‘Wars and economic crises have increased alongside the isolation’

The Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) Amed Branch member Adile Salman said that wars, economic, political and social crises have increased alongside the isolation policies in Turkey.

Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been under aggravated isolation in İmralı F Type High Security Prison for 22 years, is not allowed to meet with his family and lawyers despite all legal applications. As a result of the hunger strike that was launched by Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair Leyla Güven on November,8 2018 in Diyarbakır E-Type Closed Prison, where the Kurdish politician was jailed at the time, and spread to all prisons and lasted for 200 days, Öcalan’s lawyers were allowed to hold five separate meetings with him. After the last meeting on August 7, 2019, all applications filed by his lawyers have been rejected.

Applications for a visit by Öcalan's family and his legal representative are likewise rejected. As a result of increasing public concern, Abdullah Öcalan was permitted to use his right to make a phone call for the first time on April 27, 2020. He talked to his family on the phone on March 25, following the allegations about his health and safety conditions circulated on March 14. This phone call, which was the last contact with Öcalan, was also interrupted.

In the meantime, the indefinite-rotating hunger strike launched by PKK and PAJK prisoners in Kurdistan and Turkey prisons on November 27, 2020 to protest the isolation on Öcalan and the violations of rights in prisons marks its 253rd day. Politicians and NGOs urge the government to answer the demands of those on hunger strike.


Speaking to ANF, Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) Diyarbakır Branch member Adile Salman noted that the isolation in Imralı has intensified since April 5, 2015. She said that families and lawyers are in no way allowed to visit the prisoners on İmralı who are completely isolated from the outside world.

“The isolation of Mr. Öcalan, who proposed a peaceful solution to the crisis of capitalist civilization in Turkey and the Middle East, is an effort to ensure the persistence of a power that relies on war and violence. The isolation aggravates wars, economic, political and social crises. As long as the isolation continues, the crises that are destroying the country will continue to increase.”


“Isolation causes problems to get worse. Lifting the isolation is an opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish problem. A peaceful solution in Turkey will positively affect the entire Middle East, especially Syria,” she stressed.

The lawyer continued: “Countries that are portrayed as champions of democracy are complicit in the crime of isolation by remaining silent. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) does not handle the isolation in a proper way. The isolation and its consequences should be explained to the public. It should be highlighted that isolation leads to war, crisis, deadlock and destruction. Public opinion should be formed and institutions such as the CPT should be urged to function.”


Salman remarked on the ongoing hunger strike resistance, saying, “In a period when the opposition and democratic forces remain weak, the prisoners try to develop a solution through hunger strikes. The demands of the prisoners must be embraced and made visible and necessary steps must be taken before irrevocable consequences emerge.