“The high-security prison newly built on İmralı Island is in compliance with international standards,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, the Justice Ministry released photos of the prison cell on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea where Öcalan is being held, in a bid to show that his prison complies with international standards and to allay concerns that Öcalan is dealing with difficult conditions, following demonstrations across the country over Öcalan’s prison conditions.
Öcalan was the sole inmate at the prison on İmralı Island until new prisoners arrived last month after the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) criticized Ankara for violating Öcalan’s human rights by keeping him in solitary confinement.
“Following the transfer of new prisoners to the island prison of İmralı, a CPT delegation has been invited to our country to evaluate the current conditions on the ground,” the ministry statement, which came in the form of an answer by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Özügergin to a journalist’s question, said, noting that the exact date of the visit by the CPT delegation would be set in the coming days.
In a separate answer to another question, Özügergin ruled out suggestions that a bill in Parliament concerning Article 311 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK) in regards to a retrial has paved the way for a new trial in Öcalan’s case.
Özügergin recalled a February 2007 decision by the Committee of Ministers, the executive body of the Council of Europe, as the committee had rejected a demand from Öcalan for a new trial.
The committee decided there was no reason to retry Öcalan. In May 2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial, in Öcalan’s case. This decision opened the door for a new trial, though the Strasbourg judges ruled that a re-trial was not essential in Öcalan’s case. The Committee of Ministers followed the European court’s advice and rejected the demands of Öcalan’s lawyers.