Hazal Suncak is a 70-year-old woman, whose life has passed struggling against the oppressive politics of Turkey towards the Kurds.
Her life story is a story of repression, internal displacement, detention and prisons.
And now her imprisoned son, who is a political prisoner and very ill, is on hunger strike.
Sancak’s family is one of many families, who had to migrate from their village of Kutlu (Tinate) in Nusaybin district of Mardin (Mêrdin) 57 years ago. They had to migrate to western Turkey, to the Kadifekale district of Izmir where many families displaced from Mardin settled. They used to visit their village every summer until it was burnt down to the ground by the Turkish state military forces in 1994. The family has not been able to visit their village since then.
Hazal Suncak’s son is one of the political prisoners in Turkey, who is on a hunger strike against the isolation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and against the violations of rights in Turkish prisons.
In an interview with Mesopotamia Agency, she appeals for international support for the ongoing hunger strikes in Turkish prisons and criticises the silence amongst society regarding the hunger strike protest.
‘My life has passed with oppression’
The Suncak family has been facing state violence and oppression for decades. The state tried to force them to be village guards. (Turkish state militias used in fight against PKK) When the Suncak family did not accept this imposition, the state increased pressure on them.
Their homes were raided many times by Turkish soldiers and police. Family members were detained, because they took part in the Kurdish freedom struggle.
“Our house has been raided as many times as there are strands in my hair,” said the 70-year-old mother and added, “They used to raid our home in the middle of the night saying ‘there is a terrorist in your house’. My whole life has passed with this oppression.”
Hazal Sancak was also arrested in 1997 and imprisoned for three years. The grounds for her sentence was supporting the Kurdish freedom struggle.
Her son Yılmaz Suncak joined the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in 1989. “He joined the PKK because of the pressure against our family,” she said.
A prisoner with cancer on hunger strike
Her son was detained in 1993 and sentenced to life imprisonment after 50 days of torture and mistreatment.
Her son, who is now also on hunger strike, is one of the very sick prisoners in Turkey and suffers from various diseases.
“My son has thyroid cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and diabetes. He is visually impaired and his conditions are exasperated because he is not treated well in prison,” said mother Suncak.
In an appeal for support for the hunger strikers, Hazal Suncak stated,
“We, as mothers, whose children are in prison, will continue our struggle for peace, equality, and freedom. We embrace the struggle of our children. The isolation must be lifted as soon as possible. Our children are on a hunger strike for dignity and especially for the freedom of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. We will never remain silent nor accept this silence.”