A year after his last phone call with the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan, his brother Mehmet Öcalan said that an immediate end to the severe isolation imposed upon the PKK leader was demanded by hundreds of thousands in the Newroz celebrations all across Turkey, and that these voices should be respected.
Mehmet Öcalan said, “Everyone should respect the voice raised in the 2022 Newroz. It is time for Öcalan to be physically free,” Mezopotamya News Agency reports.
Mehmet Öcalan was the last person to have contacted Abdullah Öcalan on 25 March 2021 when he had a phone conversation with his brother for only five minutes before the conversation was terminated.
Neither Abdullah Öcalan’s family nor his lawyers have been allowed any contact with him for a long time.
The last visit by Öcalan’s lawyers were made in August 2019, and the appeals by lawyers to be allowed visits are either rejected or are left unresponded by Turkish authorities.
Mehmet Öcalan: ‘An unparalled isolation’
Mehmet Öcalan emphasized that the isolation imposed on the PKK leader is unparalleled in the world, and that although the isolation had been ‘softened’ at times, it was made even more severe afterwards.
“The isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan is tied to the official policy regarding the Kurdish question. Nowhere else has a person been kept under isolation on an island in the middle of the sea for 23 years. There is no one else whose rights have been so brutally violated for such a long period of time.”
Mehmet Öcalan recalls what Abdullah Öcalan had told him in their last telephone conversation, quoting the words of his brother:
“My communications should be allowed on legal grounds. I want my lawyers to visit me here and talk with me. This is the legal procedure. I have been kept here for 22 years (…) This problem can only be solved through legal means. If there is going to be a meeting, it should be with my lawyers.”
Mehmet Öcalan went on to say that they have not received any information about Abdullah Öcalan since the phone conversation. He continued:
“This is inhumane and illegal. It is not acceptable. The state has no regard for its own laws. Their approach to Abdullah Öcalan is actually the same with their approach to the Kurdish people (…) The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture [CPT] has responsibilities. Despite not hearing from four individuals [Öcalan and three other political prisoners at the island prison] for a year, CPT do not have this case on its agenda.”
“Abdullah Öcalan is the will of the people. Millions cried out ‘Freedom for Öcalan’ in Newroz. If the Kurdish question is to be resolved, this can be possible only with the involvement of Abdullah Öcalan. Everybody should respect that voice raised in Newroz and act accordingly.”