Turkey has lifted a two-year long visitor ban for Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is outlawed in Turkey, and let his brother Mehmet Ocalan see him on Saturday.
Mehmet Ocalan visited his brother in a remote prisoner island, Imrali in the sea of Marmara, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials said.
“Mr. Ocalan’s health condition is fine and we will be informing the public in more detail in the coming days,” HDP’s Co-chair Pervin Buldan said in a brief online statement her party released.
Abdullah Öcalan, who is in solitary confinement in İmralı High Security F Type Prison and who had not been in contact with his lawyers and family for years.
Since 27 July 2011, Öcalan’s lawyers have not been able to meet him, while his family have not been able to see him since September 11, 2016. His brother Mehmet Öcalan who met him today was the person who had met him the last time.
The latest Imrali delegation, including Idris Baluken and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who is currently in prison, had held their last meeting on 5 April 2015 with Öcalan.
DTK co-chair and HDP Deputy Leyla Güven had started a hunger strike to remove the isolation of Öcalan. On the 66th day of the hunger strike, Güven’s health is in critical condition that prevents her from seeing her lawyer.
The 780th application of Öcalan’s lawyers two days ago to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s office was rejected on the grounds of ” the restrictions placed on convicts by Law no. 5275 regarding the application of Criminal and Security Measures’.
As for Leyla Guven, whether or not she will end her hunger strike remains unclear, and her lawyers are preparing to visit the prison. One of Guven’s lawyers Reyhan Yalçındağ reiterated that the health condition of Güven is critical, and added: “We will be going to the prison with a few of the lawyers tonight. After the meeting with Öcalan, we have to prepare a referral to the hospital if she ends the hunger strike.”
Abdullah Ocalan was arrested in Kenya in 1999 and brought back to Turkey. He was sentenced to the death penalty, however, with the amendment in constitution his penalty replaced by an aggravated life sentence. Since then he has been kept in a remote prisoner island, Imrali.
Turkey, U.S and European Union classify PKK as a “terrorist organization.”