A 65-year-old Kurdish man living in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin (Mêrdin) self-immolated on 12 January to protest against the Turkish government for keeping the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Öcalan in isolation for 22 months.
Veysi Taş, also known as “Bubo”, set himself on fire on Thursday in Mardin’s Artuklu district where he was working as a guard at night. The man died on Friday in the hospital he was taken to due to his injuries, reported Mezopotamya Agency.
The videos Taş had posted on WhatsApp the day before the incident show him introducing himself and talking about his past involvement in the Kurdish freedom movement. Taş addresses Kurdish people, explaining the reasons for his action and saying goodbye to his children and loved ones.
“My time is up. Don’t cry after me,” said Taş in the videos he shared before the act. “I’m leaving with love and with my own will. I’m not leaving under pressure, so don’t get me wrong. This is a political act.”
Taş went through severe torture in Turkey’s infamous Diyarbakır Prison after the 1980 military coup and was released from prison for the second time six months ago, according to Mezopotamya Agency.
Since March 2021, Öcalan has not been able to contact the outside world from İmralı Prison, and all appeals for visits have faced the refusal or the silence of Turkish authorities.