10,000 More Prisoners To Join The Kurdish Hunger Strikes In Turkey

Turkish riot police fire water and tear gas as they clash with Kurdish demonstrators during a protest in support of a hunger strike movement by Kurdish prisoners, on November 4, 2012, in Istanbul (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

By Kurd Net, Ekurd.net, 06 November, 2012

ANKARA— Shortly after the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) announced that thousands of more prisoners were to join a collective hunger strike, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made an open call to all prisoners to end the strike.

On Sunday BDP deputy Sabahat Tuncel said 10,000 more prisoners currently held in the country’s prisons for various crimes, including membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Iranian offshoot, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), would join the hunger strike on Monday.

Around 700 Kurdish prisoners began the hunger strike on September 12, with a host of demands including the release of the Kurdish (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and demanding the right to receive an education in their mother tongue, Kurdish, and the right to address courts in Kurdish.

Protest in support of Kurdish hunger strikers in Berlin. Image by Thomas Rossi Rassloff via Flickr

Tuncel said on Sunday during a press conference she called after attending an Istanbul demonstration by pro-BDP protestors in support of prisoners on hunger strike, “Ten thousand more prisoners are going to join the hunger strike on Monday [Nov. 5] without a time limit or the possibility of backpedaling [before their demands are met by the government].” Continue reading

Turkish Police Use Tear-Gas Against Protesting Mothers

Written by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar

5 November 2012

Kurdish political prisoners have reached their 55th day of hunger strike. There are hundreds of political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey, and this has led to solidarity protests throughout Europe, and in particular within Turkey. Earlier yesterday [November 4, 2012], the mothers of some of the political prisoners staged a sit-in, and were met with tear-gas [1], as well as water canisters was sprayed directly on them. Turkish mainstream media and governmental ministers remain oblivious to unfolding anger by Kurdish people, and their disregard for a political settlement of Turkey’s Kurdish question has made the situation worse. Continue reading

Turkey: Hundreds of Kurdish Political Prisoners go on Hunger Strike

by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar, 17 October 2012

Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners have entered an indefinite hunger strike, challenging Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish political prisoners. Through their protest, some are demanding re-trials and language rights while others want to raise international attention about Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish political prisoners. Despite their hunger strike, which is nearing six weeks, international media outlets have largely remained silent. This is not particularly surprising, since domestic media outlets in Turkey have both ignored the hunger strikes, and refused to report on them.

A Kurdish blogger explains how the protests began. Memed Boran, currently residing in London, says [1];

On 12th September 2012, nine women prisoners in Diyarbakir E type prison began an indefinite hunger-strike. In the statement they made via lawyers they highlighted two demands: the right to use their Kurdish mother tongue in the public sphere, including court and the removal of obstacles preventing imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from negotiating in peace talks with the Turkish state. Soon after, many other inmates, men and women, from prisons in every corner of Turkey began joining the hunger-strike; sometimes in groups and in certain prisons individually. Now there are 380 prisoners in 39 prisons who are on what has surpassed a hunger-strike and become a ‘death fast.’

The number of Kurdish political prisoners is unknown, but according to Human Rights agencies there are thousands of political prisoners in Turkey, and this had led activists to believe that all of them, or rather significant number of them are on hunger strike. Elif [2] from Turkey, Istanbul says the media has chosen to ignore Kurds on hunger strike, and that many of them may soon die.

One Pro-Kurdish rights activist, who tweets under @Hevallo [3] has been desperately trying to get people on Twitter to send Vitamin B1 tablets to the prisoners on hunger strike, in an attempt to minimise the damage to their bodies, and the potentially inevitable consequence, death.

On Facebook Sedat Yezdan [4]says:

In the last 3 years Turkish state has arrested more than 10,000 Kurds, who are students, children, mothers, activists, journalists, lawyers, doctors, mayors, MPs, and many people who are member of Peace & Democracy Party(BDP).

Hunger strikes are a form of non-violent protest, and despite the ongoing and large number of hunger strikers, Turkish media has willfully ignored their plight, perhaps hoping that through their silence the international human rights agencies will also follow a similar path. The lack of interviews with prisoners on hunger strikes has facilitated a justification for media outlets to ignore it, particularly journalists who complain about the lack of resources available.


Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/10/17/turkey-hundreds-of-kurdish-political-prisoners-go-on-hunger-strike/