Students honour Kurdish freedom fighter

Pkk demo (cropped)

​PKK leader's fight for freedom and democracy is recognised

Graham Martin's photo

11th June 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has been made an honorary life member of Strathclyde University Student’s Association (USSA).

Ocalan, a founder and the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been imprisoned in Turkey since 1999.

While the left-wing organisation long championed armed struggle in its bid to win statehood for the oppressed Kurds, Ocalan has recently called on the PKK to lay down arms and embrace democratic change. He has developed a libertarian form of socialism which has heavily influenced Kurds who have been involved in stopping the spread of Islamic State in the Kurdish part of north west Syria.

Abdullah Ocalan

Abdullah Ocalan

Ocalan wants democracy for the Kurds, with people living in an equal society based on human rights

The students’ association honoured Ocalan because of his conversion to peace and his attempts to find a democratic solution to the problems of the region.

Roza Salih, USSA vice president, and a well known campaigner for Kurdish rights, said: “I am really pleased that USSA is recognising the struggle of Abdullah Ocalan by giving him a life honorary membership.

“Mr Ocalan deserves this award: he wants democracy for the Kurds and wants the Kurdish ethnicity to be recognised with people living in an equal society based on human rights.”

Ocalan’s representative, Ceylan Bağrıyanık, will attend from Diyarbakir to accept the award on his behalf on 20 June at the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association.                              

Members of the Kurdistan National Congress and trade unions will also speak on the struggle and Bağrıyanık will speak on political reconciliation and peace efforts made by Kurdish women.

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