The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) under the Council of Europe has not made public details of its ad-hoc visit to Turkey’s İmralı Island Prison in September despite numerous calls to that end, leaving Kurds in the country and diaspora concerned for the living conditions of Abdullah Öcalan.
Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Co-chair Cemil Bayık in an interview with Kurdish agency ANF said
the CPT leaving the calls unanswered means the council, committee and Turkey “all carry out the same policy of isolation together”.
“We want the CPT to explain what happened,” Bayık said. “CPT’s job is to prevent torture.”
Öcalan has been serving a life sentence in the isolated prison in the northwestern island of İmralı since 1999. While he was never able to have full use of his rights to communication as an inmate, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founding leader was on occasion able to relay messages to the outside word via his lawyers. However, he was last able to communicate with his lawyers in 2019, and the final contact with the outside world was in March 2021 in the form of an interrupted phone call with his brother.
“Kurds have expressed their reactions to this situation,” Bayık told ANF. “CPT has still not made a statement, further deepening suspicions.”
The absolute isolation of the PKK founder from the outside world “is against the Kurdish people, because Öcalan represents them”, Bayık said.
Turkey “doesn’t want Öcalan to think, develop new ideas, or perform his role for Kurds and humanity”, Bayık said. The KCK maintains that Öcalan will play a crucial role in the democratic resolution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey, and democratisation and peace-building in the Middle East in general.
“Turkey does not allow Öcalan to share his opinions with the people, that is why they impose a policy of isolation,” the co-chair said.