Nearly 700 inmates convicted of or under arrest on suspicion of membership in the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or its umbrella organization have been on a hunger strike for more than a month, demanding an end to the isolation of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and the right to education in Kurdish.
Bugün’s Gülay Göktürk says she agrees with the Kurdish father of one of the hunger strikers who recently said: “If the demands are so important, then why didn’t Öcalan, who has been in prison for 14 years, stage a hunger strike, even for a day? If a hunger strike is the only way to restore freedom for Öcalan and to restore some other rights, free people should be the ones to go on hunger strike.” This is a call of common sense, Göktürk notes.
There have been many hunger strikes in prisons both in Turkey and in the rest of the world. Most of them have proved to be successful, but with one difference: Their demands were always about the prison conditions they were in. Hunger strikes were never used for “solving” the country’s political problems, she notes.
The PKK knows well that it is impossible for their demand to be met and they know that the strikers will end up dying without any of their demands being realized. But this is actually what they want. They want hundreds of people to die and Kurds to become more and more frustrated so that the terrorist organization can use this frustration against the government. Göktürk calls the inmates who have no other choice than going on a hunger strike “PKK captives,” because those inmates know for sure that they will be strangled somewhere deep in jail if they refuse to join the strike. That’s why what should be done to save those people is to persuade them to give up their strike and, more importantly, to provide full security for them and to render jails a place where they can act within their free will.
Star’s Sedat Laçiner says what we are facing today is not a strike of individuals who protest the state for poor prison conditions or for the mistreatment they are subjected to. It is nothing but another order from the PKK. Just like the terrorist organization orders terrorists to set fire to schools or to design plots against soldiers or policemen, the organization is now telling its sympathizers and members that it has entrapped to “die.” In this sense, this “hunger strike” is a suicide operation, in a way. And the aim with such a plan is to get the sympathy of the international community and to view this “terrorism problem” as a “problem of humanity.”