Müşeher Ülker, the coordinator of Diyarbakır’s Family of Prisoners and Solidarity Association (TUAY-DER), was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on the allegation of ‘participating in press statements and funeral ceremonies’. ”Let’s break this dirty chain, let’s get out of the houses” and protest, Ülker stated in response to the sentencing.
According to Mesopotamia Agency, an investigation was launched against 55-year-old Ülker, on the grounds of attending a funeral and a press statement that had been made regarding the hunger strike taking place in Turkey’s prisons. She was investigated on the grounds that she attended the funeral ceremony of Zülküf Gezen who was a hunger striker who died in March 2020. A lawsuit was filed on charges of “being a member of the organization” and “opposing the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations”.
‘The punishment is aimed at destroying the women’s struggle’
Stating that she has been involved in political activities since 1993 and has been the coordinator of TUAY-DER for the last four years, Ülker said: “I was detained and arrested four times in the years between 1999 and 2020. I was detained for two and a half years in total. The punishment is aimed at destroying the women’s struggle. We will not give up our struggle. Even if we are reduced to one person, we will continue to struggle”, she said.
Referring to the recent arrest of Meryem Soylu (79) and Hatun Aslan (71) who were the executives of the Association of Solidarity with Families Who Lost Their Relatives in the Cradle of Civilizations (MEBYA-DER), Ülker said: “This situation is very upsetting, but we realized that they arrest very old mothers because of their (i.e., the authorities’) fear”.
Noting that they want to make a statement every week in Koşuyolu Park about the ongoing prison hunger strike and its demands to end prisoner rights violations in prisons as well as the prison isolation of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, Ülker said: “Nearly 100 police officers mobilised against the statement of a mother because they are afraid. That’s why I call upon all mothers: Thousands surround us, with fear in their hearts. Let’s break this dirty chain, let’s get out of the houses”.