In an interview with Kurdish journalist Erem Kansoy, UK academic Dr Thomas Phillips – lecturer in law and supporter of the London-based Peace in Kurdistan Campaign explained the key role of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan for peace negotiations in Turkey.
He also touched about the ruling AKP party’s approach to political prisoners and the importance of Abdullah Öcalan to a future peace process.
Dr Thomas has a particular interest in the rights of Kurdish populations residing in Turkey, Iraq and Syria. He has spoken on the subject at several conferences, including the first ever international conference held at the University of Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
He has also contributed to legal processes beyond his scholarly activities. For example, he recently provided expert evidence in a court case concerning the prevalence of torture and other human rights abuses against members of pro-Kurdish political parties in Turkey; and he recently travelled to Turkey in order to monitor the trial of HDP former co-chair Selahattin Demirtas. Dr Thomas Phillips joined LJMU’s Law School in 2018.
Öcalan’s ideology of democratic confederalism has been a key inspiration for the multi-ethnic feminist democratic administration in Northern Syria. His long lasting incarceration in solitary confinement on the island prison of İmralı has been compared to the case of Nelson Mandela.
As an influential Kurdish leader who supports calls for peace negotiations with the Turkish state aiming to end the violent military actions of Turkey in Kurdistan, Öcalan has a key role to play in such negotiations.
The full interview can be seen on YouTube here.