Turkish minister calls on prisoners to end hunger strikes
Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin. AA Photo
Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin met with
prisoners in Sincan Prison who have entered the 43rd day of a hunger strike
Turkey's justice minister urged hundreds of hunger-striking prisoners today to end their protest, but did not comment on the strikers' demands, AFP reported.
"For the well-being of your body, your health, your families: give up this action," Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said in front of reporters after a visit to the prison of Sincan on the outskirts of Ankara, where he held his first meeting with the strikers.
Ergin emphasised that the conservative Islamist-oriented government "is working to ensure that this kind of activity is no longer necessary in Turkey", but did not say whether the government planned to answer the strikers' demands.
Some 635 prisoners have been staging hunger strikes in 58 prisons around Turkey for 42 days, demanding an end to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, the convicted leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who is serving a life sentence on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea, according to daily Hürriyet.
The condition of some of the strikers is reportedly life-threatening, according to doctors.
“The state has the right to intervene when there is something life-threatening,” a deputy undersecretary from the Justice Ministry recently said.