After three days of visits and meetings in Turkey, the International Delegation against Isolation, consisting of politicians, academics, lawyers and journalists from various countries, called on Saturday for the complete abolition of the system at İmralı Island Prison in northwest Turkey, where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan has been held under conditions of severe isolation for 24 years.
Noting that the practices in İmralı Island Prison have reached the point where the prisoners are held absolutely incommunicado, the delegation declared, “This situation must be defined as a political issue, and not just a legal one.”
The isolation system on İmralı Island is an indicator of the democratic standards and political situation in Turkey, and without its abolition the Kurdish question cannot be solved, according to the delegation.
They remarked that İmralı Prison’s governance practices were spreading to all prisons in the country, and stated that Turkey must “end the discriminatory system” by which the sentences of political prisoners are executed.
The delegation also urged the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), a part of the Council of Europe, to share details of its latest observations of İmralı Island with the public forthwith.
The CPT carried out an ad hoc visit to Turkey, including İmralı Island, in September 2022, but the committee has not made details of the visit public despite numerous calls to that end, leaving Kurds both in the country and abroad concerned as to Öcalan’s condition.