Abdullah Öcalan: This is very dangerous, it can't be accepted

Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan stated in his short conversation with his brother on Thursday that such a conversation was very wrong and dangerous and added: "If there is to be a meeting, it should be with lawyers".

Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan has been imprisoned in Imrali for 22 years under severe isolation. On Thursday he was able to talk with his brother Mehmet Öcalan. The short phone conversation happened about a year after a previous call, on 27 April 2020, and it is the first time since then that Öcalan had an actual contact with someone outside.

On 14 March rumours were spread on social media about the health of Öcalan. Immediately protests were organised around the world demanding an urgent visit by the lawyers to Imrali.

The phone conversation on Thursday was held under the supervision of the Urfa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office and was very short. The call was interrupted pretty soon. Likewise, the phone call by another prisoner in Imrali, Hamili Yıldırım, with his family was also abruptly interrupted. It was reported that the other two prisoners, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysi Aktaş, did not make the phone call they were offered to protest isolation.

Mehmet Öcalan told Mezopotamya Agency that he could speak with his brother for about 5 minutes.

Mehmet Öcalan added that he had been contacted by a person who introduced himself as the Imrali Prison Director at 6 pm on Wednesday 24 March.

"[This man] told me that I should go to Urfa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on 25 March at 1.45pm to make a phone call with my brother."

Mehmet Öcalan said that he went to the Urfa Courthouse at the time notified to him and that the authorities there were aware of the phone call and took him to a room after about 10 minutes and left him there.

Mehmet Öcalan said that there was an employee in the room and that he was told that he would speak with his brother in the same room.

Mehmet Öcalan answered the ringing phone and the Kurdish people's leader on the other end said to him: "How did you get here? Who brought you? How did it happen? Where are you calling from?"

Mehmet Öcalan said: “My brother told me: ‘Both you and the state are doing wrong for what has been done. The reason is this; no meeting whatsoever for a year. These actions are neither allowed in state law nor in any other law. Your coming is wrong and very dangerous. The state is also very dangerous. This is not the right thing. If there will be a meeting, it should be within the legal framework. It cannot be allowed that a phone call is made after a year and because of their will’ he said. The President said over and over again, ‘What you This is so wrong.’ The state is playing wrong, and you are too. This is not legal, nor is it right. This is not acceptable. This is also very dangerous. Are you aware of what you are doing? I want my lawyers to come here and talk to me. This is a legal thing. I've been here for 22 years. How will this issue be in the future? This issue can only be resolved by law. Why don't they come here? If there will be a meeting, this should be with lawyers. Because this situation is both political and legal’, he said."

Mehmet Öcalan said that he told the Kurdish people's leader that one of the reasons for this phone call was the hunger strikes in prisons against solitary confinement and continued: “The President said, ‘I do not want anyone to die on hunger strikes and in prisons. I've said this before, and I'm saying it now. There is no need for this either. This is a very heavy thing. You need to take this into account,’ he said. We talked for about 4-5 minutes. It was a thin voice. I think it was the President's voice. The President said to me, ‘This meeting is very wrong. The line was cut off after he said, ‘This is not a meeting’”.

Mehmet Öcalan said that when the line was cut off, he informed the official there and this asked him to wait.

Mehmet Öcalan said: “Later, there was another phone call. Someone else was calling. He told me to wait, not to leave. After waiting for 10-15 minutes, I said that the call would not come. I reported it to the authorities there. Later, they told me, ‘The meeting is over’".

Mehmet Öcalan made a call to both the state and anyone with a conscience and said that these practices were in no way acceptable.

"People in prison have legal and democratic rights," said Mehmet Öcalan and added: "According to the laws of Turkey, we should have a meeting every 15 days. Lawyers have the right to meet their clients every week. There has been no meeting for a year. We talked on the phone. And this was just for 4-5 minutes. We did not meet in person. This is anti-democratic. It cannot be accepted even under Turkish law. From here, we call on the CPT, the Council of Europe, human rights defenders, intellectual and democratic people. This problem should be resolved as soon as possible. This is not acceptable. If we are citizens of this place, we also have legal and democratic rights. These rights need to be recognized."

Mehmet Ocalan concluded: "Family and lawyer meetings should be provided as soon as possible. Thousands of people are on hunger strike. The state has been holding the President in prison for 22 years. It is ridiculous to be allowed a 4-5 minutes’ phone call. The president is a bridge between peoples. Nobody has the right to destroy this bridge."