Release Shilan Ozcelik!

Submitted by AWL on 17 March, 2015 - 5:10 Author: Michael Johnson

On Friday 12 March, around 50 Kurdish solidarity activists held a demonstration outside Holloway Prison in north London to demand the release of Shilan Ozcelik.

Ozcelik was arrested earlier this year at Stansted Airport, and has recently been charged with a terrorist offence for allegedly trying to join the YPJ's women's protection units in Rojava.

The YPJ are linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

According to the Guardian "...the charges against Ozcelik are understood to relate to the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), which is outlawed in Britain and has spent decades fighting the Turkish army in a separatist conflict."

While not being uncritical towards political forces such as the PYD, socialists should give their full support the Kurdish struggle against Islamic State, which is currently being led by its YPG and YPJ militias. 

The proscription of the PKK, at the behest of Turkey, is being used to criminalise the Kurdish community in the UK and create, under the bracket of "terrorism", a false equivalence between two sides in this conflict.

There is no moral or political equivalence between travelling to Syria to join the ultra-reactionary Islamic State and fighting for the secular democratic Kurdish forces. 

Release Shilan Ozcelik!

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