The Turkish government is paving the way towards civil war, said Besê Hozat, the co-chair of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) executive council, on Monday in relation to the latest statement made by Turkey’s Ministry of Justice.
In an opinion submitted to Turkey’s Constitutional Court the ministry denied all allegations of ill-treatment in Imrali prison, where the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan has been held since 1999.
The Asrin Law Firm, representing Öcalan and the three other inmates on the Turkish prison island, over the past eight years has applied 23 times to the constitutional court on grounds that the condition of absolute isolation the clients were held under at Imrali amounted to ill-treatment and torture.
Öcalan’s last contact with the outside world was on 25 March 2021 in the form of an interrupted phone call with his brother. Since then, the absolute isolation of Öcalan has continued despite the United Nations Human Rights Committee ordering the Turkish government to put an end to the incommunicado detention of the prisoners in Imrali and provide them with immediate and unrestricted access to a lawyer of their choice.
For all 23 applications made by the law firm, Turkey’s top court requested that Öcalan’s lawyers and the Justice Ministry submit their opinions.
“There is a legal, judicial play stated in Turkey,” Hozat said, about the unsolved issue of Öcalan’s prison conditions.
“They are doing this intentionally,” said Hozat, adding that the Turkish government, led by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have been staging a game acting as if the Constitutional Court -the judicial bodies- are functioning, and as if the Ministry of Justice is monitoring.
“The fascist Turkish state is presenting the situation this way to the world, to the Turkish society, it is trying to create that impression,” Hozat said.
In the response to the constitutional court, the ministry recalled previous rulings by criminal courts on the prevention of visits to Imrali prison, arguing that ill-treatment is “relative” and that the isolation in Imrali is “mild”. The Ministry claimed that the rights of Öcalan and the other detainees to family and lawyer visits, phone conversations, and receiving and sending letters are implemented in accordance with Turkish laws.
“What should we understand from this statement,” Hozat said, referring to the ministry’s opinion that argued that the conditions in Imrali are only routine practices.
“At the moment, there is a system of torture, of isolation in Imrali. They have been carrying out a systematic special war there,” Hozat said, adding that the full extent of conditions in Imrali remain unclear, and that the public are concerned about Öcalan’s health and safety.
“What does this mean? That means those practices are [considered] mild, meaning there are worse ones. What is worse than that? Physical annihilation?,” Hozat said, once again citing the ministry.
“This rhetoric is not used for no reason. In fact it threatens, blackmails, the [Kurdish] movement, the Kurdish people, the society in Turkey, the democratic society,” the KCK executive said.
“And of course, this is being done in the eve of the elections. They are making those statements when there are only days left till the elections,” she added.
According to Hozat, the Turkish government’s attitude of engaging in “dirty” politics and “dirty” wars, the AKP-MHP government is also giving the public a sneak preview of what the future of Turkey will look like if it stays in power after Turkey’s 14 May elections.
“This is a call for civil war. They are laying the ground of a civil war step by step,” Hozat said.