Urgent Appeal to European Committee for the Prevention of Torture -CPT

 Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe
F – 67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Tel +33 (0)3 88 41 22 79
Fax +33 (0)3 88 41 27 72

To CPT officials,

Re: Demand for urgent meeting with Abdullah Ocalan

 As you are well aware, the unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey on the 15th of July, 2016. Even at this early stage it is clear that this coup attempt will have significant reverberations.
When President Tayyip Erdogan took a decision to intensify the war on the Kurds and destroy Kurdish towns and cities a year ago, he also moved to suppress Kurdish civil society. The immunities of MPs were removed and Co-Mayors were being imprisoned and removed from their posts. The suppression in Kurdish people was unmatched by any previous historical record.
It is these atrocities and anti-democratic policies implemented by the AKP in Turkey and Kurdistan that paved the way to the coup attempt of 15 July. Following the failure of the coup, President Erdogan has extended this destructive strategy all over Turkey.
We can say this with confidence that had the 7 June, 2015 election results been respected and the conflict resolution process was continued, then there would not have even been a coup attempt. The Kurdish question’s existence and a lack of democratisation in Turkey has always been a platform for coups.
In these circumstances, we have grave concerns about the well being of Mr. Abdullah Ocalan. This concern is shared by his family, his lawyers, the Kurdish people and the wider public. Unfortunately, the pronouncements and actions of the government do little to allay these concerns.
During his meetings with his lawyers, the state and the HDP delegations, Mr Abdullah Ocalan had always warned of this possibility of a coup 15 months ago. In such a situation of violence and counter-violence, his safety would be under threat.
At this critical moment, we call upon the CPT to uphold its responsibilities. The CPT must eliminate all concerns for Mr. Abdullah Ocalan’s safety and well-being. The CPT must meet with Mr. Ocalan but also demand that his lawyers and family are allowed to meet with him too.
For millions of people, Mr Abdullah Ocalan is their political leader and his well-being is of the utmost concern for them. Any hesitance and inaction by the CPT would aggravate the concerns which are legitimate and humane. To alleviate these concerns, the CPT must act with the utmost urgency and demand to meet Mr Abdullah Ocalan face to face at Imrali Island.

We look forward to an urgent action.

Yours sincerely


Kariane Westrheim                                                                      Judge Essa Moosa

Chairperson EUTCC                                                         High Court South Africa (retired)

Mobile +47 976 42 088


Members of the Imrali Peace Delegation that visited Strasbourg

  • Judge Essa Moosa (Head of Delegation), International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative, South Africa.
  • Kariane Westrheim chairperson EU Turkey Civic Commission, Professor at the University of Bergen. Former Rafto Board Member
  • Rev, Fr. Joe Ryan, Chair of the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission (UK)
  • Thomas Jeff Miley Lecturer of Political Sociology, Cambridge University (USA)
  • Federico Venturini School of Geography, University of Leeds (Italy)
  • Radha D’ Souza University of Westminster, School of Law (India)

Additional members of the Imrali Peace Delegation

  • Janet Biehl author, editor (USA)
  • Francesco Andrade Velasco, former Minister of Culture (Ecuador)
  • Andrej Hunko, MP of Left Party (Germany)
  • Dimitri Roussopoulos, co-founder of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology (Canada)
  • Eirik Eiglad, writer and publisher (Norway)
  • Lucena Gonzalez Edgar de Jesus, deputy of the National Assembly (Venezuela)