Yılmaz: Isolation provoked a crisis in Turkey

IHD Amed Branch chair Ercan Yılmaz said that the Imralı isolation system created a crisis in Turkey and added: "This is not a legal crisis, but a crisis created for political reasons."


Pointing out that the actions initiated by PKK and PAJK prisoners held in Turkish dungeons continue, IHD Amed Branch President Ercan Yılmaz said that the aim of the PKK and PAJK prisoners who continue their action in Turkish jails is to abolish the Imrali isolation system and favour a transition to the normal legal system.

The alternating hunger strike that PKK and PAJK prisoners in Turkish prisons started on 27 November within the scope of the "Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, Solution to the Kurdish Question" campaign, was ended on 4 April, but the prisoners continue actions such as boycotting the courts, phone calls, and not coming to family and lawyer visits.

Speaking to ANF, IHD Amed Branch chair Ercan Yılmaz said that the aim of the prisoners is to abolish the Imrali isolation system and favour a transition to the normal legal system and added: "The prisoners are taking action to start the negotiation process for the democratic solution of the Kurdish question. During the 130-day alternating hunger strike, human rights organizations, professional organizations and bar associations tried to draw attention to this issue. The Families Justice Vigil created public awareness. Since Turkey's agenda is completely election-oriented, this action was somewhat overshadowed by the election."

The state does not implement its own laws

Noting that the uninterrupted isolation system implemented on Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan for 25 years complies with neither Turkish domestic law nor universal legal norms, Yılmaz said: “25 years have passed since Abdullah Öcalan was handed over to Turkey. This isolation system was put into effect immediately after his arrest. Abdullah Öcalan's execution law and his rights arising from universal legal norms are being suspended by the state. For this reason, prisoners who have been in Turkish prisons for 25 years periodically take a stand against this and carry out such actions. We also have painful memories of this in our minds. We say once again that the isolation policy must be ended before it causes more human rights violations, more loss of life and tension in Turkey. As IHD, we have repeatedly exposed this issue and applied to the Ministry of Justice. An application was made to examine the conditions in Imralı, to interview the prisoners there and to carry out an investigation. We have made similar applications twice in the last three months, but we have not received any response."

There is a continuous violation

Stating that these isolation practices have turned into a crisis in Turkey, Yılmaz said: “There are rights granted to detainees and convicts by the Execution Law. These rights must be applied equally to all prisoners, without any exception. Abdullah Öcalan has been detained for 25 years and the number of phone calls he has made with his family does not exceed 5. A prisoner's right to send letters was denied, which meant that all of his letters were confiscated during this 25-year period, and that included the letters he received and the letters he wanted to send abroad. Again, arbitrary and permanent limitations on family and lawyer access were in place. All of these practices are against Turkey's own domestic execution laws, as well as the international agreements to which it is a party, and all the advisory decisions it must implement regarding prisoners."

Emphasizing that the crisis centered on the Imrali isolation system cannot be explained by law and that it was all implemented with political motives, Yılmaz called on the public and democratic circles to be sensitive in order to avoid any negative situations in the prison-centered protests.