PCS voted to affiliate for the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign following an impassioned plea at conference on Wednesday (22).
Marianne Owens on behalf of the NEC told delegates that freeing Öcalan, the Kurdish leader of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), and thousands of his supporters jailed by the Turkish government will also free all Turkish people.
Öcalan has been jailed for more than 18 years, and has spent most of that time in inhumane conditions on the Turkish island of Imrali.
His imprisonment is part of a purge by the right-wing Turkish government, which since the 2016 election has seen another 60,000 people jailed and 150,000 lose their jobs for opposing the state.
Last November, Kurdish MP Leyla Güven began a hunger strike which has since been joined by 7,500 people around the world in a hunger strike in support of Öcalan.
And a Freedom for Öcalan campaign set up around the same time now has the support of 14 UK trade unions.
Release Öcalan and others
Proposing a motion to affiliate to the campaign, Marianne said: “The Kurdish people must be allowed to fully participate in democratic society.
“What is clear is that a peaceful democratic solution can only be achieved with the release of Öcalan and others.
“The liberation of Öcalan is the liberation of the Turkish people.
“Please support our brothers and sisters in this struggle.”
The motion, which was unanimously carried, also encourages PCS branches to also affiliate to the Freedom for Öcalan campaign.