Hunger strikes are not acceptable in democracy, Turkish PM says
DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again denounced the ongoing hunger strikes across Turkey, echoing the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur in saying the action is not democratic.
"A hunger strike is not an appropriate method of claiming one's right in a democracy," Erdoğan said today at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on the way to Egypt.
EP Turkey Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten had said hunger strikes were an "unacceptable method in a democracy” a day earlier.
"The purpose of a hunger strike matters. You are talking to me about the hunger strikers who are the killers of an innocent girl by throwing a Molotov cocktail at a bus," Erdoğan said.
"We don't want to let people die in prisons but our purpose is to ameliorate prisoners' living conditions," Erdoğan said.
Calling on the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) to help end the strikes, he said: "We know the political party in the Turkish Parliament that is driving prisoners to go on hunger strike. It is not an appropriate method to order people to die; they should bring up their demands in Parliament."
Over 700 people both inside and outside prison entered the 67th day of a hunger strike today to demand an end to the isolation of the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, as well as end to restrictions on Kurdish in the courts and in education.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan also spoke to U.S. President Barack Obama, Hamas Chairman Khaled Mashaa and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on the ongoing Israeli air strikes on Gaza.
"We want a cease-fire in Gaza. Some 40 people have been killed on the Gazan side up until now, but the Israeli government sets the world on fire when three Israeli people die," Erdoğan said.