Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Family and lawyers must be allowed visit Öcalan - Seán Crowe TD

2 September, 2016 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has backed calls for a family member, lawyer, or political delegation, to be granted immediate access to visit Abdullah Öcalan in prison.

Öcalan, a leading Kurdish activist, has been imprisoned on Imrali Island in Turkey since 1999. Held in isolation and solitary confinement, he was one of the chief architects of the 2013 peace process between the Turkish Government and Kurdish militants, which the Turkish Government violated and dismantled in 2015.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Kurdish political leaders have called on the Turkish Government to grant a family member, lawyer, or political delegation, immediate access to the prison at the Imrali Island in order to visit and ascertain the health and well-being of Abdullah Öcalan.

“Isolated and held in solitary confinement, nobody outside the prison has been able to communicate with Öcalan since April 2015, when the Turkish government unhappy with election results suspended the peace process it had with Kurdish militants. Abdullah Öcalan was one of the chief architects of this peace process.

“He is being kept under heavily restrictive conditions and in complete isolation from his family and lawyers, who are not allowed to visit him.

“This is a clear violation of national and international law.

“I am calling on the Turkish Government to urgently grant a family member, lawyer, or political delegation, access to visit Abdullah Öcalan in his prison.

“The current situation is of such immediate concern that Kurdish political activists have released a statement today that declares that if the Turkish Government does not allow such a visit by the 5th of September, 50 Kurdish political activists, including elected deputies, mayors, civil society representatives, will go on an indefinite hunger strike until their basic demand is met.

“The Turkish Government needs to recognise that the political crisis and impasse in Turkey can only be resolved when meaningful and inclusive peace negotiations between representatives of the Turkish and Kurdish people are resumed.

“Abdullah Öcalan undoubtedly has a central and hugely important role in any future talks with the Turkish Government.

“They need to show some leadership and basic humanity, and allow his family and lawyers’ to visit him in his prison.”


Connect with Sinn Féin