On 12 September 1980, the Turkish army carried out a military coup, arresting and detaining thousands of Kurds and revolutionaries in the country. Diyarbakır (Amed) Prison, carved in the collective memory of the Kurds as “Amed Dungeon,” has become the symbol of the violence that the Kurdish political prisoners had to endure and of the resistance they waged in the face of never-ending torture in the prison.
To protest against the inhumane conditions in Diyarbakır prison, Kemal Pir, one of the founding cadre of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other leading figures of the PKK – Hayri Durmuş, Akif Yılmaz and Ali Çiçek – on 14 July 1982 went on an indefinite hunger strike in which all four lost their lives.
According to ANF, Kurdish political prisoners from the PKK and PAJK in Turkey’s prisons issued a statement to mark the 39th anniversary of this historical prison resistance.
Signed by Deniz Kaya, the representative of all prisoners of the PKK and PAJK, the statement included an announcement regarding the prison hunger strike in Turkey, which has been ongoing since 27 November 2020: “Thirty nine years ago, against the practices of torture by the ’12 September fascists’ who aimed to take control of the will of the prisoners, the ’14 July Great Prison Resistance’ initiated a history of resistance. The ’14 July’ is marked in our memory as National Honour Day for our movement and for our people … We salute the resistance of our Leadership and all our comrades who are resisting in prisons. The only and the absolute way to acheive victory is through resistance. Victory shall be secured for all resisting comrades, of all peoples,” wrote Kaya.
Kaya announced that the ‘rotating cycle’ of the ‘indefinite hunger strike’ will be increased from 5 days to 15 days: “As of 14 July 2021, we will increase the 5-day cycle of our ‘indefinite rotating hunger strike’ to a cycle lasting 15 days. We will continue our indefinite hunger strike on a ‘rotating cycle of 15 days,'” Kaya said.
Kaya appealed for solidarity with the hunger strike action: “We commemorate the ’14 July Great Prison Resistance’ with utmost respect and commitment and we promise that we will intensify the struggle. We appeal to all our people and to all those who call themselves ‘human’ to increase their sensitivity in order to end this tyranny, to end this isolation that has been applied to all our people and to gather together around our rightful struggle.”