In April 2009, the lawyer for Nelson Mandela visited Turkey and spoke publicly of Nelson Mandela’s support for the Kurdish people’s Freedom Struggle. Essa Moosa, visiting Turkey on official business, denounced the criminalisation of the Kurdish Freedom Struggle and compared Abdullah Öcalan to Nelson Mandela.
Expressing Nelson Mandela’s support for the Kurdish Freedom Struggle he said, “Both Mandela and Öcalan have struggled for their people!” He added that they had been arrested in similar circumstances and held on island prisons and noted that the Kurdish leader was even more isolated than Nelson Mandela had been.
Even in 1992 Nelson Mandela refused to accept the Atatürk Peace Award because of the oppression of the Kurds by the Turkish Government. After the rejection, the Turkish press called him “an ugly African and terrorist Mandela”.