Festival-goers from various European countries met in the Netherlands on Saturday for the 30th Kurdish Culture Festival, demanding freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
People from Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Britain travelled to Landgraf in the Netherlands to take part in the event which started with a minute of silence for those who have lost their lives in the struggle for Kurdistan.
Co-chairs of the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E) made an opening speech emphasising the isolation imposed on Öcalan by the Turkish state, Turkey’s occupation strategies in the Kurdish-populated regions in the Middle East and the resistance of Kurdish fighters.
The Long March of young internationalists highlighting the campaign for Öcalan’s freedom, which started in Germany on 11 September also ended on the festival premises.
Îlham Ehmed, the head of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), also made a speech concentrating on the revolution in Kurdish-controlled North and East Syria (Rojava).
“In defiance of those attacking our revolutions, Kurdish is now being taught from primary schools to universities,” Ahmed said in his speech, on the right to mother tongue education.
On behalf of the Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Initiative, Fazela Mahomad from the Kurdistan Solidarity Group from South Africa, and Kariane Westrheim, Professor of Education at the University of Bergen and Chair of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), also took the floor ro remind listeners of the importance of Öcalan for a political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.
A message from the KJK (Community of Kurdistan Women) was read out, while Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council co-chairs Besê Hozat and Cemil Bayık, as well as PKK Executive Committee member Murat Karayılan reached out to the participants through video messages.