POLITICS >BDP wary and Turkish government relieved as strikes end

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

As the hunger strikes are ended after a call from PKK leader Öcalan, Deputy PM Arınç expresses satisfaction and says the right decision was made

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Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç expressed satisfaction over the end of hunger strikes across Turkey’s prisons on their 68th day, while the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was cautious since the inmates’ demands had not been met.

“I thank those inmates who took this decision [to end the hunger strikes]. They did the right thing. They did not upset the Turkish people, because nobody wanted these strikes to end with deaths. The Turkish nation threw off great pain and trouble,” Arınç told the reporters yesterday in the western province of Manisa.

BDP calls for an end

Deputies from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also held a press meeting yesterday and announced the end of the strike.

Gülten Kışanak, deputy co-chair of the BDP said the hunger strikes had reached their goal.
“A very important message came from İmrali [referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan]. He proved how much he cares about human lives. He contributed to the end of the hunger strikes by calling on inmates before anyone died,” Kışanak said at a press conference in Diyarbakır yesterday.

The decision for an end came after a call from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan to hunger strikers in prisons across the country on Nov. 17. The hunger strikes had been joined by nearly 1,700 inmates, according to Justice Ministry figures.
The call came after Öcalan’s brother, Mehmet Öcalan, visited the PKK leader Nov. 17 in his prison on İmralı island for the first time in months. Mehmet Öcalan said “the leader believed the hunger strikes had reached their goals.”

Prisoners, as well as many people outside, launched the action on Sept. 12 to demand an end to the isolation of Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence on İmralı island, as well as an end to restrictions on the use of mother tongues in court and in education.

Öcalan, intel meet

Meanwhile, according to a claim by Turkish daily Radikal, talks between Öcalan and Turkish intelligence service (MİT) officials over the last two months had paved the way for Öcalan’s call.

“A delegation went to İmralı on three occasions. A senior intelligence official joined one of these visits and Öcalan’s intervention was sought to end the hunger strikes,” the daily Radikal reporter Ömer Şahin said without identifying the report’s source.As the hunger strikes end, reports came from across Turkey that paramedic teams entered prisons to hospitalize many inmates for the recovery process.


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