İHD: Öcalan and all political prisoners must be free

Human Rights Association (İHD) made a written statement on the 29th anniversary of its establishment and called for the freedom of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners.

İHD was formed by 98 human rights defenders on July 17, 1986 and continued its activities on human rights and freedoms throughout the post-military intervention period in Turkey. İHD emphasized its role in the development of human rights advocacy in Turkey and commemorated Rıdvan Kızgın as well as hundreds of other İHD employees who were imprisoned or killed by state forces.

İHD commemorated its founding member Aunt Leman Fırtına who died on April 2, 2015, and said that it aims to support and further the struggle of Cumartesi (Saturday) and Peace Mothers who lost their children in prisons after the September 12 military intervention.

‘TURKEY CANNOT MOVE FORWARD WITH THE CURRENT CONSTITUTION’

İHD stated that the current constitution based on Turkish ethnicity and Sunni-Muslim faith reveres militarist and pro-nation state ideologies, and Turkey could not move forward with the current constitution. İHD highlighted the lack of a new constitution despite political parties’ promises to draft a new constitution during the 25th Parliamentarian Elections of June 7.

‘ÖCALAN’S CALLS BROUGHT THE SOLUTION PROCESS TO A POINT OF NO RETURN’

İHD stated that the Kurdish issue entered a new phase and the calls Abdullah Öcalan made on March 21 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 read out in Diyarbakır Newroz celebrations brought the solution process to a point of no return. İHD emphasized the importance of the joint Dolmabahçe Statement of February 28, 2015 in which state and HDP representatives read out the declaration drafted by Abdullah Öcalan, and criticized President Erdoğan’s decision to stop the negotiations as opposed to the realization of Kurdish leader’s declaration. İHD noted that the ceasefire continued despite Erdoğan’s approach and the peoples of Turkey voted for the peace process during the June 7 elections in 2015.

‘MASSACRES CONTINUE’

İHD stated that the AKP’s insistence on its authoritarian policies such as the failure of removing the election threshold, limitation of local government authorities, and the failure of democratizing the regime of political parties, has cost Turkey dearly. İHD pointed out that the state had responded to Gezi and Kobanê protests with police-state responses, and voters said ‘No’ to state authoritarianism during the June 7 elections.

İHD reported that;

2,964 unresolved murders took place between 1990 and 2014,

2,194 extrajudicial executions happened between 1991 and 2014,

1,308 people died in police stations and prisons between 1980 and 2014,

940 civilians disappeared under state custody between 1980 and 2014, and

23,758 people (PKK guerrillas, soldiers, police officers, and village guards) lost their lives during armed confrontations between 1993 and 2014.

İHD stated that 2 thousand 616 people were killed by the Turkish state as well as the PKK between 1993 and 2014, 330 people lost their lives due to landmines between 2002 and 2014, and 432 soldiers and police officers died as a result of ‘suspicious cases of suicide’ between 2003 and 2014.

‘ÖCALAN MUST BE FREE’

İHD ended its statement by inviting Turkey to consider a comprehensive amnesty and take the necessary steps for the freedom of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners.

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