Statement on the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan in Italy

GENEVA COUNCIL - Making global markets work for all, 23-24 November 1998

The Council of the Socialist International reiterates its total repudiation of terrorism. In recent years it has become ever clearer that terrorism cannot solve conflicts within countries or between them. From Northern Ireland to the Middle East; from South Africa to the Basque country, political dialogue is showing the way to conflict resolution.

The arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, President of the PKK, and his request for political asylum must be dealt with according to the rule of law. The SI endorses that all those that are accused of crimes of terrorism should be judged in fair trials.

Italy is constitutionally bound to deny extradition of any person to any country which maintains the death penalty. In this sense, we believe Italy embodies the values of both the European Union and of our international socialist family.

The Socialist International cannot accept the aggressive response of the Turkish authorities to the democratic and constitutional processes now underway in Italy.

As an aspiring member of the European Union it is unacceptable that the Government of Turkey should call a boycott of Italian products, and encourage harassment and public manifestations against Italy, both in Turkey and elsewhere in the world.

The difficulty stemming from the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan is not just an Italian problem. It is a European problem given the integration of the European Union, the operation of the Single European Market and the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey. An attack on the Government of Italy in this way is an attack on the European Union - on the values underlining European societies, on the solidarity and partnership which is fundamental to the concept of European integration.

The Socialist International expresses its strong support to the government and Prime Minister of Italy to continue, despite the harassment, dealing with this issue according to the demands of the Italian constitution.

The Socialist International declares that it is prepared to play its part in establishing and supporting a political dialogue to resolve the conflict.