The indefinite, rotating hunger strike launched by Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey – to protest against the isolation conditions of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan as well as the violations of prisoners’ rights more generally, has reached its 196th day.
Hanife Gümüş, the mother of political prisoner Mehmet Nezir Gümüş, an inmate at Bandırma Balıkkesir T Type Prison, called out to the public to raise their voices in support of the demands of the prisoners, MA reports.
Gümüş’s son has been in prison for the last 23 years and he has spent this time in different prisons located in various cities of the country, making it even more difficult for the family.
“Because of hardship we haven’t been able to afford to visit the prison often. We haven’t been able to see him for a year because of the pandemic,” Gümüş said.
She commented on the ongoing hunger strike which her son is now participating in. “They are on hunger strike, but nobody hears their voices, nobody cares about them. The state isn’t concerned at all about their conditions.”
Gümüş says that the loss of life in prisons breaks the hearts of the mothers: “There are too many sick prisoners in the jails, and the state will not release them. I add my call to the state authorities, to the Minister of Justice, to release all sick prisoners as soon as possible.”
“We should go to the doors of the prisons, the doors of Erdoğan all together as mothers hand in hand. We should cry out for the bloodshed to stop. This tyranny should come to an end.”
Fatma Sürme, mother of political prisoner Bünyamin Sürme, who has been jailed in Kırıklar Prison criticised the silence.
“Silence is hard to take. We should raise our voices for the prisoners. We should raise our voices against the repression of our children, against the policies based on oppression and tyranny,” Sürme said.
Sürme emphasised that mothers are insistent on demanding peace. “We do not want anyone to die; neither the soldiers nor the guerilla. We just demand an end to the oppression. We just demand peace.”
The Anatolian Association of Solidarity and Assistance for the Families of the Missing (An-Yakayder) co-chair Sultan Yağmekan stated that if the mothers did not act, then nobody in Turkey will act.
“All mothers of prisoners, mothers of the guerilla should stand up. If we do not stand up today, nobody will do anything for us,” she said.
“All mothers should come hand in hand. Kurds should act as one. We must set our children free from prisons.”