Walder: Leaders like Öcalan who have the legitimacy of their people can establish peace

Walder spoke to ANF about the Imrali isolation and the importance of Abdullah Öcalan's freedom.

Nicolas Walder, deputy chair of the Swiss Green Party and member of the Swiss Federal Parliament, is one of the co-signatories of the proposal submitted to the Swiss Federal Council regarding the conditions in which Abdullah Öcalan was held captive. Walder spoke to ANF about the Imrali isolation and the importance of Abdullah Öcalan's freedom.

'Isolation is torture and it is against international law'

Walder said: "The purpose of this isolation is to prevent Öcalan from expressing himself and at the same time to ensure that he loses his energy. Isolation is a form of torture. Isolating a person and depriving them of communication is clearly a form of torture. This isolation is also a way to show that the Turkish government can do whatever it wants. This isolation is unacceptable. Turkey, like other countries, has signed international agreements that undertake not only to fight against torture but also to respect international law. International law clearly prohibits arbitrariness and all forms of torture."

'If there were no problems, the CPT would have published the report'

Criticizing the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) for not releasing the Imrali report, Nicolas Walder said: "At some point, the CPT will have to publish this report. If this report has not been published yet, it is because there are potentially problematic situations. Indeed, if the report had been in favor of the Erdoğan government, I think it would have been published already. So there seems to be some problematic situations. I hope this report will be published in the coming period and reveal that there are indeed many violations, that this captivity and isolation is political, and that Öcalan's conditions of captivity are unacceptable. I hope it calls on the Turkish government to correct these conditions."

'Only leaders who have the respect of their people can ensure peace'

Walder continued: "If an environment of peace and, above all, peaceful co-existence between the Kurdish people and Turkey is to be achieved, people with negotiation skills like Mr. Öcalan are in a position to negotiate.

The Kurdish people overwhelmingly support Mr. Öcalan. Only leaders who have the legitimacy and respect of their people can establish peace. Therefore, it is vital for Öcalan to participate in the negotiations to start a peace process. Negotiating with Abdullah Öcalan is in the interest of everyone seeking a solution in the region. If the war is still continuing today, it is because Turkey keeps in prison people like Öcalan who are in a position to negotiate."

'Switzerland should warn Turkey'

Walder said: "Switzerland's reputation is based on its defense of international humanitarian law and public international law, including respect for minorities, freedoms and human rights. Therefore, it is Switzerland's responsibility to remind Turkey of its obligations through its contacts, meetings and very strong bilateral ties. Switzerland should remind Turkey of its obligations, in particular to respect human rights and to guarantee independent and impartial justice based on respect for fundamental rights rather than political considerations. In this context, Switzerland should call on Turkey to end arbitrary practices and ill-treatment towards Öcalan."

'Öcalan's freedom movement is important and should be supported'

Noting that the "Freedom for Öcalan, Political Solution to the Kurdish Question" initiative is important, Walder said: "Many problems experienced in the world have diverted attention from what is happening in Turkey. In this sense, this campaign, which keeps both the situation of Kurdish prisoners in the person of Öcalan and an important issue such as the Kurdish issue on the agenda, is very important and should be supported. In a period when tensions with Russia and China are escalating, the West does not want to open a new front with Turkey. This situation causes them to remain silent about what is happening in Turkey."

'Turkey is committing a war crime, we cannot keep silent'

Walder said that "the Kurdish issue cannot be forgotten or ignored just because we have different priorities elsewhere," and continued: "The Freedom for Öcalan Campaign reminds us of an issue we should not forget, the Kurdish issue. We must continue to focus on this region, because we cannot ignore what is happening in Turkey, where human rights such as the right to dignity are being trampled, and the war against the Kurdish people. For example, the attacks carried out by the Turkish army in Northern Syria are a clear violation of international law and a war crime. We call on Switzerland and European countries to firmly reiterate that such practices against Kurds are prohibited by international law. Turkey has no right to cross its borders and attack people in another country."