Educators on hunger strike in severe health conditions: Ankara Medical Chamber
Both Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça – the hunger-striking educators dismissed from their jobs by a state of emergency decree – are experiencing serious health problems, Ankara Medical Chamber (ATO) said on Jan. 19.
Both protesters, who have reached their 316th day of hunger strike, have lost a significant amount of weight, the chamber said.
Gülmen, who weighed 59 kilograms before the strike, now weighs under 34 kilograms, while Özakça has gone from 86 kilograms to 45 kilograms, the ATO stated.
“He is experiencing numbness in his feet and right leg, and he says he suffers from wide-spread pain in his bones,” the chamber said, referring to Semih Özakça.
The chamber also said Özakça was suffering from severe headaches and is gradually losing his sense of balance.
Nuriye Gülmen, on the other hand, has a hard time taking in liquids.
“She has a lot of wounds in her mouth, which are signs of a loss of body immunity and a lack of vitamins,” the association stated.
Esra Özakça, Semih Özakça’s wife, who is on her 241st day of the hunger-strike, has gone from 57 to less than 38 kilograms, according to the ATO.
“Lately, we have observed she is losing her ability to speak,” the chamber said.
Nuriye Gülmen, a Turkish educator who has been on hunger strike since she was dismissal from her post following the 2016 coup attempt, was convicted on Dec. 1 of belonging to a banned far-left group but the court ordered her release pending an appeal.
The 35-years-old was sentenced to six years and three months in jail for being a member of the outlawed militant leftist DHKP-C group, deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, defense lawyers told Reuters.
She was found not guilty of lesser charges including organizing illegal rallies.
Gülmen had been hospitalized before the trial began due to her worsening health after seven months of surviving on water, herbal tea and sugar and salt solutions.
The Primary school teacher Semih Özakça, 28, who has also been on hunger strike, was acquitted of similar charges. The Ankara court had ordered his release on Oct. 21 for the remainder of the trial, on the condition that he wear an ankle monitor.
A third defendant, Acun Karadağ, was acquitted on a lesser charge of participating in illegal rallies.
The pair was detained in May and jailed pending the start of the trial in September. On Sept. 12, days before the teachers were due in court, the prosecution issued detention warrants for the lawyers who were set to defend them.