The eighth group of protestors has now joined the indefinite rotating hunger strike across Turkey’s prisons, protesting the isolation imposed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in the İmralı F-type High Security Prison. Human Rights Association (İHD) İstanbul Branch chair Gülistan Yoleri stated that the deadlock led prisoners to take drastic action.
Relatives of striking prisoners said, “If we unite, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will become helpless and the isolation will be removed. Our unity will ensure we reach freedom and achieve victory”.
Women in the Makhmur Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan also launched a hunger strike on 18 December.
Reactions against governnment’s attitude
Human Rights Association (İHD) İstanbul Branch chair Gülistan Yoleri stated that the deadlock led prisoners to take drastic action.
Yoleri said, “We think that there is a system that forces prisoners to stage hunger strikes. It is a deadlock. When prisoners cannot solve the problem through conventional means they turn to other methods as a last resort”.
Stating that violations of rights increased in prisons during the pandemic, Yoleri also drew attention to the importance of İmralı and called on people to hold İmralı to account.
Another NGO representative, Erdal Güzel, also reacted to the government’s attitude towards the strikes. Union of Employees in Public Health and Social Services (SES) İstanbul Branch chair Güzel criticised the government’s attitude to the strikes and said that the government denied people’s natural demands for freedom and democracy. “The government’s attitude is disturbing. The demands of those who stage hunger strikes should be considered and the problem should be solved immediately”.