Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on Sunday announced plans for a ‘Freedom March’ in Gemlik on 18 November to protest the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Öcalan is incarcerated at İmralı F-Type High Security Prison, situated on the island of İmralı in Gemlik district, part of Turkey’s northwestern Bursa province.
The march was formally announced at the weekend during a DBP conference in Diyarbakir (Amed). Conference delegates underlined the significance of lifting Öcalan’s isolation and ensuring his voice reaches the public. Meşhel Sırımsı pointed out the effects of the ongoing isolation, not only on Öcalan, but also on the broader Kurdish community. Sırımsı urged everyone to participate in the march, expressed hopes that it would lead to positive change, and emphasised the importance of Öcalan’s release for the Middle East and the world at large.
Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-chair Berdan Öztürk addressed Öcalan’s significant role in striving for peace, criticising the heavy isolation imposed on the PKK leader since 5 April 2015 and deeming it contrary to principles of democracy and freedom. Öztürk stressed the importance of releasing the PKK leader, not just for the Kurds but for all oppressed communities in the Middle East, including those suffering conflicts such as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian war.