Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan spoke to his brother Mehmet Öcalan in a phone call on Thursday 24 March. Mehmet Öcalan shared the details of their phone conversation with Mesopotamia Agency.
Mehmet Öcalan shared the information that his phone call with his brother Abdullah Öcalan was about “five minutes long”. Mehmet Öcalan was taken to a separate room alone for the phone call. “I was called by a person who identified himself as the ‘Imralı Prison Administrator’ on 24 March at around 6 pm. He told me that I needed to go to the Prosecutor’s Office in Urfa (Riha) on 25 March at 1.45 pm. I arrived in Urfa early in the morning and I was at the Urfa Courthouse and ready at the Prosecutor’s Office by the time of the phone call”, he said.
The officers who were present the moment he arrived at the office “were informed about the phone call. I was taken to a separate room alone. There was an officer there: he told me that this was the room that I would carry out the phone conversation”, Mehmet Öcalan said.
Abdullah Öcalan: This is very dangerous. The state is very dangerous
The minute he picked up the phone, Abdullah Öcalan, speaking on the other end of the line began to ask questions to Mehmet Öcalan. According to Mehmet Öcalan, Abdullah Öcalan’s statements on the phone were as follows: “How did you arrive there? Who brought you there? How did it happen? Where are you calling me from? This is not right what you are now doing and what the state is doing. Why is it wrong? Because for over a year, we had no meetings. None of these comply with the state law or any other law. You coming for this phone call is wrong. This is very dangerous. The state is very dangerous. If there will be a meeting, this should be done in a legal framework. They cannot arrange a phone call like this after a year”.
“The President told me over and over again that the phone call was a wrong decision”, Mehmet Öcalan said, referring to his brother Abdullah Öcalan as President.
‘I want my lawyers to come here and meet me in person’
Quotes from Abdullah Öcalan’s phone conversation were conveyed by Mehmet Öcalan: “The state plays the game incorrectly, so do you. This is not legal, this is not right. This is unacceptable. This is also very dangerous. Are you aware of what you are doing? I want my lawyers to come here and meet me in person. This is what is legal. I have been here for 22 years. How will they solve these problems in the future? This problem may only be solved with the law. Why do they not come over here? If there will be any meeting, this will be with the lawyers. Because this is a situation that is both political and legal”.
‘I don’t want anybody to die for me on hunger strikes, in dungeons’
“I stated to him that one of the reasons why I came for this phone call was because of the ongoing hunger strikes in prisons”, Mehmet Öcalan said. Upon providing this explanation, Abdullah Öcalan said, again as quoted by Mehmet Öcalan: “I don’t want anybody to die for me on hunger strikes, in dungeons. I have stated this before as well: I say it again now. There is no need for that, this is very heavy. You have to take that into consideration”.
Mehmet Öcalan underlined that the whole conversation on the phone lasted for only “four to five minutes. It was a high pitch voice. I think it was the voice of the President. The President told me: ‘This conversation is just so wrong. This is not a conversation, not a meeting’. And after that, the phone call was cut off”, Mehmet Öcalan said.
What happened after the phone call was cut off?
Mehmet Öcalan shared the details of what happened after his phone call with Abdullah Öcalan was cut off without any notice: “We were called again, but someone was on the other end of the line. The one who called me told me that I had to wait and I had to leave where I was. I waited for about 10-15 more minutes, then I understood there would be no further phone call. I told this to the officers there. ‘Your conversation is over’, they replied”.
Appeal to the CPT
Stating that he is still very concerned about his brother Abdullah Öcalan’s health, Mehmet Öcalan appealed to national and international authorities: “Everybody in prison has certain rights, they have democratic rights. Based on Turkey’s laws, we have a right to meet with him every 15 days and lawyers have the right to meet with him once a week. But we have not been allowed to see him for over a year. In which part of the world does such a thing happen?”
He also emphasized that “it was just a phone call and it lasted only for five minutes”, which hardly reduced his concerns. “We could not see him in person, alive. This is antidemocratic. Even by Turkey’s laws, this in unacceptable. We appeal to the CPT (the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment), the Council of Europe, to human rights defenders, to intellectuals and democrats around the world. This problem needs an urgent solution. This is highly unacceptable. This is such a tragi-comic situation. If we are citizens of this country, we also have rights defined by the law. Our rights have to be recognised”, the brother of the PKK leader said.
The responsbility of the 22-year-long prison isolation of Abdullah Öcalan belongs to “all the parties who had a hand in Abdullah Öcalan’s arrest”, Mehmet Öcalan said, adding: “Therefore, we are calling on all those parties as well. The President has to meet with his family and his lawyers right away. This state has held the President in prison for 22 years. Letting him speak in a four to five minute phone call is just grotesque. The President is a bridge between peoples. No one has the right to burn down that bridge”.