Lawyer Bilmez: We need to increase international solidarity to break this severe isolation

At the conference taking place in Bilbao, Öcalan's lawyer, Ibrahim Bilmez, said that international solidarity needs increased in order to break this severe isolation and thus pave the way for the solution of the Kurdish question through democratic means.

Abdullah Öcalan has been held in the maximum security prison on the island of Imralı since February 15, 1999, when he was kidnapped in Kenya and taken against his will to Turkey. Lawyers have not heard from him, nor from our other three clients who are currently in that same “special” prison after the interrupted phone call on March 25, 2021. Since then, they have not met with a lawyer, nor family visits, not a phone call, not a fax, not a letter. The last family meeting with Öcalan was on April 27, 2020, and the last meeting with his legal representative dates back to August 7, 2019, more than 4 and a half years ago.

Today in Bilbao a conference is taking place to address both the issue of the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and ways in which international solidarity, and Basque solidarity in particular, can help, as Öcalan's lawyer, Ibrahim Bilmez, said, "break this severe isolation and thus pave the way for the solution of the Kurdish question through democratic and peaceful means."

Lawyer Bilmez told the conference that "In the current era of national states, and under the most severe conditions of isolation, Mr. Öcalan has ideologically challenged capitalism and has made alternative proposals to the system in which we live. The Kurdish people who support him must not be alone in his fight. We have seen the benefit that international solidarity brings with the democratic political, social and administrative practice implemented in Rojava. I sincerely believe that by increasing and multiplying solidarity we will be able, in the short term, to open a gap in the isolation to which Mr Ocalan is subjected. For this, it is very important that all of you participate and add your strength to the campaigns for the freedom of Öcalan that are developed both in Europe and in other places in the world." 

Lawyer Bilmez underlined that "in twenty-five years of isolation, the policies and practices of absolute isolation after 2015 and absolute lack of communication and lack of information, starting in 2021 and further deepening in 2022 and 2023, meant that any legal and political option has been deactivated and has been opted for the path of force and security policies. This is the option of those who oppose democracy, dialogue and negotiation for a democratic and peaceful solution, and those who thrive on stagnation and polarization, those who benefit from war. The negative consequences of this situation have led the country to various crises, to the point that resources are exhausted and self-invalidating."

Lawyer Bilmez added: "All the economic, political, social and legal indicators that we are experiencing today force us to open the doors of İmralı and allow Mr. Öcalan to play his role in guaranteeing a democratic and peaceful solution. A policy of dialogue and negotiation must be initiated without further delay, in which the conditions of health, security and freedom of our client, Mr. Öcalan, who is in favor of a democratic and peaceful solution that benefits all, are guaranteed."

Lawyer Bilmez continued: "On this basis, it is in everyone's interest to consider 2024 as the year of the solution to the Kurdish problem, intertwined both with the freedom of Mr. Öcalan and with the drafting of a democratic constitution adapted to the international human rights conventions of the UN and European Unions that guarantee human rights and freedoms for three generations and the transition to a democratic rule of law."