PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan Granted 1st Visit in Two Years After Jailed Pol. Listed In Critical Condition During Hunger Strike Protesting His Isolation

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Abdullah Öcalan, in 1997 by Halil Uysal

Turkey granted imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan his first visitor in nearly two years this Saturday. Turkish courts ruled in 2016 that he was to receive no visitors, including family. Mr. Öcalan has not had access to visits from his attorneys since 2011 despite filing over seven hundred requests to do so. Mr. Öcalan was visited by his brother, Mohammad Öcalan.

While it is unclear exactly why Turkey had a change of heart regarding the visits, it was recently widely reported on Thursday in Turkish and Kurdish news media that a jailed member of Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey is suffering “life-threatening” medical conditions during her hunger strike that started sixty-five days ago. She began the strike to protest the conditions and isolation that Mr. Öcalan was experiencing at the hands of his Turkish captors.

Like many of her Kurdish politician cohorts in Turkey, Ms. Guven experienced imprisonment and disenfranchisement at the hands of the Turkish State, often for engaging in speech or parliamentary actions in opposition to policies and practices of President Erdogan. She was arrested in January of last year for criticizing her country’s military operations against Kurdish anti-jihadist militias in Syria. She currently is awaiting trial along with several other HDP MPs.

Her condition is grave.

E-Kurd.net reports “Guven, who has lost about 15 kilogrammes (33 pounds), cannot meet her needs or walk alone,” it said, adding that she has started having problems such as aphasia, sensitivity to sound and light, and is often close to losing consciousness. “Leyla Guven’s situation has reached a critical stage that cannot be delayed, ignored or neglected for even an hour.” At least 171 prisoners are on hunger strike, according to the party, urging the international community to “urgently act and show their democratic reaction”.

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

12 thoughts on “PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan Granted 1st Visit in Two Years After Jailed Pol. Listed In Critical Condition During Hunger Strike Protesting His Isolation”

  1. Here is a quick blurb on the PKK and HDP:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-20971100

    The PKK is a militant Socialst rebel organization. A concern of mine is that when a peopel truley is suppressed, Socialsim has a lot of appeal. If successful, that Socialist movement would lead to more suffering. So on that account, I hope the PKK does not come to the forefront of the Kurdish movement.

    As for its leader, Ocalan, his treatment is deplorable. Turkish prisons in general are deplorable. My father once worked with a Turkish man on one of his trips to the nation. He was honest to a fault. He said that he had survived a Turkish prison, and would do anything to avoid ever going back there. The conditions are so bad that many peopel just die.

    That’s why I don’t think Ms Guven’s hunger strike will go well. Turkey doesn’t care what the West thinks of it under Erdogan. He’s sliding into extremism and our ties are being tested. If Turkey cared about its reputation there are any number of atrocities that would have never happened. I don’t know why they let Ocalan see his brother, perhaps as a PR stunt, but I believe they will let Guven starve herself to death. Her organs may already be shutting down. She’s very brave, and I’m sorry to see this happen.

    As for the Kurds, sometimes it seems like everyone has taken a shot at wiping them out. Although the Kurds are Muslims, they have their own cultures and traditions. We know how Turkey treats its religious and/or ethnic minorities. The infamous Turkish Genocide still has not received international recognition for its crimes. Turkey used to welcome travelers. Istanbul was a chic destination for years. But even before it descended back into extremism, they didn’t welcome minorities to actually live there.

    What is going to change for the Kurds? Will Turkey suddenly have Western laws valuing individual liberty? Will it stop persecuting Christians? The Kurds used to want their own state, but now they are just hoping for more autonomy (in which case they would probably eventually seek their own state). I don’t see this situation resolving for the Kurds, because nothing has changed. Turkey will never value them, and if Turks don’t have individual freedom in Turkey like we do in the West, the Kurds certainly never will.

    This is a conundrum that has been going on for years. I don’t have a solution. This means it will only get worse.

  2. Why? Pertaining to what other than as usual GB’s programmer had nothing to say. this time though nothing to say needed no facts or sources

  3. I am completely for self determination and restoration of nation of Kurdistan with expansion both North to the Black Sea and SW to the Mediterranean.

  4. Turkey has a long history over the last century of mistreating its minorities. In occidental countries, we are familiar with the connivance of minority loudmouths, the bar, and the academy in harassing the vernacular majority. Not the case in Turkey, where minorities are genuinely abused. That’s included two sets of mass deportations (at least one of which had a hideous death toll), a ‘tax’ levy on minorities in 1942 which amounted to a vicious exercise in the confiscation of property, legal harassment of the tiny residue of practicing Christians in an effort to destroy them, and all manner of legal restrictions heaped on the Kurds (among them a prohibition on political organizing and a prohibition on public use of the Kurdish language). About 10% of Turkey’s population lives in a set of southwestern provinces where Kurds are a majority. We should have seized those provinces in 2003, along with Iran’s Kurdish zone and Syria’s. Turkey has a rotten political culture.

  5. Darren:
    AO is a far leftist whose party has led an armed conflict against Out ally Turkey for 35 years. He’s reportedly no longer a Marxist which would make him a rare leopard indeed. He is considered a terrorist but The UK, US and NATO. That he’s not seeing anyone sounds like a security measure and his discomfort troubles me not at all.

    1. Under a leftist statist dictatorship I can see why our FORMER ally is acceptable to the Regressive Socialists

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