BDP deputies to start hunger strike Monday
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Gültan Kışanak (R), the co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party, is seen speaking to Serkan Demirtaş (L) and Göksel Bozkurt of the Hürriyet Daily News.Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers will begin a two-day hunger strike Feb. 20 in Ankara to support two arrested deputies who have already begun fasting to protest prison conditions.
Five of the BDP’s 29 deputies are in prison even though they were elected to Parliament last year. Selma Irmak and Faysal Sarıyıldız began their action Feb. 15, while the remaining 24 deputies will join them Feb. 20 and 21 in a show of solidarity, co-chair Gültan Kışanak told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Irmak and Sarıyıldız have been accompanied by at least 70 inmates in different prisons, Kışanak said.
“Their bodies are all they have to protest the oppression, even though they are deputies,” said Kışanak. “We want to draw attention to the cries coming from prison. We will fast for two days to demonstrate our solidarity with them.”
The protest was sparked after 109 people were detained this week in raids across Turkey against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Kışanak recalled past hunger strikes that took place for a set period of time with alternating participants. The fact that the most recent strike led by Irmak is indefinite and without alternations “worries the BDP, especially regarding their health,” she said. BDP has repeatedly warned the Justice Ministry about prison conditions, “but in the current situation, our friends have found an indefinite hunger strike necessary,” said Kışanak.
Joining the BDP leaders and deputies in the party-wide hunger strike will be Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chairs Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk.