BDP MPs to join strikers as calls growing for end

BDP MPs to join strikers as calls growing for end

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
BDP MPs to join strikers as calls growing for end

A group of intellectuals gather in Istanbul’s Taksim Square to call for a dialogue to end the hunger strikes.

Turkish luminaries have demanded government action to end ongoing hunger strikes in the country’s jails amid suggestions by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that it could soon bring the strike to Parliament.

If the government finds no formula to end the hundreds of ongoing prisoner hunger strikes by Nov. 5, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies may join the strike in Parliament Nov. 6.
The final decision will be made at a joint meeting of BDP deputies and Party Assembly (PM) members on Nov. 5.

“Yes, it is true. We will gather on Nov. 5, make an assessment of the issue and will accordingly make a decision,” BDP deputy parliamentary group chair Pervin Buldan said Nov. 1.
BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş had already announced on Oct. 31 that, “as a party, we have been prepared for radical action.”

Buldan also said that as of Nov. 1, 683 prisoners in 66 prisons have been on indefinite hunger strikes, adding that the hunger strikes, which began on Sept. 12, entered their 51st day on Nov. 1 – a critical turning point. The first 63 inmates began their strike on Sept. 12 and dozens have gradually joined since then.

Intellectuals protest

A group of intellectuals gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim square to draw attention to the strikes yesterday.

Turkey’s government must immediately change its attitude to the widespread hunger strikes and death fasts in the country’s prisons before it is too late, a collection of intellectuals said yesterday, the 50th day of the action.

“Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan, you must change your language and listen to the demands; otherwise, you will be responsible for the deaths,” author and musician Zülfü Livaneli said at a press conference at Istanbul’s Taksim Hill Hotel.

Turkish author Yaşar Kemal, who witnessed the previous experiences, remarked on the death fasts in 1996, saying: “They tortured those staging hunger strikes then. Some of them died, and the state was responsible for these deaths, as it always is.”

Also, Members of Parliament’s Human Rights Commission’s Prisons Sub-commission visited the Black Sea province of Bolu yesterday to meet 25 convicts who are staging a hunger strike in Bolu F-type and T-type prisons.

The Human Rights Commission head and the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Sakarya deputy Ayhan Sefer Üstün said they would listen to the 25 striking convicts and check the state of their health.
On a separate development, Health Minister Recep Akdağ yesterday noted that every inmate staging a hunger strike is being visited by doctors on a daily basis. However, some prisoners accept medical examination while others do not. “It’s up to inmates to accept or decline the medical examination, we cannot force them to accept,” Akdağ said yesterday speaking in a televised interview on private news channel NTV.