Turkish police detained two people in the south-eastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed) on Sunday during a protest demanding an end to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
During the protest, numerous non-governmental organisations emphasised that Öcalan is the key to the solution to the Kurdish issue.
“We want Öcalan’s family and lawyers to visit him. We don’t want anything special. We want what Turkish laws require for prisoners. Mr Öcalan has the right to have visitors,” Ömer Öcalan from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said.
The police attacked the group gathered for the protest, and raised their shields to prevent journalists from taking images during the statements of the NGOs.
The PKK leader, one of four inmates at İmralı prison, has been living under strict isolation for a number of years. Öcalan met with his lawyers for the last time in 2019 and since then the Turkish authorities have declined the lawyers’ repeated applications to meet with their client. His brother Mehmet Öcalan, who had a five-minute telephone conversation with the him in March 2021, was the last person to have any contact with him from outside.
Kurdish people have been campaigning, organising protests and calling for an end the isolation imposed on Öcalan for years. In recent weeks members of the PKK Executive Council have been urging Kurdish people to intensify such protests, as concerns about Öcalan’s health and safety have increased after representatives of a delegation of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) failed to clarify whether they met the PKK leader face-to-face during an inspection visit to İmralı prison in September.