Issue No 7 / 12 April 2022 ★ Contact: [email protected]

Contents

Imrali……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Asrın Law Office calls for urgent action against the isolation in Imrali Prison………………………………2

International lawyers’ organizations urge the CPT to visit Imrali……………………………………………….4

4th of April: Birth of a People…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6

KCK: April 4 proclaims the good news of a free life………………………………………………………………..6 Kurdish parties call for participation in Öcalan’s birthday celebration in Amara…………………………..8 Seminar in Shengal to mark Abdullah Öcalan’s birthday………………………………………………………..10 Kirkuk residents celebrate birthday of Abdullah Öcalan…………………………………………………………10 ‘We rediscovered our existence with Rêber Apo’……………………………………………………………………11 Women from the Arab community living in Shengal plant saplings to mark birthday of Öcalan…..12 73 saplings were planted for Öcalan, who turned 73……………………………………………………………..13 PKK leader Öcalan’s birthday celebrated in the house where he was born………………………………….13

Newroz 2022…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

PKK: A Newroz of Victory………………………………………………………………………………………………..14

Police intimidation of children during Newroz……………………………………………………………………..16

Prisons………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17

Another ill prisoner dies because of delay in his release…………………………………………………………..17 Prisoner’s families stage sit-in protest outside courthouse in Amed…………………………………………..18 Justice Vigil launched in Istanbul after Amed, Van and Izmir………………………………………………….19 Çukurova TUAY-DER co-chair: Speak up against suspicious deaths and violations of rights in prison …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….19 A message of hope to the Kurds from a former Chilean political prisoner………………………………….20 ‘Ill prisoners should be diagnosed by independent institutions,’ says chair of medical association….22 New isolation areas: S-Type prisons…………………………………………………………………………………….23 Prisoner subjected to ill-treatment by doctor after protesting against handcuffs during examination25 Death of a political prisoner in Turkey: Religious service, funeral car denied……………………………..26 Released from prison after 30 years: We never abandoned hope………………………………………………27

Opinion………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28

It’s time to delist the PKK as a terror organisation…………………………………………………………………28 Terrorism: the power of a word – a weekly news review………………………………………………………….30 Kurds and the walls built around them………………………………………………………………………………..34 The Liars Are Desperate……………………………………………………………………………………………………35 Emancipating humanity from the inhuman acts of humans……………………………………………………37

Who Are We?…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 39 —★—

2 The İmralı Post #7

Imrali

Asrın Law Office calls for urgent action against the isolation in Imrali Prison

ANF | 25 March 2022

Asrın Law Office, which represents Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and has not heard from him and the other prisoners on İmralı for a year, issued a written statement on Friday.

In the statement, Asrın Law Office remarked that the fundamental concerns that need to be answered are how the Imrali practices came to be in Turkey and why they could not be overcome.

The office noted that they had not heard from their clients, Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and Ömer Hayri Konar, Veysi Aktaş, and Hamili Yıldırım, who are imprisoned in Imralı F Type High-Security Prison, for a year now.

Isolation System at Imrali

Asrın Law Office characterized Abdullah Öcalan’s situation since 1999 as the “Imrali Isolation System” and continued, “Mr Öcalan’s meetings with lawyers have been prohibited since 2011, and family meet- ings have been prohibited since October 2014. Only when the public reaction was strong were a few ex- ceptional lawyers and family meetings arranged. Our other three clients have not been able to meet with a lawyer since March 17, 2015, when they were transferred to Imrali Prison, and they have only been able to receive visits from their families three times in the last eight years.

“The Last Contact was in March 2021”

Reminding about Abdullah Öcalan’s “interrupted” phone contact with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on March 25, 2021, Asrın Law Office made the following remarks:

“Aside from that, we haven’t been able to contact them since that day, and we haven’t been able to obtain even the most basic information. Neither their lawyers nor their families are told of the type of treatment they receive or the conditions in which they are kept. We submitted many applications, from the Consti- tutional Court to the prosecutor’s office and the execution judge, which are the lowest judicial units in charge of monitoring and auditing prison practices. Despite this, our clients have been unable to connect with the outside world so far, and the authorities have not shared information about their health and safety with us.”

3 The İmralı Post #7 Isolation and Deadlock

Asrın Law Office made a connection between the isolation of Öcalan and the deadlock of the Kurdish question and continued as follows:

“The country’s undeniable truth is that the current crisis conditions, to which people from all classes of so- ciety are subjected -regardless of ethnic, religious, or cultural identity- derive from the insolubility of the Kurdish question. And the aggravation of the isolation of Mr Öcalan, whose role for a solution to the Kur- dish question was highlighted in the Newroz squares of 2022 once more, has carried this policy of dead- lock to a new level. With the implementation of extreme isolation in Imrali after April 2015, economic problems became a crisis for a major part of society, and the fact that social moral standards struck rock bottom was also regarded as one of the key indications of human rights violations. All objective data con- firms this situation. The fact that Mr Öcalan has not been heard from in over a year, at such a high cost to society that he has been held in torture conditions by being isolated from the outside world, essentially means isolation against Turkey’s democracy, welfare, peace, and serenity. While the current state of igno- rance is, on the one hand, an evident disregard for the law that results in torture, it is also social isolation that the peoples of Turkey must face with terrible consequences. This approach is not only important for problem-solving, but it is also an important step toward democracy and the establishment of law.”

The statement continued: “For these reasons, those who are seeking political profit by exploiting the abso – lute isolation for which they are responsible, on the one hand, and those pointing to the parliament in an abstract and imprecise manner about the resolution of the Kurdish question, must first respect the parlia- ment’s will. Public opinion should be given an explanation as to why the Constitution and laws, which are the product of Parliament’s will and bind all people and state organs, are not applied in Imrali. It should not be forgotten that governmental organs, like people, must behave within the legal framework in accor- dance with the rule of law. The parliament, as well as the civil society, which ranges from relevant institu- tions to political parties, bear the responsibility to resolve this issue.

The Treatment is Inhumane

Every person has the inherent right to question the terrible circumstances in Imrali since the Republic of Turkey is a state of law and no one can be tortured, abused, or subjected to inhuman treatment as guaran – teed by the constitution. While it is a fundamental constitutional principle that everyone is equal before the law and is not subject to discrimination, the suspension of national legislation in the person of Mr Öcalan and our other clients must be recognized and objected to by everyone. It is expected that the gov- ernments in charge of defending and maintaining the rule of law and human rights, as well as the institu- tions that are inseparable components of the civil society that has adopted this mission, will act in line with their justifications. Even though it is unthinkable in any place in the world, the major question that Turkey’s democracy must answer is how the Imrali practices came to be and why they could not be over- come in Turkey, which is a country liable to European law.

4 The İmralı Post #7 The Demand for Visitation must be Met

The fact that we are unable to contact Mr Öcalan and our other clients who are being held in İmralı con- forms to a policy that fosters uncertainty and keeps all possibilities in mind. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that being placed in solitary confinement for a year without contact with the outside world con- stitutes torture under the rules of global law and jurisprudence. The current practice is an inhumane atti- tude aimed at the person’s material and spiritual integrity. State bodies have a fundamental obligation to put an end to this practice immediately and to ensure that our clients meet with lawyers and their families. In order for this demand to be met, we call on everyone who supports democracy and liberties and is con – cerned about the functioning of the law to defend it. We bring it to the public’s attention in the hope that everyone who speaks about social justice, equal rights, individual and collective liberties will be sincere.”

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International lawyers’ organizations urge the CPT to visit

Imrali

ANF | Strasbourg | 6 April 2022

International lawyers’ organizations are demanding that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) conduct a follow-up visit to the Turkish island prison of Imrali. In particular, the prohibi – tion of Abdullah Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners from contacting their legal counsel should be inves- tigated, they demand.

The petition, signed by the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (EJDM), Lawyers For Lawyers and European Democratic Lawyers, states the following:

“This communication is addressed to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). We respectfully ask the CPT on the Day of the Lawyers in Turkey, to organize a follow-up visit to İmralı Prison and in particular to examine the government’s refusal to permit lawyers to visit their clients who are under isolation in İmralı Prison.

On 26 May 2021, a petition was published, signed by 768 lawyers, including the members and executives of several bar associations, legal organizations, and human rights organizations, highlighting this situation.

At present, the rights of Abdullah Öcalan, Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım, and Veysi Aktaş, who are currently held in İmralı F-Type High Security Prison to see their lawyers is unlawfully being restricted. Applications for lawyer visits have not been granted since 7 August 2019 for Abdullah Öcalan, Veysi Ak- taş, Hamili Yıldırım, and Ömer Hayri Konar. They have not been allowed to see their lawyers even once since they were transferred to İmralı Island in 2015.

5 The İmralı Post #7

A special and discriminatory form of isolation has been applied in İmralı Prison since 15 February 1999. The ban on lawyer visits was continued for 8 years without any interruption from 27 July 2011 until 2 May 2019. In 2019, 5 lawyer visits took place. After the last lawyer visit on 7 August 2019, the continu- ous ban resumed.

Since 1999, the CPT has conducted 10 separate visits to İmralı Prison. This severe state of isolation in İm- ralı Prison was noted in the CPT’s Report on its visit to Turkey between 6-17 May 2019, which was pub- lished on 5 August 2020. While pointing out several violations, the report also stated the following with regard to lawyer and family visits:

“The CPT urges the Turkish authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that all prisoners at İmralı Prison are effectively able, if they so wish, to receive visits from their relatives and lawyers. To this end, an end should be put to the practice of imposing a ban on family visits for ‘disciplinary’ reasons. Further, the Committee requests the Turkish authorities to provide – on a monthly basis – an account of the visits which all prisoners held at İmralı Prison have received from their family members and lawyers.”

The situation indicated in the CPT’s report continues to this day, in an aggravated manner. While it had been expected that improvements would be made in İmralı Prison in line with the recommendations out- lined in the CPT’s report, the prisoners’ lawyers report that new disciplinary penalties and bans – the lat- ter were issued by the Execution Judgeship – have been imposed on the prisoners.

Allegations and rumors concerning Abdullah Öcalan’s state of health that were widely published on social media on 14 March 2021 caused serious concerns among the public. Although the prisoners were allowed the opportunity to communicate with their families by phone on 25 March 2021 in the face of these con- cerns, the conversation between Abdullah Öcalan and his brother was interrupted after 4-5 minutes, while Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysi Aktaş could not talk to their families. Abdullah Öcalan informed the public that before the connection was completely interrupted, Abdullah Öcalan had clearly expressed his wish to see his lawyers.

The banning of lawyer visits to İmralı Prison openly violates the United Nations (UN) Standard Mini- mum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules), updated in 2015, the CPT’s recom- mendations and the Execution Law of Turkey (Law no. 5275). States have the obligation to guarantee de- tainees and convicts’ exercise of their rights without any regard for their identity or the quality of their sentence.

It is also a violation of the rights and privileges of lawyers, as specified in the United Nations Basic Princi- ples on the role of lawyers. In particular, this concerns basic principles 8 and 16.

Basic Principle 8 demands that “imprisoned persons shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality”. Basic Principle 16 states governments must ensure that lawyers “are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance or improper inter – ference.” The specific rights and privileges that lawyers enjoy in connection to their professional functions should not only be guaranteed in light of the rights of the lawyer, but also in protection of the rights of their clients.

