Kurds Supporting Hunger Strikers Met By Riot Police

At least 680 Kurdish inmates imprisoned around Turkey have been on a hunger strike for 55 days. Their demands include “health, security and freedom” for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and his removal from isolation, and the right to be educated and defended in court in their own language. While some have ended their hunger strike, others continue and medical personnel warn that many are near death. In response to calls by pro-Kurdish activists to support the hunger strikers, stores did not open and students did not attend school in several largely Kurdish southeastern cities. Demonstrations in support of the hunger strikers in Ankara and Istanbul have been dispersed by riot police using water cannons and tear gas. Member of parliament from the Kurdish BDP Aysel Tuğluk announced that as of today thousands of prisoners around the country will begin a hunger strike.

Here is an interesting account of the use of  hunger strikes by Irish prisoners in 1980/81 and their relation to the Turkish hunger strikes.

In a related issue, the Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court sentenced Reyhan Çapan, the editor-in-chief and publisher of the daily Özgür Gündem, to one year and three months in prison on terrorism charges for a headline that appeared on the newspaper, ”Revolt Speaks” (Söz Serhıldanın) which appeared in the March 21st issue. The court argued that the headline was terrorist propaganda. Other headlines raised in the case were: “Ceaseless Action Until Freedom” (Özgürlüğe Kadar Kesintisiz Eylem) and “The Kurds’ Amed and Istanbul Newroz” (Kürtlerin Amed ve Istanbul Newrozu).

4 Responses to “Kurds Supporting Hunger Strikers Met By Riot Police”

  1. And with today it gets worse and better–more arrests everywhere, the rest of the KCK prisoners (by some estimates, 10,000) joined the strike today-including those with diabetes, the elderly, those with heart problems. And Erdogan’s reaction? Bring back the death penalty. Yet, after a meeting of ministers Bulent Arınç kind of gives in to the demands–there can be a defense in Kurdish, Ocalan may be able to meet with lawyers, and the Kurdish education question can be heard in parliament. How will the BDP react?

  2. Could you please explain this “Kurdish education question”? Are they demanding that Kurdish students be able to go to school completely in Kurdish? As in, they will not be studying in Turkish? It doesn’t seem to make economic sense, because students who aren’t well-versed in Turkish could not participate in much economic activity beyond the Southeast (maybe not even there) nor does it make social sense, since having Kurds who do not know Turkish will just make it more difficult for both sides to understand and interact with each other. Maybe I am missing something here?

  3. At the moment–and this is all with a huge ‘as I understand it’ caveat–their intention if for education in Kurdish though what that means is not all that clear–I imagine should it ever get off the ground it would be a kind of bilingual education deal. We do this in my school with English–why not with Kurdish? The argument is that there are Armenian schools, Greek schools, and Jewish Schools–in addition to all the foreign language ones–and they don’t cause any problems. Why not Kurdish ones? O

  4. Jgibbs,

    It slowly is coming to Turkey doesn’t it :) We ( Some Turks but not the ones you might think and think that uniter government is the solutions ) think that it is not a good idea for Turkey but maybe for U.S.. :)) The game is obvious.. Any kind of Patriotic Nationalism ( not the racist ones ) is against U.S Foreign Policies.. !! So, please U.S step out of Middle East.. And please DO NOT stick your tooo long nose to the Politics of the area.. Because When U.S starts to export ” Democracy ” to this part of the world, it is known about how many millions of people is killed !!!!

    Try this please : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=368319389904397&set=a.144912278911777.31399.142627705806901&type=1&theater

    Best Regards,

    Hasan

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