This meeting notes:

  • since his abduction in 1999, Abdullah Öcalan has been continuously denied his human rights under Turkish and international law and we draw particular attention to the UN-mandated “Mandela Rules” (58 to 63) (1) for the ethical treatment of prisoners as well as the European Convention of Human Rights which Turkey signed in 1986
  • the Turkish state is currently abusing anti-terror legislation to persecute and criminalise its political opponents; 300 Kurdish political prisoners including MP Leyla Güven are on hunger strike to protest the treatment of the Kurds and Öcalan’s isolation and imprisonment (2)
  • Öcalan has called repeatedly for a democratic resolution within Turkey to secure a peaceful and lasting solution
  • the illegal invasion of Afrin by the Turkish regime has displaced 150,000 civilians and is a destabilising influence on the region; Turkey has stated that Kurds east of the Euphrates “will be buried in their ditches when the time comes” (3); this along with calls for a second Cyprus are tantamount to signalling the intent to commit war crimes
  • in 2017 the UK Trades Union Congress unanimously passed a motion giving the support of the UK’s 6 million trade unionists to the demands for Öcalan’s release (4)

This meeting believes:

  • Erdogan and the ruling AKP’s increasing authoritarianism and the direct threat of war crimes in Northern Syria must be challenged by the international community
  • Öcalan is key to a peaceful solution in Turkey; he has the support of the Kurdish people as is clearly demonstrated by the fact that over 10 million people signed a petition calling for his release
  • the values of Abdullah Öcalan; peace, democracy, equality – are the values of the international labour movement and it’s our responsibility to show solidarity with Öcalan and the Kurdish people

We resolve:

  • to call on the international community to stand with the population of Rojava against illegal aggression from the Turkish state and support a no-fly zone in the region
  • that we shall immediately affiliate with the Freedom for Öcalan campaign
  • to work with the Freedom for Öcalan campaign and apply political pressure on this government and the next Labour government to demand;
    • Abdullah Öcalan be released as part of a peace process
    • the Turkish state to obey its own and international laws
    • a peaceful and democratic resolution to be sought between Turkey and its Kurdish citizens
    • the reconvening of peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

More information

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules)

Hunger striking for peace in Turkey

Turkey says Syrian Kurdish militants will be buried in ditches

TUC Congress demands freedom for Öcalan