'The law on İmralı and its status are unclear'

Speaking at a panel in Urfa, Özgür Erol, a member of Asrin Law Office, described the İmralı island, where Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has been held since 1999, as ‘the first place whose status and the law under which it is administered is unclear'.

The Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) Urfa Branch organised a panel titled ‘A look at the isolation from a libertarian perspective’ to draw attention to the isolation imposed on Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Island Prison.

Speaking at the panel, Özgür Erol from Asrın Law Office described İmralı as ‘the first place in the international arena whose status and the law under which it is administered is not clear’ and said: “Isolation has been applied in İmralı since the first day. Lawyers were not allowed when families were, and families were not allowed when lawyers were. Mr Öcalan was initially given a radio on which he could only listen to the state-run TRT. The fact that there is only one channel is a distinctive practice. What goes in or what comes out was always wanted to be kept under control. Lawyer and family visits have been denied for a long time. This applies to the other prisoners there." 

Referring to the disciplinary penalties used as a justification for the prevention of meetings, Erol said, “Mr Öcalan and other prisoners are getting older. When they go out for sports, they are given disciplinary penalties by saying ‘why don't you do sports, why do you chat among yourselves?’. Since these penalties are given with ridiculous justifications, they are not objected to anymore."

Recalling that no news has been received since Abdullah Öcalan's interrupted phone call with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on 25 March 2021, Erol said: “Deepening the isolation reveals the reality of the resisting Öcalan. The real issue is not the deepening of the isolation. The deepening isolation shows how much Öcalan resists. The fact that Öcalan is under isolation reveals the approach to the Kurdish question. Some people ask why we talk about isolation in every issue. The lifting of the isolation, the insistence on Öcalan playing his role is the insistence on solving the Kurdish question through democratic means. We need to understand this and look at it in this way."

Underlining that Nelson Mandela's efforts for blacks and whites to live together in South Africa and Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan's Democratic Nation Paradigm are similar to each other, Erol noted that Abdullah Öcalan's ideas are the lifeblood against the problems in the Middle East.

DEM Party Urfa MP Ömer Öcalan emphasised that the isolation that started in İmralı has spread to every area today and said, “There has been no news for 39 months. Families and lawyers cannot go to İmralı. Their message is that they will not allow Öcalan to play his role in Turkey's century. The state mind has accepted that Mr Öcalan is the interlocutor. There is talk of normalisation. If there is to be normalisation, Mr Öcalan must speak. You cannot stop the economic collapse without realising this. With the ideas of Mr Öcalan, everyone has free living conditions."