Kurdish community calls for freedom for political prisoner Abdullah Öcalan

October 13, 2023
The Kurdish community and their supporters on the steps of Victorian Parliament. Photo: Chloe DS

Kurdish community members held a media conference on the steps of Victoria's Parliament House on October 11 to amplify calls for Kurdish political prisoner Abdullah Öcalan to be freed. He has been in a Turkish prison for 24 years.

It was one of many to be organised in 73 cities across the world. A rally was also held in Gadi/Sydney.

Speakers included Kurdistan National Congress representative Heval Herk, Socialist Alliance Merri-bek Councillor Sue Bolton, Ballarat Trades Hall Council committee member Ron Guy and Victorian Greens MP Samantha Ratnam.

Guy said Ballarat Trades Hall Council passed a motion supporting the call for Öcalan’s freedom.

The Federation of Democratic Kurdish Society, Australia, said in its release that the Treaty of Lausanne, which divided the Ottoman Empire and split Kurdish land between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, is “illegitimate”. It said the treaty enables the Turkish government to “hold Mr Öcalan in such an inhuman way, with torture and isolation for over 24 years”.

It said Öcalan’s imprisonment “must end”.

Ratnam said “the Greens are proud to stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people” in their fight for Öcalan’s freedom. She called on people to understand the Kurdish struggle and “amplify the voice of Kurdish people”.

Susan Price, who chaired the media conference in Gadi, said freeing Öcalan is a necessary step towards securing a just, democratic and political solution to Turkey's “Kurdish question”. The speakers included former Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens MP Abigail Boyd, Greens MP Kobi Shetty, Reverend Bill Crews and Rachel Evans from Socialist Alliance.



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