The families of the hunger striking prisoners in Turkey talked to Jin News and appealed for solidarity in order for the hunger strikers to achieve their goal.
The hunger strikes launched in Turkish prisons to protest against the isolation of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, as well as against rights violations in prisons more generally, have reached their 60th day with the 12th group of hunger strikers.
There are also ongoing hunger strikes in Greece and Iraq. The Makhmur Camp strike was initiated by women on 18 December and continues in the Makhmur Martyr Families Association. The Lavrio Camp strike was started by Kurdish political refugees on 4 January, and is led by a combination of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (TCŞ-Tevgera Ciwanên Şoreşger), the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe (Tevgera Jinên Kurdistan a Ewropa), and Navenda Çanda Kurdistan (Kurdish Cultural Centre).
Mother Behiye Kırık: Our children are under severe pressure
”Prison conditions are appaling,” said Behiye Kırık, the mother of Mehmet Kırık who has been jailed in Diyarbakır (Amed) D Type Prison for more than one year. “He is very weak in terms of his health. We know that he is not well. When we talked to other prisoners during the visits, they could not speak openly, but they said there were problems in the prison. My son said that everything was restricted, even the bread is given to the prisoners in limited amount. Cleaning products are not supplied to the prisoners as well,” mother Kırık said.
“He can not tell us everything openly in visits, but we can understand that they are under severe pressure. A few months ago they transfered my son to a T-Type Prison. Therefore we can no longer talk to other prisoners in visits.”
‘We need solidarity’
“Since the hunger strike was launched, we were not allowed to visit our children in prison due to the pandemic restrictions. When my son told me about the hunger strike, I was very curious,” she said. “We do not accept these illegal isolation policies. A solution must be found and the isolation must end as soon as possible. Prisoners’ demands must be fulfilled. Solidarity is essential for hunger strikes. As the families, we need solidarity in this process.”
Mother Türkan Yıldız: “My son was infected with Covid-19”
Prisoner Hamza Yıldız’s mother Türkan Yıldız stated that she had not been able to see her son for 8 months due to the pandemic restrictions in prisons. Her son Hamza Yıldız has been jailed in Diyarbakır D Type Closed Prison for 4 years.
“During the hunger strike action held two years ago, there were people who had been on a hunger strike for months. They all became severely ill. My son also participated in that hunger strike. He also has health problems because of that. And he was also infected with coronavirus. He is very vulnerable right now, yet he is still on hunger strike,” she said.
“There is a lot of pressure on us. We are officially being tortured. The friends whose duration of the prison sentence was completed are not being released on the grounds of the hunger strike,” mother Yıldız quoted her son as saying from their telephone talk.
‘’We want peace. My son was arrested because of a photo. He has been in prison for 4 years. We want him to be free. When will this torture end? Let’s fight for our children. We will not stop speaking of peace until the end,” she stated.