Local people and opinion leaders from northeastern Syria continue to express their opposition towards the detention conditions of Abdullah Öcalan.
Öcalan has been imprisoned under strict isolation conditions and the last time any news was heard from him was on 25 March 2021 when he was allowed to make a phone call to a family member. However, the phone call was cut off in mid-conversation after approximately five minutes. It has raised concerns amongst the public about his well-being.
Mihemed Sadik Al-Isedi, the co-chair of the Manbic (Manbij) Assembly of Opinion Leaders, has shared similar concerns over Öcalan’s health, also on behalf of the local people of Manbij that he represents. He has called for Öcalan’s freedom.
“During the years he lived in Syria and in Lebanon, leader Abdullah Öcalan developed strong ties with the leaders of the tribes and peoples here,” he told ANHA.
Stating that they consider Öcalan as “the leader of the fellowship of the peoples,” Al-Isedi criticised the Turkish and Syrian governments for their anti-democratic approaches. “The mindsets of the Turkish state and our government have never changed through thousands of years,” he said. “Therefore, they reject a democratic life, based on the fellowship of peoples.”
Al-Isedi drew attention to the fact that opinion leaders in northeastern Syria pay significant attention to the paradigm that was suggested by Öcalan, because they believe that this suggested system is consistent with the reality of the local peoples and tribes in Syria, as they also believe Öcalan’s thoughts have been “enlightening.”
“Leader Öcalan’s thoughts and philosophy regarding local peoples’ tribes and unions are seen as the basis of democratic visualisation. All peoples owe thanks to leader Öcalan for his empowering thoughts,” he said.
“He enlightened the peoples of the region with his paradigm,” he concluded. “And so, peoples here see it as a responsibility to stand up against his isolation.”
Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been imprisoned in the remote island of Imralı in Turkey since 1999.
Whilst the PKK is deemed as a ‘terrorist’ organisation by Turkey, the EU and the USA, human rights defenders, politicians and activists around the world have been campaigning against the listing of the PKK in the EU’s list of “terrorist organisations.”
Most recently, more than 1000 figures, among them the filmmakers Ken Loach and Paul Laverty, American author and activist Lucina Kathmann, Mexican poet, writer and editor Judyth Hill, Hungarian philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Scottish novelist James Kelman and Italian cartoonist Michele Rech (known as Zerocalcare), signed a declaration appealing for the delisting of the PKK from EU’s list of ‘terrorist organisations.’