On 7 November 2018, the imprisoned HDP deputy Leyla Güven started an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the isolation of the Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan. After 67 days, her state of health is critical. In the meantime, 157 other political prisoners in Turkey have joined the hunger strike on the same reason. In Strasbourg, on 17 December 2019 a further 15 Kurdish people started an indefinite hunger strike. Hunger strikes are now going on in 23 prisons in Turkey and Kurdistan.

The prison conditions of Mr Ocalan as well as the hunger strikes were important topics of 15th International Conference on the EU, Turkey and the Kurds held on 5-6 December 2018 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The EUTCC conferences is organised in close cooperation with the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA), and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) groups of the European Parliament. In the final conference resolution, the EUTCC called upon European institutions and EU member states to urge the Turkish government to release Abdullah Ocalan immediately.

The EUTCC sees an urgent need for action to protect hunger strikers and the rights of detainees including Mr Ocalan.

The EUTCC urges the European Council and its European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) to send a delegation to Imrali island prison immediately to visit Abdullah Ocalan. Mr Ocalan’s conditions of detention fall within the mandate of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

The EUTCC sends its solidarity greetings to the imprisoned Leyla Güven HDP MP and all political prisoners who are currently on hunger strike in Turkey and Kurdistan in protest against the continued isolation of Abdullah Ocalan.

On behalf of the EUTCC Board

Kariane Westrheim


Contact:  Kariane Westrheim (+47 97642088) or (+49 1786574859)