Next March 21st Newroz is celebrated, the Kurdish new year's festival. For decades this date has represented in a special way the struggle of the Kurdish people for the recognition of their rights.

From Sortu, on such a special day, once again we wish to send fraternal greetings of solidarity to all the Kurdish people and their long struggle for freedom.

It has been one year since the historical declaration of Abdullah Öcalan which opened the doors to the hope of a new scenario of peace and democracy. The roadmap to peace presented by the Kurdish leader has meant a significant change in the situation of Kurdistan.

The PKK responded positively to this initiative by moving their forces outside of the frontiers of the Turkish state and ceasing their armed offensive activities.

The Kurdish political representatives of the BDP party have reiterated the calls for a framework of dialogue and negotiation to overcome the causes of the conflict, which are the lack of recognition of the Kurdish nation and its rights.

Also the demand for the release of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Öcalan is today stronger than ever. Imprisoned since 1999 on the island prison of Imrali, this same week the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) became known which condemned the Turkish state for "an inhumane treatment" of the leader of the Kurdish resistance.

In the hope that this decision serves to strengthen the campaign to set Öcalan free, today we can do no less than confirm that the Turkish state has had deaf ears for all of these movements.

Some months ago a constitutional reform was presented that perpetuates the violation of the most elemental cultural, civil and political rights of the Kurds.

Despite the fact that members of the BDP have been able to more or less regularly communicate with Abdullah Öcalan, the legal operations against the Kurdish movement have continued and many elected officials, as well as political activists, have been persecuted and imprisoned.

President Erdogan and the JDP must, for once and for all, recognise the rights of the Kurdish people. The popular protests that have been repeated in all of Turkey for more than a year demonstrate that society demands a radical democratization of government structures. At the moment, it seems that the Turkish government, with serious internal problems and an evident lack of social credibility, isn't disposed to participate in a democratic process that resolves the conflict in Kurdistan.

Sortu demands that the Turkish state seriously confronts a process of dialogue and negotiation that permits building a lasting and definitive peace in Kurdistan.

In the west of Kurdistan, in Rojava, after two years of war, they have been able to create autonomous institutions that work for peace and coexistence among all the cultures, nations and beliefs. It is a political example for all of the Middle East.

On the date of Newroz, Sortu wishes to congratulate the PYD party for their commitment to peace and especially the Kurdish women for their active role for freedom and democracy.

In Kurdistan under Iranian administration they continue suffering strong repression with episodes of armed confrontation. The Iranian denial must end.

Finally, the Kurdish autonomy under Iraqi administration advances slowly towards the construction of a common workspace for all Kurds.

In our understanding, even with the situation of the Kurdish people being very complicated, the latest movements inside of Iraq, Iran and above all in Turkey and Syria promote political changes that will surely be positive for the Kurdish people.

The popular Kurdish struggle has been able to create this dynamic of political changes and through this struggle they will achieve the full rights of the Kurdish people.

Sortu is confident that this year's Newroz will mobilize the necessary energy to promote in a firm way a democratic resolution to the conflict and for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan and the thousands of Kurdish prisoners.

In the Basque Country we have the same objective of giving an impulse to the ongoing peace process. The advances in both processes will serve to help on the path towards the liberation of the Basque Country and Kurdistan.

The Basque Country, March 19th, 2014
Department of International Relations of Sortu

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