Worldwide protests against the international conspiracy call for "Freedom for Öcalan"

Numerous protests have been staged around the globe this Saturday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the abduction of Abdullah Öcalan.

Countless people around the world are taking to the streets this Saturday to express their demand for freedom for Abdullah Öcalan. February 15 marks the 22nd anniversary of the international plot to deport the PKK founder to the Turkish prison island of Imrali. For 22 years, Öcalan has been held in absolute solitary confinement on the island in the middle of the Sea of Marmara, broken only by sporadically authorized visits from family members and lawyers. The last contact with the Kurdish leader was in 2020 when a family visit took place on March 3, after there had been a fire on Imrali about a week earlier. On April 27, the authorities authorized a telephone conversation with his brother. Both contacts could only be enforced through massive public pressure. Since then, Öcalan has again been completely isolated from the outside world.


Since last year, the protests against 22 years of torture system on Imrali have reached a special quality, because since November 27, a hunger strike against Öcalan's isolation and the destructive prison conditions in Turkey has been taking place in Turkish prisons. The co-president of the Kurdish European umbrella organization KCDK-E, Fatoş Göksungur, also drew attention to this at a rally in Strasbourg, France. Her criticism was directed in particular at the ignorance of Europe and European institutions in the face of the prison conditions on Imrali.

The Strasbourg rally took place at Place de la République, followed by a short march to the European Parliament. Slogans such as "Down with Turkish fascism", "Long live Ocalan" and "We are all PKK" were shouted. The demonstration ended in front of the buildings of the Council of Europe and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), exactly at the place where a permanent vigil for Öcalan's freedom has been held for nine years.



In the Italian capital Rome, people gathered in front of the headquarters of the public broadcaster Rai. The rally was attended by Kurdish activists from the Kurdistan Information Office, members of the grassroots unions Cobas and Cub, representatives of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the Italian section of the women's movement "Non una di meno", and students. Speeches called on the Italian government, the EU and the United Nations to act against the "murderous policies of dictator Erdogan" and the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan. An appeal was made to the Italian media to deal more intensively with the Kurdish question.



There was also a rally in the Australian city of Sydney, which was attended primarily by prominent figures from civil society and politics. In addition to Greens MP David Shoebridge and Greens ex-senator Lee Rhiannon, Australian cleric Bill Crews, Susan Price of the Progressive Alliance and trade unionist Mansour Rezaqi were also present.

In a statement made here, the international conspiracy was described as a "stain on the history of democracy and human rights". The statement said that Öcalan, as a person committed to peace, belonged not behind bars but alongside his people; "We, as advocates of peace and democracy, will continue to work for his liberation. Just as we fought for Nelson Mandela's freedom, we will fight to free Abdullah Öcalan.”

In a following speech, a representative of the Kurdish community addressed the Turkish military aggression in the guerrilla area of Gare. The attack, which was directed against the "achievements of the Kurdish people," was strongly condemned. The activist appealed to the international community to stand with the Kurds in solidarity.

As part of the action, one of 22 minibuses currently touring the world as mobile Öcalan libraries under the slogan "The time has come: Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan" drove up to the square in Sydney. The activists set up a stand and distributed small brochures with selected texts from the PKK founder's defense writings on the topics of democratic confederalism, women's liberation and democratic nationhood.



A demonstration was organised at Piazza Scala in the Italian city of Milan in protest at the international conspiracy. Kurds and their Italian friends exposed the role of international forces in the conspiracy, as well as the aggravated isolation systematically imposed on Öcalan by the Turkish state since 1999 under the supervision of international colonialist powers and attempts to subdue the Kurds and other peoples in the Middle East.

Speakers underlined that their actions would continue until the isolation is ended and Öcalan gains his physical freedom and vowed further expansion of “The Time Has Come” campaign.



In Belgium’s capital Brussels, a demonstration at Porte de Namur condemned the international conspiracy. Kongra-Gel Co-chair Remzi Kartal, a representative of the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Belgium and Medya Rojava in the name of the KCDK-E Co-presidency Council addressed the crowd.



Organised by Medya People’s House, the demonstration at Hallplatz in Nuremberg was attended by various groups including Kurdistan Communities Federation, German Interventionist Left, Partizan, AGİF, SYKP and MVH.

The activists set up a stand introducing Öcalan’s defense writings and books and distributed them to their German friends.



Masses took to the streets in French capital Paris in protest at the international conspiracy of 15 February 1999 and the aggravated isolation imposed on Öcalan since. While the banners, speeches slogans of the crowd demanded “Freedom for Öcalan”, demonstrators also protested the ongoing Turkish invasion operation in Gare and commended the resistance of the guerrillas against occupation attempts.

The march ended at Châtelet where a minute’s silence was observed for all the martyrs of the Kurdish freedom struggle and speakers vowed to be on the streets until Öcalan gains his physical freedom.



Kurds and their friends living in the cities of Nantes, Rennes, Lorient and Vannes gathered at Place du Commerce in Nantes to protest against the international conspiracy and Turkish invasion operation in Gare.

The march through the city was accompanied by slogans that condemned the Turkish dictator and his genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people and commended the resistance of the guerilla forces.

Speakers defined the attack on Gare as a continuation of the international conspiracy and stated that their actions will continue until the isolation of Öcalan is brought to an end and his freedom is achieved.

Friends of the Kurdish people also spoke and gave messages of solidarity with their struggle.



The demonstration in the German city of Bremen was joined by hundreds of Kurds from Hamburg, Kiel, Lubeck and Oldenburg.

The march kicked off from HBF following a speech by FED-DEM co-chair Sait Bilgin who condemned the international powers involved in the conspiracy and called on European states to stop helping Erdoğan and ignoring the legitimate demands of the Kurdish people to avoid being a party to this atrocity.

Speakers from Shengal Diaspora Assembly and NAV-YEK pointed out the role of the PKK that did not allow ISIS to commit a genocider against the Yazidi people in Shengal.

The march was concluded with a rally in front of Bremen State Parliament.