6 The İmralı Post #7

As the legal organizations who have signed this petition, we request the CPT to follow up on its report of 5 August 2020, We urge the CPT to recommend that the necessary action is taken by the authorities; and that urgent action is taken for the lifting of the ban on lawyer visits, which is part of the isolation imposed on prisoners in İmralı Prison; and, in view of the aggravation of the conditions since the CPT’s last visit more than two years ago, to visit İmralı Prison and prepare a report on this visit.”

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4th of April: Birth of a People KCK: April 4 proclaims the good news of a free life

ANF | Behdinan | 30 March 2022

The Co-Presidency Council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) released a statement on the oc- casion of the birthday of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan on April 4.

The statement released on Wednesday includes the following: “On the occasion of Rêber Apo’s [Abdullah Öcalan’s] birthday on April 4, we congratulate in particular the Kurdish people, all Kurdish women and the international friends of the Kurds, in addition to all peoples and the democratic world public. On this occasion, we commemorate with respect and gratitude Mahsum Karaoğlan and Mustafa Dağ, who have become symbols of patriotic attachment with Rêber Apo as martyrs of April 4.

Rêber Apo’s birthday on April 4 has a very profound meaning for the Kurdish people and Kurdish women. This day represents the good news of the new birth of the Kurdish people. It announces the good news that the Kurdish people, who were on the verge of being annihilated, have once again found their ex- istence. The 4th of April announces the good news of a free life. For this reason, every year, the Kurdish people and their international friends celebrate Rêber Apo’s birthday with huge motivation and excite- ment. They understand this day almost as their own new birth. They understand and celebrate April 4 as their own birthday, as the day of their own existence.

The organized and comprehensive celebrations of Rêber Apo’s birthday developed after the International Conspiracy [in 1999]. Due to the willpower of Kurdish women, April 4 was celebrated as an ecological and democratic celebration for the first time. Later, under the leadership of women, our entire nation be- gan to celebrate Rêber Apo’s birthday comprehensively every year, which later developed into a new tradi- tion. Therefore, the celebrations of Rêber Apo’s birthday are also a women’s action. They represent the coming together of women with Rêber Apo. And they are the expression of the love, longing and attach- ment that Kurdish women feel for Rêber Apo. For this reason, every 4th of April represents a day of unit- ing with Rêber Apo under the leadership of Kurdish women.

Until the appearance of Rêber Apo, the enemies of the Kurdish people had declared the genocide of the Kurds as their destiny. The Kurdish people faced a physical and cultural genocide. This policy of denial

7 The İmralı Post #7

and annihilation granted them only biological survival. And even this purely biologically limited right to life was granted only on condition that the Kurds deny their cultural identity. Thus, the land, the culture and even the name of the Kurds were erased from the history of humankind. Therefore, the birthday of Rêber Apo represents the beginning of the rebirth of the Kurds. This means for the Kurds a renewed chance to become one with the Newroz culture. It is the opportunity of a people to regain their lost Newroz. It is the opportunity of a people to regain its lost sun. For this reason, April 4 marks the end of the genocidal fate of the Kurds that has lasted for a century.

With the birth of Rêber Apo, a new era has begun for the Kurds. This made it possible for the Kurdish people to become one again with their historical roots and their lost identity. Through their true identity, the Kurdish people have turned their eyes back to a free life. As a dignified people, they have once again found a place among the peoples of this earth. Despite the brutal genocide and the incomparable pain they have suffered, our people have been intensifying their struggle ever since at the cost of great sacrifices. Because it is firmly convinced that the way shown by Rêber Apo is the only way of salvation. Therefore, our people does not allow itself to be distracted by its pain and continues to work resolutely to make this very pain the source of beauty and new revolutionary achievements.

This Kurdish rebirth, which began with the birth of Rêber Apo, is at the same time the rebirth of the cul- tures, beliefs and identities of the other peoples of the Middle East. The present reality of the Kurds stands in harmony with the historical and social truth of our people. Rêber Apo has brought back this spirit and culture of common and closely interwoven coexistence, which is a part of the historical-social reality of our people. This spirit of friendship among peoples, which the peoples have lived together for thousands of years, is flourishing once again in the Middle East today because of Rêber Apo’s efforts. Today, under the leadership of the Kurdish people, this historically far-reaching social-cultural spirit is beginning to build itself in the form of the Democratic Nation. This will put an end to the dark winter to which the peoples, cultures and faith communities have been subjected by the nation-states. Thus, the way will be paved for a real spring and Newroz of the peoples of the Middle East.

Our people have succeeded in making the Newroz of 2022 a Newroz for Rêber Apo. With its resolute stance, which it has clearly demonstrated in the colorful Newroz squares, it has loudly and clearly de- manded the freedom of Rêber Apo. The Kurdish people have clearly expressed that their greatest goal is the freedom of Rêber Apo and that the implementation of this demand cannot be postponed any further. Even the intervention of the fascist regime’s police in the sound systems at the Newroz celebrations could not hide the fact that millions of people shouted together the slogans “Bijî Serok Apo” [“Long live Abdul- lah Öcalan”] and “Bê Serok jiyan nabe” [“No life without Abdullah Öcalan”].

On this year’s Newroz, the Kurdish people, together with their international friends, addressed the world with numerous messages. But the most important of these messages is the united demand for the immedi- ate end of Rêber Apo’s isolation and for his immediate physical freedom. Our people would like to be able to welcome Rêber Apo among themselves at last. They want to see Rêber Apo in the places of Newroz cel- ebrations and to celebrate Newroz together with him. It has clearly shown its determination to fight for the practical implementation of these demands. This wish and this demand of our people are today also legally realistic. Both the Turkish state and its fascist AKP-MHP government, as well as the official opposi- tion of Turkey, must well recognize and correctly understand these demands. Neither the colonialist Turk- ish state, nor the fascist government, nor the official opposition can continue to ignore this reality today or continue to flee from it. Because as long as the doors of Imrali are not opened, the isolation is not ended

8 The İmralı Post #7 and Rêber Apo’s physical freedom is not achieved, none of the enormous historical and current problems

of Turkey will be solved.

We congratulate our people and their international friends for their determined and resistant attitude, which they have shown in the squares of Newroz celebrations despite all obstacles. And from the bottom of our hearts, we congratulate our people in all four parts of Kurdistan – especially our people living under the oppression and tyranny of AKP-MHP fascism in North Kurdistan – and all over the world for their impressive, strong-willed stance, for their breath-taking attitude on this year’s Newroz. Together with its international friends, our people have dealt a historic blow to the fascist AKP-MHP regime and its genoci – dal policies on Newroz 2022. As a result, this genocidal, fascist regime has been virtually put into a state of shock.

The Kurdish people will transform their euphoric and determined attitude, which they have shown in the squares of the Newroz celebrations, into an even stronger and organized force and a high level of action on April 4 and afterwards throughout this “50th Year of Our Leadership”. Also, as a movement, we will put the crushing of Rêber Apo’s total isolation and the enforcement of his physical freedom at the center of all our activities. Thus, we will implement all our works based on the Newroz perspective in this “50th Year of Our Leadership”.

On this basis, we call upon all our patriotic people and all our honorable international friends, all women and youth of Kurdistan to increase their struggle for the crushing of the total isolation of Rêber Apo and the enforcement of his physical freedom, to increase their organization and to make their actions even more effective. In addition, we invite all people to plant trees in their neighborhoods to mark this occa- sion.”

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Kurdish parties call for participation in Öcalan’s birthday

celebration in Amara

ANF | Amed | 30 March 2022

The MED Federation of Legal and Solidarity Associations for Families of Prisoners and Convicts (MED TUHAD-FED), the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), the Free Women’s Movement (TJA), the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) held a press conference to ad- dress Öcalan’s freedom and events to mark his 73rd birthday on April 4.

MED TUHAD-FED Co-Chair Zeki Baran noted that Abdullah Öcalan has been kept under unprece- dented isolation for the last 23 years. “When the letter written by Mr. Öcalan was read during the Newroz 2013 celebrations, millions showed that they endorsed the peace process. However, after the negotiations were suspended by the AKP Chair Erdoğan, one of the darkest periods in the country started. During the AKP-MHP rule, the war policies and a coup mechanism have been put into action again,” Baran said.

9 The İmralı Post #7 ‘2022 Newroz’

“Since 2013, the Kurdish people have held the biggest Newroz celebration in their history in 2022. The 2022 Newroz, which turned into a referendum on the freedom of the Kurdish people, pointed to Mr. Öcalan for the solution of the Kurdish problem through democratic negotiations and peaceful methods. The demand for the freedom of all political prisoners and Mr. Öcalan, was renewed during the celebra- tion,” Baran stated.

Call upon the Public

Baran continued, speaking about the April 4 events, and said, “April 4, which has become the symbol of peace against war, freedom against slavery, equality against exploitation, for the Kurdish people and the peoples of the region, is the birthday of Mr. Öcalan. Traditionally, the first week is celebrated with the Amara March and saplings are planted. We invite all our people to Halfeti for the Amara March on April 4, to promote the Kurdish people’s demand for freedom, to remove the isolation as soon as possible, to re – solve the Kurdish problem through democratic negotiations and peaceful methods.”

‘Let’s go to Amara’

Speaking after, DBP Co-Chair Saliha Aydeniz emphasized that the policies of isolation and war have be- come a form of government. “Mr. Öcalan’s role is important in stopping this war and current crises and ensuring freedom and equality. This year, both on Newroz and on March 8, millions of people once again raised a voice on the importance of Mr. Öcalan,” she said.

“The Kurds and other peoples do not accept the aggravated isolation. Actions and campaigns are being carried out recently for the physical freedom of Mr. Öcalan. Therefore, April 4 should be welcomed with the spirit displayed on March 8 and Newroz on March 21. April 4 symbolizes a ‘rebirth’. We ask all our people to go to Amara as part of the April 4 events,” she added.

‘Rebirth of Kurds’

DTK Co-Chair Berdan Öztürk said that April 4, like March 8 and March 21, is an important day for the Kurds. “They wanted to annihilate the Kurds. That was original goal. However, it was frustrated thanks to Mr. Öcalan’s struggle. The Kurds have resurrected in their own lands. They recognized their own identity and culture. Therefore, April 4 is the rebirth of the Kurds. We should celebrate this day as our own birth- day.”

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10 The İmralı Post #7 Seminar in Shengal to mark Abdullah Öcalan’s birthday

ANF | Shengal | 30 March 2022

The Yazidi Women’s Freedom Movement (Tevgera Azadiya Jinên Êzidî-TAJÊ) organized a seminar on the occasion of the birthday of Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, which is to be celebrated on 4 April.

The seminar took place in the village of Hesewik in the Arab region between Shengal and the Rojava bor – der.

The seminar, attended by many Arab women, started with a minute’s silence for the martyrs.

Many people took the floor at the seminar chaired by Rıham Hesen, co-chair of the Shengal Board of Di- rectors.

Rıham Hesen said: “We consider 4 April, the birthday of Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], as the birthday of the idea that calls for the unity of peoples, women’s freedom and gender equality.”

