Press release

24 February 2024

CPT’s Visit to Turkey
A delegation of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of
Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment carried out an
ad hoc visit to Turkey from 13 to 22 February 2024.

A special focus was put on the situation of the prisoners held in İmralı High-
Security Prison, including Kurdish Political Leader Abdullah Ocalan. While the
delegation met with many authorities, among them Minister of Justice Yılmaz
Tunç, the island was not visited. In view of the fact that Mr Öcalan has been
completely cut off from the outside world for three years, such a visit would
have been obligatory.

Isolation is torture. The fact that the Council of Europe’s Committee for the
Prevention of Torture does not react adequately and according to its mandate
is totally unacceptable.

We urge the CPT to explain the situation regarding the Imrali High-Security
Prison immediately.

We call upon the Council of Europe to use all possible mechanisms to end this

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission

Conference Final Resolution

The International Conference on “Political Prisoners in Turkey: Where goes the Path of Freedom and Peace”, discussed the issue of Kurdish political prisoners and especially the issue of not hearing from Mr.
Abdullah Öcalan for 3 years, as well as the political solution to the Kurdish question. Distinguished academics, union representatives, political parties, human rights defenders, lawyers, municipal council
members and parliamentarians who attended our conference clearly stated that the torture and illegal situation that Kurdish political prisoners and Mr. Öcalan are subjected to is unacceptable.

All these personalities and representatives of institutions stated their support to the campaign ‘Freedom for Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question’ campaign launched on October 10, 2023.

The participants are increasingly concerned about Mr. Öcalan’s security and well-being. Isolation is internationally recognized as a form of torture. For this form of torture to go on for three years is extremely dangerous. Mr Öcalan is being held in solitary confinement with massive effects on physical and mental health. We do not know anything about Mr Öcalan’s condition beyond the fact that he has
recently received‘disciplinary measures’ to block meetings on false pretenses and has allegedly been sent death threats.

The conference also discussed further steps and reached the following decisions:

  1. The isolation on Mr. Öcalan must be lifted immediately and the European Council must intervene to allow him to meet with his family and lawyers.
  2. Kurdish leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan must be allowed to meet with his lawyers and family and, ultimately, freed under conditions that allow him to play a role in finding a just and democratic political solution to Turkey’s decades-old Kurdish conflict.
  3. In light of the seriousness of the recent threats to Mr. Öcalan’s life, we call on the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the EU and the UN to organize
    an urgent ad hoc mission to visit Abdullah Öcalan.
  4. Initiating more efforts to make the alarming situation known to the public in the international and local press.
  5. İn order to draw attention to the situation of the political prisoners, the unions consider a general strike for 1 minute at an appropriate time.
  6. Initiation of initiatives to put the issue on the agenda of all national parliaments, especially in the EU and the CoE.
  7. Suspension of all aid to the Turkish government, which violates its own domestic and international law.
  8. Legal and institutional recognition of the Kurdish nation and the right to self-determination.

EUTCC Conference

The EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) would like to draw attention to the issue of political prisoners inside of Turkey in general and the situation of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan in particular. To place the corresponding gross violations of international laws and humanitarian norms on the global agenda, we are holding a special event, a mini conference inside the European Parliament on February 16th, 2024, 2 – 6 pm, which is hosted by MEP Guliano Pisapia (S&D).

We have invited eminent academics, intellectuals, and human rights activists in the hope that their dialogue will help foster more awareness and possible solutions to alleviate this growing humanitarian crisis and bring a peaceful solution to the ‘Kurdish question’.

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission


(Programme /Download)

Newsletter January 2024

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please find below our December 2023 newsletter. 

Kind regards 

Prof. Kariane Westrheim 


Turkey leads in pending applications at ECHR with 23,400 cases

Turkey had the highest number of pending applications with 23,397 cases out of a total of 68,450 cases at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) at the end of 2023.

Bianet Male Violence Monitoring Annual Report 2023

Men killed at least 333 women and 28 children

Turkey conducted 198 drone strikes on Northern and Eastern Syria in 2023 These strikes killed 105 people and injured 123.

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission

Newsletter Dec 2023

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please find below our December 2023 newsletter. 

Kind regards 

Prof. Kariane Westrheim 


Statement: Stop Turkey’s War on Northern Syria 

There is an urgent need for condemnation of Turkey, appropriate sanctions and a swift initiative for dialogue with the aim of a political solution to the Kurdish question and lasting peace in the Middle East.

HDP former Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s defence speech in the Kobane Case 

“Instead of sending Turkish youth to war at -20 degrees Celsius, send a delegation to İmralı. Öcalan is the party to the negotiation. He is the legitimate interlocutor representing the political demands of the Kurds, the most effective actor.”

Final resolution of the 18th EUTCC Conference 

The EUTCC Conference welcomes the decision of the European Parliament to award the Sakharov Peace Prize to the Kurdish woman Jina Amini as a symbol of the maxim Jin, Jiyan, Azadi post hum and declares its solidarity with the women’s resistance.

Freedom of expression in Turkey 

Over 1,640 people were put on trial in 233 cases regarding the freedom of expression monitored by Media and Law Studies Association observers in Turkey. In 32 cases, 116 defendants were sentenced to a total of more than 217 years of imprisonment.

Repressions against DEM Party

DEM Party Legal and Human Rights Commission announced that Turkish authorities detained 2,906 people affiliated with the party, including children and many party executives, and arrested 319 of them in the first 11 months of 2023.