The hunger strikes launched by political prisoners in Turkey – to protest against the prison isolation conditions imposed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the ill-treatment of prisoners across the country – have reached their 55th day. Solidarity hunger strikes also reached their 34th day in Makhmur (Mexmûr) refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan and their 17th day in Greece.
The 11th group has taken over the rotating hunger strike in Turkey, which has spread to over 107 prisons in Turkey since 27 November 2020. Political prisoners have tried to make their voices heard through their families as well. The people outside the prisons are only able to hear about the conditions in the prisons through weekly phone calls that strikers make with their relatives.
Karayazı municipality Co-Mayor Melike Göksu is one of the hunger strikers. Melike Göksu has been imprisoned since 17 September 2019 on charges of being a member of an organization.
‘The demands of the prisoners are legitimate’
Göksu’s brother Ümit Göksu explained the injustice of the imprisonment of his sister: “My sister received 61.83% of the votes in the 31 March elections and she was elected as a co-mayor. People believed in her and voted for her but the government put her behind bars”.
Regarding the hunger strike, Ümit Göksu said: “It is a rotating strike now, but we do not know whether they will turn into death fasts in the future. The demands of the prisoners are legitimate. They want the isolation to be lifted. Actually, isolation is imposed in other prisons too, using the excuse of the pandemic”.
“We should be talking about peace instead of the hunger strikes”, he noted. “The demands of the prisoners must be accepted immediately. Prisoners, who have been illegally sentenced should be released and the government should stop keeping people in prison as political hostages”.