Rıham Hesen pointed out that the Freedom Movement started with six people and added: “The move- ment that started with six people reached millions following Leader Apo’s thoughts and philosophy. Leader Apo said, ‘If we are united, we will win even if the whole world fights against us, but if we are not united, we cannot win even if the whole world is with us.’”

Shengal Autonomous Assembly co-chair Xezal Reşo said: “We learned how to claim and protect our rights from Leader Apo. Especially after the last edict, we rebuilt ourselves with the thoughts and ideas of Leader Apo. We will never forget those who betrayed us. And we will never forget the people who heard our call and came to help our people. Leader Apo’s thoughts made the unity of the people stronger in Shengal. We gathered here thanks to Leader Apo’s idea. We will resist until the end and raise the struggle for the physi – cal freedom of Leader Apo.”

Resho added: “The Turkish state wants to involve Iraq in their dirty game. That’s why today Iraq wants to build a wall between us and separate us with wire fences. This is a dirty plan. Iraq cannot do this alone. We know that Turkey is involved in this.”

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Kirkuk residents celebrate birthday of Abdullah Öcalan

ANF | Kirkuk | 1 April 2022

Saplings were planted in a garden in the Rehîmava neighborhood in Kirkuk during the celebration event to mark the 73rd birthday of Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan. The event was organized by the Southern Kurdistan Women’s Movement (Rêxistina Jinên Azadîxwaz a Kurdistanê-RJAK).

11 The İmralı Post #7

The event started with a minute’s silence held in memory of the Kurdish Freedom Martyrs.

Then RJAK activists read the 4 April statement. The women stated that Abdullah Öcalan’s birthday marked a new beginning for the Kurdish people and added: “4 April represents free life for Kurdish women. It is a symbol of patriotism. As RJAK, we promise that we will break the isolation on Rêber Öcalan and continue our resistance until he regains his freedom.

After the statement, Tevgera Azadî Assembly member Omer Haci Hisên said that the “birthday of Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] is the birth of a new will for the Middle East and other oppressed peoples.”

Activists then went to Rehîmava garden and planted saplings there.

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‘We rediscovered our existence with Rêber Apo’

ANF | Behdinan | 2 April 2022 | by Rustem Kurtalan and Sîdar Serhat

HPG and YJA Star guerrillas continue their celebration, which began with Newroz and continues with 4 April, the birthday of Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan. The guerrillas shared their views and opin- ions with ANF.

Lorîn Hesen: I congratulate all Kurds on the birth of Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], because 4 April is so important to us, it is celebrated all around Kurdistan and the world. Because the fight of all peoples was inspired by Leader Apo. It became, above all, a reason for women’s liberation. Women in Kurdistan’s mountains celebrate 4 April with enthusiasm. Despite invasion attacks on Kurdistan’s mountains, we guerrillas celebrate 4 April as our own birthday. Because with the birth of Leader Apo, we rediscovered our own existence. People who had been oppressed, particularly women, acknowledged themselves and be- came the will of the people. I greet all nations and comrades on the birth of the Leader.

‘We are behind the promise we gave him’

Şervan Gerîla: I congratulate Rêber Apo on his birthday. We, the militants of Rêber Apo, stand by the promise we made to him and are confident in our ability to keep it. Because Rêber Apo kept his promise to the people of Kurdistan, it is our responsibility to protect him and bring him out of the Imrali prison.

The Kurdish people celebrate 4 April as their birthday. As Kurdistan Independence guerrillas, we see Rêber Apo’s birth as our own, and we declare that this year will be Rêber Apo’s year of physical freedom. On this basis, we celebrate 4 April as the day of the nations of the world.

‘He offered us a new life’

Avesta Cûdî Merîvan: I congratulate the martyrs of the revolution, the Kurdish people, and all women on the birthday of our leadership. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to join him in celebrating Rêber Apo’s birth –

12 The İmralı Post #7 day next year. The Kurdish people, the peoples of the world, especially women, have been offered a new

life since the day Rêber Apo opened their eyes to the world.

We celebrate 4 April every year and we will continue to do so in the future. Even if the enemy conducts invasion attacks, they will not be able to stop us from celebrating. They won’t be able to stop us from fol – lowing the Leader, no matter how hard they try. Rêber Apo lives with us, and we live with him, with his soul, heart, ideas, and paradigm. I congratulate the revolution’s martyrs, all comrades in the Kurdish peo- ple’s war lines, and the birth of our Leader once more. Long Live rebirth!

‘We live by leadership’

Rojbin Sema: I congratulate the birthday of our martyrs of the revolution, our patriotic people and all our comrades, Rêber Apo. With the birth of the Leader, the people of Kurdistan, oppressed peoples, and espe- cially women seeking their identity, have embarked on a path of liberation. As a result, April 4 is also our birthday. Because it is owing to Rêber Apo’s efforts that we have arrived at this point. We are always com- pletely committed to our Leader.

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Women from the Arab community living in Shengal plant

saplings to mark birthday of Öcalan

ANF | Shengal | 2 April 2022

A number of activities have been launched by Tevgera Azadiya Jinên Êzidi (TAJÊ) for the birthday of Kur- dish people’s leader Abullah Öcalan.

As part of these activities, women from the Arab community planted 80 saplings in the village of Hes- ewikê, in Shengal.

The women planting saplings demanded freedom for Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan and said that Öcalan’s freedom is the freedom of all peoples.

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13 The İmralı Post #7 73 saplings were planted for Öcalan, who turned 73

MedyaNews | Dersim | 2 April 2022

The 73rd birthday of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who was born on April 4, 1949, in the village of Ömerli (Amara) in the Halfeti district of the southeastern province of Turkey, Urfa (Riha), was celebrated with tree planting in Tunceli (Dersim).

Celebrating Öcalan’s birthday, citizens planted trees on the banks of Vargasor Creek in the Munzur Valley and other parts of the city. A total of 73 trees were planted as Öcalan turned 73.

Abdullah Öcalan is the leader of the PKK and has been imprisoned in solitary confinement in İmrali is- land, Turkey, since 1999. He has been subjected to severe solitary confinement and also denied visits from his own team of lawyers and family members.

The last time Öcalan was able to have any contact at all with someone from outside the prison compound was when he had spoken with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on March 25, 2021, and the phone conversa- tion was cut off after only a few minutes.

The last time the lawyers were able to contact him was in August 2019.

Kurdish people have been demanding freedom for their leader and launching campaigns worldwide all these years. However, Turkish officials have not been responding to any of them and continue their policy which has been violating the basic human rights of Öcalan since 1999.

—★—
PKK leader Öcalan’s birthday celebrated in the house where he

was born

MedyaNews | Urfa | 4 April 2022

The 73rd birthday of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was celebrated in the village of Amara in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority province of Urfa (Riha) on Monday. De- spite efforts by the police to stop people from attending the celebration held at the house where he was born, many people did so.

On the occasion of the birthday of the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on 4 April, saplings were planted in various Kurdish settlements, including the Makhmur Refugee Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, where thousands reside whose villages were razed by Turkish forces during the 1990s.

14 The İmralı Post #7

The roads to Amara were blocked by the military and the police, who tried to prevent groups of Kurds from travelling to the village for the celebration. Mehmet Öcalan, the brother of Abdullah Öcalan and on 25 March last year the last person to have contacted him, and his nephew Ömer Öcalan, an MP in the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were present at the celebration.

Ömer Öcalan said: “The village is under blockade. They are refusing to allow our people to come to Amara. Many people wanted to come to Amara with us. People have been stopped unlawfully. There are barriers even at our door.”

He continued: “We want to emphasise it once again. The Kurdish question can be resolved only with the participation of Abdullah Öcalan. What we need is dialogue. Turkey will bring about an honorable peace if we can have dialogue.”

Many people set out on the road to travel to Amara, but their vehicles were stopped at checkpoints, and they were not allowed to pass. People who could not reach Amara performed the traditional halay on the roads and highways in celebration of Öcalan’s birthday. Only fifteen people were able to get through to the PKK leader’s family house, where addresses were made and Öcalan’s favourite songs were sung.

Abdullah Öcalan has been incarcerated for 23 years and subjected to severe solitary confinement in the İmralı Island prison in Turkey.

—★—

Newroz 2022 PKK: A Newroz of Victory

ANF | Behdinan | 25 March 2022

Huge Newroz celebrations took place in Kurdistan and around the world during Newroz week through March 21. In the Kurdish city of Amed, about one million people gathered despite Turkish repression and demanded the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK Executive Committee considers the celebrations a great success for the Kurdish people and their friends.

The statement released by the PKK Executive Committee on Friday includes the following:

“Our people and our friends of all ages have braved snow and rain, mud and cold and have risen up in re – volt. They have united around Abdullah Öcalan. From Botan to Serhed, from Zagros to Dersim, from Amed to Istanbul, from Adana to Izmir, from Qamishlo to Raqqa, from Kirkuk to Qandil, from Hewraman to Mariwan, from Europe to Asia, from Africa to America, in all four parts of Kurdistan and all over the world, millions of people have poured into the streets, filled the Newroz squares and de-

15 The İmralı Post #7 manded freedom for Abdullah Öcalan. They have smashed the torture and isolation system of Imrali and

brought Öcalan together with millions.

“The isolation system is at an end”

We salute all those who poured into the squares demanding the physical freedom of Abdullah Öcalan. We wish them success in their struggle for freedom and democracy in the 50th Newroz year with Abdullah Öcalan and the PKK. It is obvious that nothing happened by itself. It was all built on the basis of the sac- rifice of our party and our brave guerrilla forces. Our people and our friends, who filled the streets and squares in tens of millions under the leadership of the women and youth and demanded the physical free – dom of Abdullah Öcalan, demonstrated their attitude and will.

Those who claimed ‘we have crushed the guerrillas and destroyed the PKK’ have been proven wrong. It is no longer possible for them to maintain the torture and isolation system of Imrali. The opportunists, de- featists and pessimists who try to hide their own reality by claiming that the people are broken and the struggle cannot be continued, have been proven wrong. It will no longer be possible for them to oppose our people as they did before, spreading propaganda supporting the betrayal and creating confusion. We have received the message from our people and our friends on Newroz and we have understood it. In the coming process, we will perform our leadership duties more strongly and fulfill the task of organizing and educating our people even more successfully.

“Victory in the 50th year guaranteed ”

In a sense, victory in the 50th year of our struggle has already been guaranteed. Our people and our friends, with the exception of a handful of traitors, have shown how connected they are to the physical freedom of Abdullah Öcalan and a free life.

From now on, every day should be made Newroz Day. Just as March 8 was merged with Newroz, people will make the 50th year of the Kurdish freedom movement the strongest year of struggle and the greatest victory by merging Newroz with the ‘Month of Martyrs’ and from there celebrating April 4 and then May 1. In this way, a protest without interruption will be achieved. Of course, the impact of Newroz will not be limited to that. The 2022 celebrations carried Newroz beyond Kurdistan and made it a holiday of unity, resistance and freedom for all the oppressed. Therefore, it is undoubtedly possible that its impact will not be limited to one year, but will spread over the next decades or even the century. It will have the effect of uniting the freedom consciousness and resistance of our people with the other oppressed and deepening fraternity. Above all, women and youth and all workers will know how to put into practice the necessity resulting from this message. On this basis, we celebrate the ‘Month of the Martyrs’ and congratu- late all comrades, our people and their friends and especially Abdullah Öcalan and call for the current spirit of Newroz festival and resistance to be enhanced even further during the Week of Martyrs. We com- memorate with respect, love and gratitude on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the death of our im- mortal commander and hero, comrade Mahsum Korkmaz. We repeat our promise to achieve his goal and keep his memory alive.

