Art and Culture for Öcalan’s freedom

Calling all artists and other creators of culture

With Kurdish culture denied and banned by the Turkish state, campaigning through art sends an extra-strong message. The campaign for the Freedom of Abdullah Öcalan

is calling on creative friends to use their skills to help highlight the campaign, FREEDOM FOR ABDULLAH ÖCALAN: A POLITICAL SOLUTION FOR THE KURDISH QUESTION, and to share their actions with us so that we can help publicise them. This cultural action will start from 5 November under the heading “Multilingual and Multicultural Freedom is Possible: You Cannot Imprison Ideas!”

The aim is to use cultural creations to protest Öcalan’s isolation in İmralı island prison and also to help spread the liberatory ideas of his prison writings – ideas that set out an alternative to the systems that are setting our world on fire and turning people against each other.

The full call to action is set out below. You can download a poster here.

Art and Culture for Ocalan’s Freedom

Multilingual and Multicultural Freedom is Possible: You Cannot Imprison Ideas!

On December 10, 2023, it will be 75 years since the United Nations General Assembly first adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Despite this, hardly a day goes by when the inalienable human rights of Kurds are not systematically violated throughout Kurdistan and around the world. The Turkish prison island of Imrali and the solitary confinement of Abdullah Öcalan, the foremost theorist and philosophical leader of the Kurdish freedom movement, represents one such extreme case. Our political guide Öcalan has been languishing in solitary confinement in Turkey for more than 24 years and has been cut off from any means of communication with the outside world. This also isolates his liberatory political ideas from the Kurdish movement’s struggle for freedom and their implementation in an eventual peace process. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the established human rights institutions who are supposed to prevent torture in custody, such as the Council of Europe, as despite numerous requests they have not fulfilled their obligation to intervene against these unlawful practices of extreme human isolation (from even his lawyers and family), which are illegal and considered torture.

In order to break the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan’s, we are announcing an Art and Culture campaign for Ocalan’s Freedom on the 5th of November 2023. The freedom of Abdullah Öcalan can precipitate a political solution in the Kurdish society’s struggle for freedom and be an alternative to current repression. Abdullah Öcalan’s writings and his political philosophy are discussed and applied by social forces worldwide, despite his isolation and defamation by ruling states who refuse to consider his ideas. These ideas continue to inspire intellectuals, free thinkers, scientists, workers, activists, artists, trade unionists, social movements, politicians, families, and entire societies seeking liberation.

Abdullah Ocalan’s ideas are based on the three pillars of women’s liberation, social ecology, and grassroots democracy. His philosophy and the example of the Kurdish movement are having an impact on all people regaining hope for free democratic changes and uniting to politically organize against societal fragmentation. With his person as part of social debates, this process of profound democratization and dissolution of dominant relationships between genders, social groups, and in relation to the earth’s resources can be given great enrichment and a new impetus.

Today, Kurdish culture with all its material and spiritual elements is denied and banned by the Turkish state. They want to complete this cultural genocide with war and unlimited assimilation practices. Even the slightest democratic demand from the Kurds to maintain their cultural existence is suppressed using violent methods. Kurds have no officially recognized linguistic rights where they live or in the international system. Kurdish culture with all its elements; literature, history, music, painting, etc. are forbidden and any attempt to pursue them is severely criminalized. We the Kurds and their friends reject this cultural genocide.

We also reject the total isolation of our de-facto President Abdullah Öcalan. Öcalan’s project, which insists that Kurds and all peoples living in the Middle East live together on the basis of a common autonomous system, is the only solution and in fact the region’s salvation. That is why he needs to be released.

We as the campaign for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan call on all writers, artists, singers, students, workers, and all struggling people to join us in the Art and Culture for Ocalan’s freedom campaign, on the 5th of November 2023, under the slogan:

“Multilingual and Multicultural Freedom is Possible: You Cannot Imprison Ideas!” in protest his isolation on Imrali island and spread the liberation ideas of the prison writings which spawned from there.



The campaign for the Freedom of Abdullah Öcalan