European Politicians join protest for Öcalan and the “right to hope”

Last week’s action outside the Council of Europe was timed not only for the anniversary of the beginning of the international conspiracy that ended in Ocalan’s abduction, but also coincided with the autumn session of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly

Last Wednesday, the Assembly gave their support to the council’s monitoring committee report on Turkey. Despite its diplomatic language, their report was severely critical- but, as in every report, that criticism was blunted by the introductory comment that Turkey faces serious terrorist threats. As we all know, every Kurd who insists on being Kurdish is a terrorist in the Turkish government’s eyes, and the “War on Terror” is used as an excuse to  avoid engaging with the Kurdish Question. The politicians in the chamber cannot have missed the colourful and noisy demonstration outside, but most lacked the initiative – the curiosity even – to cross the road and meet some of the people that Turkey regards as terrorists and discover for themselves the dangerous absurdity of that “terrorism” comment.

However, if many politicians still seem happy to remain in ignorance, we do have some good friends who work hard to set the record straight and to act as a voice for the Kurdish struggle in European politics, and some of them were able to find time in their busy parliamentary programme to come out and give public voice to their support for the  Kurdish cause.

We heard – in order of appearance on this video – Paul Gavan from Ireland, Constantinos Efstathiou from Cyprus, Thomas Pringle from Ireland, Laura Castel Fort from Catalonia, and Roberto Rampi from Italy. Tommy Shepherd from Scotland also visited the demonstration the previous day.

Like in any political struggle, the formal politics and the wider movement boost each other, and events such as this are an important part of working together.