Kurdish prisoners on hunger strike

We publish this solidarity appeal from Turkey that we received about the Kurdish activists who are on hunger strike against their treatment at the hands of the Turkish authorities.

Kurdish people in struggle under Turkish authority

Thousands of Turkish people have been holding rallies in Ankara, Istanbul and Diyarbakir to show solidarity with Kurdish political prisoners who have been on hunger strike since September 12th.

The Turkish government is still ignoring this issue and is also carrying out brutal acts against the protesters showing solidarity with the hunger strike. On the 28th September, in Batman City (in Kurdish - Elih), a member of the city council from the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), Emanet Eneş, was shot in the head.

There are 715 Kurdish prisoners in Turkish jails on hunger strike, including women, children and students, and many of them have been imprisoned without trial and others are serving long terms for carrying out legal party activities.

Kurdish prisoners are continuously subjected to lengthy solitary confinement, sudden night raids and torture. The Turkish prison administration also deprives Kurdish political detainees of the simple right to have a bath, have access to clean clothes and family visits. Prisoners also suffer as a result of an improper diet and a lack of medical attention. According to the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), there have been reports that the hunger strikers have been beaten, isolated and denied vitamin B1, salt and sugar water.

While the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has recently hinted at the possibility of restarting talks with Öcalan, the AKP (Justice and Development Party) has not yet commented on the hunger strike and pro-government media have ignored the topic. In Turkish Prisons there are more than 8,000 BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) politicians and activists, of whom 4,000 were arrested in 2011 under arbitrary terrorism charges – including MPs and serving Kurdish mayors. 2,048 students are in prison under anti-terror laws.

According to lawyers who visit the hunger strikers, several are now in a critical condition and the Ministry of Justice has refused to grant doctors permission to check on fasting inmates. The ministry was not available for comment.

Turkey has a history of "death fasts": in 1996, 12 inmates died during hunger strikes protesting against isolation cells in high-security prisons, while a fast against the same isolation cells between 2000 and 2007 claimed 122 lives.

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