PACE deputies visit vigil in Strasbourg, demand freedom for Öcalan

As the vigil in Strasbourg for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan is entering its 11th year, PACE members called on Europe to break the silence and demanded fredom for the Kurdish leader.

The vigil demanding freedom for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in Strasbourg, the longest action of the Kurds in Europe, is going to mark its 11th year on June 25. The vigil was taken over by internationalists in its 523rd week.

Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe paid a solidarity visit to the vigil on Wednesday and expressed their “support for Abdullah Öcalan and his struggle.” The group included deputies from Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Ireland and Greece.

Speaking here, Italian Senator Roberto Rampi started his words with “We brought a message of solidarity from Italy.” He continued, “We are close friends of the Kurdish people. We shouldn’t lose hope. We will enhance the struggle for Abdullah Öcalan’s freedom.”

Cypriot Constantinos Efstathiou of the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group of the PACE, said, “There is a cell on Imrali Island and in it is a light that enlightens the world. This light shows us the path to freedom from Öcalan’s cell. It shows the right path for the struggle against repression. We are proud of you. Your struggle sets an example for us. You fight for democracy and freedom as Mandela did. Your struggle is the struggle of communities.”

Senator Laura Castel of the Group of the Unified European Left stated, “We fight for our own values. We fight for democracy, brotherhood and the rule of law. Kurds are oppressed and isolation continues.” Criticizing the European silence on the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, Castel called on relevant authorities to fulfil their duties. “The only way out is solidarity and enhanced struggle,” she added.

Paul Gavan of Ireland’s Sinn Fein party said, “We are happy to stand in solidarity with you. You have been holding a vigil for 10 years in an uninterrupted struggle. It is not possible to claim that Europe endorses its own values. Isolation must be lifted right now. We will do all we can regarding the imposition of sanctions on Turkey. The Council of Europe trampling on human rights should not be met with silence anymore.”

Bjarni Jonsson of Iceland’s Left-Green Movement said, “We are historically a part of this struggle. We fight against the repression of oppressed societies. We are also rooted in struggle just as the Kurdish people, whose fight we admire. There is a strong bond between us and we must unite our forces to reclaim our rights.”

Speaking in the name of the internationalists taking part in the vigil, Trlly highlighted the importance of supporting the vigil for Öcalan that has left 10 years behind, saying, “Öcalan has been held in isolation for 24 years and isolation is the greatest torture. European institutions fail to do their part and we want to draw attention to this fact.”

KNK member Adem Uzun said, “European institutions do not do their job. The CPT (Committee for the Prevention of Torture) does not prepare its reports. We attach great importance to your solidarity in order for isolation to be brought to an end.”