Women relatives of prison hunger strikers in Turkey, who live in the city of Van (Wan), shared their perspectives with Jin News about the hunger strike and its aims.
Political prisoners in Turkey launched an indefinite-rotating hunger strike on 27 November to protest against the prison isolation conditions imposed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the ongoing violations of prisoners rights in prisons. Regarding the hunger strike, the women relatives of prison hunger strikers in Van stated that the prisoners’ demands should be met and the isolation of Öcalan should be ended.
‘What do they want from our children who are held in prison?’
Keje Tunç, mother of Enes Tunç (who is in prison and who participated in a previous hunger strike in Diyarbakır Prison), stated that the prisoners’ demands should be met immediately. She added: “What do they want from our children who are held in prison? They are hurting us. They must meet the demands of the prisoners and they should not implement that type of oppression on us. They say that: ‘We are all fellows/brothers but what kind of fellowship is that? A fellow does not arrest his/her fellow and leave him/her to die. They impose that type of oppression on us. They are murdering our children alive in prison”.
Keje Tunç noted that she could not visit her son due to her old age and added that her family filed a petition for her son to be sent to a prison that was nearer to them. However, the family did not receive a positive reply to the request.
‘How can we be relaxed while our children are hungry?’
Stating that political prisoners were being subjected to intense oppression, another prisoner’s relative, Emine Çiçek, said: “Let the isolation end and our children will not get into trouble. Our children’s struggle is ours too. We will not give up this struggle. Why are the demands of these people not met? How can we relax whilst our children go hungry? That isolation that has been imposed on them should be removed. Mothers are also hurt, in their hearts they constantly suffer”.
‘Political prisoners do not stage hunger strikes for themselves, but for everyone’
Another mother of a hunger striking prisoner, Hanım Dinç, said: “Political prisoners do not stage hunger strikes for themselves, but for everyone”. Dinç noted that her son was participating in the action and added: “The state does not protect our children. They have staged a hunger strike for our people. Required steps should immediately be taken and the issue should be resolved. The state does nothing about this issue. We demand freedom for our children”.
Chahide Ötüş, the mother of another prisoner on hunger strike, said the isolation was being implemented not only on Öcalan and other prisoners but also on the whole of society: “They detain and arrest us as soon as we express our ideas. If the hunger strike continues in prisons, deaths may occur. The oppression in prisons should be removed. We are under oppression and torture”. Şerife Akkaya, another mother of a hunger striking prisoner, also noted her opposition to the prison isolation conditions and stated that they only demanded peace and the release of the prisoners.