Nobel laureate writer J. M. Coetzee sends solidarity message to Turkish hunger striking educators
ISTANBULNobel laureate writer John Maxwell Coetzee has sent a message of solidarity to Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, the two hunger striking educators who have been on a hunger strike for over 80 days in protest at being dismissed from their posts through state of emergency decrees.
Gülmen, an academic, and Özakça, a primary school teacher, were arrested on terror charges late on May 23, the 75th day of their hunger strike. They have been continuing their hunger strikes in jail.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had accused them of being members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party - Front (DHKP-C).
In his letter, South African writer Coetzee called on Turkish authorities to act on the issue, online news portal Bianet reported on May 30.
“Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have bravely gone on hunger strike to draw the attention of the world to the desperate situation of intellectuals in the new Turkey. It is to be hoped that governments associated with Turkey in NATO will take note and exert pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to return his country to the rule of law,” Coetzee said in his letter.
Turkey declared a state of emergency after the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, and has been issuing emergency decrees ever since.
Thousands have been dismissed from their jobs with the state of emergency decrees.
Another intellectual who sent a solidarity message to Gülmen and Özakça was Costa-Gavras, who said he signed a petition in order for the educators to be released from jail in a letter penned to director Yılmaz Güney’s wife Fatoş Güney.
“Dear Fatoş, I’m willingly signing the petition regarding hunger striking educators and I’m supporting the actions of those struggling with them. Dear Fatoş, I’m sending my friendship and fidelity to you and the memory of Yılmaz,” he said in the letter, according to Bianet.