Temelli: An investigation committee should go to İmralı immediately

DEM Party Group Deputy Chairman Sezai Temelli reacted to the Ministry of Justice claim that Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has not been heard from for 38 months, is enjoying his rights.

The Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) MPs applied to the Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission (İHİK) on 7 December 2023 demanding the lifting of the isolation of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and granting of family and lawyer visits.

In the application, it was pointed out that Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysi Aktaş, who are held in İmralı Islan Prison, are not allowed to communicate by phone, fax and letter; family, guardian and lawyer visits are prevented; and their ties with the outside world are completely cut off.

It was also stated that from 27 July 2011 until today, only 5 lawyer meetings took place between May and August 2019, with the last meeting date being 7 August 2019. On the other hand, only 5 family meetings have been allowed since 2014. The last face-to-face family meeting was on 3 March 2020, and only two telephone talks were granted in 24 years (27 April 2020 and 25 March 2021).

It was also pointed out that no news was received from Abdullah Öcalan after his interrupted phone call with his brother on 25 March 2021. In addition, 238 lawyer and 79 family-guardian visit applications were submitted between the last meeting and the end of 2022, but none of them were responded to.

In their application, the MPs finally demanded a visit to İmralı and a meeting with a family member, lawyer or political delegation.

Responding to the application last week, the Ministry of Justice General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses claimed that the prisoners in İmralı "equally benefit from all rights granted by law and regulations". 

Claiming that there is "no isolation" in İmralı and the findings in the application are "baseless", the Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses argued that Abdullah Öcalan "benefited from letters, faxes and similar communication methods in 2023".

At a press conference in the Parliament, DEM Party Group Deputy Chairman Sezai Temelli evaluated the developments on the agenda. Reacting to the claim of the Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses of the Turkish Ministry of Justice, Temelli said: “There has been no family visit for 4 years and 1 month, and no lawyer visit for 4 years and 8 months. For 38 months, there has been absolute miscommunication. Still, the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses writes that "in order to talk about the concept of isolation, the prisoner's communication with his lawyer, relatives or other prisoners must be completely eliminated". Indeed, there has been a state of absolute noncommunication, and no news has been received from İmralı for 38 months.”

Temelli continued: "We do not even have any information about Mr Öcalan's health status. The report says that an internal medicine doctor and a psychiatrist visit him every 3 weeks and examine his health on the island. There is no information about this. Moreover, 3-week periods are very long. The most important reason for all this darkness, the injustice we are living in, and the political crisis we are going through is the İmralı isolation. We know this very well now. This isolation has been going on for more than 24 years and Turkey continues to grapple with political crises and to be trapped in great lawlessness and injustice. We once again call on the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission to put an end to this as soon as possible. It is a necessity for an investigation committee to go to the island immediately."