurdistan’s people and nature. “They are burning our mountains, our trees. We can’t sit in the shade of our trees. They are killing our children with chemicals,” she added.
Akay further emphasised the role of Abdullah Öcalan in achieving peace. “The isolation imposed on our leader (Öcalan) is imposed on all of us. We cannot be free unless the isolation imposed on our leader is lifted. As mothers, we want peace, equality and freedom,” she explained.
Nuran Seçkin called for unity among mothers of all ethnicities for peace. “Enough is enough, let the war end. Solutions come with peace, not war. We call on all the people of the world; end these wars!” she urged.
Seçkin addressed the ongoing fighting asking, “How long will our children continue to die?” She highlighted the futility of the decades-long conflict: “Kurds will not end, nor will Turks or Arabs. The solution is peace, peace, peace.”
Emine Alkış is from the Silopi (Silopiya) district of Şırnak (Şirnex). “We are here for peace. We raised our children for a free life. Our leader is a peace pioneer. We came here today for our leader and for peace. Let all the wars in the world end. We want peace and freedom on our lands,” she said.
Asya Tokay, also from Silopi, echoed similar sentiments: “We are against the bloodshed. We are against oppression. We call on everyone who claims to defend human rights; bring peace to this world! Lift the isolation imposed on our leader!”
The rally in Diyarbakır serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent calls for peace and equality, centred around the figure of Öcalan. Calls for his release are not just symbolic but are viewed as a pragmatic step toward achieving lasting peace and stability. The voices of the Peace Mothers resonate as a collective call for an end to his isolation and a plea for peace and freedom.