The Turkish community in Australia condemned an advertisement published by The Age daily calling for freedom for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. A letter in response to the ad was written on Tuesday by the Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance.
In the letter, the alliance underlined that Öcalan is a recognized terrorist and said that “Criminal Code Act 1995 Division 102 subsection 7 and 8 define providing support to a terrorist organization and associating with terrorist organizations as a crime."
The ad calls for The Age readers to visit the freedomforocalan.org website for a donation link.
“Over 100,000 Australians with links to Turkey, also the Kurdish ones, feel they deserve an apology from Fairfax media for publishing these ads,” it said, reiterating that Öcalan is responsible for innumerable deaths of both civilians and Turkish soldiers.
The alliance further said that if no corrective action is taken, media lawyers will be instructed to take legal action, and the group will apply to the Australian Federal Police.
The Australian Turkish advocacy alliance is the leading public affairs body for the Turkish-Australian community and was founded with the support of over 40 associations across the nation in 2013.
The advertisement in The Age coincides with the date Öcalan was arrested. Öcalan, 72, founded the PKK in 1978. He was captured in 1999 and sentenced to death due to his role in the terrorist group's decadeslong campaign against the Turkish state, which led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.
However, after capital punishment was abolished in Turkey in 2002, Öcalan's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He is being held in a high-security prison on Imralı Island in the Marmara Sea.
The PKK is a terrorist organization that is also recognized as a terrorist group by the European Union. However, PKK followers are still able to hold mass rallies across Western countries and maintain their organizational presence.