As it is known, the Newroz Festival is connected with the day when our commander Mahsum Korkmaz fell, March 28, through the Week of Courage. So, the day of resistance and victory, Newroz, is extended over a week. This Newroz festival has literally become a Newroz of victory. It became a real Newroz for

16 The İmralı Post #7

Abdullah Öcalan. Our people and their friends have made it clear that they are ready to fight to the end for Öcalan’s physical freedom. Especially the women and the youth have clearly shown their attachment to this goal. Now they will meet the Day of the Martyrs with historic resistance and unite it with the days that follow. They will make themselves new Egîds (Mahsum Korkmaz) and extend our freedom struggle on the line of victory.

March 30 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Kızıldere Massacre. On this occasion, we commemorate the martyrs of Kızıldere. We remember Mahir Çayan, one of the leaders of the revolution in Turkey, and his companions, with respect and gratitude. We have kept their memory alive for 50 years on the basis of the PKK resistance and let it live on through HBDH (Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement) resis- tance. Our intention is to achieve their goals based on the success of our struggle for a united revolution.

“Turning the Day of Martyrs into Newroz”

April 1 marks the 14th anniversary of the deaths of PKK Reconstruction Committee member Nûda Karker, Central Committee member Ferhat Dersim and our comrade Halil Dağ. In the persons of Nûda, Ferhat and Halil, who followed the indomitable line of Mazlum Doğan, we remember all our martyrs with respect, love and gratitude and reaffirm our word to achieve their goals and keep their memories alive. We call on our patriotic people and democratic friends to renew our ‘Day of Martyrs’ by making it a new Newroz Day on the line of martyrs and Abdullah Öcalan.”

—★—
Police intimidation of children during Newroz

Istanbul | 26 March 2022

At the Newroz celebration held on 19 March 2022 in the Bismil district of Amed, two 5-year-old brothers wearing the national dress of the Kurds were taken into custody. It was learned that the twin brothers were detained together with their mother, and even their fingerprints were recorded in the system during the procedures there. Making a statement on this event, the Amed Bar Association drew attention to the un- lawfulness of the event.

Speaking to ANF, lawyer Mehmet Emin Gün from the Amed Bar Association Child Rights Center said that many children were unlawfully detained in Amed, especially on Newroz Day: “On Newroz, 74 chil- dren were detained only in Diyarbakır centre. 42 of them were released at night and were handed over to their families. The remaining 32 were referred to the prosecutor’s office a day later, but the prosecutor’s office said that they would hand them over to their families without taking their statements. There were also some irregularities there.”

Lawyer Gün stated that while juvenile crimes should normally be handled by the prosecutor’s office in the juvenile bureau, they were handled by the Anti-Terrorism (TEM) prosecutors here: “Normally, the investi- gation procedures of the juvenile driven to crime must be carried out by the prosecutor working in the ju – venile bureau as per Article 15 of the Child Protection Law. However, the investigation was carried out by

17 The İmralı Post #7

TEM prosecutors. This is also an issue that we have been dealing with for a long time in Diyarbakır and the region. This is a very serious unlawfulness in the first place. We complained about this before at the Ministry of Justice and the HSK (Board of Judges and Prosecutors). The Ministry of Justice responded positively in our favour. However, we see that this practice continues. In this Newroz event, the TEM prosecutor again conducted the investigation. We think that this is one of the reasons why so many chil- dren were taken and these irregularities experienced.”

60-70 children kept in very bad custody conditions

Lawyer Mehmet Emin Gün added that the children were kept in extremely bad conditions while in cus- tody. “The children were held in conditions that would be considered as ill-treatment. 60-70 children re- mained in small spaces and detention centers, one on top of the other, so to speak, and their needs were not met. They were mistreated. Some remained in custody for a full day or more. Unfortunately, we learned about the incident in Bismil from the press. While dealing with those in the center of Diyarbakır, the districts came second. After learning from the press, we immediately contacted the family and filed a criminal complaint, and we filed a complaint with HSK about the prosecutor. We also filed a criminal complaint against law enforcement.”

Children under 12 cannot be in custody

Reminding that the regulation on arrest and detention cannot apply to children under the age of 12, lawyer Gün said: “The regulation clearly states that children under the age of 12 cannot be arrested for crime. This has also been violated. You cannot detain a five-year-old child. These two little children were taken to the police station. Fingerprinted. Moreover, blood samples were taken from children in Di- yarbakır. We don’t know why the blood was taken. I think that these things have been done to scare chil – dren away from the Newroz celebrations. There were many attacks that day. A very heavy search method has been used with women. It would be correct to say that these were all attacks on the Newroz celebra- tion.”

—★—

Prisons
Another ill prisoner dies because of delay in his release

ANF | Amed | 24 March 2022

Abdullah Boran, an 80-year-old prisoner suffering from cancer, was held in Diyarbakır D Type Closed Prison. He passed away last night in Gazi Yaşargil Training and Research Hospital, where he was being treated.

18 The İmralı Post #7 Upon receiving the news, the family took Bora’s body from the hospital and took it to Bismil. Bora’s body

was buried in the cemetery in the city’s Aralik Mahallesi.

Many people, including executives from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Democratic Regions Party (DBP), attended the funeral.

It has been reported that Bora, who has been imprisoned for about 26 years, was diagnosed with colon cancer 2 years ago and was treated for 7 months, always handcuffed.

—★—
Prisoner’s families stage sit-in protest outside courthouse in

Amed

ANF | Amed | 24 March 2022

The Justice Vigil launched by the families of the prisoners in Amed for ill prisoners marks its 129th day. The families gathered in front of the Courthouse in Amed on Thursday.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the Med Federation of As- sociations for Legal and Solidarity with Families of Prisoners and Convicts (MED TUHAD-FED), Associ- ation for Solidarity with Relatives of Prisoners (TUAY-DER), the Lawyers’ Association for Freedom (ÖHD), the Association for Assistance to Families Losing Their Relatives in the Cradle of Civilizations (MEBYA-DER) and members of the Mesopotamia Language and Cultural Research Association (MED- DER) wanted to participate in the press briefing the families were set to make.

The police surrounded the courthouse in an attempt to prevent the members of non-governmental organi- zations from participating in the event. Together with their supporters, the families staged a sit-in under the police blockade.

“People are dying, and it hurts us,” Herdem Merwanî said, reacting against the police intervention. The protest was concluded with applause and the slogan “Right, law, justic.”.

—★—

19 The İmralı Post #7 Justice Vigil launched in Istanbul after Amed, Van and Izmir

ANF | Istanbul | 24 March 2022

Families have been holding a Justice Vigil in Amed, Van, and İzmir for months, demanding the immediate release of the ill and prisoners whose paroles are revocated.

In Istanbul, a vigil was launched for the same reason on Thursday. Relatives of the prisoners who gathered in front of the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan declared that they will hold a vigil in front of the Istanbul Courthouse every Thursday.

The first vigil was attended by Cemile Karakaş, mother of Xemgin Karakaş, who is imprisoned in a single- person cell at Afyon T-Type Prison, Gülsüm Dağ, sister of Ömer Dağ who is held in Balıkesir F-Type Prison, and Fince Akman, mother of Yakup Akman, who is held in Silivri No. 3 F-Type Closed Prison. Attr. Jiyan Çağırtekin, a member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), joined the families.

Speaking here, Fince Akman said, “Our children have been sentenced to life imprisonment. That is why we will be here every Thursday.”

Akman further made the following remarks:

“They leave our children starving. They do not turn on the heater for our children while we can hardly bear the cold indoors in this weather. In prisons, they inflict psychological violence on our children. This injustice is just unacceptable. In the same way that they make our world a prison, we will make the world prison for them. We are not abandoning our cause; we are here for all of the prisoners. We will maintain our vigil until our prisoners are released.”

Referring to the situation of Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, who is seriously ill in Kandıra F Type Prison, Akman said, “Hundreds of prisoners are ill and cannot survive in prison. Where is justice?Why don’t you do what needs to be done? What is the purpose of state? Even if we have a drop of blood left in our bod- ies, we will continue to stand by the prisoners and our cause.”

—★—
Çukurova TUAY-DER co-chair: Speak up against suspicious

deaths and violations of rights in prison

ANF | Adana | 28 March 2022

Çukurova Association for Assistance with the Families of Detainees and Convicts (TUAY-DER) made a press statement in front of the Adana Park Statue regarding suspicious deaths and violations of rights in

20 The İmralı Post #7 prisons. TUAY-DER co-chair Nimet Sezgin said that ill detainees are faced with developments that do not

comply with any law.

‘Deaths will continue unless precautions are taken’

Nimet said that the treatment of ill prisoners is prevented and the necessary medicines are not given to them, and that the individual needs of more than 200 ill prisoners cannot be met in the prison. Nimet said that “During the last few months, dozens of prisoners lost their lives because their treatment was pre- vented or not given. Most recently, 20-year-old Şervan Can Güder in Van High Security Prison and 80- year-old Abdullah Boran in Diyarbakır D-Type Prison died. Unless it is prevented, the current deaths will continue to occur.”

Pointing to the violations of rights committed by the Administration and Observation Boards, Nimet said: “Hundreds of prisoners who have served their sentence and should be released are being kept unlaw- fully in jail by the Prison Monitoring Board’s decisions. A constitutional crime is being committed. No re – ferrals are made for political prisoners, and families are also punished. We invite the people, human rights defenders and officials to take responsibility so that all this unlawfulness will come to an end.”

—★—
A message of hope to the Kurds from a former Chilean political

prisoner

MedyaNews | Sydney | Peter Boyle | 29 March 2022

Paula Sanchez Castro was a high school activist when she was detained and tortured under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Fortunately her family managed to get her released while many other political pris- oners were “disappeared”. She sought political asylum in Australia and today she is a respected human rights activist and socialist candidate for Senate in federal elections to be held in Australia in May. She re- cently made a moving speech to an International Women’s Day celebration hosted by the Kurdish com- munity in Sydney, ending her speech by singing the famous Chilean song El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido.

I spoke to Paula after that event about her solidarity work for the Kurdish struggle.

“Even though it is not exactly the same, the Chilean and Kurdish peoples have a similar story of struggle. It is a story of repression, dictatorships, abuse of human rights against our people — especially the major- ity of the people, the poor, the workers, the students and, of course, the women. “The struggle of the Kur – dish people is our struggle as well.”

Paula took that message of shared struggle to the International Women’s Day gathering at the Kurdish community centre in Sydney, but she also brought with her a message of hope for the Kurdish people.

21 The İmralı Post #7 “In 1973, there was a military coup headed by General Augusto Pinochet to get rid of the elected govern –

ment of Salvador Allende who tried to have a government for the people.

