Öcalan’s freedom is instrumental in resolving Ankara’s conflict with the Kurdish freedom movement. Therefore, international institutions like the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) must uphold their liberal values and pressure the Turkish government to release Öcalan and end the stalemate, Canadian political activist Demitrios Roussopoulos told Erem Kansoy in a Medya News interview.
“The Ankara government realises that if Öcalan is given some kind of leeway, freedom, or status, they cannot address the crisis within their country or along their borders without taking him seriously and engaging with him as a free person,” said Roussopoulos, the founder of Black Rose books.
The CPT must be informed that their silence on Öcalan’s prolonged and isolated captivity, which violates international norms on human rights, is completely “unacceptable and undemocratic.” Transparent accountability must be demanded, not only by civil society activists but also by parliamentarians, Roussopoulos added.
“Öcalan must be freed if there is to be a serious accounting of how the Kurdish people, both inside Turkey and outside of it, are to be treated. Are they going to be treated like human beings? Öcalan’s role in determining that is absolutely crucial,” he further stated.
Comparing Öcalan’s pivotal leadership in the Kurdish freedom movement to Nelson Mandela’s role in the South African freedom movement, Roussopoulos emphasised that Öcalan must be recognised as one of the great political and philosophical thinkers of contemporary times.
Öcalan’s influence has had global ramifications that extend beyond the Kurdish homelands. His writings pioneered the idea of democratic confederalism, and he recognised the key role of women in a free society, Roussopoulos noted.
“Unless Öcalan is released,” Roussopoulos concluded, “the stalemate will continue. Our responsibility is to break that stalemate. We must convince Western institutions, like the CPT, that this is the only way the situation can evolve in a positive direction.”