Today marks two years since EFA’s original call for the end of the isolation regime for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and the release of all political prisoners in Turkey. In January 2019, Kurdish MEP Leyla Güven was released from prison following an 80-day hunger strike.
However, in December 2020, Güven was sentenced to 22 years in prison on terror charges. The HDP, Güven’s political party, said it would appeal against the sentence, calling it ‘a hostile act against all Kurds and the entire opposition.’
Güven, 56, was an MP for the HDP and the co-leader of the Democratic Society Congress – an assembly of representatives from civil society organisations, political parties, lawyers and human rights defenders.
Güven’s arrest and charge is representative of a history of oppression against the Kurdish population in Turkey. Today marks the 60th day of political prisoner hunger strikes, in which the strikers call for Turkey to end the isolation imposed on Kurdish leader Mr Abdullah Öcalan. He is currently being held in extreme isolation as the sole prisoner of a Turkish island jail, under a sentence of life without parole. Öcalan’s lawyers insist that both Turkish law and ‘international rules are not being applied’ in regards to his imprisonment.
With Turkey actively seeking EU accession, the lack of democratic process and disregard for international law around prison conditions is concerning. The Turkish government’s use of extreme isolation and prison sentences for those who oppose the government must end. European Free Alliance (EFA) calls for the end of the isolation regime for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and the release of all political prisoners in Turkey. Talks between Erdogan’s government and Kurdish authorities must resume in order to find a political solution that leads to a genuine coexistence of all communities and peoples in a democratic Turkey.
25 January 2021