As the hunger strike across more than 150 prisons in Turkey reaches its 88th consecutive day, mothers of the hunger striking prisoners along with political activists have called for the prisoners’ demands to be met.
Political prisoners in Turkey launched a hunger strike on 27 November 2020 to protest against the prison isolation conditions of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been in a high security prison in Turkey since 1999. The hunger strikers demand an end both to the isolation conditions of Abdullah Öcalan and the violation of prisoners’ rights in Turkey.
Activists in the Makhmour Refugee Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan and in the Lavrio Camp in Greece also began hunger strikes in support of the prisoners in Turkey. The former strike is on its 67th day and the latter its 50th.
‘Prisoners struggle for a sustainable peace’
Lahice Yaşlı, co-chair of the Çukurca District of Hakkari (Colemerg) Bureau of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) shared her views regarding the hunger strikes.
“Our friends in prisons demand the isolation be lifted and the doors for a negotiation be opened”, said Yaşlı. “The prisoners struggle for a sustainable peace in the country. The prison conditions in Turkey have never been good and the prisoners launched a strike amid the pandemic. Their bodies lack necessary vitamins. Under these circumstances some deaths may occur”.
She stressed that the people stand shoulder to shoulder with the prisoners and she called on the democratic forces in Turkey and around the world to act with sensitivity in order to prevent the death tolls seen in previous hunger strikes.
Peace mothers call for solidarity
The Peace Mothers initiative in Istanbul called for solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike.
Peace Mother Cemile Çiftçi said, “We do not want to re-experience what we have witnessed in previous hunger strikes. We don’t want to receive news of death from the prisons”.
“The rulers should listen to the appeals for justice and peace”, said Hazal Taş, another Peace Mother. “We expect nothing but peace and justice from the Turkish state. We don’t want to receive the dead bodies of our children”.