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 Abdullah Ocalan's family suspicious about his unknown situation

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Abdullah Ocalan's family suspicious about his unknown situation  15.6.2012  

Osman Ocalan, the brother of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed Kurdish leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Supporter of the jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan (on poster). Photo: AFP/Shwan Mohammed
June 15, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Osman Ocalan, the brother of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed Kurdish leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), says his family is deeply worried about Ocalan’s life in confinement.

“Six months and no one in my family has been allowed to see Ocalan in prison,” Osman Ocalan says. “His lawyers have not been allowed to see him either for the past 10 months and that is a clear violation of Ocalan’s rights as a political prisoner.”

Osman Ocalan, who temporarily led the PKK after his brother’s abduction in Kenya in 1999, told Rudaw that he speaks on behalf of his family.

“Two days ago, Devlet Bahceli, the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said that no prisoners are left on Imrali Island, and this means Ocalan is being kept somewhere else,” Osman Ocalan says. “This has made us anxious and concerned about Ocalan’s life.”

Osman Ocalan says that if anything happens to his brother, there will be a bloodbath in Turkey and eternal enmity between Turks and Kurds.

“But we don’t want that. We want good and democratic relations,” Osman Ocalan says. “We want Turkey to become a source of democracy, not bloodshed.”

Osman Ocalan urges the Turkish government to clarify everything about his brother’s situation.

“We want Turkey to make everything clear through Ocalan himself where he is allowed to speak directly with his family and his lawyers,” Osman Ocalan says. “Or for Turkey to give immediate and clear information about Ocalan to his family and the Kurdish nation.”

The jailed leader’s brother also requested leaders of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to intervene to find some assurance about Ocalan’s situation.

“I urge Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Region, and Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister, to make efforts and get assurances from Turkey about Ocalan’s health and safety,” Osman Ocalan says. “I ask them to pay attention to Ocalan’s case.”In a previous interview with Rudaw, Mehmet Ocalan, a brother of Ocalan who lives in Turkey, said that Kurdish rights are not protected by the law in Turkey.

“Turkish laws do not give rights to Kurds,” he told Rudaw. “We have no information on Ocalan’s health and safety. According to the laws and prisoners’ rights, prisoners have the right to see their family members at least once a month, but I have not seen my brother for almost a year now.”

Mehmet Ocalan said that, up until several months ago, he was able to get some news from relatives of other prisoners, but now that has stopped too.

“European Union organizations do not carry out their part of the responsibility,” he says. “This is a dangerous attitude for the EU, politically and legally.”

Emin Aktar, a lawyer and head of the Diyarbakir Lawyers Association, told Rudaw, “The Turkish authorities wanted to find a legal justification for banning visits to Ocalan’s prison. They wanted to pass a law for that purpose. They wanted to pass a law that enabled judges to ban visits to a prisoner for six months, but later dropped their efforts.”

Osman Ocalan, who resigned from the PKK in 2004, says that the group does not seem concerned about their leader’s situation in jail.

“As Ocalan’s family, we are anxious and live in uncertainty, but the PKK, Ocalan’s party, is silent and carefree,” he says.

Osman Ocalan says that the ways the PKK has tried to put pressure on Turkey have all been very weak and ineffective.

“The PKK has to put more pressure on Turkey through civil and democratic actions, not attacks and armed struggle,” he says.

In the past three years, Turkish police have arrested thousands of political activists and members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) for alleged connections with the PKK. Osman Ocalan believes the PKK’s actions will only lead to more tensions and arrests.

“Every day in Turkey, 25 activists are detained, and the military operations against PKK guerrillas are still going on in the mountains,” he says. “This is wrong and Ocalan could find a more sustainable solution for the Kurdish question in Turkey.”

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