The isolation on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held in İmralı High Security Prison for 22 years, continues in a systematic manner as Öcalan’s lawyers and family visits were only partially allowed after the massive hunger strikes and rising reactions in 2018.
Öcalan was able to talk to his lawyers on 7th August 2019 and with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on 25th March 2021 since 2018.
The indefinite-rotating hunger strike launched by political prisoners in Turkey has reached its 201st day. A solidarity hunger strike launched by women against the isolation in Mahmur Camp in the Federated Kurdistan Region of Iraq continues on its 180th day, and in Lavrio Camp in Greece continues on its 163rd day.
Mehmet Hayme, a prisoner who is currently taking part in the group of hunger striking prisoners said on Monday in a letter sent to MA, ”We are in a great struggle and we have only one goal; to free Abdullah Öcalan. We have no other purpose or demand.”
Hayme has been jailed in Bolu Closed Prison for more than two years He had previously joined three hunger strike actions in prisons. “We are protesting against the inhumane conditions and isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and violations of rights in prisons for years,” he said.
Hayme noted that hunger strikers are not allowed to receive medicine or medical care they have requested due to the restrictions of prison administration. ”Medicines of hunger strikers are not supplied. We are not able go out to the open area to get some fresh air and to do sports. We are not allowed to have prisons visits. They transfer many of our friends to prisons located in far away cities to further isolate them,” he said.
Human rights activist Mehmet Emin Güzel, also pointed out that the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan is reflected on the whole of society. ”Today, no person or institution can make a press statement in public in Turkey. In a way, society also lives in an open prison,” he said.
“After 200 days of hunger strike, everyone should be a voice for the prisoners and against the violations of human rights. The prisoners’ demands should be met before the hunger strike causes irreversible results.”
Güzel is also the co-chair of the Association for Assistance with the Families of Prisoners and Convicts (TUAY-DER). Hundreds of applications have been made to TUAY-DER regarding violations of rights in prison in the last one year, he said.
”There are violations of rights that keep being constantly reported. Strip search practice continues. Prisoners are beaten as they arrive to a new prison they are transferred and they are not handed over their confiscated belongings,” he said.