Duvar English

Lawyers representing Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and three other PKK-member inmates on İmralı Island on Jan. 17 applied to the Constitutional Court over the authorities refusal to allow family members to make visitations.

The jail management has implemented a three-month family visitation ban for five times in the last 15 months, citing a “disciplinary punishment” given to the inmates, Mezopotamya news agency reported on Jan. 23.

The Asrın Law Office said that although they had asked the authorities to give them the files concerning the relevant “disciplinary punishments” for review, their request was denied.

“In all of these [disciplinary] punishments, the lawyers’ demand to access the files have been denied. All of the five disciplinary punishments have been implemented on the grounds of the same reason,” said the law office’s statement.

Öcalan has been imprisoned on İmralı Island near Istanbul since he was captured in 1999. In May of last year, Turkish authorities lifted an eight-year-long ban on lawyer visits. The last time that lawyers visited the PKK leader in jail was on Aug. 7, 2019 and have not been allowed to see him since then. One of the lawyers had previously said that despite 100 applications made in 2019, Öcalan was allowed to meet his lawyers only five times.

As for other prisoners Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş who are called Öcalan’s secretariat by pro-Kurdish media, they have not been allowed to see their lawyers since being brought to İmralı Island.

The lawyers said in their application to the Constitutional Court there is no “court ruling” that forbids the İmralı inmates from meeting their lawyers and thereby such a treatment violates the judiciary’s principles.

“To ensure that lawyers see their clients is one of the responsibilities of the government. Further than that, there are indicators that the government has adopted a stance of obstructing this [a meeting between lawyers and İmralı inmates],” the lawyers said in their application.