Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ömer Öcalan referred to the Justice Ministry as the “Injustice Ministry”, and called for the ministry to allow visits to the İmralı Prison during Wednesday’s Justice Vigil demanding an end to the incommunicado imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan.
The southeastern Şanlıurfa MP is the nephew of imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, and part of the HDP’s Justice Vigil that will continue for a total of 20 days with the demand that the PKK leader be allowed to meet with his lawyers.
Abdullah Öcalan has been serving a life sentence in the İmralı Island Prison located on the northwestern island of the same name since 1999, and his contact with the outside world has been severely restricted since the start of his detention. He has not been allowed contact with his lawyers since August 2019, and his last contact with his family was nearly two years ago, in a phone call in March 2021. There are also three other political prisoners at the prison, who are similarly isolated.
MPs in the vigil asked why Turkey’s laws were not applied for Abdullah Öcalan, and said the country’s economic and political crises “deepened” in parallel with the isolation policies in İmralı. The Turkish government tries to stay in power via the abuse of war and human rights, the MPs said, and added that the country needs democratic methods and dialogue to resolve its issues.
Ömer Öcalan said ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Bekir Bozdağ was the “Injustice Minister”, and his office the “Injustice Ministry”, while condemning the AKP’s plans of attack against northern Syria, intensifying military targeting of Kurdish-held northern Iraq, and the ongoing attacks against the HDP itself.
“We don’t want special treatment”, the MP said, pointing to the right of prisoners to meet with family and lawyers as recognised in law.
In 2013 and 2015, during peace talks with the PKK, a group of politicians dubbed the İmralı Delegation was allowed to visit the PKK leader twice. The 2.5-year period was a time when deaths stopped, Ömer Öcalan said, and asked why the government “feared” dialogue with Abdullah Öcalan.
The AKP preventing contact with Öcalan hinders a democratic solution, and creates a legal and political issue, the MPs said. If allowed to meet with his lawyers, Abdullah Öcalan would contribute to the resolution of crises in the country, they added.