The isolation imposed against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and serious, systematic and chronic human rights violations in Turkey’s prisons has been a problem that has been left unsolved for many years. History is full of struggles and resistance against the horrific conditions inside Turkey’s prisons and presently, prisoners in Turkey have been on a hunger strike for 74 days. As well as protesting against prison conditions they are also taking the action to protest against the isolation of the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan who has been left isolated on Imrali Prison Island for 22 years.
The situation in Turkey’s prisons has worsened with the pandemic and this was reflected upon in the “Marmara Region Prisons 2020 Rights Violations Report” of the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) Prison Commission. The report reveals that there were at least 4 thousand 805 violations of prisoners rights in 2020 in 59 prisons of Turkey.
İHD Prisons Commission Member, Mehmet Acettin spoke to Mesopotamia News Agency about the hunger strikes and the ongoing situation in Turkey’s prisons.
“The violations detailed in the İHD report are only part of the story as we cannot contact the prisoners easily or directly.” Acettin says and adds that the real number of prison violations are far above the disclosed data.
He also underlines that the isolation imposed against the PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan is also related to the other violations of human and prisoner rights in Turkish prisons.
“They are inter-connected, the isolation that has been imposed not only on Imrali prison island complex but also in the whole country, including the prisons, is why we should support the demands of the hunger strikers,” he says.
Mehmet Acettin also stated that all people must support the hunger strikers and help make their voices heard outside the prisons and adds that they are increasingly concerned about the hunger strikes, very soon, turning into death fasts.
“We can prevent that from happening if we work for it, we have to fight against this isolation ” he says.