“The Pinochet government jailed, tortured, executed and ‘disappeared’ many people all to bring in a new economic model that gave our countries resources to the North American and other multinational compa- nies.

“Even today there are many people still looking for their disappeared children and grandchildren.

“Despite the extreme repression, people resisted. At first it was women, who formed the Mothers of the Disappeared, who took to the streets. But the movement against the dictatorship grew although it took al – most 19 years to get rid of the dictatorship. So the Chilean people learned very well what it is to be re- pressed!

“Since the dictatorship there has been some return to more a democratic process but the constitution that was imposed by the Pinochet regime in 1980 is still in force today. This constitution gives the military and the rich a lot of power, especially in the parliament where 70% have their positions for life. These are the same people who own many of the companies in Chile.

“However, since 2016 the students of Chile began to take to the streets for protests for better conditions in schools. A few years later, university students went back into the streets and began an 8-month-long strike against the rising cost of education. Soon the demands were broadened to take on human rights, the envi- ronment and the fact that most of our country’s resources were in the hands of the multinational corpora- tions. Chilean people even have to pay these companies for access to water.

“The protest movement came to a head three years ago when the students took to the streets over rises in train and bus fares. This movement did not stop and then other sectors of the society — including the workers and their unions — joined them.

“Our people took to the streets in big numbers, marching, singing and doing street performances. It was amazing!

“They were repressed. The government in the military but they did not stop. Thousands of students were put into jail and our new president and introducing a decree to give them amnesty, to free them.

“As a result of this movement we won a plebescite to write a new constitution and almost 80% of Chileans voted ‘yes’. Now a constituent assembly has been formed and it has started writing a new constitution.

“We still face many challenges because while we have a new people’s president, Gabriel Boric, the right- wing and their allies still control the parliament.

“The constituent assembly is more progressive and its first president was a Mapuche woman, an indige- nous woman. It is continuing to work on a new constitution against all odds.

“And now, on 11 March, our new President of Chile was inaugurated. He is the youngest president we have ever had — he is just 36 years old.”

22 The İmralı Post #7 Paula said that one of the first laws the new president approved was for an amnesty for all political prison –

ers who are in jail because of taking part in the protests of the last three years. “So I want to say to my Kurdish sisters and brothers that there is hope!”

—★—
‘Ill prisoners should be diagnosed by independent institutions,’

says chair of medical association

MedyaNews | 29 March 2022

The chairperson of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Financı says that for assessments to be objective, diagnosis of ill prisoners should only be made by independent scientific insti- tutions or by hospitals, rather than by the Forensic Medicine Institute which is under the administration of the Turkish justice ministry.

According to data published by the Human Rights Association (İHD), there are currently 1,605 ill prison- ers, 604 of whom are in a serious condition.

The reports issued by the Turkish Forensic Medicine Institute, which attempt to justify the decision to deny the release of ill prisoners, are controversial. Prisoners are denied release despite reports by various health institutions and state hospitals on these prisoners’ non-eligibility for imprisonment due to illness.

“There are ill prisoners in serious conditions. It is a grave issue that the Forensic Medicine Institute is the only point of referral for evaluating the cases of ill prisoners, while there are other scientific institutions and hospitals [available],” Fincancı said.

“We know that the Forensic Medicine Institute is under the administration of the Turkish Ministry of Jus – tice, so this contradicts the principle of independence, and this is shown in the case of Aysel Tuğluk. Sci – entifically, there was a serious deficiency in evaluations. The diagnosis was completely wrong despite clear symptoms.”

She continued:

“Access to medicine is a basic right both for prisoners and for everyone else. Unfortunately, nowadays ev- eryone is having problems in accessing health services in Turkey, and prisons are a truly bleeding wound. Human right organisations and professional associations have been completely prevented from observing and making assessments on the situation, or from contributing to solutions.”

She added:

“It’s only normal that any death in prison is considered a suspicious case since the welfare of prisoners is under the state’s obligation. The state’s accountability requires it to efficiently inspect every case of death,

23 The İmralı Post #7 to have it investigated and to have all processes recorded, and this needs to be done through independent

committees. Unfortunately, this is not the way things are in Turkey.”

—★— New isolation areas: S-Type prisons

MedyaNews | 3 April 2022

S-type prisons, which are built in a similar way to the existing F-type high security prisons in Turkey and are highly criticised for their structure and conditions for isolation, are still on the government agenda. The S-type prisons are under discussion shortly after two prisoners, Sezer Alan and Sinan Kaya, died suspi- cious deaths in Iğdır S-type Prison within a month, and as the imposition of isolation on prisoners is be – ing increased. The first S-type prisons were opened in 2021, and as of 2022 there are five in use. There are single and triple cells in the S-type prisons built in Antalya, Manavgat, Bodrum, Iğdır and Samsun, and the capacity of each is 552 prisoners.

Berivan Korkut, Advocacy Coordinator of the Civilian Community Association in the Penal Execution System (CİSST), gave her assessments to MA in relation the S-type prisons and what happens in them.

Similarities to F-type high security prisons

Korkut stressed the high security nature of the S-type prisons, stating that the population of these prisons primarily consists of political prisoners. She pointed out similarities between the S-type and existing F- type prisons, saying, “Single and three-person cells are the common features of the two prisons. But there are differences in the capacities of the two types of prison. The capacity of F-type prisons is 368 prisoners, S-type prisons on the other hand have a capacity of 552. In this regard, we can say that of the S-type pris- ons that they are basically renovated F-type prisons with an increased capacity.”

Ministry refusing to release information

Korkut stated that in response to enquiries made to the Ministry of Justice by the CİSST regarding the differences between F-type and S-type prisons, the ministry had said, “This information relates to the con- fidentiality of the institutions, we cannot give it out.” Korkut noted that there is not enough information about these prisons, and emphasised that their main function is as new isolation prisons for political pris – oners.

Name change

Recalling that F-type prisons are currently high on the political agenda, Korkut said, “They have caused adverse reactions and much has been written about them. If the public had been told, “Five more F-type prisons have been opened”, these adverse reactions would have been repeated. This is one reason for the opening of the S-type prisons. So far, five S-type prisons have been opened and two more are under prepa-

24 The İmralı Post #7 ration, but there has not been such a big reaction from the public. We see attempts to hinder the aware –

ness of the public on this issue,” she said.

Transfers have started

Korkut divulged the information that prisoners are just beginning to be transferred to these prisons, and said that the CİSST is considering preparing a report on this issue in the coming days. She said that they have not received any detailed information from prisoners, but emphasised that applications they have re- ceived come under the headings of rights violations such as strip-searches.

Independence of the Forensic Medicine Institute

Touching on the situation of ill prisoners, Korkut explained that there are structural problems in the offi- cial Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK). She said, “Many non-governmental organisations have been say- ing for years that structurally, the ATK is not an independent institution. Many comments have been made by health organisations that the ATK makes politically motivated decisions. In addition, prisoners who have been to the ATK are left with overwhelmingly negative impressions from the attitudes they en- counter. ”

The solution: Neutral mechanisms

Korkut stated that independent university hospitals and decision mechanisms involving large impartial committees should be established to replace the ATK, and pointed out that unless the structural problem in question is resolved, the problems of ill prisoners will continue to increase. She said, “Even if the ad- ministration has good intentions towards ill prisoners, we know that there are many ill prisoners who have lost their lives during the bureaucratic process before being transferred to hospital. We think that it is a ba- sic necessity to establish mechanisms that will prioritise patient health as soon as possible.”

Ill prisoners

Stressing that the CİSST are trying to learn the figures relating to ill prisoners who have lost their lives, Korkut said, “There is also a very large number of ill prisoners who do not get reported in the press. It is very difficult for them to reach community organisations and for their families to publicise their cases. The figures we have are very limited,” she said. She noted that they have repeatedly applied to the online State Communications Centre (CİMER) and the Ministry of Justice for information in the matter, but that these figures have not been given to them.

—★—

25 The İmralı Post #7 Prisoner subjected to ill-treatment by doctor after protesting

against handcuffs during examination

MedyaNews | Ankara | 4 April 2022

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, MP for the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has dis- closed yet another letter of complaint he has received from a political prisoner, in which she tells how she was subjected to ill-treatment by a doctor at Fatih State Hospital in Istanbul when she protested against being forced to undergo a medical examination while handcuffed.

Gergerlioğlu also made an application calling for the Committee on Human Rights in the Turkish parlia- ment to investigate the matter, JinNews reported on Sunday.

In her letter, political prisoner Mesude Pehlivan described how she was subjected to ill-treatment in hospi – tal.

Pehlivan said in her letter to Gergerlioğlu:

“I have been a cancer patient for six years and I have literally dozens of conditions that trigger each other. I was imprisoned at a time when I had just overcome cancer. But the doctor who examined my latest PET scan told me that there could be another tumour or an ulcer in my stomach.”

Pehlivan was also told that an endoscopy should be performed in order to diagnose the medical problem, but this was not done for many months.

When she was finally taken to hospital for examination, she was told by the soldiers that her handcuffs could be taken off only on the orders of the doctor.

When she tried to ask the doctor about it, the doctor responded roughly saying, “Shut up! I’m the doctor here, and I will do the talking.”
Pehlivan persisted in demanding that her handcuffs should be taken off during the medical examination, and the doctor said:

“You should pray thanks that you only have handcuffs. There are so many other things; aren’t you aware of them? They send those who keep going on about their handcuffs to the psychiatrist. If that’s what you need, I’ll send you to the psychiatry department.”

When Pehlivan said that doctors weren’t supposed to treat their patients so rudely, the doctor said, ‘I’m just telling you what happens.’

Pehlivan added in her letter that she is concerned for her safety if the same doctor is involved in her en- doscopy operation.

—★—

26 The İmralı Post #7 Death of a political prisoner in Turkey: Religious service,

funeral car denied

MedyaNews | Istanbul | 9 April 2022

The imam in a Turkish mosque, also serving as a public servant for carrying out Islamic rituals after one’s death, refused to wash the corpse of the deceased, a political prisoner who recently died under suspicious circumstances in an intensive care unit after he was found unconscious in his prison cell and taken to the hospital, Mezopotamya News Agency reported .

According to the news report, while a public funeral car was denied to the family of Mehmet Sevinç at the Istanbul airport where his remains arrived on Thursday, the family provided their own means of transport to a mosque in a nearby town where the procession was planned to be held.

However, the family was faced with a rejection of service by the imam, the community leader of the mosque and a public servant for performing Islamic rituals. Although Islamic rules require the rinsing of a corpse before burial, the imam asserted that rinsing the corpse would be a ‘violation of regulations’ in this case.

While the corpse was washed by another imam who arrived with the family, people who came for the fu – neral procession were fined by the police for having parked their cars near the mosque, and reporters for Mezopotamya News Agency and Jin News were verbally and physically harassed by the police, and pre- vented from taking photos at the scene.

Mehmet Sevinç was arrested in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority province of Batman (Êlih) in 1992 on an accu- sation of illegal political activity, and he was consequently sentenced to life imprisonment.

He was recently found unconscious in his prison cell on 4 April, allegedly at 3 AM, and was taken to a hospital where he underwent brain surgery. At 11 AM, his family was informed of his death.
His daughter Berivan Seviç told Mezopotamya News Agency:

“We don’t actually know what the cause of his death really was, what happened to him. It wasn’t even the doctors who informed us of his death but the soldiers.”

