BDP MPs join strikers as key demand awaits PM

BDP MPs join strikers as key demand awaits PM

BDP MPs join strikers as key demand awaits PM

BDP MP Ayna goes on hunger strike in a show of support to those in jails. DHA photo

Two lawmakers from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have joined hundreds of inmates who have been on an indefinite hunger strike for almost two months as senior officials await the premier’s return to tackle one of the protesters’ key demands.

“Statements from Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç after a Cabinet meeting [on Nov. 5] gave hope to all of us. However, no concrete steps have been taken up to now, although four days have passed and our friends are approaching death with each moment. Our friends will not end their hunger strike without observing concrete steps,” BDP Van lawmaker Özdal Üçer said yesterday in Diyarbakır after beginning his own indefinite hunger strike with BDP Diyarbakır MP Emine Ayna. “I’m appealing to Arınç: Why aren’t you doing anything about meeting those people’s demands even though you promised to do so?”

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said yesterday that a legal arrangement paving the way for the use of mother tongue in courts - one of the three key demands of the hunger strikers - will be sent to Parliament as soon as Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan returns home from abroad. Ergin said the proposal was mostly complete but still needed some work. Erdoğan is currently in Bali, attending the Democracy Forum.

In Ankara, BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş held a meeting yesterday with diplomats from the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey.

President Abdullah Gül also commented on the issue yesterday during a visit to Çankırı in response to reporters’ questions. Gül said he invited Ergin for a detailed meeting to learn correct information on the issue.

Turkey is a country in which the most extreme opinions can be voiced, Gül said. “There are environments of dialogue in the country. That’s why the wrong methods of struggle will never help the resolution of problems. In that regard, I call on everybody to give up these actions.”

Expressing his concern over the hunger strike, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle said he raised the issue during a Nov. 7 meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Brussels. “I also expect the authorities to prevent, in line with international human rights standards, a further deterioration in the health of the prisoners, and have raised this issue with Minister Davutoğlu when meeting him,” Füle said in a letter dated yesterday to independent Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana. Füle thanked Zana for a recent letter from her concerning the ongoing hunger strikes, paying tribute to her personal endeavors to promote a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue by means of dialogue and negotiation.