From the first meeting in Imrali to today...

  • 11:00 3 January 2024
  • News
NEWS CENTER - The first step of the process called "solution process", which continued between 2013 and 2015 in Turkey, started with the meeting held in Imrali on January 3, 2013. Although some apparent steps were taken towards a solution, the conflict started again soon and the isolation policy deepened.
The 100th year of the Republic was marked by war, migration, destruction, disaster and oppression policies. The issue that was most confined to the century in question and where there was no flexibility in politics was the deadlock in the Kurdish issue. Although the mentalities and policies of the incoming governments were different, the perspective on the Kurdish issue was maintained by each government based on conflict politics. Although a consensus was tried in some periods, the demand for peace was viewed superficially.
Some times and moments in Türkiye's history are of critical importance. One of these historical times is the Imrali meeting on January 3, 2013, which was one of the building blocks leading to the solution process. The first stage of the "solution process", which continued between 2013 and 2015, was taken on January 3, 2013. The then Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Batman Deputy Ayla Akat Ata and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chairman and Independent Mardin Deputy Ahmet Türk met with PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan on the island of Imrali. Afterwards, there was a "peace process" that lasted for two years. While this period of non-conflict created hope for the people, albeit for a short time, the process soon turned into conflict again. So, what happened in the process leading up to and after the meeting in question, 11 years later, and how was the isolation policy continued?
Hunger strike action that lasted 68 days
The first step of the solution was taken in 2012. After the ceasefire declared by the PKK was broken, on September 12, 2012, at a symbolic time, on the 32nd anniversary of the coup, PKK and PAJK prisoners started an indefinite, non-alternating hunger strike in prisons to demand the lifting of the isolation imposed on PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan and demands for education in the mother tongue. The hunger strikes ended on the 68th day upon the call from Abdullah Öcalan. The then Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced that they were in talks with the PKK Leader. During this period, called the "Solution Process", on January 3, 2013, Ahmet Türk and Ayla Akat Ata went to Imrali and had a meeting with Abdullah Öcalan that lasted approximately 2 hours. However, on January 9, three Kurdish female politicians Sakine Cansız, Leyla Şaylemez and Fidan Doğan were murdered in Paris in an operation that was later revealed to be behind the MİT.
Interpreting these massacres as "the coup mechanism coming into play" within the state, PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan announced that they would continue negotiations.
'Let the guns be silent, let the ideas and policies speak'
The last and most comprehensive ceasefire was declared by Abdullah Öcalan on Newroz Day, March 21, 2013. A new era began with Abdullah Öcalan's "farewell to arms" call. Abdullah Öcalan said, "Let the guns be silent now, let the ideas and policies speak," and pointed to peace and democratic politics. During the 2-year solution process, an agreement was signed between the parties at Dolmabahçe Palace, and on the other hand, as it turned out later, there was a period when "Collapse Plans" were made behind the scenes in the National Security Council (MGK).
Negotiation inside, war outside
In 2014, while the solution process was continuing, local elections were also held. While there were tensions in the elections, developments that would affect the solution process in Syria emerged in 2014. ISIS's attack on Kobanê caused blockages in the solution process. While negotiations were being held with the Kurds internally, steps were taken to prevent the Kurds from having a status and their right to self-determination in Northern Syria. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's statement on October 7, 2014, "Kobanê has fallen, it is falling", caused intense reactions. The October 6-8 Kobanê protests, which spread all over Turkey, stopped with the message of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Solution process has been terminated
The last meeting held in İmralı took place on April 5, 2015. Regarding the current stage of the process, Abdullah Öcalan said to the HDP delegation, "This may be your last visit. You may not be able to come here again. They are not serious enough to carry out this dialogue."
Post-solution coup, trustees, oppression and bans
In line with AKP's calculations regarding the June 7, 2015 elections, the isolation policy against Abdullah Öcalan was put into effect on April 5. Afterwards, the Amed and Pirsûs (Suruç) massacres took place, and the process was ended with the operation carried out in Kandil due to the suspicious death of 2 police officers in Ceylanpınar. Hundreds of people lost their lives as the conflicts spread to cities, the pressure deepened with the State of Emergency declared due to the coup attempt in 2016, thousands of citizens were dismissed from their jobs, trustees were appointed to municipalities, and thousands of people, including HDP deputies and municipal co-chairs, were put in prison.
'The Kurdish problem is 200-year-old problem'
A meeting was held in Imrali on 11 September 2016, following the hunger strike by 50 HDP and DBP politicians on 5 September 2016 against the isolation imposed on PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan. In his meeting with his brother Mehmet Öcalan, PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan said about the broken solution process, “If the state is ready for the projects, we can finish them in 6 months. We did not destroy the solution process. I conveyed this to the delegation that came to me and they said they will come again in 15 days. The Kurdish problem is not a 40-year problem, but a 100-year, 200-year problem. If the state was sincere, this problem would be solved.”
However, instead of responding to this call, the isolation imposed on PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan was aggravated and continued until 2019.
First phone call after 21 years
In 2020, after the fire on Imrali Island, PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan spoke to his brother by phone on March 2, 2020, and for the first time in 21 years due to the pandemic, on April 27, 2020. However, this meeting was also interrupted.
Call for democracy alliance
Every meeting with PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan contained messages of peace and solution. In this process, the efforts of certain groups continued. "101 Aksaç members", including intellectuals, writers, poets, journalists and artists, published a declaration. In the declaration, it was pointed out that everyone was at risk due to the bad conditions of the country, and a call was made to meet in the "Democracy Alliance".
Application to international institutions and NGOs
In 2021, the lawyers of Asrın Law Firm continued their efforts regarding the situation of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş, who were kept under severe isolation conditions in Imrali High Security F Type Prison and whom they had not heard from for 8 months. Lawyers applied to the Bursa Execution Judgeship and the Ministry of Justice, institutions affiliated with the ministry, the Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission, bar associations and non-governmental organizations, as well as international institutions and NGOs.
The application made by the lawyers of Asrın Law Firm to the Bursa Execution Judgeship on November 22, requesting an "immediate meeting", was rejected on the grounds of a 6-month lawyer and 3-month family visit ban.
110 applications in one year
In 2023, a fight was made against the isolation policy with the campaign "Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, political solution to the Kurdish problem". In 2023, Abdullah Öcalan was banned from visiting family 4 times for 3 months and banned from visiting lawyers 2 times for 6 months. Asrın Law Firm applied 110 times in 2023 to meet with their client Abdullah Öcalan. His family applied for a meeting 59 times in the last year. Of these, 12 lawyers and 9 families applied for opinion due to the earthquake.
Application to the Constitutional Court and CPT
Abdullah Öcalan's lawyers made 8 applications to the Constitutional Court (AYM) in 2023. Lawyers applied to the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) on January 6, 2023, requesting "the removal of the ban on lawyers' visits" due to their clients not being allowed to meet Abdullah Öcalan. Lawyers also made 4 separate applications to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) during the year. In the application, it was requested that the report prepared by the CPT as a result of its visit to Imrali in 2022 be disclosed.
Lawyers submitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which supervises whether the "violation" decision given by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the aggravated life imprisonment sentence for Abdullah Öcalan on 18 March 2014, was implemented in January 2023, after Turkey did not comply with the violation decision. He made a statement once again. Lawyers had made notification 5 times before.
Once again hunger strike from prisoners
On November 27, prisoners started a hunger strike once again due to the worsening isolation. The hunger strike action launched in prisons to demand the physical freedom of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is kept in isolation in Imrali F Type High Security Closed Prison and has not been heard from for 34 months, continues on its 38th day.