European Syriac Union participates in demonstration in Cologne, Germany, calling for freedom of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan

COLOGNE, Germany — On 15 February 1999, Kurdish pollical leader and co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê, PKK) Abdullah Öcalan was arrested by Turkish intelligence in Kenya with the assistance of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), sparking decades of protests and demonstrations in support of his freedom across the globe.

This year marked another week of demonstrations and events held in various countries to advocate for Öcalan’s release.

In Cologne, Germany, tens of thousands assembled on Saturday for a demonstration. Protesters united in their call for Öcalan’s release from the notorious İmralı Prison and denounced the betrayal that led to his capture.

European politicians and representatives from institutions like the Bethnahrin National Council (Mawtbo Umthoyo D’Bethnahrin, MUB) joined the demonstration, delivering speeches reaffirming solidarity with Öcalan’s cause and demanding justice.

Among the speakers, ESU Co-Chair Manuela Demir addressed the crowd in German, urging the international community to pressure Turkey to end Öcalan’s isolation.

Demir highlighted the repercussions of Öcalan’s arrest on Turkish citizens, emphasizing the erosion of democratic values and social progress.