The hunger strikes launched by political prisoners in Turkey against the isolation of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been kept in solitary confinement since 1999 on Imrali Island, and against rights violations in prisons, reached their 276th day. Supporting hunger strikes by refugees have reached their 255th day at Makhmour Refugee Camp in Northern Iraq and their 238th day at Lavrio Refugee Camp in Greece.
As the strikes continue, Şerife Ekinci, the mother of one of the prisoners, spoke about the ongoing situation in the prisons and said that the demands of the prisoners should be met immediately.
Her son Mert Ekinci is an inmate of Van F-Type closed prison. His mother criticised the public for lack of response to the ongoing hunger strikes in the prisons. She said if need be she and other family members would set up camp at the prison gates to get the voices of their children heard.
“They are throwing our children into the fire. We cannot accept this. This oppression must stop. You go somewhere, you say, ‘I’m Kurdish,’ and they turn their backs on you. We can’t accept this. We have our pride.We have our honour and our conscience. But we cannot accept injustice. We want our rights, we want our identity.” she said.
Mert Ekinci is a political prisoner who has been sentenced to 570 years imprisonment. His mother stated that prisoners were being oppressed and she called out to people to stand up for the prisoners and their demands.
“Everyone must speak up as one. Let the enemy see that there are Kurds outside the dungeons, there are Kurds at the front of their party in the mountains. If I sit at home, no-one will hear my voice. But if we come together everyone will hear our voices. There are thousands of prisoners, all their families need to raise their voices. When the Saturday Mothers held their action in Istanbul the whole world heard them. I call out again: As mothers we must stand up!”
Şerife Ekinci said that most of the prisoners who had joined the hunger strikes had started to have health problems, and stressing that it was the mothers who paid the highest price in war, called for people to listen to the prisoners’ demands.
“They are being oppressed, that’s why they’re on hunger strike. All this oppression must stop. All the prisoners in Van F-Type prison are being oppressed.”