The “Freedom for Ocalan, Political Status for Kurdish People” march got under way on the 1st of February under the call of the Federation of Kurdish Associations in Europe (KON-KURD). Kurds from all across Europe poured into Geneva. Kurds came to Geneva where they met in front of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for a press release.
In the statement it was declared that “Today, here, all four parts of Kurdistan are taking part in this march”. The statement went on “the Turkish state is carrying out dirty negotiations in order to damage the freedom movement and through this is attempting to eliminate the Kurdish people’s struggle. Today, we are here to show that we will not allow any such attempt to succeed. This is a historical step towards the freedom of our people and our leader”.
The demand for participation is high
According to information from the organizing committee there are over a hundred voluntary participants ranging from politicians, writers, artists and intellectuals that will participate in the march from start to finish. At the same time there are hundreds of people that have applied to partially take part in the march.
The march included writers Asli Erdogan, Suzan Samanci, Mustafa Peköz, Günay Aslan. Politicians Ahmedi Kemalizade, Felaknas Uca, Mahir Sayin, Mele Safi, Ahmet Demir, Cemil Çelik, and artists Semdin, Seyitxan, Cane, Kawa and Ozan Çagdas.
The march has arrived in Nyon
The march left Place de Neuve at 8am destined for Nyon. Towards 3pm the march had reached Nyon where they stayed the night. The next morning the march had once again started their journey to Morges. Despite the very cold weather the marchers are in high spirits as they shout slogans and demands for the freedom of Ocalan. At certain intervals the marchers are served with tea and coffee to help keep warm. It is not just the cold that is making this march difficult; at some points during the march there is no path to walk on so the marchers are forced to walk through muddy fields. Four marchers have so far been taken to medical centers to be treated after which they have returned to take part in the march. There are friends of the Kurdish Freedom Movement that are also taking part in this march. Five members of MLKP will be with the march from start to finish.
On the 3rd of February at the end of the march from Morges to Lausanne a big demonstration took place. Kurds living in Lausanne had greeted the marchers.
A reply to Lausanne
The Kurds marched to the city of Lausanne where Kurdistan was originally divided among four countries in an agreement made on the 24th of July, 1923. Again the marchers were greeted by local Kurds with banners demanding the freedom of Ocalan. The Kurds had gathered in front of the very building that the agreement had been signed, Place de Rumine. Swiss politicians were also present at the gathering to support the march.
Member of Parliament Vouruz: We must show respect
Federal Parliament MP Social Democrat Erick Vouruz stated “I admire your march in these horrific conditions. This struggle of the Kurds shows they have won their freedom, all we have to do is to respect it.”
I saw the same enthusiasm in Amed
MP for the Canton of Lausanne Nicola Roche stated that she had been in Amed as an observer for the 2011 general elections. She said “the enthusiasm of the Kurds in Amed and the Kurds here today were very similar. Your belief and the belief of the Kurds of Amed complete each other. We will not leave you until Strasbour.”
Europe’s human rights ethos is being tested
Social Democrat MP in Federal Parliament Jofiame Oubert stated her disgust towards the European states and Turkey. She said “whilst Turkey is continuing its terrible policies towards the Kurdish people, in Europe a very silent policy against the Kurds is evident. The latest example of this was the case of Roj TV. However, your stance here today will force Europe in to a test of its approach towards universal human rights.
Demonstration in Bern
Once the march had reached Bern, the weekend was filled with meetings, panels and demonstrations. On Saturday a demonstration was organized in temperatures of -10. The leader of the Swiss Green party and Member of Federal Parliament Ueli Lovenberger and the spokesperson of the Social Democrat Party and Member of Federal Parliament Margreth Schar each made a speech at the demonstration.
After the demonstration the marchers walked towards Burgdorf. In Bern another ten participants joined the march taking the total number to 230.
Today the marchers are at Olten-Liestal
Yesterday the marchers walked a total of 24 km in temperatures of -12 degrees. An interval for lunch was given at Murgenthal after which the march continued towards Lengenthal. Today the marchers will continue towards Olten-Liestal.
