Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan
P.O. Box 100511, D-50445 Koeln
Telephone: +49 221 130 15 59
Fax: +49 221 790 76 10 30
Cologne, 27 July 2012
One Year of Total Isolation of Ocalan on Imrali
The arbitrariness of the Islamist AKP government must stop!
one year the Turkish AKP government has been keeping the Kurdish leader
Abdullah Öcalan in total isolation on the prison island of Imrali.
The last visit of lawyers to Abdullah Ocalan and his five fellow
prisoners took place on 27 July 2011. Ever since they have been cut off
from the outside world. Neither family members nor lawyers are allowed
to visit. Telephone calls or written communication are also not
Even in Turkish law – which does not tend to be soft on political
prisoners – there is no legal basis for this total isolation. Each week
flimsy excuses like defect vessel or bad weather are cited to prevent
the due visits from happening. However, Prime Minister Erdogan as well
as Minister of Justice Ergin have both stated publicly that it is the
government who blocks every visit.
This demonstrates the complete arbitrariness of the AKP government
whose representatives publicly defend breaches of the law as soon as
Kurdish matters are concerned. Another scandalous development was the
detention of Ocalan's complete defence team of 36 lawyers who have been
in jail for more than half a year now.
The real scandal however is the silence of the foreign countries. The
European Convention on Human Rights is valid in 47 states. For Kurds,
it seems, it is not. At least not for Abdullah Ocalan. The Council of
Europe delegates the responsibility for the scandal prison on Imrali
Island to the powerless anti-torture committee (CPT) and deliberately
ignores the matter otherwise. Even the much-appraised European Court
for Human Rights was so far not able to determine the fact of isolation.
The European Union appears far to busy building up Turkey as a model
country for the Arab world to care for "shop-accidents" like the
conflict between the Turkish state and its Kurdish citizens. In the
Syria crisis Ankara appears far too important for EU and NATO to press
it for human rights and rule of law in Turkey. The West acts
Janus-faced, but this will backfire as soon as Syrian Kurds, at the eve
of the emerging of a new Kurdish autonomous region, shall take their
place in a new Syria. They will not forget this hypocritical approach
to the Kurdish issue.
Even in a Turkish context Ocalan's total isolation doesn't make sense.
It was him who was able to urge the Kurdish guerilla to hold up several
cease-fires. His constructive proposals for a political solution, laid
out in his Road Map, formed the basis of the 3-year negotiations
between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. A solution to the conflict
was within grasp; Recep Tayyip Erdogan stopped the negotiations
abruptedly and stepped up the attacks against Kurdish civil society.
This solved none of the problems but created new ones. The clashed
between Kurdish guerilla and Turkish army have rekindled, the situation
seems muddy. But even Erdogan will have to realise that the Kurdish
issue can only be solved through dialogue. Therefore the negotiations
have to be resumed to prevent further bloodshed.
Ocalan's actions throughout the last years have proven that the Kurdish
leader is able to play a balancing role regarding Turkish and Kurdish
interests. This balance is the precondition for a lasting peace which
is acceptable for both sides. The ball is now in the Turkish
government's court to put things on track.
Abdullah Ocalan's release as a vital contribution to the solution of the conflict is therefore inevitable.
Cologne, 27 July 2012
First signatories of the International Initiative:
Máiréad Maguire (Nobel Price Award, Northern Ireland), Dario Fo (Director, Writer, Actor, Nobel Literature Price Award, Italy), Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Nobel Literature Price Award, Argentine), Jose Ramos-Horta (Peace Nobel Price Award, East-Timor), José Saramago (Nobel Literature Price Award, Portugal), Danielle Mitterrand (President, Donation France Liberté, France), Ramsey Clark (Lawyer, former Attorney General, USA), Uri Avnery (Former Member of Knesset, Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc), Israel), Prof. Dr. Noam Chomsky (Linguist, Writer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), Alain Lipietz (Member of the European Parliament, France), Pedro Marset Carpos (Member of the European Parliament, Spain), Mrs. Jean Lambert (Member of the European Parliament, GB), Lord Avebury (Chairman, Parliamentary Human Rights Group, House of Lords, GB), Harry Cohen (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB), Cynog Dafis (Member of Parliament, Plaid Cymru, GB), Lord Raymond Hylton (House of Lords, GB), Lord Rea (House of Lords, Great Britain), Walid Jumblat (President, Socialist Progressive Party, Lebanon), Rudi Vis (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB), Paul Flynn (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, Great Britain), Máiréad Keane (Director, International Department, Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland), Domenico Gallo (Lawyer, former senator (CI), member of Magistratura Democratica, Italy), Livio Pepino (Lawyer, President of Magistratura Democratica, Italy), Xabier Arzalluz (President, PNV (Basque Nationalist Party), Tony Benn (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB), Giovanni Palombarini (Lawyer, former president of Magistratura Democratica, Italy), Heidi Ambrosch (Vice-president and Women Speaker, Communist Party of Austria), Mag. Walter Baier (President, Communist Party of Austria), Giana Nanini (Artist, Italy), Geraldine Chaplin (Actress, Madrid, Spain), Dietrich Kittner, (Humorist, Writer, Cabarettist, Germany), David MacDowall, (Writer, GB), Alice Walker, (Writer, USA), Franca Rame, (Actress, Director, Writer, Italy), Prof. Dr. Jean Ziegler (Member of the Swiss National Council, Publisher, Switzerland), Dr. Diether Dehm (Vice President, PDS, Germany), Prof. Dr. Angela Davis (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA), Prof. Dr. Luigi Ferraioli (Philosophy and Law Professor, Italy), Prof. Dr. Uwe Jens Heuer (Law Professor, Berlin, Germany), Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Narr (Comittee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy, Germany), Prof. Dr. Werner Ruf (International Law Professor, Kassel University, Germany), Prof. Dr. Norman Paech (International Law Professor, Hamburg School of Economy and Politics, Germany), Prof. Dr. Gerhard Stuby (International Law Professor, Bremen University, Germany), Prof. Dr. h.c. Ronald Mönch (Chair of Bremen Highschool, Germany), Prof. Dr. Elmar Altvater (President, International Lelio Basso Donation for the rights of the peoples, Germany), Prof. Dr. Helmut Dahmer (Sociology Professor, Darmstadt Technical University, Germany), Prof. Jürgen Waller (Chair of School of Arts, Bremen, Germany), Christine Blower (Former President, National Union of Teachers (NUT), Great Britain), Ken Cameron (General Secretary, Fire Brigades Union (FBU), GB), Josep Lluis Carod Rouira (President ERC, Barcelona, Spain), Michael Feeny (Adviser of Cardinal Hume in refugee affaires, GB), Gareth Peirce (Lawyer, Great Britain Frances Webber, Barrister, GB), Norbert Mattes (Information Project Near und Middle East, Germany), Yayla Mönch-Buçak (Oldenburg University, Germany), Dr. Mamoud Osman (Kurdish Politician, Great Britain), Jutta Bauer (Book Illustrator, Germany), Günther Schwarberg (Journalist, Germany), Hans Branscheidt (medico international / Appell von Hannover), Germany, Rolf Becker (Actor, IG Medien (Media Union), Germany)