STATEMENT

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On 17 December, we launched an indefinite hunger strike in Strasbourg. Our group comprises of politician, human right activist, academician, intellectual, and chair of institutions. We have come from different parts of Kurdistan and different European countries, but all have a single aim: end Ocalan’s isolation.

As member of the Initiative for Ocalan’s Freedom, we know that unless the ongoing incommunicado imposed on our leader is ended, the genocidal operations of the Turkish state in Kurdistan will continue. For this reason, we decided to stand against it.

For the last twenty years of Ocalan’s imprisonment, we have been continuously working to raise the issue internationally, and draw attention to the calamitous conditions imposed on our leader in the Imrali Island Prison.

In this occasion, our action is aimed at Committee for Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the Council of Europe (CE), none of which plays its role vis-à-vis the Ocalan case. Their silence has encouraged the Turkish state to continues its politics of isolation on the most important political figure who is very crucial for the resumption of peace-process. Had CPT and CE played their roles, Ocalan had not been held incommunicado since September 2016.

We have tried various campaigns of peaceful nature including indefinite hunger strike. We know full well that this is a serious and scarifying deed, requiring an extraordinary willpower. During this, the strikers slowly weather away and will finally reach martyrdom. But if their demand is met, martyrdom would be prevented.

With our action we want to reach out to conscience, ethics and principles of humanity. If their conscience is reached, they will move into action, impacting the related institutions.  The intention behind our action is not martyrdom but to save life, as we want to end the isolation imposed on the only voice in Turkey for peace.  Not only Leader Ocalan is an important figure for the Kurdish people, he is equally important for the peoples of the Middle East, as his political philosophy materialised in Rojava is secular, pluralist, feminist and ecologist.

We believe the end to Ocalan’s isolation and his freedom will serve the process of democratisation in Turkey and the wider Middle East. As in Rojava, where peoples from different religious and ethnicities live together, the peoples of the Middle East can do the same.  We see as crucial issues such as democratisation of the Middle East, materialisation of a peaceful co-existence among different peoples and gender emancipation. For this reason, among others, we have launched this hunger strike and are adamant in our demand to the very last end.

Not having a proper place for our action, for the last five days, we have been looking for a place, asking various institution in this respect. Currently we are in the Kurdish Community Centre which is not suitable for this type of action. Yesterday, a priest visited us, giving a kind of promise to accommodate us for the rest of our campaign. To show their solidarity, moreover, Kurds from France and other European countries have been visiting us.

We initiated a petition addressed to CPT and the Council of Europe. Our demand is neither excessive nor impractical; it is very basic. We ask CPT officials to go to Imrali prison and visit Ocalan. This is a very simple and humane demand. We want our demand be met before we reach the martyrdom stage. If they do not meet our demand, we have taken this issue into account.

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