International Delegation member: Öcalan’s ideas are important for peace

International Delegation member Federico Venturini stated that their primary goal is to meet with Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, and said that the isolation imposed upon the Kurdish leader should end at once.

The International Delegation, with journalists, academics and parliamentarians among them, had left Europe with the demand to meet with Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and arrived in Amed. They met with the Kurdish Political Movement, political parties and NGOs to get informaton on the political atmosphere in Turkey. The 13 person committee consists of EP MPs Costas Mavridest, Julie Ward, Former EP MP Francis Wurtz, Council of Europe Parliamentarians Miren Edume Gorroxategi and Ulla Sandbaek, former Iceland MP Ogmundur Jonasson, The Guardian Gazetesi columnist Jonathan Steel, Peace and Justice Commission Chair Joe Ryan, International Social Ecology Institute Consultory Board Members Dimitri Roussopoulos and Federico Venturini and Cambridge University Faculty Thomas Jeffrey Miley.


Delegation Member Federico Venturini spoke to the ANF on their appeal to the Turkish Ministry of Justice to meet with Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan.

“The main aim of this visit is to try to visit Mr. Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Prison. And since last year, we have come here to put pressure on the Turkish government to allow visits to him, because as you said he’s in a complete isolation. We understand that he is the recognized leader of the Kurdish people. And when I utilize the term ‘leader’, it is in a positive way. Mr. Öcalan is in complete isolation because the Turkish state doesn’t want a connection between Mr. Öcalan and the Kurdish people. He represents what Nelson Mandela used to represent for the liberation movement and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. So, we believe that if we want to achieve peace in Turkey, but also in the broader Middle East, Abdullah Öcalan has to have the right to sit at the table for the negotiations, and of course other Kurdish leaders and other Turkish officials should be involved. But he has to be one of the key members of this peace negotiation. To conclude, I would like to say that when there was a peace process, when Öcalan was able to speak with people outside, there was peace. Then when Öcalan was put in a total isolation, we saw what happened here in the Kurdish part of Turkey. There is an ongoing civil war. So, this is proof of the role of Öcalan in bringing peace.”


Venturini pointed out that the report on the CPT’S İmralı Island visit still hasn’t been published and said the following on the responsibilities of the CPT and European countries:

“I think we have to answer this on two different levels. One is about the CPT, and the other one is about the behavior of European countries. The first level is about the CPT. The CPT has to write a report after each visit to foreign countries. But this report should be approved by the country they are visiting. That means that the report will be published when Turkey approves this report. When we went to Strasbourg last year, the CPT said that they work by the principles of confidentiality and privacy, so they couldn’t share any information before the report is made public. This is very disappointing, because I think that the situation in Turkey is rapidly deteriorating. Since 2015, we saw the escalation of the civil war, the military coup d’etat and the new referendum and so on. If the CPT isn’t publishing this report yet, it’s linked also to the political unwillingness of European countries to put pressure on Turkey. So this is the second level.”


Venturini also touched upon the political atmosphere and the government’s policies in Turkey and said: “To come here to Diyarbakır/Amed and to Turkey one more time has been very important for all the members of the delegation to gather information of what is happening here today. We spoke with many people and we received a very similar answer: That there was a military coup that failed, but then after a few days when the martial law was declared, there was another coup and this time it was enacted by law, with the martial law. It seems quite clear that the failed military coup has been used as an excuse to limit and to repress all forms of dissent in Turkey. For example, we can look at the municipalities that have been seized by the state. Around 70% they were controlled by Kurdish political parties, and only around 30% were linked to or accused to be part of the Gülenist group. And we also know that many NGOs or other associations that have been closed are related to the Kurdish cause. They were not behind the military coup.”


Venturini pointed out the deepening war for the one-man regime and said: “The Kurds are being arrested for refusing the one-man rule. The constitutional amendment and the referendum aims to gather all power in a single person. Having a referendum under such conditions concerns us. How just will a referendum be in a country where politicians are arrested?”


Venturini said they appealed to the Ministry of Justice to visit HDP Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ and continued: “We have submitted appeals to visit both Mr. Öcalan and HDP Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, but we haven’t received any answer yet, positive or negative. We have a legitimate demand, right now all we want is the Turkish state to allow these visits. If our appeals are rejected, we will return to Europe and launch a campaign that includes different methods. We will also share our observations with the public in Turkey in this framework also.”