International İmralı Peace Delegation meets with CPT officials

International İmralı Peace Delegation has met with CPT officials in Strasbourg regarding the aggravated isolation of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The International İmralı Peace Delegation members Federico Venturini, School of Geography, University of Leeds; advisory board member of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology, UK, and European Parliament Honorary Member Francis Wurtz held a meeting with officials from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in Strasbourg. During the meeting, the delegation members called attention to the aggravated isolation imposed by the Turkish state against Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan, and the influence of his imprisonment on the region.

It has been learned that CPT conveyed to Ankara their observations after their visit to İmralı Island Prison -where Öcalan is held- in April, 2016, and that they are waiting an answer from Ankara on the matter.

CPT officials said they were aware of how Öcalan treated the issues with great sensitivity. The officials stated that they would bring up the situation of Öcalan during their coming meetings, and that they would once again get in touch with Ankara in this scope.

An international peace delegation organized by the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) and consisting of 11 members from Europe and North America, including Members of European Parliament and of the Council of Europe, academics, and journalists, has recently been in Diyarbakir and Istanbul. The delegation met with representatives from the Kurdish Freedom Movement, political parties, trade unions, academics, journalists, and other civil society organizations.

The delegation applied to the Turkish Minister of Justice, requesting a meeting with the leader of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned and isolated in inhumane conditions on Imrali Island for eighteen years now, and who is a crucial role player in the peace process. However, the Turkish Minister of Justice did not respond to their request.

The delegation also attempted to visit the co-chair from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, currently imprisoned unconstitutionally in Edirne. This request was also rejected.

Over the course of the visit, the delegation witnessed and gathered information about the dire human rights’ situation in the country. It attended the unlawful, politicized trial of an HDP MP from Diyarbakir; and it toured Diyarbakir and met with many people who informed them about their experiences in the year and a half since the unraveling of the peace process - the spiraling of violence and repression, the military assaults, curfews, countless infringements of civil rights, and human rights atrocities.

The delegation will prepare a report about these disturbing findings, which it plans to distribute widely and to present to the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the United Nations, among other international organizations.

The report will highlight Turkey’s non-compliance with the recommendations of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture regarding the unlawful and inhumane treatment of Abdullah Ocalan.

The report will also emphasize the unconstitutional imprisonment of the elected representatives of the HDP, the country’s third largest political party, as well the unlawful persecution and detentions suffered by many of its members. These unlawful detentions have escalated in a most alarming fashion during the delegation's visit, with at least 834 people detained between the 13th and the 15th of this month.

The Delegation included:

1. Dr Thomas J Miley, Cambridge University,

2. Julie WARD, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament,

3. Mr. Jonathan STEELE, Veteran Foreign Correspondent and Author, UK,

4. Ulla SANDBÆK, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Member, Group of the Unified European Left,

5. Ögmundur Jonasson, Former Minister and former leader of the Federation of Public Service Employees in Iceland and Board member on the board of international trade union organizations.,

6. Francis Wurtz was a French Member of the European Parliament,

7. Joe Ryan, chair of the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission, UK,

8. Federico Venturini, School of Geography, University of Leeds; advisory board member of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology, UK,

9. Dimitri Roussopoulos, co-founder of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Dimitri,

10. Nathan Peter McDonnel, Assistant for Mr. Dimitrios, Canada,

11. Miren Edurne GORROTXATEGI, Member of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assemble and member of Spain Senat.