Last night Trade Unionists from Aberdeen and Dundee sent messages of support to the hundreds of Kurds currently on indefinite hunger strike, and demanded action to end the isolation of Kurdish political leader, Abdullah Öcalan.
The Dundee Trades Council meeting was an AGM and was open to friends for a discussion of anti-cuts actions. After the meeting we gathered for a group photo with the Freedom for Ocalan flag. The Freedom for Ocalan campaign was the international issue supported by last year’s Durham Miners’ Gala, the biggest gathering of Trade Unions in the UK – but we had to warn everyone in the photo that posting an image of Ocalan on Facebook can get you banned. His is the only image treated in this way.
The statement from Aberdeen Trades council included an important comparison with solidarity actions against apartheid, and we quote it in full below. Fiona Napier, Secretary of ATUC, recently visited the fourteen hunger strikers in Strasbourg with Sarah Glynn from SSK. Fiona notes: “This is not the first time that Kurds have felt that hunger strike is the only option open to them. Those we spoke with in Strasbourg pointed out that they have tried every other avenue, and it has achieved nothing for the Kurdish cause, or Öcalan. All they are asking from the international community is to recognise and support their action, and for all of us to push our politicians to hold Turkey to account.”
Here is the Aberdeen Statement:
Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) stands with our Kurdish comrades currently on indefinite hunger strike, and echoes their call for an end to the isolation of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan, incarcerated on the Turkish prison island of İmralı for the past 20 years. Such isolation is deemed a form of torture, outlawed by international law. ATUC calls on the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture to carry out its fundamental duty and visit Öcalan in prison. We also call on our elected representatives to do all in their power to see that pressure is put on Turkey to comply with human rights legislation.
Furthermore, we recognise the respect with which Öcalan is held by millions of Kurds who regard him as their leader; the hugely progressive impact of his ideas on women’s rights, democracy, and multi-ethnic society; and the vital role that he can play in negotiating a peaceful settlement between the Kurds and the Turkish Government.
International solidarity and action were required to end South African apartheid and see Nelson Mandela lead his people to freedom and justice after decades of imprisonment on Robben Island. The Kurdish people in their struggle for justice demand no less from us – and they demand justice for their imprisoned leader, locked in isolation in his island prison.