Gökay Akbulut, a member of the German Federal Government from the Left Party, submitted a parliamentary question regarding the government’s knowledge about the isolation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in Imrali Prison in September.
The Secretary of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Andreas Michaelis, replied to the parliamentary question by stating that the federal government had no knowledge of the health of the imprisoned PKK leader. He also said that the addressee for this issue is the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), which also has a German representative.
Akbulut said she is not satisfied with the government’s response to the parliamentary question. “I have the impression that geopolitical interests take precedence over international human rights in the German government,” she said. “In 2019, the then SPD-led Foreign Office gave a much more differentiated answer to a similar question. It had also shared its concerns about human rights for detainees in Turkey.”
Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers had recently requested that the CPT urgently visit the PKK leader and other prisoners in İmralı island prison complex in September. On 3 October, the CPT announced that a delegation had indeed visited İmralı Prison, where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and detainees Ömer Hayri Konar, Veysi Aktaş and Hamili Yıldırım were held, between 20-29 September. However, any information about the details of the visit was not shared. Except that they had seen each prisoner and would share their findings with the Turkish government in 6 months time.
Gürkan Istekli, co-chair of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom, told the Mezopotamya Agency that the CPT’s visit to Imrali did not relieve the public’s concerns and evaluated disciplinary sanctions given to the PKK leader as an attack on his rights.
İstekli noted that the consistent form of incommunicado for more than 18 months cannot be explained by legal means in the current period. “This isolation attempt should be seen as a result of Turkey’s war policy against the Kurdish people and should be dealt with as such. This policy also means keeping the demands of the Kurdish people in isolation and waging war on these demands,” he added.
Protesting against the state of incommunicado in Imrali, 775 lawyers led by the Lawyers Association for Freedom (ÖHD) in Turkey and hundreds of lawyers in Europe and the Middle East applied to the Turkish Ministry of Justice for an end to the isolation policies. However, the ministry has not responded positively or negatively to the applications.