A prison hunger strike launched by Kurdish political prisoners on 27th November 2020 continues on to its 138th day in Turkey protesting against the continuing isolation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held in Imralı Prison for 22 years.
The hunger striking prisoners demand that the increasing violations of human rights in prisons and the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan must be ended as the Turkish government has not allowed Öcalan’s lawyers or his relatives to visit him since September 2016.
Nermiye İverendi, has one son who lost his life in the conflict against the Turkish army, has two others sons, who are now in prison. She told MA that her children have been subjected to intense pressure since the first day they were arrested.
“Our children went on hunger strike against this oppression. Their demands should be met without delay. When the demands are met, death, conflict and war will come to an end as well,” she said. “Today, the attacks against Avaşîn, Metîna and Zap regions are the result of this policy of isolation. This war should not be considered separately from the isolation.”
Zeki Yiğit has been in prison in İzmir Şakran Closed Prison for 13 years. His mother Hacer Yiğit believes that “the key for peace is İmralı”.
Pointing out that the more isolation is intensified, the more operatıons Turkey launches, Yiğit said, ”If the gates of Imralı were opened today, prisoners would not have died. This operation should be stopped before it causes greater damage. End the isolation, stop these deaths.”
“The state should stop playing deaf and meet the demands of the prisoners. We do not want mothers to cry anymore. Isolation is a inhumane practice, it should be ended as soon as possible,” said Behice Sakman, whose husband Mutalip Sakman was arrested during the curfews declared in 2015 in the Silopi district of Turkey’s eastern province of Şırnak (Şirnex).
Merhan Ayaz’s daughter Aynur Ayaz has been imprisoned for 24 years and she is currently in Şakran Prison, located in the western city of Izmir.
”My daughter was jailed in seven different prisons up until today. How long will this tyranny continue? We call out to human rights organisations; Do not remain silent and find a solution. Like every human being, we want to live free on our land. For how many years we have not been able to see our children. The demands of the prisoners should be listened to instead of waging war,” he said.