AYŞEGÜL DEVECİOĞLU ON THEIR VISIT TO LEYLA GÜVEN: ‘We Didn’t Leave Leyla Behind, We Bring Her Along’

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  • February 28, 2019
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A group of women from İstanbul, among whom were literary figures, academics and directors, went to Bağlar in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır yesterday (February 27) to visit Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Hakkari MP and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair Leyla Güven, who has been on the 113th day of her hunger strike.

Writer Ayşegül Devecioğlu, who was among the group who paid a visit to Güven, has spoken to bianet about their visit:

“As six women, we visited Güven yesterday. These six women were myself, Prof. Ayşe Erzan, advertizer Nesteren Davutoğlu, director Dilek Gökçin and two feminists Filiz Karakuş and Feride Eralp.

“Before we saw Leyla, we were both excited and worried. We were following Leyla from the press, from the visits paid to her, we knew her resistance, but we were concerned that we would tire her out or disturb her.

“Leyla was on the 112th day of her indefinite and irreversible hunger strike, which she started with the demand that the complete solitariness and isolation imposed on [PKK’s imprisoned leader] Abdullah Öcalan preventing him from meeting his family and attorneys be lifted.

“We knew what 112 days would do to the human body. It was impossible for us to hug or embrace her, we had to tell her everything with our eyes.”

“We were afraid that she would get tired”

Devecioğlu said that after conversing with the daughter of Güven, Sabiha Temizkan, for some time, they went into the room of Leyla Güven:

“She was lying there with her back against us, she sat up when she saw us. She looked at us one by one. We sat around her. We all wanted Leyla to live. But, what could we say against this honorable woman, who says that she loves living to such a degree that she has taken the risk of dying?

“She spoke first. She explained to us why she is on a hunger strike in a light voice, but without faltering, without missing a single word. We learnt that when she informed her fellow inmates about her decision of hunger strike after her hearing, they felt very sorry and tried to dissuade her, but they accepted the situation upon seeing her determination.

“Leyla said that it was the most difficult phase for her. She is now concerned about the ones on a hunger strike abroad and in prisons the most, she said that she is carrying their responsibility as well.

“We gave a promise to Leyla for struggle”

“We were afraid that she would get tired while we were speaking, but her resistance passed on to us after some time. Leyla was a child bride. She was married off at the age of 16, she then joined the struggle with a national consciousness, she acquired the consciousness of a woman and became a feminist after reading the texts written by Öcalan on women.

“She served as a mayor, put an article about employees inflicting violence on women in collective labor agreement. We were bearing witness to a history.

“She spoke, we listened. Then, we started speaking as well. We talked about where we came, about the people who do not give up their resistance despite all this darkness, we talked about the Academics for Peace, about physicians, lawyers, journalists and academics.”

Concluding her remarks, Devecioğlu has stated that “they promised Leyla Güven to struggle to end isolation and pave the way for peace” and added, “We did not leave Leyla behind, we have brought her along. She is now with us, and we are with them.” (EMK/SD)

* Photographs: Ayşegül Devecioğlu