German lawyer and human rights defender Tim Engels presented his views about the prison isolation conditions and significance of the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the attitude of the European states regarding Turkey’s ‘isolation policy’.
Engels stated that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) and the Council of Europe has the task of ‘providing consultancy’ regarding the isolation situation that is evident on Imralı Island, but the key role belongs to the governments which participate in the Council of Europe.
“However, if the Council of Europe does not take action and stands silent, despite the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the warnings of the CPT, that is because of the nature of financial and military relations with Turkey, which is a member of NATO”, Engels said.
Engels also shared the view that the agreements signed with Turkey over refugees is also a factor in the silence of the European states with regard to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan. “Their biggest fear is that Turkey might take steps in the direction of ‘spoiling’ the deal over refugees”, he noted.
‘Democratic confederalism’ may be Öcalan’s ‘biggest contribution’
Emphasizing that the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan would bring “peace and freedom” to people living in the Middle East, the German human rights defender said: “I believe the biggest contribution of his freedom would be the promotion of democratic confederalism, which is aimed at functioning without dependence on any nation states, but based on the self-governed autonomous administrations in Rojava, based on women’s freedom”.
Engels shared his view that since the first ceasefire was announced by the PKK in 1993 until the Oslo talks, in which Turkish state officials contacted the PKK and had consecutive meetings, all peace efforts were pioneered by Abdullah Öcalan.
“To end the war and launch a political solution is in his hands, beyond doubt: we have seen this many times before. Leader ‘Apo’ plays a historical role akin to Nelson Mandela, Gerry Adams, Yaser Arafat, Arnaldo Otegi and Charles Puigdemont, who all played a key role in previous peace and solution processes”, he said.