Başaran: Isolation of Öcalan should be ended

“If Öcalan has something to say, he should be allowed to say it. The government uses the isolation as a tool for psychological warfare," said Spokeswoman for the Women's Assembly of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Ayşe Acar Başaran.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Women's Assembly held an online meeting to address the democracy alliance, attacks on women's gains, the ongoing isolation in Imrali prison, the situation of sick prisoners, rights violations in prisons and March 8 activities. Spokeswoman for the Women's Assembly Başaran delivered the opening speech in the meeting attended by co-chair Pervin Buldan. “We had difficult times in 2021, when the whole society suffered from various crises, but women paid the heaviest price. 2021 also saw a broad array of attacks. It was a year when we experienced multiple crises, but the struggle continued uninterruptedly. Women continued to maintain their solidarity,” she said.

Başaran stressed that “We experienced hawkish policies of the government towards the end of the year.”

“Sick prisoners were subjected to a crackdown similar to the practices from the notorious 80s. Inmates died in prisons. The government continued to adopt enemy law against sick prisoners. Towards the end of 2021, veteran Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk's health deteriorated in prison. Forensic Medicine Institution (ATK) reported that she could stay in prison. Our friend Aysel is kept in prison despite her deteriorating health.


The years-long isolation of Mr. Öcalan is a manifestation of the government's approach to the Kurdish issue. The government has dropped the democratic solution to the Kurdish problem following its alliance with the ultra-nationalist MHP since 2015. The government wants to resolve the Kurdish issue through its policies of war, conflict, denial and assimilation. We have seen that the isolation in prisons has become aggravated. Despite continuous calls to meet him, no meeting has been held with Mr. Öcalan for a long time. The government is trying to stay in power by adopting isolation practices and promoting nationalism. Official statements about Mr. Öcalan are made to manipulate the public. If Mr. Öcalan has something to say, he should be allowed to say it. Because we know that the government uses isolation as a tool for psychological warfare.

We and lawyers have issued calls. We stated that he should be allowed to meet visitors there. The government is trying to create confusion among the public in order to implement its own policies. We need to raise our voice at a time when it has become a hot topic in public. The isolation continues to affect not only Öcalan, but also the entire society. We have seen that violence against women has increased as the isolation has become more serious, and that women have paid the biggest price during the war.


The government has been pursuing sexist and nationalist policies for a while. The deadly racist attack against the Kurds in Konya province was also a sign of rampant nationalism. Furthermore, the murder of party employee Deniz Poyraz in İzmir city was the outcome of these policies. We know that the perpetrator of the massacre pre-planned the massacre deliberately. At the trial, he confirmed our claim. He told how he carried out the massacre cold-bloodedly. The approach of the court to the murderer showed once again that they miss the bigger picture and want to punish a lone wolf. This attack was not only against Deniz Poyraz, but it was also an attack against women's struggle and democratic forces. We also find it important to consider the case from the perspective of Turkish society.

2021 was a year when our achievements were attacked. Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the introduction of the 6th Judicial Package, and the sentences given to Ayşe Gökkan and Leyla Güven were the outcome of these attacks. While the regime has institutionalized its oppressive outlook, it has forced women to restrict themselves to certain areas. We have seen this during the attacks against artists and journalists who are critical of the government."


At the end of her speech, Başaran spoke about the 8 March International Working Women's Day.

“There will be a meeting where we will talk about March 8. The male-dominant mentality is afraid of us coming together on March 8. We need to go beyond a perspective that only protects our rights and gains. While 2021 was a year of intense attacks, we were able to carry out joint activities. We can have discussions about what kind of a new life can be envisioned for women. We have already come together in the streets and the public sphere. We need to talk and discuss how we can increase women's alliance and solidarity,” she concluded.