An Australian senator has sent a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ regarding the isolation imposed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founding leader Abdullah Öcalan and a potential visit by a European delegation to the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakır (Amed) in Turkey.
On behalf of the Australian Greens, Senator Jordon Steele-John said that the delegation will include international lawyers, politicians, and intellectuals, and will hold meetings with civil society organisations, bar associations and legal organisations, as well as the families of inmates.
Steele-John noted that the delegation aims to raise a concern for those detained at İmralı High-Security Prison, including Abdullah Ö̈calan, who has not been allowed to exercise his right to communicate with the outside world for some years.
“Öcalan is recognised as a leader by millions of Kurds. Kurds want to be able to live in peace and dignity. Öcalan is key to any future negotiations for justice, peace, and democracy in Türkiye, like Mandela was in South Africa,” the senator said.
In addition to a future of freedom for the Kurdish people, the senator demanded that the Turkish government facilitate peace talks between Turkey and the PKK.
Steele-John emphasised that the Australian Greens recognise that Kurds in Turkey still face discrimination in educational, cultural and political life, pointing to over 10,000 members of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who have been imprisoned in Turkey since 2016.
He also added that the Australian Greens support the delisting of the PKK as a terrorist organisation, calling on Turkey to cease all military actions in North and East Syria and to withdraw its forces.
The European delegation will visit political parties that have a group in the parliament as well as parties outside the parliament, and it will also try to arrange a meeting with the Ministry of Justice.