76 prisoners on hunger strikeCo-chair of Human Rights Association (IHD), Öztürk Türkdoğan during a speech, which is reported by dihaber, pointed out that hunger strike has been going on since February 15, adding “13 prisoners in T2 and T3 sections of Şakran prison for 48 days, 8 prisoners in T4 section for 34 days, 5 female prisoners for 41 days, 7 prisoners in Sincan Female Penitentiary for 40 days, 10 prisoners in T1 section of Tekirdağ for 27days, 5 prisoners in Tarsuz female prison for 21days, 7 people in T4 section of Şakran for 13days, 10 people in F section of bolu and 11 prisoners in T section of Hatay prison are on hunger strike”.
Mr. Türkdoğan noted that 76 prisoners including 17 female from 6 different jails are on indefinite hunger strike.
While directing attention to various types of violation of rights in the prisons, Mr. Türkdoğan stated that the demands requested from the governing body are in accordance to the limits within the Constitution.
Mr. Türkdoğan mentioned that both Department of Justice and public need to heed what is being requested by Human Rights and Health organizations for ongoing hunger strike, while adding his demands as follows:
* The prisoners on hunger strike need to be regularly checked and their physical check by the doctors assigned by Turkish Medical Association (TTB) need to be provided within the prisons.
* DoJ officials need to engage immediately with the prisoner on hunger strike regarding their demands. Not only MPs but also Human rights, Civil and health organizations as well as independent delegates need to be allowed to visit the prisoners to discuss their demands.
* The Solitary confinement of Abdullah Öcalan, which violates the current statue laws needs to be ended as soon as possible and he needs to be allowed to meet with his lawyers and his relatives.
Lastly, Mr. Türdoğan called out to public that they should pay more attention to the ongoing indefinite hunger strike at many prisons.
48 days of hunger strike is alarming…
Director General of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Metin Bakkalcı who spoke after Mr. Türdoğan, stated that the responsibility of the hunger strike led by the prisoners in several prisons lies with the whole public. Bakkalcı continued his speech:
“Turkey has witnessed this many times. As a society, we must be embarrassed for what is happening. In Turkish history, we never seen a period in which the prison population has quadrupled in 11 years. Everyone knows what kind of treatment these inmates are subjected to. If someone resorts to harming his own body, that means he is left with no other choice to get his demands resolved. Since they are left without any options, they are raising up this issue to the public awareness. As doctors, we strongly oppose anything that harms human health. However, we have to respect to what they are doing. Their most essential demand is the violation of human rights. What has been going on in Turkish prisons has no resemblance in other parts of the world. 35-40 days of hunger strike is very risky and after that the risk increases exponentially. 48 days of it is an alarm. The solution to this problem is actually very simple. Our demands are very clear and we are ready to undertake our own part in the solution. The sinful consequences of this hunger strike are on every one of us, especially the government.
“If desired, all problems in the prisons can be solved within an hour”
Havva Özcan from Prisoners’ Solidarity Initiative also mentioned that to be a voice and to break the silence of the public, the prisoners began their strike. Recently, they have been having difficulties in liquid intake, erratic blood pressure and muscles aches. The demands are very humane and legal, if desired, every one of them can be resolved within an hour.