Long March on its seventh day
ANF, 06 February 2012 March will reach Basel on February 8
The long march of Kurdish politicians, intellectuals, writers and their friends continues in the seventh day. In the perishing cold at minus 12 degrees, protestors are moving towards Basel where a big meeting will be held on February 8.
Speaking about the meeting in Basel, march organization committee member Ismet Kem said that; “Basel city has a remarkable population of patriotic Kurds. We expect Kurdistan’s people and their friends here to join the meeting on February 8 as this welcome and meeting will be the only act to warm our friends up.”
Protestors of “Freedom for Öcalan, status for Kurdistan” titled march attended a panel discussion in Rathhalle city of Swiss at the night of February 4.
During the panel which was attended by writers, politicians, academicians as well as civilians, panelists called attention to the recent political developments in Kurdistan, AKP’s policies and purposes, the silence of Europe about the political genocide movement and the isolation of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Panelists stated that; “This march presents the will of the Kurdish people against all these practices”.
Speaking here, Germany Bremen University lecturer Prof. Roland Morc remarked that the march was very significant under the current weather conditions and underlined that; “Kurds give a fair and right struggle. With this rightfulness, they will certainly change Turkey one day.”
Morc noted that Kurds and their freedom struggle created important heritages and added; “The silence shouldn’t fear you, what matters at this point is the struggle you give. This silence and pressure are the breakings in the face of your belief.”
Some statements from march participants are as follows:
Writer Suzan Samanci: The pain and suffering of the Kurdish people is due to the Kurds not having a status. This is why I find it important that a march such as this was organised and I attended. All through the march I have witnessed the belief and joy of the Kurds, this is a sign of how far they have come, and this is the most important thing. I am particularly overjoyed by the stance and belief of the women attending the march. I believe all Kurdish women whose hearts beat for freedom must also join us at the march and become part of this belief and demand.
Activist Hanim Engizek: The freedom of Kurdish Peoples’ Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been in total isolation for six months, is as much as the freedom of Kurdish women as it is the freedom of the Kurdish people. As Kurdish women we are attending this march to show that the freedom of our leader is equal to our freedom.
Artist Seyitxan: I feel proud to be amongst my people and to be marching with them. As Kurdish artists we have important responsibilities in realising the freedom of our leader Abdullah Öcalan and carrying him to the people. Artists can only be worthy of their people by being amongst them in solidarity and by meeting the needs of the people. Ever step I have taken during the march has made me think about how I can be more worthy of the people, our struggle for freedom our leader. We will complete our march with enthusiasm, belief and hope.
Former MEP Feleknas Uca: I find this march very meaningful. Despite all the oppression and massacres the voice of the Kurds is being ignored. This is why we are on the streets today to join forces and raise our voices in determining our fate and freeing Kurdish Leader Mar Öcalan. The thing that has most excited me in this march is the variety of the participants. People from different beliefs, youth, old people, women, everyone is walking with confidence, belief and joy in these adverse weather conditions; this excites me. It is important that European organisations and powers hear this voice, feel this belief and take initiative for the Kurdish issue, but what is more important is the unity of the people here.
Mele Salih from the Kurdistan Islamic Movement: To be walking with my people despite all the difficulties is a wonderful thing and has made me happy. Walking in the path laid down by Leader Abdullah Öcalan makes me feel proud. We are marching today against surrender, Pharisee, lies and the deceitful. For those who question what this will change, they can just look at the freedom struggle of the past 30 years and will see the values it has created. We are marching for our belief, future and the existence of a whole people. If the AKP have their police, prosecutor, army, chemical weapons and prisons, we have our souls and belief. As long as we mantain our souls and belief we will always prevail. In fact we have already prevailed in the path of Leader Öcalan. We have been victors in gaining our own identity, consciousness, belief and the awareness of being an honourable people. We are marching for ourselves and gaining ourselves. The AKPs tyranny will not be able to stand up to this resistance.
