Originally published: https://freeocalan.org/news/english/2023-imrali-delegation

19 May 2023 | International Initiative ‘Freedom for Ocalan-Peace in Kurdistan’

2023 İmralı Peace Delegation presents its findings in Reykjavík

Delegation reminds the Council of Europe of its founding principles

The International Peace Delegation to İmralı held a fact-finding mission to Turkey on 10–13 May 2023. The members of the delegation included Dennis O’Hearn, Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas, Laura Castel, Senator from Spain and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and Ögmundur Jónasson, Honorary Associate of PACE and former Minister of Interior of Iceland. The delegation met with several human rights institutions and representatives of movements and other NGOs. Their report will be available soon.

Ögmundur Jónasson, delegation member and a spokesperson of the International Initiative, hosted a press conference in Reykjavík, Iceland on 17 May 2023. Along with the other delegation members, one of the spokespersons of the International Initiative, Havin Guneser, also took part in the press conference. Time and place of this press conference were significant, because it was held at the same time as the summit of the Council of Europe in Reykjavík

While the members of the delegation presented the results of their fact-finding mission to Turkey, they emphasized that İmralı Island ― Turkey’s equivalent to Robben Island ― is a place where the European Convention on Human Rights has been systematically circumvented for more than 24 years now. For the last two and a half years, the prisoners on the island have been without any contact to lawyers, relatives, or anybody else. The whole island is a black hole ― right in the middle of Europe.

Thus, the speakers called on the Council of Europe stay true to its founding principles and to make sure that the Convention is implemented in the case of the Kurdish people’s and Abdullah Öcalan’s rights and that recommendations of the CPT and the decisions of the ECtHR are implemented. Furthermore, all the speakers drew attention to the importance of resolving the Kurdish question peacefully and politically, and the key role Abdullah Öcalan plays in that.

Watch a recording of the meeting here: https://youtu.be/Es0Bgjk_jAk (English starts after a few minutes)

Further coverage of the visit and the press conference: