The two-day 11th International Conference on EU, Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds hosted by the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), started at the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday with a message of the Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, read out by Neslon Mandela’s former lawyer Essa Mossa. In his message, Abdullah Öcalan drew attention to the fact that the 2-year-long process of resolution had reached the stage of negotiation, and called for everyone, first and foremost bodies in Europe, to support the process.
He emphasised that determined efforts had been expended to ensure the process stayed on track, and that it would not only bring about a just and lasting solution to a century-old question, but would also, by means of its democratic conclusion, make a significant contribution to peace and democracy in the Middle East.
Öcalan stressed the important contribution that could be made to the process of negotiation if all organisations in Turkey and in Europe that supported peace and resolution lent their support to it.
Öcalan added that he attached great importance to the Kurdish conference organised by the European Parliament (EP), urging it to play an active role in the process of resolution. He said the EP could play a major role in this honourable struggle for humanity and in the quest for peace. Öcalan emphasised that he expected the peoples of Europe, who believed in freedom and democracy, to support the struggle for democracy and freedom in lands that have suffered pain for so long.
Öcalan pointed out that Kobanê and Sinjar were a summary of the Kurdish question and the Middle East. He called on people to understand the importance of the struggle being waged there, where women are proving that a people cannot be liberated without the full participation of women in the struggle.
Öcalan emphasised the heroism of the young women and men who are putting their lives on the line to oppose the barbaric gangs attacking Sinjar and Kobanê. He added that if women were still being sold in the 21st century, this was shameful for the entire world. Öcalan’s message concluded by emphasising that the Kurdish people are waging a struggle for freedom and democracy.
Debate was being chaired by Prof. Michael Gunter and Osman Kavala, and the speakers were Prof. Ofra Bengio from Tel Aviv university, Bahar Şimşek from Ankara university, EP deputy Bodil Ceballos, journalist Fréderike Geerdink, Prof. Abbas Vali from Bosphorus university and the PYD Co-President Salih Muslim.
The speakers emphasised that the history of the Middle East was full on repression and massacres, and that this was continuing in the present day. The speakers stressed that the Kurds were waging a freedom struggle under this repression, giving Rojava as an example of this.
PYD Co-President Salih Muslim began his speech by mentioning the history of Mesopotamia, saying: “The Kurds, Armenians, Arabs, Jews and Assyrians have lived together in Mesopotamia for thousands of years. There may have been rivalry between them, but they did not massacre each other. But following Islam 1,500 years ago and the arrival of the Turks problems began to emerge. With the development of the nation state in Europe the Arabs began to see things differently. Then the land of the Kurds was divided into 4 parts and there was repression and massacres took place.”
Muslim added that there had been many changes in the 21st century, with ISIS attacking the Kurds in Sinjar, with the aim of wiping out communities. He said 200 churches had been destroyed in Mosul and that churches had also been attacked in Rojava and historic sites destroyed. He added that the intention of ISIS was to kill and drive out the people and settle their own people. He continued: “In Rojava we have created a new system, which can be a model for the whole of the Middle East. We have a social contract according to which everyone can live freely. But some forces do not want the Kurds to establish a system. In Kobanê we have been resisting for 3 months now. We are defending the people and democracy.”
Muslim added that the struggle in Rojava against ISIS had been going on for 2 years and that no one was helping them, and that they were relying on their own resources. He said that fraternity and freedom would win in Mesopotamia and that the barbarians would vanish.