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: Silent Treatment of Hunger Strike met with Anger by Kurds

by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar, Global Voices Online

On 21 October 2012

Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey have entered an indefinite hunger strike [1]. The non-violent protest has gone unnoticed by international media agencies and human rights organisations. One activist, who has been vocal about this protest, says the hunger strike demands the following:

@hevallo: [2] Releasing Kurdish leader of Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) rebels to negotiate a peace settlement

@hevallo [3]: Freedom to use Kurdish language in public sphere

@hevallo: [4] Political settlement for the Kurdish question in Turkey

Today marks the 40th day of their hunger strike, and since their start there has been very little information about the prisoners on hunger strike, and their demands in media outlets. Al Jazeera’s The Stream [5] has showed some interest to highlight the hunger strike, while other media agencies that respond to social networking demands have remained silent. 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/

Israel’s Hypocrisy on a Nuclear Middle East

By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly. Credit: UN Photo/J Carrier

[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly. Credit: UN Photo/J Carrier]

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 1 2012 (IPS) – When world leaders packed their bags and headed home last week, there was one lingering memory of the General Assembly’s high-level debate: Benjamin Netanyahu’s dramatic presentation of a cartoonish nuclear red line, which hit the front pages of most mainstream newspapers in the United States.

The Israeli prime minister warned Iran against crossing that red line even though the Jewish state itself had crossed it when it went nuclear many moons ago.

As Mouin Rabbani, contributing editor to the Middle East Report, told IPS, “The real absurdity of Netanyahu lecturing the world about nuclear weapons was precisely that – an Israeli leader lecturing the world about the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.”

The fact of the matter is that not only is Israel the region’s sole nuclear power, and not only has it on previous occasions all but threatened to use these weapons of mass destruction, but it has since its establishment consistently and steadfastly rejected ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Rabbani said.

“It’s a bit like listening to (Hustler magazine publisher) Larry Flynt denouncing pornography – though to be fair to Flynt, it’s unlikely he will reach the levels of hypocrisy displayed by Netanyahu,” said Rabbani, a Middle East expert who has written extensively on the politics of the volatile region.

Still, most Middle East leaders, speaking during the high-level debate here, seem to have accepted Israel’s double standards on nuclear politics – and with hardly an aggressive response to Netanyahu’s address to the Assembly. Continue reading