Hunger strike action launched by Kurdish political prisoners on 27 November 2020 continues to its 209th day throughout prisons in Turkey.
Prisoners continue to protest against the increasing violations of human rights in prisons and against the isolation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held in Imralı Island Prison for the last 22 years.
The Turkish government has not allowed Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers or his relatives to visit him since September 2016.
The hunger striking prisoners are often forced into solitary confinement cells, their right of access to nutrition and healthcare has been seriously restricted, the wards of the prisoners have been frequently raided by guards and the personal belongings of prisoners have been confiscated in an arbitrary manner, according to Jin News.
Afife Kartal’s son Muhammed has been in Diyarbakır D Type Prison for three years now, and he was transferred to F Type Prison recently. ”We do not want our children to die. The prisoners have now been on hunger strike for over 200 days. There are also those who previously went on an indefinite and irreversible hunger strike for months. Most of them have seriously weakened. Despite this, they are now on a rotating hunger strike with great determination. We should raise our voices for them,” Kartal said.
Kartal pointed out the ill-treatment against political prisoners including limited access to healthcare services, sanitation and hot water, arbitrary disciplinary punishments and solitary confinement. “They actually most likely want to kill our children. Each time, their wards are raided and they put them in solitary confinement cells as a form of torture. Those who oppose the rules are subjected to disciplinary punishment,” she said.
“Prison conditions are very harsh right now, but they never think of taking a step back. We need to do something and support and strengthen their actions,” Kartal added.
“All families should rise up against this tyranny. We must fight together. We should not leave the prisoners alone with their actions.”
Hatun Yayık’s son Mustafa has been imprisoned for two years and was transferred to Diyarbakır High-Security F-Type prison. She noted her heart burns with the concern of her jailed son. “Their wards were raided. Then they were subjected to torture. The pain we have suffered as Kurdish mothers burn our hearts for years,” Yayık said.
Stating that they do not want mothers to cry anymore, she said, “We want the tyranny to end. They do not have the right to inflict such cruelty on us. They put our youth behind the walls. We should not put all the burden on the prisoners’ shoulders. Our prisoners are resisting for our people. What is there this silence? Everyone should give voice to the prisoners.”