The Vigil for Öcalan website publishes an interview with lawyer Ibrahim Bilmez

The Vigil for Öcalan published an interview with one of the lawyers of the leader of the Kurdish people, Ibrahim Bilmez.

Bilmez said: “It’s not the first time we’ve been here in Strasbourg. We’ve been coming for years. As lawyers for Abdullah Öcalan, we tried to do what we could in the justice system here. The European Court of Human Rights is Europe’s highest judicial institution, and as Öcalan’s lawyers, we have open cases in court and other cases from the past. were positive and others were negative. We are working to put into practice the positive decisions, because Turkey does not even execute the decisions taken by the court. Just as the Kurdish people have been coming for years to hold a vigil in front of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, we have also been coming for years to try to see that their decisions are implemented.”

Regarding the 2014 court ruling which found that Öcalan’s imprisonment without the possibility of parole had deprived him of the “fundamental right to hope”, which was ultimately considered by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe last year, Bilmez said: “Turkey was given until the end of September to respond, but nothing was discussed at the September meeting of the Committee of Ministers, we are waiting to see if it’s on the agenda for the next meeting, and the NGOs in Turkey are working on a submission to the committee to try to move this file forward.

On the one hand, Turkey is trying to delay everything – not implementing what is requested and playing for time. And on the other hand, the Council of Europe helps Turkey to do so. They do not uphold the fundamental principles and values ​​for which they were established, but actually help Turkey circumvent them. Vigils outside the Council and in other places can increase pressure on the Council and on the European judicial system. Rights cannot be won without struggle. It is a sad reality.

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) [which visited İmrali prison in September], visiting İmralı for almost 24 years. Over these years, we have always informed them of the situation, and they have seen it for themselves, and their reports list some of the injustices. Over the years we meet them and they say, “Yeah, we visited. We cannot say anything about the visit. We will prepare a report and provide it to interested states, and if they agree, we will make it public. Before that, no information will be available. We hope that this time it will not take a year or even six months. It’s been nineteen months since we’ve heard from our client.”

Bilmez added: “In the CPT reports there are criticisms and things that need to be changed – like allowing visits from family and lawyers. But who is going to demand that happen? Nothing has happened. since all this time.

The purpose of the international conspiracy [that led to Öcalan’s abduction] was to destroy it. It was not only against Öcalan, but against the Kurdish people and the Kurdish freedom struggle. However, they did not achieve the expected result. Öcalan is isolated in İmralı, but his thoughts and ideas have grown – not only in Kurdistan, but all over the world. We have seen what happened in Rojava, the resistance against Daesh, and now in Iran, where women are in the streets shouting Öcalan’s slogan: Jin Jiyan Azadi. Understanding of Öcalan, both in the region and internationally, has grown over time.”

Bilmez also spoke about the importance of removing the PKK from the lists of terrorist organizations and said: “It is very important because it paves the way for a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. The delisting is important to end denial of the policies of annihilation that have been applied to the Kurdish people by Turkey and also by the international powers. This will open up the possibility of a real solution that respects the rights of the Kurdish people. If you insist that the PKK is a terrorist organization, Turkey We cannot solve the terrorist problem. The states that put the PKK on a terrorist list do not want to solve the Kurdish problem that they created 100 years ago. We ask what is their approach to solving the Kurdish problem?Kurdish rights?

The Kurdish people have been leading the struggle for forty years, with their friends from all over the world, and each of these friends has made their own contribution. We believe in international solidarity, and this growing solidarity will be more important in solving not only the Kurdish question, but the universal problems to which it is linked. This is why we call on everyone to understand that the freedom of Öcalan is the freedom of the Kurdish people, and the freedom of the Kurds is also your freedom. With this knowledge, we can strengthen international solidarity.”

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