An international delegation has arrived in Turkey, making its first visit to Asrin Law Office in Istanbul and stating, “It is time for Abdullah Öcalan to be released.”

A delegation from Europe has arrived in Istanbul against the absolute isolation imposed on Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is held in İmralı F Type High Security Closed Prison and has not been heard from for 35 months. The delegation of the ‘International Delegation for a Solution to the Kurdish Question and Against Isolation’, including parliamentarians, will make a series of visits for two days. The delegation paid its first visit to the Asrin Law Office, which represents Abdullah Öcalan and his fellow prisoners in Imrali.

The delegation visited the Asrin Law Office in Beyoğlu. Lawyers Suzan Akipa, İbrahim Bilmez, Cengiz Yürekli, Rezan Sarıca and Mazlum Dinç and Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) Foreign Affairs Co-Spokesperson Ebru Günay welcomed the delegation, which is made up of Konstanze Kriese, Representative of the German Left Party; Maria Lorena Lopez De Lacalle, President of EFA (European Free Alliance); Ann Jessica Theresa Karlqvist, Representative of the Swedish Left Party and Left Forum; Josu Estarrona Elizondo, Senator of the Spanish National Assembly, Eh Bildu (Basque Country); Montserrat Vinyets Pages, Member of the Parliament of Catalonia (CUP); Ségoléne Amiot, Senator of the Non-Submissive France Party Group; Clément Evans, Advisor to the Non-Submissive France Party Group and Hege Bae Nyholt, Member of the Norwegian Red Party.

Lawyers informed the delegation about the isolation of Öcalan

During the visit, lawyer İbrahim Bilmez talked about the initiatives they have taken regarding the lack of news from Abdullah Öcalan. Bilmez informed the delegation about the silence of international mechanisms against the isolation in İmralı and the absolute lack of communication and the international efforts they are making to meet with their clients.

Speaking after the visit, which was closed to the press, Bilmez said, “We informed the delegation about the isolation imposed on our clients in İmralı Island, and we highlighted the importance of solidarity. We want to pave the way for all legal initiatives to meet Mr. Öcalan. Therefore, the delegation’s visit is very important for us.”

‘We condemn political trials against the opposition and their political representatives’

The delegation then read a statement, emphasizing that the lack of a solution to the Kurdish question continues to affect the whole of Turkey and the region: “Since the founding of the HEP in the 1990s and the calls by the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, political forces among the Kurdish people have called for an end to hostilities and for peaceful negotiations between the Turkish government and the Kurdish liberation movement. These calls have been met by continued aggression and repression by the Turkish state. This repression was also seen during the last general elections in Turkey in the spring of 2023, when the legal party HDP was obstructed in their effort to participate and campaign freely. We, representatives of European democratic parties, together with the Council of Europe, will campaign for the fundamental rights of those in Turkey who want to exercise their political mandate in a democratic form. Opposition, democratic participation and the peaceful creation of a better life must not be restricted, persecuted or their voices kept.”

“We condemn political trials against the opposition and their political representatives. That’s why, in addition to election observation, we will also accompany trials and support the public report. We will closely observe the situation in Turkey leading up to the local elections on March 31st. We are alarmed by further attempts to imprison and intimidate candidates and elected representatives of DEM. The situation is outrageous harassment of the HDP, of which former leaders have been held in prison for six years, awaiting their final hearing despite demands from the Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe for their release.”

‘We denounce Abdullah Öcalan’s solitary confinement’

The statement emphasized the need to ensure Abdullah Öcalan’s physical freedom and said, “Both the repression against legal political parties and the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan need to end in order to restart the process towards a peaceful and lasting political solution to the Kurdish question. Since 2005, Abdullah Öcalan claims Democratic Confederalism. The progressive parties that we represent are convinced that ecology and feminism implemented in a bottom-up approach are the driving forces for a better and fairer society for all. We denounce Abdullah Öcalan’s solitary confinement as a sheer violation of human rights and international law. It is time for peace and coexistence. It is time for the release of Abdullah Öcalan. It is time for peace and coexistence in the Middle East region.”

The statement pointed out that: “In solidarity with Kurdistan, all the organizations represented here will continue their efforts in mobilizing election observers for the March 31st local elections. We express our support for the European Delegation organized by the DEM Party on February 19-21. We are happy to see that MPs of different nationalities are able to join in supporting the DEM Party’s rights to participate freely in elections.”

The delegation then answered journalists’ questions. The delegation will meet with representatives of civil society organizations and political parties throughout the day.


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