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The Committee for Freedom of Öcalan
The Kurdish questionin Turkey entered a new phase with the publication of Abdullah Öcalan’s Newroz statements calling for negotiations for peace and democracy on March 21 in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Following these statements a two-year negotiation process occurred.

However, when it became clear that the peace process would produce concrete results, the Turkish President Erdogan changed hisattitude and actively endeavoured to stop the ongoingpeace negotiations by isolating Öcalan in prison, in direct contrast to the Kurdish leader’s declaration for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.

This strategy by the AKP government demonstrates a lack of desire to address the Kurdish question in the country and to continue the policy of deliberateannihilation implemented militarily and judicially on the Kurdish people.

Consequently, Öcalan has been barred from all contact with his legal representatives for over three years. More recently, this isolation has been escalated to include preventing access to his family and his negotiation team as of 5th of April 2015.

The Kurds and their supporters have clearly and repeatedly noted that a peace process is meaningless without Abdullah Öcalan’s direct involvement in the dialogue. They also consider the isolation policy as a form of human rights violation and torture which violates international legal norms and values. The Kurds view Abdullah Öcalan as their key chief negotiator and representative of their political aspiration.

Consequently, Kurds, and friends of the Kurds living in Kurdistan, Europe and all over the world began a global campaign recently to call for the freedom ofÖcalan, and other political prisoners in Turkey.

The results of the campaign were astounding and overwhelming, with over 10 million signatures collected globally, in support of reconciliation and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey.

The millions who signed the petition now expect their voices to be heard by the relevant Turkish and international authorities.

The only way to find a solution to end this isolation policy is to reactivate the observers’ committee responsible for organising the peace process and dialogue with Öcalan, restart the negotiations, and take the necessary steps to reach a bilateral ceasefire and a permanent peace.

There is no solving the Kurdish question in Turkey without the direct and active involvement and willing participation of the international community. The EU Commission and Parliament have a legal, moral and ethical responsibility to take a firmer stance through stopping the isolation policy toward Öcalan and encouraging Turkey to restart the negotiation process.

Recent events in the Middle East, including the ongoing historic resistance of the Kurds in Syria against ISIS, and the subsequent efforts to push for greater democratisation of society, gender liberation and ecological protection demonstrates the need to remove the PKK from the terror list and to engage with the organisation as a legitimate voice representing millions of people globally.

Ending the isolation of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan will strengthen not only the democratic peace process, but also the fight against ISIS, which is the common aim of the international community and the Kurds.

The Committee for Freedom of Öcalan

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