The Free Women’s Movement (Tevgera Jinên Azad – TJA) appealed to the public for solidarity regarding the hunger strikes that were launched on 27 November by political prisoners in Turkey.
According to Mesopotamia Agency, the TJA issued a statement regarding the hunger strikes that were launched by imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) members in Turkey. Drawing attention to the strikes, the TJA stated that: “In the reality of the freedom struggle, Kurdish women have raised the flag of freedom and have strengthened the resistance – especially in prisons – against all kinds of occupation, cultural genocide, sexist and religous militarism”. The TJA added that Kurdish women have led struggles from the past until the present.
Violations of the rights of prisoners
Referring to the isolation prison conditions imposed on PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, the TJA stated that: “The aggravated isolation has been imposed on all free, unyielding prisoners – as epitomised by Abdullah Öcalan for 21 years. The policies of isolation have mounted tenfold under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) during the pandemic and under that pretence, they have increased the violations of rights of prisoners to the highest levels”.
Appeal to act in solidarity with the prisoners
Pointing to Öcalan’s role during the peace talks between Turkey and the PKK in the past, the TJA stated that Öcalan had played his role during that time. It added: “We, the TJA, salute the hunger strikes that have been led by women and call upon all women, youth, associations, organizations and the public who took part in the peace process, to not remain silent and to act in solidarity with prisoners”.
Prisoners in Turkey announced the beginning of their hunger strike via the weekly phone calls they made with their families on 27 November. They also clarified how the hunger strike is being undertaken. Each prisoner will take turns to go on a five-day hunger strike until their demands are met.
Former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Çağlar Demirel, who is currently imprisoned in Kocaeli Kandıra F-type High Security Prison, launched the hunger strike. Demirel announced her decision via a weekly phone call with her mother Gülperi Demirel.
Imprisoned PKK and PJAK members also announced that they launched an indefinite hunger strike on 27 November to protest against the isolation of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
After the the announcements were made, the wards of several prisoners were raided on 30 November. According to Yeni Yaşam, prison security guards raided the wards of prisoners who were staging hunger strikes in the Kandıra No. 1 F-type High Security Prison on 29 November. The wards were searched and all written materials were seized. It was reported that the raids were carried out after imprisoned former HDP deputy Demirel had announced the decision to begin a hunger strike.
In addition, it was reported that the wards of former HDP Co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ, former Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Co-Chair Sebahat Tuncel, former Diyarbakır Municipality Co-Chair Gültan Kışanak and several other Kurdish politicians were raided. During the raids, all books, notes and poems were seized.