Hunger Strike Shines Light on Turkey Crackdown

Hunger Strike Shines Light on Turkey Crackdown

Comments Off on Hunger Strike Shines Light on Turkey Crackdown

Nearly 1,000 people were forced out of their jobs Friday in Turkey, joining more than 150,000 people who have been fired as part of an ongoing government crackdown following a failed coup last year. The opposition is increasingly rallying around two purged educators who have been on a hunger strike for more than five months.

"Semih, Nuriye, we are with you," protesters chanted earlier this month in the heart of Istanbul. It was the latest show of support for Professor Nuriye Gulmen and schoolteacher Semih Ozakca, two protesters who are in their fifth month of a hunger strike over the firing of educators during the government crackdown.

The Istanbul protest did not last long. Dozens of heavily armed riot police and plainclothes police officers began making arrests. With the condition of the two hunger strikers deteriorating, the crackdown on their supporters is intensifying.

The interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, has ruled out concessions.

"I'm sorry," he said, "but we are not sending our children to schools to be educated as terrorists. We can't surrender our children to the hands of the terrorists for their education."

Gulmen and Ozakca were fired for alleged ties to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for masterminding the coup attempt. Like many people fired since the start of the crackdown, Gulmen and Ozakca say they are staunchly secular and oppose Gulen. Gulen denies the government's accusation against him.

Gulmen and Ozakca, however, are critical of the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. With their hunger strike becoming an increasing focal point of opposition to the crackdown, the two were jailed on terrorism charges.

Political scientist Cengiz Aktar says the crackdown on Gulmen and Ozakca and their supporters is driven by panic.

"It's done out of irrationality and fear. They don't realize by doing so, they are making these two unlucky fellows heroes," Aktar said. "If they happen to die, which I really hope not, things will get worse. People will take up this issue more strongly. Others may follow suit. Other hunger strikers may follow suit, and it may become something uncontrollable."

Protests in support of Gulmen and Ozakca continue. Their names can be seen in graffiti on walls and pavement in towns and cities across Turkey. Despite the risks, demonstrators remain defiant.

"I am extremely worried, I am so worried, even I am losing weight because I don't enjoy existing while this is happening," one woman said. "We will definitely find a way of continuing to exist. Not just exist, but to resist and get a strong win in the end. What we are fighting for is justice, human rights. It's a good cause."

Tensions are further fueled by reports that authorities are planning to force feed Gulmen and Ozakca.

Source: Voice of America

admin

Related Posts

Saudi Woman Fleeing Family Arrives in Canada Where She Was Granted Asylum

Comments Off on Saudi Woman Fleeing Family Arrives in Canada Where She Was Granted Asylum

“The need for an urgent and comprehensive reform of international organizations gets more and more important”

Comments Off on “The need for an urgent and comprehensive reform of international organizations gets more and more important”

Turkish Airlines employs 500 new pilots in 2018

Comments Off on Turkish Airlines employs 500 new pilots in 2018

Turkey’s benchmark stock index ends Monday down

Comments Off on Turkey’s benchmark stock index ends Monday down

Merkel promises fresh scrutiny of Turkey’s EU talks

Comments Off on Merkel promises fresh scrutiny of Turkey’s EU talks

Spanish prime minister backs progress in Brexit talks

Comments Off on Spanish prime minister backs progress in Brexit talks

Turkey urges Muslim states to stand up against Israel

Comments Off on Turkey urges Muslim states to stand up against Israel

President Erdogan meets with members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential Council

Comments Off on President Erdogan meets with members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential Council

US verdict on Turkish banker ‘scandalous’: Erdogan aide

Comments Off on US verdict on Turkish banker ‘scandalous’: Erdogan aide

Turkey’s Senforock performs for thousands in Anatolia

Comments Off on Turkey’s Senforock performs for thousands in Anatolia

NATO Chief Visits Ankara in Bid to Block Russian Missile Sale

Comments Off on NATO Chief Visits Ankara in Bid to Block Russian Missile Sale

47,000 more Syrians in Turkey back home for Eid al-Adha

Comments Off on 47,000 more Syrians in Turkey back home for Eid al-Adha

Create Account



Log In Your Account