Mehmet Sevinç was expected to be released in 1.5 years.

—★—

27 The İmralı Post #7 Released from prison after 30 years: We never abandoned hope

MedyaNews | 8 April 2022

Veysel İlhan, who has recently been released from prison on 26 March, was taken into custody after the forced evacuation and razing of the Qurdise, Kaniya Şex and Kürika Çeto villages of Mardin province in 1992. He was put on trial in the infamous Diyarbakır Security Court (DGM) and was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of just seventeen.

After 30 years of imprisonment, he has been released at the age of 47. During his prison sentence, he was transferred to 4 different prisons, he has survived through many different diseases and has taken part in multiple hunger strikes, never giving up on justice and freedom.

Ilhan told his story of 30 long years in prison to Mezopotamya News Agency.

Veysel İlhan, who was legally a child when he was sent into prison, said “We did not have ideological enti – tlements at first, it was only our love and emotional fight for our freedom. We lived through our prison days and read books. That’s when we first realised the truth of life and our country. The ideas about life we had were much different than the truth. We were a part of a feudal society, it was our reality.”

Ilhan said that the traditional way of life is no longer sustainable and added “We have been living this way for centuries and never gained anything. Looking at the history of the Kurds, all of the suffering caused by this. What I’ve experienced in prison taught me that the only truth is the camaraderie. Without it, it would be impossible to stand up and go through a 100 years of imprisonment. Our belief in our fight has been strong and without doubt.”

Ilhan explained that he survived prison by sharing everything with his comrades, and added “Without sharing, no one can survive prison, can’t stand seeing the same person 24/7. Without the camaraderie and party conscience no one can get along with each other for so long. I have a comrade with whom I spent 30 years.”

He said that they survived prison with the awareness of those, who are the pioneers of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that lost their lives in prison struggling in solidarity and staging hunger strikes.

Ilhan continued saying that being out of prison after 30 years does not make him feel free, saying ‘’We will be free when our land and our people are free. This is what freedom means to me. I don’t see any free peo- ple or countries in the current system. Prison is called prison, but the people outside of prison are less free. One could at least discuss opinions inside prison. Outside people are living an individualistic life.’’

He continued ‘’If there is going to be a revolution, it will be led by women. They are smarter and more practical.’’

28 The İmralı Post #7 He added: “Our leader and people are in prison. Thousands of our people have been murdered. We can

not forget that. We can not abandon hope. We have to have the willpower. Revolution is not so simple.’’

—★—

Opinion
It’s time to delist the PKK as a terror organisation

MedyaNews | 2 April 2022 | by Matt Broomfield

An inclusive article by Matt Broomfield published last year in Progressive International remains timely and important in light of Thursday’s court proceedings in Luxembourg aimed at reaching a decision on the long-standing case regarding the listing of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) by the European Union as a ‘terrorist organisation’.

“The Belgian Supreme Court has recently delisted the PKK as a terror organisation. It’s

time for other countries to follow suit.”

Though the PKK is de facto included on EU terror lists, effectively at the behest of the Turkish govern- ment, no EU or international court has ever found that the PKK meets the definition of a terrorist organ – isation.

A stable, democratic, and peaceful Middle East can only be achieved following massive political reform in Turkey. In turn, some of the only actors capable of challenging the autocratic status quo in Turkey are the Kurdish political movement and its leader Abdullah Öcalan, the long-incarcerated ‘Mandela of the Middle East.’ Their radical political programme of decentralisation, grassroots democracy, women-led governance, and protection of minorities is the antithesis of Turkish President Erdoğan’s autocratic, top-down, chau- vinist regime.

As recently as 2015, the Turkish government and militant Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) were in pro- ductive, advanced peace talks and a state of ceasefire, mediated by Öcalan from his prison cell. But the Er – doğan government has since reopened hostilities with the PKK, resulting in the deaths of thousands of ci – vilians, and moved to liquidate the legitimate political opposition in Turkey by arresting tens of thousands of politicians, activists, and journalists on trumped-up terror charges. It’s time for other countries to follow the lead of the Belgian Supreme Court and de-list the PKK as a terror organisation. This is the only route to dialogue, ceasefire and the reopening of the peace process in Turkey.

Erdoğan abandoned the peace process for two reasons. First, electoral gains made by the Kurdish-led, pro- democratic HDP, which is now the third-largest party in Turkey; and second, the establishment of demo – cratic autonomy in Kurdish-majority regions of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), forming the core of the regions

29 The İmralı Post #7 now united and governed by the decentralised Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria ac-

cording to the principles of the Kurdish movement.

But Erdoğan has since used sweeping terror laws and accusations of support for the PKK to bring cases against 154 Turkish MPs – primarily HDP members – and remove 59 of 65 democratically-elected HDP mayors from office. One in three journalists jailed globally are held by Turkey, while Turkey now has the highest incarceration rate in Europe due to its systematic targeting of the political opposition under anti- terror laws. A single tweet or the use of the word ‘Kurdistan’ in a political speech can be enough to incur hefty jail sentences, in inhumane conditions amounting to torture.

Similarly, anti-terror rhetoric was used to justify Turkey’s successive invasions of North and East Syria, killing hundreds and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians as part of a programme of systematic ethnic cleansing in formerly-Kurdish regions. The network of jihadist militias and criminal factions Turkey has installed in these regions include scores of former ISIS members in their ranks, with the US regularly assassinating top ISIS and al-Qaeda brass being sheltered by its erstwhile NATO ally in the Turkish-occu- pied zones.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s endless and bloody assaults against the PKK in Iraq have seen them deploying chem – ical weapons and drone strikes against civilian activists, with no end in sight. Erdoğan constantly attempts to conflate the Syrian SDF, the PKK, and ISIS – as though it were not the Kurdish freedom movement which was on the forefront of the campaign to eradicate the caliphate, losing over 10,000 fighters in the process.

Turkey’s aggressive expansion into Syria and Iraq is driven by its anti-Kurdish politics, and these assaults have been a proving-ground for expansionist tactics and military hardware seen in Turkish interventions from Nagorno-Karabakh to Libya to the Eastern Mediterranean, to the detriment of the entire region.

Under such circumstances, there can be no productive dialogue. But a recent, landmark decision by Bel- gium’s Supreme Court points the way forward to reopening peace negotiations. The Court of Cassation upheld a decision indicating that the PKK should not be considered a terror organisation at all, but a legit- imate party to an internal conflict – i.e., a belligerent in a civil war. This is because the PKK does not con- duct terror attacks; is highly structured and organised with the ability to hold its members accountable for their actions; has popular support; and provides services and administration in regions under its control.

According to lawyer Jan Fermon, who led the case, “There is no doubt that PKK meets all the criteria that allow it to be considered as a political-military organization, which carries out an armed struggle against Turkish security services, army and authorities, towards the realization of the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people.”

Indeed, though the PKK is de facto included on EU terror lists which are renewed every year, effectively at the behest of the Turkish government, no EU or international court has ever found that the PKK meets the definition of a terrorist organisation. Many of the crimes for which the PKK were held responsible were found, in the course of the Belgian case, to have been committed by Turkish forces themselves. Though the Belgian government rejected the ruling of its own top court on political grounds, the land- mark ruling paves the way for more Western allies of Turkey to reassess their relationship with the PKK, and de facto inclusion of the PKK on terror lists.

30 The İmralı Post #7

The benefits of delisting the PKK will be threefold:

Enabling both Turkey and the PKK to be held equally responsible for any crimes committed during the ongoing conflict by either party under internationally established conflict law, rather than having all of the PKK’s actions de facto outside the law; indeed, as a recognised force in a civil war, the PKK will have more responsibilities and culpability under international law

Preventing Turkey from constantly using alleged membership of or sympathy for the PKK as a pretext to liquidate the domestic political opposition, in particular the HDP, by arresting thousands of civilians and politicians
Pressuring Turkey to return to the negotiating table and peace process with the PKK, release and engage in negotiations with Öcalan, and begin the path towards democracy, decentralisation, and the rule of law.

These aims seem distant at present, but the 2013-2015 peace process shows there is room for hope. And the conversation is shifting in Europe too. In a recent debate in the UK Houses of Parliament, Tory, La- bour and SNP MPs all called on the UK Government to rethink its own approach to the listing of the PKK, with Labour MP Kim Johnson saying: “This historic ruling [in Belgium] must have significant rami- fications for our own government’s position, and I call on the government to take up the report recom- mendations to review the listing of the PKK as a terror organisation in light of this evidence.”

Far from being terrorist in nature, the Kurdish freedom movement has proven itself a leader in the fight against ISIS – not only on the battlefield, but by promoting a radical, women-led, democratic alternative to all forms of authoritarian governance. It’s time for the West to recognise this reality and make room for the PKK and Turkey to reopen peaceful negotiations.

Matt Broomfield is a journalist, writer and co-founder of the Rojava Information Center, the top news and re- search organisation in North and East Syria.

—★—
Terrorism: the power of a word – a weekly news review

MedyaNews 2 April 2022 | By Sarah Glynn

Last Thursday, the EU’s Court of Justice in Luxembourg witnessed the next stage of the PKK versus the European Union. In December 2001, in response to the US-declared War on Terror that followed “9/11” and the subsequent UN Security Council resolution, the Council of the European Union agreed to a “Common Position“ on the “application of specific measures to combat terrorism”. This attempted to define a terrorist act, and it included an initial list of individuals and groups the Council regarded as ter- rorists. In 2002, the PKK was added to that list. This took place at a time when the PKK was calling for peace negotiations and had publicly dissolved its old organisation. The EU’s action encouraged Turkey to respond to this call for peace, not with dialogue but with repression. Whenever Turkey attacks the PKK, or when they clamp down on anyone who advocates on behalf of the Kurds by accusing them of having links with the PKK, the EU’s listing of the PKK is always mentioned in support of Turkey’s action.

31 The İmralı Post #7

In 2014, the EU terrorism regulation was updated, and the PKK launched legal action against the listing. The position of the Council has been backed by the UK government, as well as by the European Commis- sion. Over four years after the start of the case, in November 2018, the Luxembourg court found that the EU had failed to give sufficient reasons for the listing. However, because it had already been renewed, the court’s decision only applied to earlier years, and the listing was allowed to continue on a technicality.

The Council appealed the decision—also supported by France this time—and, last year, the appeal court rejected the earlier decision and called for a retrial, as the other arguments made by the PKK’s lawyers had not been discussed. At the same time, the PKK submitted a case that brought the issue up to date so as to question the current situation. This week`s heraing looked at both these points. The judge was critical of the EU Council for copy-paste recycling of old arguments without taking account of changing circum- stances and for its emphasis on the view in Washington, and there was discussion about the right to self- determination; however, a realistic assessment of the organisations involved should temper undue opti- mism. It will be months before the judgement is expected.

The Belgian courts have ruled, in a different case, that the PKK should be considered not as a terrorist or- ganisation but as a non-state actor in a war and thus subject to the laws of war rather than civil law. This has been quoted by the PKK’s lawyers; however, decisions over what organisations are deemed as terrorists are ultimately taken on political grounds.

