Fatma Öcalan, the sister of the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan, said she misses her brother whom she has not been able to visit for a very long time, and asked: “Every family has the right to make prison visits. Why do we not?”
Fatma Öcalan, three years younger than her brother at 69 years old has not been able to visit Abdullah Öcalan since 6 October 2014, and has only been able to meet him in open visits three times since he was imprisoned in 1999.
Speaking to the Mesopotamia News Agency in an exclusive interview, she talked about their childhood days, and the years after Abdullah Öcalan went underground for political reasons.
“He was such a nice child and always helped the family in the field. He would come to the field with us,” she explained. “We laboured hard during the harvest, picking pistachios from the trees, cutting the wheat, and doing many other things. We had a pistachio tree on our land on the outskirts of the village. He would always go there with his books and studied under the shadow of the pistachio tree. When he got tired he would eventually doze off, and use one of his books as a pillow to put under his head.”
She said her brother was the only family member going to school then.
“My dad did not permit us, the girls, to go to school. He said it was ethically a shame. But my brother didn’t accept this. He argued with my father saying men and women were equal… When he was in the elemantary school, my dad once went to see his teacher to learn how he was doing in the class. The teacher said, ‘Your kid is great, he’s doing very well in all his lessons, no need to worry about anything.'”
Fatma Öcalan also talked about how everyone felt after Abdullah Öcalan went underground.
“He was always abroad. We didn’t see him for many years during that time. And he really suffered so much, especially when our father and then our mother passed away. He had not been able to see them for years, and could not be by their side as they took their last breath… When my mother was near the end, she frequently spoke of him and said she wished he could come to see her and bring her a new dress. Later, when I visited my brother in prison, I told him about this last memory I had of our mother. He got sad and said that he unfortunately couldn’t find a way to do it.”
She said they all the family missed him so very much and would like to go and visit him.
“We haven’t seen him for such a long time. We are calling on the government to be allowed to go and see him.