Leyla Zana: Kurds seek a peaceful solution within the territorial integrity of Turkey
Address by Leyla Zana, laureate of the Sakharov Prize in 1995
Welcoming Leyla ZANA to the Chamber, President Josep BORRELL said Parliament was delighted to be able to hear her voice at last. When she had been awarded the Sakharov prize in 1995, the then EP President Klaus HÄNSCH had said MEPs were waiting impatiently for this day.
Mr Borrell said that when Mrs Zana had spoken her promise in Kurdish to work for the brotherhood of the Kurdish and Turkish people upon her election to the Turkish Parliament, she had done so in full knowledge of the likely consequences. She had paid a high price in lost years and in terms of her health. He praised her refusal to remain silent and her refusal to accept release on health grounds. Recalling Parliament's many resolutions demanding her release, he told Mrs Zana that her struggle had contributed to substantial changes in Turkey, such as the end of martial law and the fact that use of Kurdish was no longer banned. He praised her call upon her release for the Kurdish groups to maintain their cease fire. Finally, speaking in Kurdish, the President told her Parliament was honoured by her presence.
Leyla Zana responded by thanking the President both in Catalan and Spanish. She gave her address to Parliament partly in Turkish and partly in Kurdish.