These decisions are important because the word “terrorist” has such strong emotional resonance. The com- mon-sense understanding of the term is more specific than the EU definition. It is associated in people’s minds with deadly violence against civilians. The political decision to label a group as terrorists thus gets refracted through an ethical prism to make that group seem unsupportable. It is a powerful weapon of propaganda.

War and unrest in Iraq

The PKK has been listed by the United States since 1997. The capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999 was carried out by a CIA-led international conspiracy, and the United States has been fully support – ive of Turkey’s attacks in the mountains of northern Iraq, where the PKK guerrillas have their bases. While claiming to be targeting PKK “terrorists”, Turkey has tightened its control over the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with an extensive and expanding network of military bases, and their attacks have forced the empty – ing, or near emptying, of hundreds of villages.

These attacks are carried out with the knowledge and backing of the United States and with the increas- ingly active support of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which dominates the Kurdistan Regional Government. The KDP has a history of unscrupulous alliances in pursuit of power – they even called on the support of Saddam Hussein just eight years after he gassed thousands of Kurds in Halabja. In pursuing their own economic and political gains, the KDP have allowed themselves to become so dependent on Turkey that they now act as vassals of the Turkish state. Their business-friendly approach, combined with their oil wealth and strategic location, also makes them popular with the US and European countries.

Last Saturday, the Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union (KCK), which includes the PKK, issued a warning that the KDP was preparing to collaborate with Turkey in a joint assault on the mountain bases. This has been corroborated by further reports of the KDP building up its military deployment in the area after meetings between leading figures from Turkey and the KDP. The KCK claims to have information

32 The İmralı Post #7

that the first move will be a black flag operation that will be blamed on the PKK and give the KDP the ex- cuse to attack the PKK directly. Up until now, the KDP has generally played only a supportive role in Tur – key’s war. They don’t want to be seen to attack the PKK without provocation, and the PKK avoids con- fronting the KDP. The KCK called on the KDP “not to participate in this dirty war of occupation of the Turkish state… which would be a huge disaster for our entire country.”

Those who want to make war on the PKK portray this as an ideological struggle against the dark forces of terrorism. There is indeed a strong ideological element, but it isn’t this. The US and Europe give support to Turkey for their own strategic reasons, but in addition, there is no love lost for a movement that puts forward an alternative to capitalism and that refuses to conform to the norms of liberal democracy. And what better way to dismiss the ideology of Öcalan and the PKK and make it appear untouchable than by labelling those who support it as terrorists?

Öcalan’s ideology was taken up by the Yazidis in Şengal – learnt from the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish YPG and YPJ, who, together, helped them recover their land from ISIS and set up their own autonomous government. The ideological warriors of liberal democracy don’t want this to survive. Without the involve- ment of the Yazidis, the United States helped broker an agreement, supported by the United Nations, for Şengal to be taken under the joint control of the KDP and Iraq’s federal government – the same forces that abandoned them to ISIS in 2014. So far, the Yazidis have resisted giving up their autonomy. The Iraqi government is now applying new pressure through the erection of a border wall to separate the people of Şengal from their comrades in Syria. The government claims it is to keep out ISIS, but there is nothing similar along other parts of the border. Construction began in mid-March, and there are also plans, cur- rently suspended, for a razor-wire fence isolating Şengal from the surrounding Arab villages.

These siege conditions can be compared to recent developments at the Maxmur refugee camp, whose resi- dents originally came to Iraq from Turkey in the 1990s to escape Turkish government attacks on their vil – lages and which is self-administered according to Öcalan’s philosophy. The Iraqi authorities backed down from surrounding the camp with barbed wire but have now built a series of watchtowers in front of it. Maxmur camp has also been blockaded by the KDP since July 2019.

Iraq’s government is divided, weak, and unable to resist external influence. Both Şengal and Maxmur have been attacked by Turkish drones, and the Iraqi government has put up only a token complaint about this invasion of their sovereign territory.

Following last October’s election, Iraqi politicians have still not succeeded in forming a new government. The first stage should be the selection of a president. By convention, this should be a Kurd, and previous presidents have been from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). This time, with the KDP forming a block with the Sadrists and Sunnis, it seemed that the KDP candidate would be selected, but the vote – due to take place last Wednesday – was boycotted by other groups, including the pro-Iranian parties and the PUK, so lacked the necessary quorum. The tense atmosphere between the parties literally caught fire on Sunday night when supporters of the pro-Iranian Hashd al-Shaabi militias stormed the KDP head- quarters in Baghdad and set the building alight.

33 The İmralı Post #7 “Secessionists”

Another word that is used to attack the PKK, and the Kurds more generally, is “secessionists”, even though, in the early 2000s, the PKK moved from demanding independence to demanding autonomy that minimised the role of the state but did not redraw borders. Nation-states and their organisations don’t, as a rule, like secessionism, but there are exceptions, depending on the circumstances, and Western institu- tions were happy to encourage the break-up of former Yugoslavia. Attitudes depend on political considera- tions. An autonomous region that attempts to establish an alternative model to capitalism will not receive support from the capitalist states—and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria has not been given formal recognition nor a seat in international discussions on Syria’s future. In contrast, the au- tonomy of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was initially made possible by the protection of a no-fly zone guaranteed by the US, the UK and France, though full independence of the region was not given interna- tional support. Iraq’s federal constitution, which recognises Kurdish autonomy, would also allow auton- omy in Şengal, but an autonomy that bases itself on Öcalan’s ideas does not get support from the “interna- tional community”.

According to Amnesty International

Words and stories matter. Even documents that claim objectivity can feed into the dominant narrative, and their supposed neutrality makes them even more powerful. Amnesty International`s annual report, re- leased last week, provides a worrying example. The report includes some strong criticism, especially when looking at the situation in Iran, though, even so, it gives no indication of the extent of economic depriva- tion and pervasive securitisation in Iran’s Kurdish regions. It also comes down hard on the attacks on free- dom of expression and association made by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which Amnesty has fol- lowed in some detail. However, the report is also noticeable for what it doesn’t say.

To anyone not already familiar with what is happening, the Turkey chapter would provide little illumina- tion. Many cases are given – though how these have been selected is unclear – but there is no attempt to contextualise them nor to explain the background to all the “terrorism” charges. And Kurds get only a cou- ple of passing mentions.

While the Iraq chapter mentions Turkish attacks “targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party”, it doesn’t com- ment on Turkey’s intensive militarisation of the northern regions or the thousands of civilians who have been forced to flee their villages and homesteads to escape the Turkish attacks. Nor does it mention assassi – nations of Iranian dissidents who had escaped to the Kurdistan Region.

But the most misleading chapter with respect to Kurdish politics is that concerning Syria. Legitimate criti- cisms can be levelled at the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria as against administra- tions facing much less difficult circumstances, but the Administration is guided by the rule of law and by a social contract – which Amnesty should be promoting – that calls for women’s rights, minority rights and grassroots democracy. Meanwhile, the Turkish occupied regions and Idlib have become gangster strongholds where different militias compete for pillage and where those residents who have not fled live in fear of kidnap, rape, and all forms of gratuitous violence. However, a reader of this report who had no other information would get the impression that the situations in Northeast Syria and these other areas were on a par.

34 The İmralı Post #7

Further, no mention is made of the hardship and instability caused by Turkey’s continued attacks (in breach of ceasefire agreements), of Turkey’s cutting of the vital water flow in the Euphrates, or of how ISIS is regrouping within the protection of the Turkish occupied areas. Battle-scarred Northeast Syria, which lost over 11,000 people in the fight against ISIS, is now expected to look after ISIS prisoners and families from across the world with minimal outside help or interest. The Administration has repeatedly called for international involvement, but Amnesty’s response is to lay all the problems with the camps housing ISIS families at the Administration’s own door.

—★— Kurds and the walls built around them

Yeni Özgür Politika | 2 April 2022 | By Zeki Akil

The Turkish state is trying to divide the Kurds from each other by building walls while it tries to imprison the entire population like in an F-type prison. The Syrian border has been covered in mines for many years, as have highly fertile farming areas, and what tragedies took place along the border! Many have lost their lives and limbs in those minefields. Today, a wall is being built on the Syrian border, hundreds of kilometres long, and another on the Iranian border. The Iraqi border, on the other side, is filled with fortresses. All technical tools, including photo traps, are under constant surveillance by UAVs and combat drones. The construction of a wall on the border of Iraq and Rojava is yet another addition to these.

Prisons were built according to the sociology and culture of Turkey. But the situation changed when the prisons were filled with Kurds and political prisoners. Because conscious and organized people do not sleep in prisons submissively, they resisted. They began to change their conditions by reading and educat- ing themselves. Instead of evacuating prisons by changing their laws and paving the way for democracy, the rulers of the state simply increased the number of prisons. They began to build all kinds of prison models. They isolated people by separating them with names such as E-rope, Special Type, F-type, and D- type. All their efforts were to destroy the social fabric of the detainees, isolate them and leave them power – less against the state.

Man is a social being. Years of loneliness and isolation damages his sociability. In this respect, isolation was defined as a crime. The Turkish state has been at war with detainees for years. Diyarbakir Prison, which is notorious throughout the world for its brutality, was deemed worthy for revolutionaries and Kurds. When the torture and violence inside the prison became public, it began to import prison models from Europe. The target, however, remained the same. It was lockdown, isolation, destruction of political and cultural identity, and deterioration of mental health. In the ward system, the detainees preserved their social struc- ture by helping each other and protecting their sense of solidarity. The state aimed to eliminate this hu- manitarian environment with F-type prisons.

The Turkish state uses prisoners like guinea pigs. Combining lessons learned from their experiments with experiences in the world, they are now trying to get all the Kurdish people into the F-type system. This ac- tion has gone beyond the borders of Iran, Iraq, and Syria. As we are witnessing from the press, the Iraqi government is building concrete walls to separate Shengal from Rojava. If we look closely, the borders and

35 The İmralı Post #7 the regions where the walls are built are all areas where the Kurdish people live. It was not enough for

them to divide Kurdistan and draw borders between it; in the 21st century, high walls had to be added.

In this regard, it is necessary to first seriously criticize the intellectuals and the revolutionary and demo- cratic circles of Kurdistan. While the Kurdish people are being isolated from each other by walls, all the happenings are watched with great silence as if it was normal. However, they should have shown a greater reaction and conducted research on these issues and persuaded the public, both foreign and domestic, to pay attention to the dangerous games being played. These walls are made deliberately. They have a high cost. This means that there are plans for genocide and annihilation of the Kurds. By isolating the parts from each other, calculations are being made to crush them one by one.

The Berlin Wall has been known as the wall of shame for many years, and much about it has been written and illustrated. While Israel was building a wall between itself and the Palestinians, it was criticized and discussed much in Turkey. Even the wall that Trump wanted to build on the Mexican border has been on the agenda. But when it comes to the Kurds and Kurdistan, everyone is silent! Turkey’s ruling and opposi- tion powers are planning, implementing, and approving all the evils against the Kurds. They are touting these walls as if they were a work of civilization with glory and fame. Iraq has such serious problems, not least of them a major economic crisis. It has no problem with Yazidis and Kurds, so why does it start building a wall between Shengal and Rojava? This border region is not the route used by ISIS. It is clear that this plan belongs mainly to Turkey, and Turkish fascism includes the KDP. They make decisions by imposing them on the Iraqi administration. The USA is undoubtedly also behind this plan. Without the USA, Iraq would not be able to accept this so quickly. Instead of recognizing the Kurdish existence and solving it through democratic means, they approve and become partners with the Turkish state’s genocidal policies.

