International Peace Delegation: Isolation of Abdullah Öcalan must end

The International Peace Delegation is in Turkey. The delegation consisting of former Iceland Justice Minister Ögmundur Jónasson, the General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association of UK Manuel Cortes, Argentinean Human Rights activist, economist and academic Beverly Ann Keene, British lawyer Paul Scholey, the writer, film director and actress Maxine Peake, Edinburgh University academic Connor Hayes and Assistant General Secretary at UNITE Union Tony Burke paid a visit to our headquarters to met with our co-chair Pervin Buldan.

After the meeting our co-chair Pervin Buldan and the delegation member Jónasson held a joint press conference and said the following:

Pervin Buldan:

An important delegation has visited us today and we consider it a very important visit. As the HDP, we continue an immense struggle for the removal of the isolation imposed on Öcalan.  Within this framework, we exchanged our views with the delegation on the recent developments regarding the isolation of Mr. Öcalan. The isolation of Mr. Öcalan should be on the agenda of European and western countries. We see it as a matter of humanity and human rights. 

I want to thank the delegation in your presence because they are trying to raise the isolation issue. Their efforts bear great importance. I would like to point out that their efforts will make a significant contribution to the solution of the problem of isolation.

Ögmundur Jónasson:

Today here we are 9 individual from various countries and what we have in common is that we have a deep concern for human rights and the commitment to justice and democracy. We have written a letter to the Justice Minister of Turkey on the 21th January asking for a meeting with him. In the meeting we would raise these issues and express our concerns including for the imprisonment of political figures in Turkey. In the letter we said “We are aware of the unfortunate situation that nobody has been allowed to visit Abdullah Öcalan for a long period of time. And we ask your assistance in arranging our delegation be given to visit him on İmralı Island”.

In our opinion this is a precondition to achieve peace in Turkey, and that is main concern of our delegation. We come from politics, trade unions, culture, human rights organizations, there are also lawyers in our group. But we share deep commitment to express our solidarity and to put efforts for establishing peace in Turkey.

We have come here with good faith and good intentions. I myself am the former Justice Minister of Iceland. We are still waiting for the reaction from Turkey’s minister of Justice. We hope we will be received by the minister. For many years, I was a member of Parliamentary Assembly of European Council (PACE). We are not isolated voices by all means. The recent resolution by PACE was speaking very much in line with what I’m saying here.

Lastly, we do have deep concern for the people who have been on hunger strike for a long time here in Turkey and also in Europe. On Sunday we visited fourteen Kurdish people who have been on hunger strike since the beginning of December. And this was both inspirational and depressing. It was inspirational in the sense that we were witnessing courage and determination, but at the same time it was depressing because they were pushed into such condition.

12 February 2019