The Kurdish people are divided between four countries and are denied justice and freedom in all of them. Turkey’s Erdogan regime is waging an all-out war on the Kurdish people, in Turkey itself and across the borders in Syria and northern Iraq.
Abdullah Öcalan is the most widely recognised leader of the Kurdish people. He has been jailed by Turkey for 21 years. Even in prison, through his ideas and works, Öcalan has had a remarkable impact on the Kurdish freedom struggle. In particular, the liberation struggle in northern Syria has been inspired by his ideas on women’s equality, ethnic and religious pluralism, grassroots democracy and ecology.
In the period 2012-15 the Turkish regime engaged in peace talks with Öcalan but then broke them off and made a hard right turn toward an all-out assault on the Kurds. Öcalan is subject to a harsh isolation — from his family, lawyers and the wider world.
Just as the white South African apartheid regime finally came to a dead end and realised that it had to talk to Nelson Mandela, the Turkish government must end Öcalan’s isolation and talk with him and other Kurdish leaders.
This webinar will discuss the international campaign to free Abdullah Öcalan and begin serious peace negotiations between the Turkish authorities and the leaders of the Kurdish people.
- John Tully is a historian and writer living in Tasmania. He was an anti-war activist during his student days, and later campaigned against apartheid and the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. He is an activist with Australians for Kurdistan, which was set up at the time of the siege of Kobane in 2014.
- Clare Baker has worked in the British trade union movement for 20 years and currently works in the international department of Unite, the largest union in the country. She is the secretary of the trade union campaign ‘Freedom for Öcalan’ and was part of the 2021 International Peace Delegation to Imrali.
- Ögmundur Jonasson is a former Icelandic MP and government minister. Most of his working life he has been part-time lecturer in history at the University of Iceland and is a prolific writer and commentator. He is a spokesperson for the International Initiative ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan — Peace in Kurdistan’ and led the 2019, 2020 and 2021 International Peace Delegation to Imrali.
- Mansour Razaghi is a Kurdish-Australian freelance journalist and former CFMEU organiser; he is currently Cbus Super senior coordinator.
- Sarah Hathway will chair the meeting. She is an organiser with the Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association.
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