ISTANBUL - Drawing attention to what has happened since the last meeting between PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan and the İmralı Delegation on April 5, 2015, lawyer Cengiz Yürekli asked the parties and alliances preparing for the elections, their attitudes towards the isolation system in İmralı.
There has been no news for 2 years from PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who was brought to Turkey with an international conspiracy on February 15, 1999 and held in heavy isolation conditions for 24 years in violation of national and international law. The family and lawyer visits of other prisoners Veysi Aktaş, Hamili Yıldırım and Ömer Hayri Konar, who are being held together with Abdullah Öcalan, are also blocked.
274 applications by Asrın Law Office's lawyers and 118 applications by families for Abdullah Öcalan, who have not been heard from since his last intermittent phone call with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on March 25, 2021, were either rejected or left unanswered. There is still no response to the applications made every week for lawyers and family visits. We talked to Cengiz Yürekli, one of the lawyers of Asrın Law Office, about the decision taken by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee regarding the isolation of Imrali and the will that emerged at Newroz regarding the physical freedom of Abdullah Öcalan.
24 YEARS OF TORTURE
Pointing out that it is necessary to focus on what isolation means, Yürekli said: “We have to understand what isolation is and talk about it. Many institutions describe the Imrali isolation as torture. We are already faced with the reality that there is no other definition. You are in a tight cell for 23 hours without human contact. We are living the peak of 24 years of torture. We have not received any news for 2 years, we do not know under what conditions they were held. This has no precedent in the world, and this happens within the European legal system. There can be no reason for this. Therefore, it is necessary to realize how terrifying this situation is. It is necessary to see that it is not an ordinary implementation.”
THE ATTITUDE OF EUROPE
Pointing out that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) also approved this isolation, otherwise this practice would not be possible, Yürekli said: "Europe remained insensitive to İmralı. Since it approved and ignored this torture, we decided to operate other mechanisms. Lastly, we applied to the United Nations (UN) because the ECHR did not produce a solution. We can also say that we got results from the application. On September 6, 2022, the UN took a decision regarding the isolation. The decision on the merits has not yet been made and the visits of the parties will be presented. However, a decision was made on the precautionary measure. UN said: ‘This incommunicado is a state of torture. You need to stop this immediately. It is necessary to ensure that the prisoners are contacted immediately with the lawyers of their choice. Turkey is a party to the contract and its requirements must be fulfilled; however, the decision was not implemented in practice. Thereupon, the UN repeated this decision taken on January 19.”
THE MESSAGE OF NEWROZ SQUARES
Stating that Newroz is dedicated to Abdullah Öcalan, Yürekli said: “Newroz squares are the places where the practice of democracy comes into being. Democracy is not just intellectual activity. Democracy; social organization model. We see this best in Newroz squares, and in the Newroz areas, the people shouted for freedom of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. Hundreds of people were detained in Istanbul and Diyarbakir. This is not addressed. These people were the ones who insisted on Abdullah Öcalan; however, we have inadequacies in explaining Abdullah Öcalan.”
FEAR OF STATE ABOUT ABDULLAH ÖCALAN
Stating that the isolation aimed to break Abdullah Öcalan's bonds with society, Yürekli said: " Abdullah Öcalan was tried to be forgotten. While the isolation aims to exhaust Mr. Abdullah Öcalan physically and spiritually in Imrali, on the other hand, it aims to break his bonds with the peoples he is leading. Let's look at the political agenda; They have been condemned to an outdated politics from right to left, from government to opposition, that they are trying to develop a policy either positively or negatively through Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. They develop opposition to each other from here. The fear of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan is this great. Otherwise, the Imrali isolation system, which caused the corruption of the European legal system, would not have been possible. Democratic forces, especially the Kurdish people, have a serious struggle not only in Turkey but all over the world. Serious prices have been paid; however, if we do not receive any news, it is related to the inability of the struggle to reach a sufficient stage."
WHAT ARE THE PROMISES OF PARTIES ON IMRALI?
Stating that all opposition should take action to abolish the Imrali system, Yürekli said: “Since they are talking about the law, they have to do it. What will be their attitude towards Imrali? Everyone is talking about democracy and law. Which law are they talking about in a situation where isolation and torture continue? The government is doing it. So what are their promises on Imrali? What do they say to this torture situation, which is completely against national and international laws and takes place in front of the society? Everyone should say this clearly. Will the Imrali isolation system continue after the election?”
MA / Mehmet Aslan