Participants in the ‘Freedom March’, a protest convoy demanding freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and calling for a democratic solution to the Kurdish question, have persisted despite arrests, police blockades and stormy weather, reaching Gemlik on Sunday.

Participants in the ‘Freedom March’, a protest convoy attended by large numbers of people from several cities in Turkey, have persisted in their journey in spite of arrests, police blockades and sto

rmy weather, to converge on Gemlik, the town in northwest Turkey from which boats leave to Abdullah Öcalan’s İmralı Island prison.


The ‘Freedom March’ convoy began on Saturday from the Kurdish-majority provinces in southeast Turkey, with participants heading to Gemlik as part of a country-wide demonstration demanding freedom for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Öcalan, and calling for a democratic solution to the Kurdish question.

The journeys involved traversed almost the whole map of Turkey. More vehicles departed from 39 districts in Istanbul on Sunday, and all converged on Gemlik on that day, with additional support pouring in from the nearby provinces of Kocaeli and Bursa.

After several arrests and blockades by police on Saturday, further blockades were set up in Bursa and the surrounding areas on Sunday, resulting in the detention of 15 individuals. However, the obstacles failed to deter the protestors, as many managed to get past the blockades and reach Gemlik.

“Until the freedom of Mr Öcalan, who has the only vision for the establishment of democracy, equality and freedom in this country, we will continue our struggle against isolation,” said HEDEP MP Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar.

The protest, sparked by the lack of communication with Öcalan, from whom there has been no word for the past 32 months as the authorities have prevented all visits by his family and lawyers, demanded the lifting of this isolation.

Öcalan last had contact with the outside world in an interrupted phone call with his brother in March 2021, while his last consultation with his lawyers was in 2019.