On 27 November, political prisoners in Turkey went on hunger strike, sending the message that Abdullah Öcalan and his ideas should be embraced all over the world, just as Mandela was embraced in Africa.
The alternating hunger strikes started by political prisoners in Turkey on 27 November demanding “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish question” continue.
Speaking to ANF, lawyer Eda Önal from the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) stated that there is a high level of morale and excitement among all the prisoners who started the hunger strike due to the purpose and motivation of the action, and that the prisoners hope that the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners in İmralı Island Prison will be lifted.
Öcalan is the only person that can lead the way for democracy and peace
Lawyer Eda Önal, after their visits to the prisons, conveyed the messages of the prisoners as follows: “With their actions they want to send a message to the patriotic people, civil society organisations and democratic society. They call on all democratic circles to take action for the lifting of the absolute isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and a democratic solution to the Kurdish question. They express that Abdullah Öcalan is the only person who can lead democracy and an honourable peace in this land.”
The lawyer continued: “The prisoners state that, with this action, they aim to lift the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and help the Kurdish people achieve the status they deserve. They call for the intensification of actions all over the world and for the struggle to continue until the isolation is ended. They say that their just demands should be announced to the whole world through a wide range of actions such as sit-ins, rallies and marches. They pointed out that just as Mandela was embraced in Africa, Abdullah Öcalan and his ideas should be embraced all over the world because Abdullah Öcalan’s ideas are hope for all the peoples of the world.”
Prison administrations started to exert pressure
Asked about the attitude of prison administrations towards the hunger strikes that have just begun, Eda Önal recalled what happened in previous years and said the following: “Prison administrations had imposed various disciplinary penalties in previous hunger strikes and various forms of resistance in order to break the actions of prisoners. They tried to intimidate and deter prisoners. For example, they tried to deter the prisoners from the hunger strike action by imposing solitary confinement on the prisoners and preventing their right to conditional release.”
Önal added: “A prisoner who is sentenced to solitary confinement 3 times in a row has to serve the entire sentence as per the execution law. Prison administrations take advantage of this situation and impose various disciplinary penalties. We hear from our clients and their families that in various prisons, the administration is putting pressure on prisoners who are on hunger strike, raids and searches are carried out in the wards and minutes are kept. We think that the prison administrations should give up these attitudes and fulfil their responsibilities to answer the demands of the prisoners.”