We are writing this letter in order to inform you that we are extremely concerned that loss of life may be imminent and ask your support to prevent it.
We would like to give some brief information in this regard to begin with: On September 12, 2012; 63 Kurdish political prisoners have started an indefinite and irreversible hunger strike in 7 Prisons in Turkey.
On 22 September 2012, ten days later 79 more prisoners joined the hunger strikes. With new participants these numbers have been continuously increasing. At this time, 776 Kurdish political prisoners and convicts in prisons are on an indefinite hunger strike in 58 prisons. Imprisoned members of parliament, Mr. Faysal Sariyildiz, Mrs. Gülseren Yildirim and Mayor of Van, Mr. Bekir Kaya are also participating to this hunger strike.
Specifically, the health status of 142 political prisoners that began the hunger strike with the first two groups are severely impaired and their life are under extreme danger and at great risk.
In a press release to the public, political prisoners on a hunger strikes have made two specific demands and stated that they will not reverse their decision unless their demands are meet. These demands are:
1- The right to education and legal defense in mother tongue.
2- Ending the isolation of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan in Imrali prison, create the conditions for dialogue and negotiation.
You may also agree that these demands are supported by many from all segments of the society in Turkey who are supporting a peace and a democratic solution for the conflict. As BDP we also believe that the Kurdish Issue can only be solved true dialog and negotiations as we find these demands rightful as well as realistic.
Today, there are increasingly more people in Turkey supporting a decision to remove obstacles and barriers that are preventing an education in mother tongue.
Those who are supporting peace and democratic resolution for the Kurdish conflict are also agree that Mr. Öcalan is an important figure and asking that the isolation must end, the dialogue and negotiations should start to end the Kurdish Issue.
Mr. Öcalan is being held in a single cell for past 13 years in the island of Imrali and he have been subjected to an strict isolation for the past 14 months. While the isolation of a political prisoner is a violation of a basic human rights and against the law, It is also culminating a difficulty to find a solution for the Kurdish conflict. This is because there are an important portion of the Kurdish people are considering Mr. Öcalan as the national leader.
We have to underline that even looking at these demands from a perspectives of the AKP government, it can be seen that these two demands can be met easily. Because the AKP government have also made promises both in Europe and Turkey, to the public that they will make great change in policy to “reform and solve the Kurdish Conflict”. In addition, it is well known that negotiations have been taken place between Mr. Öcalan and the state / government officials, previously. Prime Minister Himself says that they would “meet with Mr. Öcalan again if they find it necessary”. Then further steps should be taken as soon as possible. What else do they wait for.
Operations to detain and arrest Kurdish politicians and supporters of Kurdish demand for a peaceful and democratic solution started in 2009 have been continuing without interruption. BDP mayors, municipal councilors, managers of party offices, trade unionists, human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, students, those who are defending fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kurdish people, have all been arrested and placed in prisons. There are currently, about 8 thousand Kurdish political prisoners in Turkish prisons including 6 elected members of parliament from Peace and Democracy Party. They are waiting for a Justice to be served. Unfortunately, They even lack the right to defend themselves in their native language in the courts of law. The courts do not accept a defense in Kurdish. This is a tyranny.
776 Kurdish political prisoners are on hunger strike “for the right to defend themselves in mother tongue, for peace, for a solution, for a dialogue and negotiation”. This number is growing steadily. Those prisoners who were in the first group to begin a hunger strikes, come to a brink of enduring death. This hunger strike is a scream of nation and this scream says “hear our voice, to stop the persecution and death”.
Tomorrow may be too late to prevent loss lives.
It is our hope that the International public opinion and decision-makers such as you; would respond and answer the call of Kurdish political prisoners on a hunger-strikes and Kurdish people. Formation of an international awareness, would encourage the AKP government to take steps towards a peaceful and democratic solution. We would like to underline that at this very critical moment in Turkey, in particular and the Middle East, In general, your contribution towards a solution for the Kurdish conflict and peace would have a historic significance.
We respectfully salute you, with hopes that you would support these two very reasonable basic demands of a nation.
Gültan KISANAK Selahattin DEMIRTAS Co-Chair of Peace & Democracy Party Co-Chair of Peace & Democracy Party
PEACE AND DEMOCRACY PARTY
Contact: Baris Manço Cad. 1388.Sok. No: 37 BALGAT / ANKARA Tel: (+90) 312 220 19 50 Fax: (+90)312 220 19 77
Foreign Affairs Department: [email protected]
24 October 2012