Afrin IDPs: “We will enhance the struggle until Öcalan is physically freed”

Afrin people living in the Shehba Canton called international organisations responsible for the “disciplinary actions” imposed on Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, and urged everyone to enhance the struggle.

Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan has been subject to aggravated isolation in the Imrali Island Prison where he has been held since his capture as a result of an international plot and forced departure to Turkey in 1999. Neither the Kurdish leader, nor the three other PKK members jailed alongside him at Imralı, is allowed visits by their families and lawyers without any legal grounds.

It came out in late October that Öcalan was given a disciplinary penalty in September 2018 on the grounds that he was “pacing”. Öcalan's family visits were suspended for three months in September 2018 because he had "paced" during his "sports exercises." On the basis of a disciplinary investigation launched by the prison's Disciplinary Board when Abdullah Öcalan paced with other prisoners on İmralı Island after playing volleyball and basketball, a penalty of "deprivation of visitors for 3 months" was imposed on 14 September 2018 on the grounds that "he turned sports activity into a conversation."

Afrin IPDs living in the Serdem Camp in Shehba Canton condemned the disciplinary penalty given to the Kurdish leader and called international legal organisations responsible for these arbitrary and unlawful punishments.

“Despite all the harsh conditions, we accept living in camps, but we do not accept the policies implemented by the Turkish government against Leader Öcalan in Imralı” said Reşid Mihemed, a resident at Serdem Camp, and condemned the silence of international humanitarian and legal organisations’ against this crime.

Underlining that Öcalan is the leader of a struggle for humanity and equality, who seeks the liberation of all peoples in the world, Reşid Mihemed expressed that the Turkish state imposes disciplinary actions on Öcalan because it is afraid of his thoughts. He pointed to Öcalan as the key to the crises in the Middle East.

Mihemed stated that Öcalan’s freedom means the freedom of all the oppressed peoples, of the Afrin people and of all the peoples living in occupied regions of North and East Syria.

Suzan Mistefa, another resident living in Serdem Camp, also condemned the silence of the international community against the isolation and disciplinary actions imposed on Öcalan by the Turkish state. She stated, “ The peoples of North and East Syria made great achievements in many fields. On the other hand, the Autonomous Administration and Democratic Nation project, both of which were developed by Leader Öcalan, set a great example to the entire world.”

Mistefa defined the importance Öcalan attaches to women’s rights as “unprecedented in history”, adding, “We should continue our actions based on these principles. We should enhance the resistance until Leader Öcalan is physically freed.”