Journalist-Writer Mustafa Peköz: With their 30 year struggle for freedom the Kurdish people have re-written history wherever they have been. Today history is being written once again. People are marching with great belief under weather conditions of -8 degrees. There is an unbelievable level of morale and motivation. The isolation of Mr. Öcalan has hardened the belief of the marchers. Their chants for the freedom of Kurdistan is multiplying their perseverance. I believe this is very important. The tyranny of the AKP government is clearly not going to break the will of the Kurds, this is evident.
Bard Maruf: As the artists, intellectuals, representatives of Kurdish organisations and public that are taking part in this march, we are condemning the international conspiracy against the Kurds and Kurdish Peoples Leader Abdullah Öcalan. We are showing that we will resist against the statuslessness of the Kurds. I believe that every artist must be with their people at historic times like this.
Academic Mirhem Yigit: I can honestly say that our march is the most magnificent, exciting and resolute march ever to be held in Europe. I now understand that Kurds are more resistant, more unified and more joyous in the face of hardship and oppression. Old, young, woman, man, everyone is here despite the cold and have been walking for six days now. There is so much belief and enthusiasm that even if one single person was left here no power will be able to make that individual bow down. All Kurds want is justice and freedom.
Former DEP MP Ali Yigit: Can we say that this march contains historic steps? Looking at the reason, target, content and conditions of the march we can say yes, these are historic steps. It is certain that when the intellectuals, artists, writers, bards, religious figures, women, men, old, young, in essence all the people, walk together, these are historic steps. Whatever the results, these are the steps of will, joy and freedom.
Kurdish Womans’ Peace Bureau member Songül Turhal: An exciting, joyous and decisive march is taking place. I have been witness to the strong will and unwavering belief of Kurdish women at this march. At the same time I have witnessed the empathy created between the marchers, who are walking in very difficult conditions, and the Kurdish guerrillas who are their brothers and sisters. I would like to thank all the people from Kurdistan who greeted us and joined our meeting in Bern.
The route of the demonstration
Contact: Kemal Çalgan (0041765895487) u. Mehmet Ilkhan (0041764843626).
-On the 31st of January there will be a press release in Geneva. The press release will be between 10.00-14.00 in front of the United Nations. After the press release the march will have been officially started.
-On the 1st of February at 8.00 the march will start from Geneva and reach Nyon in the evening. The distance is 20 km. We will stay in Nyon overnight.
-On the 2nd of February the march will be between Nyon-Morges. We will stay in Morges overnight.
-On the 3rd of February we will march from Morges to Lausanne. At 14.00 there will be a gathering in Lausanne. After this busses will take the marchers to Bern. There will be a panel in Bern where we will also be staying the night.
-On the fourth of February between 09.00-13.00 there will be a gathering in front of Parliament where various meetings will take place. After this we will walk to Burgdorf. At night the marchers will be taken to Langerthal by car.
-On the 5th of February the marchers will return to Burgdorf by cars where they will walk back to Langerthal where they will once again stay the night.
-On the 6th of February the marchers will walk from Langerthal to Olten where they will stay the night.
-On the 7th of February the marchers will walk from Olten to Liestal where they will stay the night.
-On the 8th of February the marchers will walk from Liestal to Basel where there will be an event.
-On the 9th of February the marchers will walk from Basel to Sierentz (France) where they will stay the night.
-On the 10th of February the marchers will walk from Sierentz to Mulhouse where there will be a mass greeting for the marchers. The Marchers will stay the night here.
-On the 11th of February the marchers will walk from Mulhouse to Meyenheim where they will stay the night.
-On the 12th of February the marchers will walk from Meyenheim to Colmar where they will stay the night.
-On the 13th of February the marchers will walk from Colmar to Selestad where they will stay the night.
-On the 14th of February the marchers will walk from Selestad to Erestheim where they will stay the night.
-On the 15th of February the marchers will walk from Erestheim to Strasbourg where there will be a mass greeting which will be aired live on TV as a panel.
-On the 16th of February the marchers will walk to the European Parliament and a present a document regarding their demands and conduct meetings.
-On the 17th of February the marchers will walk to the CPT where they will present a document regarding their demands and conduct meetings.
-On the 18th of February the marchers will lead the central mass march and salute the people on stage where a speech will be delievered on behalf of the marchers.