Our Statements

november 07, 2021

Let’s Increase our Struggle Against the Isolation and Torture System on Imrali!

Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] has been held in severe solitary confinement for 23 years. Since July 2011, that is, for ten years now, he has been denied access to his lawyers. Only during the local elections a few meetings with his lawyers were allowed in order to win the votes of the Kurds. Rêber Apo has also only been able to see his family a few times since April 5, 2015, and only due to public pressure. For years, any meetings have been prevented under the pretext of disciplinary penalties, the justification for which is completely arbitrary. All this clearly shows that Imrali is not proceeding in accordance with current law, but is a politically motivated system. The Imrali system is intended to take political revenge. The fact that Rêber Apo is banned from meetings with his family and lawyers on the grounds that he spoke while walking in the prison courtyard is clear evidence of this.

The attitude and measures used against Rêber Apo in Imrali show the anti- Kurdish nature of the fascist government in Turkey. Every day it is shown anew that the fascist practice in Turkey has spread from Imrali to the whole country. The co-chair of the IHD Human Rights Association in Turkey, Öztürk Türkdoğan, has clearly brought this up in his recent statement, pointing out that the oppression of all Kurdish prisoners in the country is due to one and the same attitude. This fact is also openly addressed by the HDP on an ongoing basis. Starting with the prisons, the system on Imrali has developed into a policy against the entire population of Turkey. This fact must finally be made an issue by all opposition political forces. If this does not happen, no real oppositional attitude to the AKP-MHP government can be taken. Only on the basis of a changed attitude towards the Kurds, and thus also towards Rêber Apo, democracy and human rights can be guaranteed in Turkey. Imrali is the place where it becomes clearest that without a solution of the Kurdish question democracy will be impossible in Turkey. As long as the attitude towards Imrali does not change, no progress will succeed regarding the Kurdish question in Turkey, thus leaving it to the fascist governments of the country.

Rêber Apo has received a disciplinary sanction for speaking while walking in the prison courtyard. This illustrates the massive oppression he has been subjected to for 23 years on this island and in this one-person prison. It clearly constitutes tyranny and a human rights crime that he is continuously prevented from seeing his lawyers and family under various pretexts. Thus, the representatives of the genocidal and fascist mentality try to turn every single day into torture for Rêber Apo.They do this because Rêber Apo has educated the Kurds and has made them resist against the denial and genocide system. We as well as Rêber Apo himself are very well aware of the mentality and aim on which this policy is based in Imrali and all other prisons. Based on this awareness, our people, Rêber Apo and all prisoners are resisting against the genocidal mentality, policies and measures. Because as long as they continue, there will be no democracy or freedom in Turkey. These measures are used to commit genocide against the Kurds. It is therefore necessary that all those who fight for democracy and freedom in Turkey raise their voices against the oppression in Imrali and all other prisons.

The lawyers also bear responsibility toward Rêber Apo. The Kurdish people expect them to fulfill this responsibility. They demand that they continuously share information with the public regarding Rêber Apo’s health and general condition. But because they are denied access to Rêber Apo, they have no information about his current condition and accordingly cannot fully meet their responsibilities. The families of the prisoners are prevented from seeing their imprisoned siblings and children. Not only Rêber Apo, but also the other three prisoners on Imrali are not allowed to meet their lawyers and families. The families do not know how their siblings and children are doing health-wise. This alone constitutes a human rights crime. Preventing the prisoners from seeing their families and communicating with each other for long periods of time is a human rights crime. The families have the right to go to Imrali and find out how their siblings and children are doing. These bans expose not only the prisoners themselves, but also their families to torture.

There is no doubt that all the states that participated in the International Conspiracy against Rêber Apo are also responsible for the current situation. This applies equally to all the institutions of which Turkey is an official member. The Council of Europe and the CPT are not taking a clear stance, although the Turkish state is not abiding by any laws on Imrali and has established a torture system there. Accordingly, they do not stand up for human rights. All this should not be the subject of negotiations and deals according to human rights and legal obligations to which the Turkish state has submitted. However, due to political interests, the crimes of the Turkish state are being ignored, from which it profits and consequently continues the tyranny in Imrali and all other prisons. The Council of Europe and the CPT are also responsible for this.

The Imrali repression system is currently being applied in a variety of ways in all prisons in the country. The repression and tyranny in Imrali, against the Kurdish prisoners and all other political prisoners in the other prisons pursue one and the same goal. The torture and tyranny used in Turkey’s prisons today is much more diverse and comprehensive than it was at the time of the fascist military junta of September 12, 1980, because the genocidal colonialism has now taken on a much more severe scale through new methods of oppression against the Kurdish people and all prisoners. The oppression policy of AKP-MHP fascism has been pursued for six years in the worst possible way in the prisons, exposing the fascist government`s true face. While it is on the verge of its own collapse, this government is reinforcing tyranny inside and outside the prisons. That is why today the peoples of Turkey, the democratic forces and the political opposition of the country are resisting against the AKP policies. This stance must also be taken against the oppression in the prisons, especially in Imrali.

The Council of Europe and the CPT, both of which have responsibility for the situation on Imrali and in all prisons in Turkey, as well as all human rights organizations and the country’s parliamentary prison commission, must visit Imrali and all other prisons and share their findings with the public. The fact that no information about the situation on Imrali and Rêber Apo’s state of health is being released to the outside world is a cause of great concern for everyone, especially for Rêber Apo’s family and the people.

The situation in Imrali and all other prisons is a matter of honor for the Kurdish people. Through the oppression on Imrali and in all prisons, the Kurdish people in particular are being oppressed. Against this oppression, isolation and torture, the Kurdish people are in non-stop resistance. This struggle must be further intensified in order to break the oppression on Imrali and in all other prisons and to ensure that information about Rêber Apo’s health and general situation is made public. All moral and responsible people who consider themselves human beings – especially the Kurdish people and their friends – must accordingly fight even more actively for this goal.


KCK Executive Council