The games of isolating Kurdistan by converting it to an F-type [prison], crushing them piece by piece, and destroying all their progress should not be watched anymore. The forces of democracy, the people of Kur- distan, should at least prepare themselves for the bloody and dangerous games being played.

The Liars Are Desperate

8 April 2022 | By Ferda Cetin

—★—

“The court did not take into account the frequently repeated defense of the Council of Europe that the “PKK is separate from the Kurdish people”; it persistently used the term ‘Kurdish side’ in its questions and evaluations.” writes Ferda Cetin for Yeni Özgür Politika.

“Putin is a war criminal,” US President Joe Biden said. “We must gather all the evidence so that he can be prosecuted for war crimes.”

France and Sweden want an investigation into “possible war crimes” committed in Ukraine. UN rappor- teurs had prepared and shared with the public a report that the Turkish state had committed war crimes in

36 The İmralı Post #7 Cizre and Afrin. The USA, France, and Sweden, on the other hand, ignored Turkey’s war crimes and these

reports.

Today, these forces, with a “Ukrainian sensitivity”, do not see Turkey’s frequent bombings and murders of Rojava, Shengal, and Mahmur as war crimes. Those who research “possible war crimes” in Ukraine are playing ostrich by not doing anything in the face of overt war crimes. US President Biden, who called for collecting evidence to prosecute Putin, ignores Turkey’s crimes despite hundreds of shreds of evidence, which have become official with UN reports. At this stage, the liars are desperate.

The organized and determined struggle of the Kurdish people aggravates this desperation even more. The campaign launched in Europe against the PKK ban led to a thorough discussion, awareness and under- standing of the problem.

Germany is the only country to make more effort than Turkey to keep the PKK on the ban list. However, Germany’s repression and criminalization policies were not successful in the face of the struggle of the Kurdish people, and Germany remained alone. At this point, France and Sweden have stepped in. In the last two years, these two countries have been applying Germany’s methods against the Kurdish people and trying to develop the PKK ban.

The international sovereign powers are making an intense effort to criminalize the legitimate struggle of the Kurds with the decisions they take behind closed doors. They want to create the impression that they have no problems with the Kurds. The KDP and the Barzani Dynasty are this plan’s “inside” collaborative leg. The KDP, together with the Turkish state, is mobilizing all its means to keep the PKK on the terrorist list.

Listers themselves know that the refrain “the Kurdish question is separate from the PKK” is a big lie; they actually know that the PKK is the Kurdish people.

The court held in Luxembourg on March 31, 2022, has turned into a platform where all these facts are discussed. The court stated that Turkey’s arguments could not be taken as a basis for the PKK to be in- cluded in the “terror list” and that the council had to present new evidence.
The court asked the Council of Europe whether the Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s calls for a political solution and peace were taken into account.

The court did not consider the frequently repeated defence of the Council of Europe that “the PKK is sep- arate from the Kurdish people”; it persistently used the term “Kurdish side” in its questions and evalua- tions.

The most important part of the question was that the court committee asked the Council of the European Union, “We are making these trials with the aim of correcting the wrongs and inadequacies of the Council of the European Union. Why don’t you implement the decisions we made; are you refreshing the lists with the copy-paste method and an automatic ease?”

Lawyers for the Council of Europe frequently cited the PKK ban in the US and UK. The court stated that the “terrorist lists” prepared by the USA and the UK were not based on reasonable grounds and therefore could not be considered sufficient evidence in terms of the Council of Europe.

37 The İmralı Post #7

Stating that the right to self-determination is a universally accepted right, PKK lawyers noted that the use of this right by the Kurds could not be described as “terrorism”.
These discussions will deepen in the coming period.

So, how far will these made-up lists, this global fraud, this international hypocrisy go?

Won’t there be a limit to this?

A great lie has been repeated for forty years.

When this lie, fed by provocations, intrigues, and slander, does not have an effect on the people of Kurdis – tan, they try to perpetuate the lie with laws and prohibition lists.

On his Twitter account in 2020, Trump said, “The new government in Sudan has agreed to pay $335 mil – lion to US terror victims and their families. When this money is paid, I will remove Sudan from the list of “Countries Supporting Terrorism”.

In a statement on October 21, 2020, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamduk and Sudanese Finance Minister announced that they paid the 335 million dollars requested by US President Trump to remove Sudan from the list of “Countries Supporting Terrorism”.

With this vulgar agreement between the USA and Sudan, it has become possible to “get off the terrorist list by paying money”.

Thus, it has become more evident that the “terror” and “terror lists” created by the global powers are not prepared on the basis of principles and values but according to the conjuncture and the will of the domi- nant powers.

—★—
Emancipating humanity from the inhuman acts of humans

5 April 2022 | By Ertuğrul Kürkçü

On the fortieth day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, increasing reports of mutual military casualties, Ukrainian civilian losses, mass immigration, destruction of complete urban settlements such as Mariupol, Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel now extend further to cover horrifying war crimes of deliberate killings and the torture of civilians, sexual assaults and the rape of women and girls—fresh proof to substantiate the old maxim that “there is no clean war.”

Blinded by liberal illusions

The Russian invasion seems to have come at a time when the European and world public were blinded by the neoliberal illusions that with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact buried, “communism” defeated,

38 The İmralı Post #7 and Germany reunified, the root causes of war across Europe and the world would vanish and peace and

prosperity would reign forever.

Yet, this Eurocentric way of thinking belies an unhistorical omission as recalled by the manifesto of “Potero al Popolo” who hosted an international forum “For a European Movement Against War!” on 3 April in Rome: “it was in Europe that some of the most atrocious massacres of the last thirty years played out, as the former Yugoslavia was torn apart by the resurgence of nationalism, fomented by the Western powers and by a NATO-led ‘humanitarian war’”. And we can add that it was also in Europe that the two previous world wars erupted, and where racism, Nazism and fascism were born, as well as communism, socialism, feminism and humanism…

The true basis for democratic peace: recognition of the right to self-determinaton

What is unfolding before our eyes is a war now fought on Ukrainian soil between NATO and Russia, the latter justifying its war purposes by rewriting Russian and Soviet history to claim parts of Ukrainian terri- tory and reject their right to self-determination.

As declared by the Manifesto of the [Russian] “Socialists Against War Coalition”, Putin’s “is an unfair war of conquest. […] With his aggression, Putin nullified all the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists, all the in- trigues of American and NATO hawks. Putin gave them such arguments that new missiles and military bases would almost certainly appear along the perimeter of our borders.”

During this war in Ukraine, we hear many repudiations across the globe of the Russian claims negating Ukraine’s right to self-determination, and rightly so; but we hear very little about the right to secede of Donetsk and Luhansk. We hear many words for “the right to freedom to opt for NATO membership” of Ukraine as a “sovereign nation”, but we hear very little of the criticism of this mockery of freedom that boils down to an oxymoron -“freedom to join world domination.”

As verified by history, the internationalists’ “peace programme” should without any reservation condone the recognition of self-determination simultaneously with the repudiation of annexations. That is, the in- ternationalists of every nation should demand the right of secession for nations that are oppressed by their governments. Further, internationalists should explain incessantly that the imperialist powers and the im- perialist bourgeoisie cannot grant a democratic peace.

Unless immediately stopped by determined international action for “peace”, the ongoing war in Ukraine – given the insanity and selfishness of the leaderships of the contending parties – presages even the involve- ment of “nuclear arms” in the conflict, and thus threatens the very existence of the globe as such. Immedi – ate action by a third force, that is, the collective will and determination of the peoples to prevent “their” leaders from further bloodshed and devastation of the lives of the survivors, is urgent.

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39

The İmralı Post #7

Who Are We?

The International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan — Peace in Kurdistan” was founded in March 1999, a month after Öcalan’s abduction from Kenya and his imprisonment by Turkey. Since its initial foundation, the International Initiative struggled for Abdullah Öcalan’s re- lease from prison so that he can play his rightful role in the establishment of a just peace between the Turkish state and Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK). The International Initia- tive also aimed at contributing to the repairing of the ties between the Kurdish and Turkish peoples, as well as all other peoples of the Middle Eastern regions.

In order to achieve its aims, the International Initiative followed several related paths. Influencing international and national audiences through international campaigns to in- terfere with Turkish state’s policies towards Abdullah Öcalan has been one of these paths. A second area of work the In- ternational Initiative committed itself is the dissemination of Öcalan’s views through art, publications and conferences. Finally, the International Initiative has also been active in raising awareness for Öcalan’s conditions and the human rights violations he faces through reports, fact-finding dele- gations and lobbying.

Campaigns

The International Initiative organizes signature campaigns to influence the policies towards Öcalan. One such cam- paign which was launched in 2012 by one thousand prelim- inary signatories including Gerry Adams, Prof. Antonio Ne- gri, Prof. Immanuel Wallerstein, Prof. Achin Vanaik, and other intellectuals, politicians, MPs, and NGOs from South America, Europe, Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. The campaign reached 10,328,623 signatures and may be the biggest signature campaign for the freedom of a political prisoner that the world has ever seen. It significantly chal- lenged the isolation that was enforced on Öcalan and possi- bly paved the ways for the peace talks that the Turkish state and Öcalan led between 2013 and 2015.

The International Initiative also organizes video cam- paigns that educate the public on Öcalan’s life-story, his prison conditions and the demands for his freedom.

Publications

The International Initiative translates, edits and publishes books written by Öcalan in different languages including in English, German, French, Spanish and Arabic.

It compiles brochures from his works on specific topics, such as democratic confederalism or women’s freedom.
It edits books on Öcalan that discuss his main ideas.

The International Initiative also publishes regular reports on Öcalan’s prison conditions and his isolation.

Conferences

The International Initiative organizes biannual conferences and invites scholars, activists, students and politicians to discuss Öcalan’s ideas in order to initiate a conversation be- tween different Movements around the world.

Delegations

th
Every year on February 15 , which is the date of the abduc-

tion of Abdullah Öcalan, the International Initiative orga- nizes a group of internationally acclaimed people to take a trip to Turkey for a fact finding mission and publicizes their findings.

Lobbying

The International Initiative lobbies in the European Coun- cil, CPT and other international organizations against the human rights violations against Abdullah Öcalan and his total isolation in İmralı prison.

Art for Öcalan

This campaign aims to express the relationship between Ab- dullah Öcalan, Kurdish people, freedom and women’s free- dom and to educate the wider public on the past and present of the Kurdish people. The International Initiative has already collected art from Brazil, South Africa, USA, South America, Italy, Germany as well as Kurds from differ- ent parts of Kurdistan. These works have been printed in postcards, t-shirts and canvas and made available for solidar- ity sale.

Contact e-mail: [email protected]
Websites: freeocalan.org | ocalanbooks.com ‖ Videos: vimeo.com/freeocalan