EUTCC Conference: The gates of Imrali must be opened

At the Kurdish Conference organised at the European Parliament, the isolation of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and the role of Abdullah Öcalan for peace were discussed.

In the third panel on the second day of the international EUTCC conference “The European Union, Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds” at the European Parliament in Brussels, presentations were made on the key role of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan in solution and his isolation. 

In this session, moderated by EUTCC President and Kariane Westrheim from the University of Bergen, the first presentation was "Beyond the Island: The Systematics of Isolation" by Raziye Öztürk from Asrın Law Office.


Stating that the isolation of Öcalan is implemented as a system, Raziye Öztürk talked about Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan's efforts for a political and democratic solution. 

Stating that peace efforts were responded with conspiracies, Raziye Öztürk reminded the bomb attack in 1996 and the international conspiracy in 1999. Öztürk also talked about the process of Abdullah Öcalan's departure from Syria and his efforts for a solution and stated that the conditions at İmralı island prison with harsher conditions than Guantanamo.  

Raziye Öztürk said, "Mr Öcalan has developed a paradigm that will give breath to all the peoples of the Middle East under limited conditions". Noting that the isolation was deepened as he developed solutions, Öztürk noted that no news had been received from the Kurdish leader for nearly three years.

Stating that Abdullah Öcalan has been able to meet with his family twice in 25 years, Raziye Öztürk stated that these meetings took place under extraordinary conditions. 

The lawyer stated: "Our legal initiatives are also being frustrated. The reasons are not being communicated. After all our applications, we applied to the UN Human Rights Committee as a last resort. We also requested an injunction.”

Lawyer Raziye Öztürk said that the Committee had twice requested Turkey to ensure talks, but Turkey did the opposite and aggravated the isolation even more, and all the laws targeting Abdullah Öcalan were later extended to all prisons and the society. 

"The ineffectiveness of the ECtHR in Turkey at the moment is related to the non-fulfilment of the judgements against Abdullah Öcalan.”

The lawyer from Asrin Law Office pointed to the fact that the ECtHR has not made a decision on the isolation despite the 12 years that have passed and that the CPT has refrained from making a public statement. She noted that this was "an indication of the political approach of these institutions to the issue."

"What is in question on İmralı is the construction of unlawfulness itself," said Öztürk and drew attention to the fascist environment developed with the isolation. Öztürk also spoke about the current hunger strike action of political prisoners against isolation. 


A presentation titled "Conditions on the Imralı Prison Island in the Context of Health" was made by EUTCC Board Member Dersim Dağdeviren from KURD-AKAD. Dağdeviren drew attention to the effects of Imralı Island conditions on health and stated that there had been no change in these conditions despite CPT visits.  

"There is no peace in Turkey and the Middle East", Dağdeviren said and concluded by stating that Abdullah Öcalan has a central role for peace: "The gates of Imralı must be opened and Abdullah Öcalan must be freed."


Laura Quagliuolo, a children's book writer from Italy, said that Italians see themselves as responsible for the imprisonment of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Laura Quagliuolo stated that the conditions on İmralı were extremely worrying for them and gave information about the honourary citizenships and awards given to Abdullah Öcalan in Italy and the actions and events organised in solidarity with the Kurdish people. 

Reacting to the hypocrisy in the West, Laura Quagliuolo said that the "selling of the Kurds in the negotiations for the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland is a great hypocrisy".

Laura Quagliuolo concluded: "Abdullah Öcalan should be released, the time has come".  


Zeynep Dersim from the Kurdish Women's Movement stated that the only will seeking a solution today is the Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and said: "Europe has become a party with its policies and a part of the genocide against the Kurdish people". 

Reiterating that Abdullah Öcalan is the interlocutor of the solution, Zeynep Dersim underlined that the solution of the Kurdish question would also bring a solution to the problems in the Middle East. 

Zeynep Dersim also spoke about the protests and campaigns against the isolation and reminded that a new global campaign was launched on 10 October for the freedom of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Dersim stated that the demands of this campaign included the physical freedom of Abdullah Öcalan and the removal of the PKK from the list of terrorist organisations.