Abdullah Ocalan’s release, democratization in the Middle East

After the military coup in Turkey in 1980 became Ocalan had to flee abroad and lived for many years in exile in Damascus in Syria, but in Turkey in 1998 began to put pressure on Syria, he was forced to seek a new sanctuary. Many countries refused to accept him. Among other things, he was denied to stay in Russia, Sweden, Germany and Italy. At last, however, he comes to Kenya’s capital Nairobi. There, he was arrested February 15, 1999 by the CIA and Mossad, who drove him to the airport and handed him over to the Turkish secret service.

After his arrest he was taken to Turkey and the prison island of Imrali in the Marmara Sea where he sat strictly guarded. 31 May 1999, the trial began of him, and 29 June he was sentenced to death by hanging for treason and separatism. Ocalan said, however, that the point of treason was wrong when he “just tried to correct the historical mistake”.

After protests from people in the four parts of Kurdistan, and mostly countries in the world and the pressure, particularly from the European Union Turkey abolished in 2002 the death penalty in peacetime and Ocalan’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Flood sentence was changed to life imprisonment and was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of release.

After the arrest Ocalan has been tried in various ways to prevent war and argued for a peaceful solution. On March 21, 2013 Öcalan declared a ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish state. Ocalan’s statement was read to hundreds of thousands of Kurds gathered to celebrate the Kurdish New Year, and it says, “Let guns be silenced and politics dominate … a new door opens from the process of armed conflict democratization and democratic politics. It is not the end. It is the beginning of a new era.

On the prison island of Imrali in the Marmara Sea where for 17 years the Turkish government has strictly guarded and prevented him from meeting with his lawyers.

In 2005, the ECtHR ruled that Turkey violated Articles 3, 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights by granting Öcalan no effective remedy to appeal his arrest and sentence him to death without a fair trial.

The role of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK in the process of democracy and security in the Middle East is very important, former Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Bulent Arnec, said that this is my personal opinion that Abdullah Ocalan has great effect on the Kurdish people and it is undeniable.

Therefore, Kurdistan Human Rights Association urges the international community to continue its efforts for the release of Abdullah Ocalan.

Kurdistan Human Rights Association