The offense of 'pacing' in Imrali prison

Everyone knows that the most popular sport for convicts in prisons is pacing up and down. Pacing is a sport in prisons. Subjecting the PKK leader to a penalty for pacing is the depiction of contemporary Turkey.

It is an indisputable fact that the ruling AKP-MHP alliance is hostile to the Kurds. Thousands of Kurdish politicians are jailed. The reason is that they seek a solution to the Kurdish problem. They demand education in their mother tongue and aspire to democratic autonomy, which is one of the most basic forms of local democracy. They do not want to secede from Turkey as the government and chauvinists claim. On the contrary, they wish Turkey's unity to be strengthened within local democracy. Regional autonomy is granted in most of the European Union countries that Turkey wants to become a member of. There are federal regions in Germany. There is a legal guarantee of local democracy, which is called the European charter of local self-government.

The government in Turkey wants to join the European Union yet does not adopt the principles of the union. Officials of the European Union keep saying that there is no democracy in Turkey and that it is ruled by a dictatorship. It is the practices of the AKP-MHP government that make people claim this. To argue that those who say these things do not like Turkey and that they want to hinder Turkey's progress is mere demagogy. The Turkish government conceals its fascist practices by conducting propaganda. This is called ‘the pot calling the kettle black!’

It is possible to observe anti-Kurdish practices in the penalties given to Kurdish women. Currently, Turkey keeps the highest number of female politicians in prisons in the world. This simply shows what kind of a country Turkey is. Fascism promotes male-dominated, macho and misogynistic practices. The struggle of women against male domination is essentially a struggle against fascism. Male domination generates fascism, oppression and despotism. The AKP-MHP government considers the freedom struggle of the Kurdish women as a threat to its male-dominated government. It consciously and deliberately targets Kurdish women politicians. Leyla Güven is in jail because she carried out an indefinite hunger strike against the isolation in Imrali. Thousands of women like Güven are in Turkish prisons! Ayşe Gökkan, one of the prominent figures of the women's movement, was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison in an act of attempt to intimidate other women politicians. When the democratic forces and women's movements in the world criticize such penalties, Turkish officials fend off these questions and criticisms by claiming that there are higher courts, the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court in Turkey. People are thus kept in prisons for years only for revenge.

We also see the injustice in Turkey in the practices against PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan who has been kept in a solitary cell for 23 years in the İmralı Prison. Lawyers and families are arbitrarily banned from visiting the prisoners here. Most recently we have heard that Öcalan received a penalty and is not allowed to meet his family and lawyers since he was pacing up and down in the sports hall. Everyone knows that the most popular sport for convicts in prisons is pacing up and down. Walking the floor is the sport of prisons. Subjecting the PKK leader to a penalty for pacing is the depiction of contemporary Turkey. Or, as emphasized by Kurdish politicians, intellectuals and people, what is done in Imrali is also done in entire Turkey, especially against the Kurds.

With a few exceptions, the PKK leader has not been allowed to meet with his lawyers for the past 11 years. There is no such practice anywhere else in the world. Again, with a few exceptions, he has not been allowed to meet his family since April 5, 2015. Families do not even know about the health status of their relatives in prison. This is a crime against humanity. Apart from the PKK leader, there are 3 other PKK members in Imrali prison. It is the most basic right of families to get information on the medical condition of these PKK members and the PKK leader. It is a crime to ban meetings for years. The Turkish state is nevertheless committing this crime. All political forces who wish to come to power in Turkey should take a stand against this crime. They cannot say that what happens in Imrali does not concern them. What happens in Imrali is also a reality of Turkey.

Could it be an offense to pace in prison? Could it be an offense to talk while pacing up and down? This is the attitude of AKP-MHP fascism towards Kurdish political prisoners in Imrali like in other prisons. Torture is prevalent in all prisons now. Even those who are supposed to be released are kept in prisons. Everyone knows why the PKK leader is mistreated. It is because the Kurdish people are inspired by him in claiming their rights. The Kurdish people say that their identity should be recognized, education in mother tongue and self-government should be granted as a requirement of local democracy. The PKK leader who encouraged the Kurds to demand freedom is mistreated since the Turkish authorities want to Turkify the Kurds by assimilation. Millions of people in Turkey have declared that Abdullah Öcalan is their political leader. Furthermore, the AKP government held peace talks with him because he was the leader of the Kurds. The government even sent an envoy to the PKK leader before the Istanbul elections to get the Kurdish votes.

The PKK leader who has not been allowed to meet his lawyers and family for years has received a visitation ban because he paced in prison. Therefore, the health status of the prisoners in Imrali remains unknown. This isolation, crackdown, lawlessness and injustice in Imrali is also practiced all over Turkey. The reason for oppression and injustice is the state mentality in Imrali. This mentality and practices are spreading all over Turkey, starting from Imrali. The all-out attack on young people, women, workers and opposition stems from these practices in Imrali. For this very reason, the practices there should be opposed in the first place.

Source: Yeni Yaşam