Francie Molloy: Together we can achieve freedom for the people of Kurdistan

Speaking at the conference organised by IHD in Amed, Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy said that Irish society supports the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom and independence.


The Human Rights Association (IHD) is holding a two-day “Conference on the solution of the Kurdish question and peace" in Amed (Diyarbakır). IHD Co-Chairs Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Küçükbalaban, journalists, writers, intellectuals, politicians, representatives of civil society organisations and many people are attending the conference.  

IHD Co-Chair Hüseyin Küçükbalaban made the opening speech of the conference. Küçükbalaban drew attention to the Syrian civil war and the lack of a peaceful solution in Rojava and said that everything related to rights and freedoms is under heavy attack. He continued, "Fascism is rising on an international scale. Regional conflicts look like a rehearsal for a new world war. While Ukraine is going on like a preliminary battle of the third world war, the horror that Israel continues in Gaza without any borders is killing not only children and women but also the reflex to say 'enough' in the minds and hearts of everyone watching." 

Stating that Turkey has a pluralistic texture in terms of its ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural characteristics, Küçükbalaban said: "As IHD, we underline that the fundamental problem of the country is the problem of human rights and democracy and the most important link of this fundamental problem is the Kurdish question."

The Co-Chair of IHD continued as follows: "Abandoning the denial of the Kurdish question and recognising this issue is imperative for the establishment of social peace. For a permanent ceasefire, Abdullah Öcalan, who is an important actor in the solution of the Kurdish question, should be allowed to meet with his family and lawyers as soon as possible. The path to negotiation and reconciliation must be opened and the participation of political and social groups in these processes must be ensured."   

The first session of the two-day conference was titled "Experiences of conflict resolution and peace processes in the world", moderated by Yüksel Genç, Coordinator of the Centre for Socio-Political Field Research.

The message of politician Ayla Akat Ata, who is being held hostage in Sincan Women's Closed Prison in Ankara, was read out in the first session. Ata wrote the following: "It is a pity that we are going through dark days when it is considered a crime to struggle for peace, but not conflict, war and violence... Experiences are very important and valuable in conflict resolution. It is important to know what has been experienced and lived until today, as well as to know oneself, regardless of the geography of the world. We will know and understand that for the sake of our own peace and our own solution. But being aware of our own specificities, we will socialise the process without ignoring the sensitivity of our own peoples, and we will benefit from it in a way that it will not be possible to go back again. We will organise. With these feelings, I greet all participants with respect."

George Rashmawi, President of the Union of Palestinian Communities and Organisations in Europe, who took the floor first, stated that the people of Palestine cannot forget what they have been through.  "Together we can ensure freedom, peace and a free Palestine," said Rashmawi.

Ferda Fahrioğlu Akın from Democracy, Peace and Alternative Policies Research Association (DEMOS) made a presentation titled "The role of local actors and religious groups in peace building."

The panel continued with a minute of silence for victims of the Halabja Massacre at 11.00 a.m. in line with the decision taken by the Kurdish Parliament.

Francie Molloy, an MP from Sinn Féin, participated in the conference via video conference and made a presentation titled "Irish experience in conflict resolution".

Referring to the situation of the prisoners, Francie Molloy said, "Prisoners broke the isolation. The Kurdish people should also make their voices heard. This is also important for us. We have experienced similar situations, like Mandela's South Africa period. What is important today is that we look ahead and put the issue of conflict and isolation on the agenda. Everyone must be involved in this. An inclusive process is important for peace." 

Francie Molloy continued: "The Turkish side should be the one working with you. It should open its doors to everyone. You should have partners for peace, otherwise it is very difficult to bring them to the table. We must bring all these people back to the table and make them take a place there. As the international community, we are with you in this peace process. We need to support each other and be together. This is how we can ensure freedom for the people of Kurdistan. All prisoners are imprisoned for their political views, they are not criminals. We have also struggled in prisons, and this has pushed the peace process to the forefront. We must support the prisoners to ensure their freedom. The freedom of prisoners is part of the struggle. As Irish society we must strongly support the Kurdish people. We support your struggle for freedom and independence."

The second session will continue with a discussion on "Peace in the Middle East and a Democratic Solution to the Kurdish Question".