Hunger strikes by Kurdish political prisoners in Turkish prisons, including high-profile political figures, demanding physical freedom for Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and a resolution to the Kurdish issue, entered the 37th day on Monday.
Rozerin Kalkan, a Kurdish female detainee, communicated through a phone call with her family about human rights violations in the prison. She mentioned that letters written by the prisoners to intellectuals, artists and the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, appealing against isolation policy and for Öcalan’s freedom, were confiscated. “They are not allowing our voices to reach the outside. Make our voices heard,” Kalkan urged.
Şerife Kalkan, Rozerin’s mother, expressed her concern, saying, “Neither are the letters sent outside nor are they allowing letters from outside. They want to suppress their voices. We do not accept this. … We demand the lifting of isolation from our children and prisons. We want their rights to be granted. … We will be the voice of our children in the dungeons.”
Fahrettin Tuncel, father of former Co-Chair of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Sabahat Tuncel, who is also participating in the hunger strike at Sincan Women’s Prison, called for public support for the hunger strikers. “The reason for the prisoners’ hunger strike is the isolation practice that started in İmralı [prison on Abdullah Öcalan] and spread to all prisons. This isolation is a crime against humanity. One person has not been allowed to meet with family and lawyers for three years. This is an unprecedented isolation in the world,” he said.
Tuncel highlighted that societal opposition was critical to a democratic resolution to the Kurdish issue and ending the isolation. He appealed for greater public support and awareness, emphasising that the hunger strikes are not just about Öcalan and the prisoners, but a broader societal issue.