HDP’s Bilgen: CPT shares responsibility on Öcalan's isolation

No news has been received on the health and general situation of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Any connection with the outside world has been completely cut off.

Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan met his brother Mehmet on 11 September 2016 and has never been seen or heard from since. Something which has been raising concerns over his health and safety.

Öcalan is kept in isolation in İmralı High Security F Type Closed Prison, and has not been able to meet with his lawyers since 27 July 2011. He last saw the HDP Imrali delegation on 5 April 2015 and, as said, he last saw his brother Mehmet on 11 September 2016.

Speaking about the isolation regime imposed on the Kurdish People's Leader, HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Deputy Chair, Ayhan Bilgen, said the isolation is in fact the reflection of the policies on Kurds.

"Isolation - he added - represents the will of ignoring the existence and will of Kurds".

Bilgen added that the regime imposed in İmralı has indeed crossed every limit and has become the main issue for people. "Mr. Öcalan's imprisonment has actually come to affect all peoples in the Middle East".

The isolation in Imrali represents an attack on Kurds' achievements and democracy in Turkey. The issue continues to remain a part of Turkey's general policy. In fact, said Bilgen "we can say that isolation constitutes the most important part of the agenda in Turkey".

Stating that the legal system was suspended in Imrali, Bilgen remarked that this illegality cannot be accepted by the people.

"Isolation means the abolition of prisoners' rights. It is a violation of human rights that should not be imposed on anybody", Bilgen stressed.

Bilgen pointed out that these unlawful practices are not only against Öcalan but also against the achievements of the Kurds in the Middle East.

"Öcalan –said Bilgen - has not been able to meet his family for two years and his lawyers for over five years, but of course what was suspended was not only the solution process, but also the most basic rights".

Criticizing the European Court of Human Rights and the CPT's (Committee for the Prevention of Torture) stance on isolation, Bilgen said: "The timing here is significant and it is a situation very questionable in terms of Europe-Turkey relations".

The ECHR has to be more serious in symbolic decisions, said Bilgen. "That is to say, it has ignored an application eight years ago and it is ignoring it today. Ignoring the conditions of today, is to ignore the values ​​of the Council of Europe's own principles, which are the common acquisitions of Europe. Today the violation continues. Turkey's continuing violation now has a cover before the eyes of the world, and that is such a decision".

Bilgen stressed that the role and duty of the CPT is clear: "Of course, there were obstacles. In other words, there are mechanisms that prevent the national governments and governments to recognize the working system of the CPT. But whatever happened, the CPT behaves as if there is no violation going on. As a result, the responsible for preventing torture, namely isolation as a whole, has in fact accepted torture".

Referring to torture taking place in prisons in Turkey and its Kurdish region, Bilgen added: "There are many serious allegations of violation in detention centres. Turkey's domestic law and regulations are ignored so to speak, under the little pretext prisoners’ fundamental rights are suspended. The CPT is accomplice of this at least because this has been experienced for the last few years in Turkey. Of course, the mechanism to which CPT is connected, institutions and dependent political wills are also a partner to this crime".

Underlining that Turkey's Kurdish question is the fundamental issue, Bilgen continued: "The Kurdish question constitutes almost the center of gravity. It has a role in stalling Turkey's foreign policy".

Insisting that not solving the Kurdish question means avoiding the democratization of Turkey, Bilgen emphasised that the suspension of the peace process with Mr. Ocalan has brought to the deep crisis Turkey is in. And there will be further chaos, as the decision on Syria shows.

Bilgen ended by saying that this situation could be reversed if Turkey accepts Ocalan into the process again.