The last time Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan spoke to his family was in a phone call on 24 March after worrying rumours about the state of his health and security circulated on social media.
During the phone call, Abdullah Öcalan said to his brother Mehmet Öcalan: “I want my lawyers to come here and meet me in person”. The call lasted for just four to five minutes and since then, there has been no outside contact with the Kurdish PKK leader.
Mehmet Öcalan is the person who visits his brother on behalf of the family whenever it is not banned by the state. The family demanded the right to meet Abdullah Öcalan for the Ramadan Bairam (Eid al-Fitr), which is normally a ‘right’ provided to all prisoners in Turkey.
It was announced by the Ministry of Justice that whilst those in prison were allowed to meet for holidays in the previous years, a video call will be provided within the scope of the “e-vision” project this year due to the pandemic. But Öcalan’s family has not been given any information about their right to communicate with him this way.
It is 48 days since the phone call, yet Öcalan’s family and lawyers have not received any positive or negative response to the application they made to Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to see him. Mehmet Öcalan spoke to MA regarding this situation.
He said: “Private meetings were held with the detainees during the holidays, but we have not been informed about it until now. Every week, we and the lawyers apply with a request to ‘meet immediately’ but we never get any positive or negative response. This attitude is unacceptable. Giving the right to talk for 3-4 minutes on the phone whenever and wherever they want is just making fun of us. We have legal and democratic rights. Our rights must be legally met”.
Stating that his brother is a political prisoner, Mehmet Öcalan said: “We do not demand any rights other than those of other prisoners. Whatever our right is, the state must meet it. Our request is to meet face-to-face with him, not by phone. There is no law on Imrali Island. They call us if they want. Every person has democratic rights. Our request is to meet face-to-face as soon as possible. I condemn those who do not provide this right. There is nothing more to say”.