Dear Press Members,
We, as the members of the Peace and Democracy Party and as those elected by people’s free will, would like to announce that our society has come to a decisive crossroads. This is a result of the fact that public conscience has not responded to the urgent call made by Kurdish politicians in prison.
These hunger strikes, which have come to a very critical point, cannot be evaluated separately from Kurdish people’s demands of freedom and the resolution of the Kurdish issue with peaceful means.
Since 2009 under the rubric of KCK operations –which are in fact attacks against the Peace and Democracy Party – more than 9 thousand politicians, NGO workers, activists, lawyers, journalists, elected mayors, city councilors, provincial assembly members, parliamentarians and students; in short, men, women, children, elderly and people from all walks of life, have been put in prison. These arrests are aimed at disenfranchising Kurds from legal politics and have caused great suffering among our people.
By arresting elected members of the Kurdish opposition and escalating military operations the government has opted once again for 90 year-old state policies of security and destruction. This goes entirely against the Kurdish people’s expectations of a fair solution to the Kurdish question based on the principles of justice and freedom. Turkish government has further intensified its strategy of conflict over negotiation by holding Mr. Abdullah Öcalan in solitary confinement for 16 months on Imrali Island. ?
?Turkish government’s policy of exclusion, isolation and conflict has claimed the lives of at least a thousand people since last year. It is in such an atmosphere that thousands of unjustly and unlawfully imprisoned political hostages have laid down their bodies to death on the condition of three basic demands.?
?We would like to announce to the public that the demands prisoners are voicing belong to all of us. These demands are that Abdullah Öcalan’s isolation be removed so that peace negotiations can be resumed and that the right of education and defense in Kurdish be officially recognized.?
?Isolation is against domestic and international law and it is essentially a legal violation. Therefore, the fact that Öcalan has not been allowed to see anyone in the last 16 months is a crime. Additionally, this strategy aims to intensify the conflict and is part of a military logic. ?The only consequence of this policy is conflict and death.? ?It is the architects and executors of the isolation policy who are primarily responsible for the suspension of negotiations, resumption of military clashes and increased number of deaths.???????
?The Kurdish problem stems from the fact that the Kurdish people as a nation are not able to use their linguistic or cultural rights, nor is their identity and status recognised.? ?Education and legal defense in mother-tongue, and living and developing the Kurdish language in every aspect of life, are the most natural rights of Kurdish people.? ?The denial, usurpation and even negotiation of this right can only be explained by the racism and fascism of the existing government. ? ?A Kurd values his/her language and identity as much as a Turk, a Persian, an Arab, a French or a German does. ?We are neither asking for more than these other nations have nor settling for less. ???????????
To put it more clearly, the only reason that people have laid their bodies to death in prisons and died in combat outside of prison is that the government keeps repressing Kurdish people’s demands for freedom, and uses the conventional 90-years old policies of denial, conflict and destruction.
?Turkish and Kurdish people should be well aware that people, who are in prison and who are laying their bodies to death, are doing so in order to prevent further lives from being lost in combat and so that the channels for negotiation will re-open. The position taken by the Turkish public, primarily that of the government, suggests that the conscience of people is blunted and our society has come to a crossroad. ? ?The public should also be aware that the position the government takes from now on, and the way in which it resolves the hunger strikes will be crucial for our future. ????
Here is our call to Mr. Prime Minister, the government and the Turkish people: any provocative, derogatory and contemptuous statement and position is an invitation to death. ??We do not have one second to lose in our struggle to achieve an equal and free life, to open the doors to the solution of our problems through negotiations and in a conflict-free manner. ???
We are worried that the loss of a single life amongst our people who are on hunger strike will be the start of an irreparable rupture and a deepened conflict. As such, the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan must be removed and the negotiations should start immediately.? ?We would like to declare to the public that in order to achieve our common goals, we, as elected mayors and provincial general assembly presidents together with our assemblies, are ready for all kinds of duties and contributions, asked from us by the BDP Head Office. ???
?With our kindest regards.???
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