As the hunger strike launched by political prisoners in Turkey against the isolation of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, and against rights violations in Turkish prisons more generally, reaches its 143rd day, human rights advocates have called on the government to meet the demands of the strikers to avoid deaths in prisons.
Health workers are among those calling for action. Professor Ümit Biçer spoke to the Mesopotamia News Agency about the meaning of the hunger strike.
“Approaching the hunger strike as a medical subject and evaluating it through a medical process is not correct,” said Biçer. “The critical point here is why these people are on a strike and we need to listen them and learn their demands. We have a responsibility to create an atmosphere that makes dialogue with the strikers possible.”
Marmara Prisoner and Convict Families Association (MATUHAY-DER) co-chair Esin Çelik also discussed the hunger strike and said the situation in prisons has worsened due to the pandemic.
“Nine of our friends have tested positive in Gebze Prison. They cannot meet with their families, lawyers or the outside world. But how has the virus entered the prison? There are very sick prisoners. If the pandemic spreads in prisons, people will lose their lives in prisons,” she said.