Political prisoners who have been participating in a rotational hunger strike since 27 November 2020 against the severe solitary confinement policies imposed on Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and rights violations in prisons, have announced that they have ended the strike which lasted for 290 days.
The announcement was made by a political prisoner named Deniz Kaya on behalf of all striking members of PKK and Kurdistan Free Life Party (PAJK).
It’s been indicated that the hunger strike was started to support the “Dem Dema Azadiyê” (“It’s Time for Freedom”) campaign, and in the recent phase of the campaign more responsibility lay on democratic associations.
“We’ve actually come to the end of the Justice and Development Party’s [AKP] and the Nationalist Movement Party’s [MHP] fascist regime which is the advanced stage of fascism in Turkey,’ the announcement said. “The AKP, a solid product of the 1980 military coup, is doing its best to be worthy of its creator. We, on the other hand, will resist with the spirit, consciousness and faith of the Amed prison resistance which defeated the military junta, and we will prevail.”
Indicating that the hunger strike of imprisoned PKK and PAJK members was ended as of the 12 September, the announcement stated that new types of actions would be organised in support of the freedom campaign.
Hunger strikes have been one of the most effective means of resistance for the Kurdish political movement in Turkey since 1980s when Diyarbakır (Amed) Prison became a model for unprecedented cruelty against political prisoners, where thousands of Kurdish men and women were imprisoned and subjected to horrific forms of torture.
Referred to by The Times as one of “the 10 most notorious jails in the world”, the first wave of hunger strikes by Kurdish political prisoners was started there, dozens of prisoners losing their lives between 1981 and 1984, both due to the hunger strikes and torture. Five prisoners took their own lives in the course of the strike, four of them setting themselves on fire in 1982.