Öcalan Makes a Call for an End to Hunger Strikes: They Have Achieved Their Purpose

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  • May 26, 2019
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Hakkari MP Leyla Güven, who is on the 200th day of her hunger strike, and her daughter

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Lawyers of Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan from Asrın Law Bureau held a statement for the press today (May 26) and shared the details of their meeting with Öcalan on May 22. The call of Öcalan for an end to hunger strikes was emphasized in the statement.

After the statement, the letter penned by Öcalan for hunger strikers and death fasters were also shared with the public.

Read out by lawyer Newroz Uysal from Asrın Law Bureau, some highlights from the statement for the press were as follows:

‘Social consensus is Turkey’s basic need’

“We had a new lawyers’ meeting with our client Dear Öcalan in İmralı Island Prison on May 22.

“He was of the opinion that a discussion on social consensus, democratic politics and negotiation and honorable peace is Turkey’s basic need.

“He stated that he will also do his part to render these issues the basic values of politics in Turkey.

“As he did in our previous meeting, he reminded us again that these meetings do not mean the existence of a negotiation process.

‘His message is to all democracy forces’

“He said that his message is to all democracy forces, to political structures in all parts of the spectrum in Turkey and to the state.

“Hearing his statement that ‘We will understand it in 30-40 days how all circles will respond’, we witnessed that he does not make any comments on the attitudes of any political circles.

[Referring to the resolution of problems regarding Rojava, Northern Syria, Syrian Democratic Forces and Syria] Within this context, we would like remind you that Dear Öcalan stated that Turkay and Middle East has historical and deep problems and these problems can be solved with rational, political and cultural approaches.

‘Isolation in İmralı harms climate of peace’

“Just as it is a serious legal problem, the isolation in İmralı is also a phenomenon that politically harms the climate of peace in Turkey.

“In the last four years, when the isolation on Dear Öcalan became heavier, a pessimism has prevailed on all circles of society with the deepening of war, chaos and crises in Turkey and the region.

“Nevertheless, even the fact the he found the opportunity to share his opinions twice in a rather limited manner has raised hopes that a different and new perspective can be developed for the deepening problems.

“During these meetings, we openly saw that Dear Öcalan maintained his position that the problems should be resolved on the basis of peace and by using the method of negotiation and we also saw that he is hopeful for the future and has confidence in himself.

‘Strikes achieved their purpose, they should end’

“Though several issues were discussed in the meeting, the main topic was hunger strikes and death fasts that reached a critical point.

“In this meeting, Dear Öcalan extended his thanks to the strikers for their will and sacrifice and referred to this attitude as an honorable one.

“He also found the attitude of mothers important and attached considerable importance to them. On this occasion, we would like to convey the special greetings of him to the mothers.

“In the meeting, Dear Öcalan insistently emphasized his call for an end to hunger strikes and death fasts, stating that they have achieved their purpose.

“We believe that the strikers will end their protest after this call. He said that what matters is the democratic political struggle and the physical, mental and psychological well-being of strikers is more important than all else.

Gandhi example for hunger strikes

“He showed Gandhi as an example regarding hunger strikes and stated that Gandhi rendered his hunger strike meaningful with social struggle.

“Within this context, Dear Öcalan penned a letter addressing hunger striking and death fasting protestors.”

Letter addressing hunger strikers, death fasters

Stating that “he wanted this letter to be shared with the hunger strikers and death fasters”, Asrın Law Bureau also shared Öcalan’s letter with the public.

In his letter, Öcalan said, “I expect you, especially the ones who have gone on a hunger strike and death fast, to put an end to their protest in the light of comprehensive statements to be made by my two lawyers.”

Daughter of Güven: You have achieved it…

Sharing a message on her Twitter account after the statement for the press, Sabiha Temizkan, the daughter of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Hakkari MP and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair Leyla Güven, who has been on the 200th day of her hunger strike, has said the following:

“You have achieved it. You… The mothers with white kerchiefs and their children… You have achieved it. Because you were very right and that is why it is so powerful. Your white kerchiefs hit the faces of the cruel like a slap. May this success be a worry to the ones who did not believe in it! Thanks very much to everyone who is with us.”

What happened?

The last meeting held between Öcalan and his lawyers was on May 2, 2019. The details of the meeting were shared in a statement for the press on May 6. In their statement, the lawyers from the Asrın Law Bureau also shared the message of Öcalan.

Before this last meeting on May 2, Öcalan was permitted to meet his lawyers eight years ago, on July 27, 2011. Since then, he had not been allowed to meet anyone including his lawyers and family members. On January 13, 2019, Öcalan could have a brief meeting with his brother Mehmet Öcalan.

On May 16, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül announced that the ban preventing Abdullah Öcalan from meeting his lawyers in İmralı Prison has been lifted. Gül stated that “the decisions regarding the meeting ban have been revoked and a meeting opportunity has been provided.”

On the other side, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Hakkari MP Co-Chair Leyla Güven went on a hunger strike on November 8, 2018 with the demand that the conditions of isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan be removed.

On December 16, hundreds of inmates from more than 50 prisons across Turkey followed suit and went on a hunger strike.

As of March 1, 2019, thousands of inmates have been on a hunger strike. Since then, eight inmates have claimed their own lives with the same demand. 30 people have also announced that they have gone on a death fast.