Report of 2020 International Peace Delegation to İmrali



Opening Press Conference at HDP Headquarters Ankara with Pervin Buldan, Julie Ward, Hişyar Özsoy, Melanie Gingell, Ögmundur Jónasson, Shavanah Taj and Felix Padel.
The İmralı Peace Delegation visited Turkey between 11th and 16th February 2020, witnessing and gathering evidence about the state of civil society and human rights in the country. The  delegation sought to visit the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish freedom movement Abdullah Öcalan in order to assess his situation and conditions of detention. The annual delegation reports have provided a base measure of human rights in Turkey over the last decade and enabled a diverse group of academics, politicians, lawyers, faith leaders, journalists and trade unionists to visit various locations and assess the situation for themselves. The International Initiative organises the delegations with the primary purpose of keeping the cruel situation of Öcalan’s detention in the public eye, and as part of a wider campaign to highlight the need to reinstitute a peace process in Turkey.
The delegation this year consisted of Ögmundur Jónasson, former Justice Minister of Iceland and Honorary Associate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Julie Ward, UK MEP until January 2020, Shavanah Taj, Leader of the Trade Union Congress in Wales, Felix Padel, sociologist and anthropologist, affiliate of Oxford University, and Melanie Gingell, Barrister, Associate Tenant Doughty Street Chambers, London. It held a series of meetings in Ankara with Ms Pervin Buldan Co-Chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and Hişyar Özsoy Deputy Co-Chair of HDP, Leaders of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, Liberationist Lawyers Association, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the Confederal Trade Union of Public Workers. In İstanbul they met with lawyers from Asrın Law Office on 15th February, the 21st Anniversary of the kidnapping of Mr Öcalan in Kenya. They then met Eren Keskin, leading Human Rights Lawyer with representatives of the Saturday Mothers. Continue reading “Report of 2020 International Peace Delegation to İmrali”





2019 is the year that the İmralı Isolation System’s reflections on law legal and political arena have become more visible in Turkey. As known, the law and political arena in Turkey, which were already antidemocratic and cause continuous dynamism of coup, have been under the rule of the Emergency Decree Laws (KHK) and the State of Emergency declared on 20 July 2016 and have been institutionalised and become permanent following incidents on 15 July 2016 and 20 July 2016 respectively coup attempt and the State of Emergency.

The most clear reflection of this period is that the Imrali Isolation System, which is implemented as a prototype, has been institutionalised and spread across the country. In fact, the Imrali isolation practices, which were developed outside the boundaries of law until 2016, have become normative practices for the whole country by adopting these practices in question as a law. It is equal to the period that the penal code, laws on criminal procedures and execution dated 2005, which were discussed also as “Öcalan Laws” and drew the borders of criminal sanctions of politics, were spread across the country.

Apart from the reflections on law, the isolation in the İmralı Prison’s relationship with various dialectics have become clearer in the politics in 2019. Mr Öcalan has made analyses, shared his ideas of solutions and methods from his perspective within the framework of the “İmralı Stance” in visits even under the conflict and tense atmosphere. There were responses, negative or positive, from different groups and figures to Mr Öcalan’s position. The responses in question demonstrated the relationship between the Isolation System of Imralı and war-peace, coup mechanics-democratization and chaos- solution dialectics in a more visible way. In this respect, Mr Öcalan stated that the isolation—both the general isolation and the period that continues for 4 years—on him is related to present wars and he has been resisting—in line with the principles of peace—to the isolation in spite of the difficulties.

As it is known, no news was received from Mr. Öcalan in 2017 and 2018. The date of last contact with Mr. Öcalan was on 11 September 2016 when concerns about the right to life increased and protests intensified. Similarly, there was an absolute isolation including ban on visits from lawyers and relatives; the communication right namely sending and/or receiving letters, telegraph, telephone in 2019. However, 2019 became also the year that people showed democratic sensitivity and raised their concerns about the problem.

Ms Leyla Güven, the MP from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), made the following statement in the courtroom on 7 November 2018:

“Today, the isolation is not imposed on Mr Öcalan only but on the

whole people. Isolation is a crime against humanity. For being a member of the people, I begin a hunger strike action, which is permanent and non-alternating, to protest the

isolation on Mr Öcalan.” She made the statement while she was in pre-trial detention for


PIK Statement: After 21 years, time to free Ocalan and grasp the peace

15 February 2020|Peace in Kurdistan

Statement marking the 21st anniversary since Ocalan’s abduction in Nairobi, 15th February 1999, by Turkish MIT agents supported by the CIA.

It is difficult to believe that it is now more than two decades since Abdullah Ocalan, the leader and founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, lost his freedom. It is a reality difficult to accept because Abdullah Ocalan remains a shaping influence on the current politics of the Kurdish movement in Turkey and throughout the region. His influence has achieved a permanency as a result of the power of his ideas and the loyalty of his people. The Kurdish people and supporters worldwide were outraged as much as they were dismayed by the brutal and conspiratorial manner of Ocalan’s apprehension in a coordinated multi-state operation involving security services working across continents. He was taken to Turkey from Kenya after having his movements tracked half-way around the world. He was delivered to Turkey trussed up and supposedly humiliated like a trophy for the satisfaction of the victors and their clamouring populous.

