Auernheimer: Isolation is torture by international standards

Prof. Georg Auernheimer said that the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan was a form of torture according to international standards. He added that the Turkish state should return to the negotiation table, and that "as a first step, Öcalan should be released."

There has been no news from Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is held in Imralı F-Type High Security Closed Prison, for over three years. In the face of the absolute lack of communication experienced in Imralı, authorized institutions, such as the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), remain silent.

Professor Georg Auernheimer, who served as Professor of Intercultural Education at the Faculty of Human Sciences at the University of Cologne until his retirement, described the isolation in Imrali as "torture", and added that such an absolute isolation "cannot be justified in any way," and called for the Kurdish People's Leader “to be released.”

Abdullah Öcalan should be released

The German professor underlined that the requests filed by the Kurdish People’s Leader’s lawyers and family for visit, were rejected or left unanswered. “The solitary confinement that the Turkish judiciary has imposed on Abdullah Öcalan for decades is a form of torture according to international standards and cannot be justified in any way. As far as I know, Öcalan is in favor of peaceful coexistence between Kurds and Turks in the Republic of Turkey and among all nations in general. However, even if Öcalan was still supporting the military struggle for the rights of the Kurdish people, his continued detention would not be justified."

The Turkish state should end isolation, said Prof. Auernheimer, adding that an environment favourable to negotiations was created in 2013-2015. Auernheimer said that he expects Turkey to return to the path of negotiation, and added that the physical freedom of Kurdish People's Leader Öcalan should be ensured as a first step. “I would like to see Turkey's current regime return to the path of negotiations that it started years ago with representatives of the Kurds in Turkey. The first step towards this is the release of Abdullah Öcalan."