Continue reading “PIK Statement: After 21 years, time to free Ocalan and grasp the peace”



  1. HDP co-chair Buldan: The end of the tyrant is near
  2. UN’s Mueller: Turkey’s offensive displaced over 200,000 people
  3. MEPs call for immediate action to stop Turkey’s attacks on Kurds
  4. Disciplinary sanction for Öcalan and other 3 prisoners in Imrali
  5. Activists from Villiers-le-Bel take over Freedom for Öcalan Vigil
  6. Dictator defends occupation and demands oil revenues in Geneva
  7. KESK calls on workers to join rallies for a “dignified life”
  8. Recognition of Armenian genocide will prevent Turkey’s “massacre” of Kurds: SDF commander
  9. Turkey sentences 7 Syrian Kurds to aggravated life sentences on terror charges: report
  10. First Kurdish candidate elected for the Labour Party
  11. Over objections from Trump and Turkey, Senate passes Armenian genocide remembrance measure
  12. The 70th NATO Summit and the Looming Crisis around Turkey
  13. Russia opposes expansion of Turkey’s north Syria ‘safe zone’
  14. “Öcalan is the only person who can lead the way to peace”
  15. Wife of ailing, jailed Kurdish leader Demirtas relays message after visit
  16. European Parliament to host Rojava Conference on 11 December
  17. ‘In cold blood’: Syria Kurds say killed, robbed by Turkey proxies

Continue reading “KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 6 DECEMBER 2019 – 21 DECEMBER 2019”

Peace in Kurdistan Statement on 41st Anniversary of Founding of Kurdistan Workers’ Party

Celebrating 27 November 1978

For the Kurdish people, today is the 41st anniversary of the founding of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). It was a landmark in Kurdish history because this was the first time there appeared a modern, secular movement for Kurdish freedom uniting the Kurdish workers in political struggle.

Continue reading “Peace in Kurdistan Statement on 41st Anniversary of Founding of Kurdistan Workers’ Party”

(VIDEO) Dr. Thomas Jeffery Miley Discusses Turkish State Violence, Kurdish Resistance, and Democratic Confederalism

8 November 2019|Alaettin Sinayic

Cambridge University Professor and author Dr. Thomas Jeffery Miley speaks with Journalist Alaettin Sinayic about Turkish state violence, Kurdish resistance and the philosophy of “democratic confederalism” which has been adopted by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the PYD in Syria for the better part of twenty years.



1.We Salute the Resistance
2.Jailed Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan recalls war at Tate Modern
3.Hunger strikes called off after Ocalan sees lawyers – ‘resistance has prevailed’
4.Turkey to attain peace with efforts of PKK leader Ocalan, says pro-Kurdish HDP, 26 May 2019
5.Hunger strikers end action in Turkey after call from jailed Kurdish leader Ocalan
6.Öcalan: I expect the hunger strikes to come to an end
7.Sajid Javid condemned for ‘criminalising’ fighters against Isis
8.Saturday Mothers awarded Human Rights, Peace and Democracy award
9.AKP official blames Istanbul loss on party’s alienation of Kurdish voters
10.CPT Visits İmralı Island Prison
11.France reopens inquiry into 2013 murder of Kurdish militants
12.Today a NATO country sentenced this woman to nearly two years in jail for journalism
13.Prisoners’ mothers tortured with strip searches
14.Blocked from humanitarian aid, Afrin Kurds experience hardships in Serdem Camp
15.Turkey held talks with PKK leader Ocalan in bid to resolve Syria issues

Continue reading “KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 7 MAY 2019 – 27 MAY 2019”

The hunger strike is over and a new chapter in Kurdish struggle can begin

27 May 2019|Peace in Kurdistan

After 200 days, HDP MP Leyla Guven,  along with other Kurdish MPs and thousands of Kurdish prisoners in Turkey, have ended their hunger strikes in response to the breaking of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan’s isolation.

In ending her hunger strike, Leyla Guven, whose action in November 2018 started a mass movement, said the strike had achieve its immediate demands. She went on to declare that the struggle would continue by other means.

Continue reading “The hunger strike is over and a new chapter in Kurdish struggle can begin”

Lawyers for Abdullah Öcalan publicly read his letter, following their historic meeting with the Kurdish leader.

Lawyers for Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan held a press conference at the Taksim Hill Hotel in Istanbul regarding the meeting they were allowed with their client. The conference was attended by lawyers Faik Özgür Erol, Newroz Uysal and Rezan Sarıca from Asrın Law Office.

The meeting between Öcalan and his lawyers on May 2nd lasted one hour. The meeting was the first one held since 27 July 2011 when the Kurdish leader was last allowed to meet with his lawyers. Since then, lawyers for Öcalan submitted a total of 810 appeals to visit him on Imralı Island Prison.

Full text of the statement read by lawyer Newroz Uysal on Monday, with the signature of Abdullah Öcalan and three other prisoners on Imralı, is as follows;


There is a need for a deep social reconciliation in this historic process we are experiencing.

There is an urgent need for a method of democratic negotiations, far removed from any and all polarization and culture of conflict for the solution of problems.

We can solve the problems in Turkey, and even in the region, starting with the war, with soft power – with intelligence and political and cultural strength instead of tools of physical violence.

We believe that through the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), all should aim to solve the issues in Syria by refraining from conflict culture and within the perspective of local democracy guaranteed by the Constitution in the framework of Syria’s unity. As such, Turkey’s sensibilities should be minded.

With all due respect for the resistance of friends in and outside of prisons, we would like to stress that they should not take it to the level to threaten their health or result in deaths. For us, their mental, physical and spiritual health is above all. We also believe that the most meaningful approach is connected to developing a mental and spiritual stance.Our stance in Imrali is to deepen and clarify the method of expression we declared with the Newroz 2013 statement and to continue on this path.For us, a dignified peace and democratic political solution are paramount.

We commend all who were concerned and all who took a stand with respect due to our stance in Imrali, and we would like to offer our immense gratitude.