PKK -PAJK prisoners on hunger strike: Time for resistance

In a detailed statement, political prisoners from PKK and PAJK trials in Turkey point out the untenable conditions in Turkish prisons and vow to resist.

In a statement on behalf of PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and PAJK (Party of Free Women from Kurdistan) prisoners in Turkey, Isyan Kaya reveals the dimension of the intolerable prison conditions, saying that the repression is worse than in the nineties, there is total surveillance in the prisons and the prisoners have only resistance left. Since November 27, an indefinite hunger strike has been taking place in Turkish prisons, currently in groups for five days at a time.

The statement by PKK and PAJK prisoners includes the following:

"The Kurdish people have been resisting denial, annihilation and massacres for a hundred years in order to continue their existence. The struggle led by the liberation movement gives hope for freedom to the peoples of Kurdistan, Turkey, the Middle East and the world.

During the talks held after 2012, the fascist AKP/MHP government understood that the liberation movement cannot be made to surrender through dirty machinations and criminalization and therefore there must be a solution. As a result, the total annihilation of the Kurdish movement was decided in 2015, and the Kurdish people were wanted to be brought to their knees.

This fascist objective was reflected in the economic crisis, anti-democratic acts, assimilation policies, feminicide and human rights violations for the people of Turkey. The tyranny was joined by the pandemic and the whole society of Turkey suffers from this condition.

As part of the decided decomposition plan, operations are being carried out in the four parts of Kurdistan, occupation invasions are taking place in Rojava and Bashur [Western and Southern Kurdistan], massive waves of arrests and detentions are taking place in Turkey.

Parallel to the operations outside, torture, rights violations and repression in prisons have intensified. As a people and as prisoners, it is important for us to realize that we are facing is an extermination attack and we cannot continue to live normally and behave as usual. The violence against prisoners is on a much larger scale than it was in the 1990s, and the extermination attack has a qualitatively different goal.

After the resistance of 2018/2019 [mass hunger strike], raids have taken place in hundreds of prisons on December 6, 2019 and March 13, 2020, which are indicative of policy being pursued. During the raids last March, books, self-authored texts, letters and notebooks were confiscated. There was no legal justification for the action, and most of the confiscated items were retained without a court order. The enforcement authorities are granted unlimited powers by means of general orders, as a result of which the violations of the law have taken on a limitless dimension. Clearly, law enforcement administrators and personnel assume that fascism will never be over and that they will not be held accountable for their actions. They are wrong. For forty years, no government has withstood longer than the liberation movement and no tyrant can escape being held accountable one day.

At the beginning of the Corona pandemic, the correctional reform released bandits, violent criminals and fascists from prison because they were in danger of dying. Political prisoners continue to be left to die. According to media reports, hundreds of prisoners have been infected with the virus; what the actual number is cannot even be estimated. In October and November, our companions Muhammed Emir in Elbistan and Sidki Berktaş in Tekirdağ died of COVID-19 because they did not receive medical treatment. Both of them have resisted with dignity against the oppression in the dungeon for 28 years. They are martyrs of the prison resistance who did not surrender and for whom we renew our promise of freedom. We offer our condolences to their relatives, to our people and to all fighting friends. The life and death of our captured comrades is the responsibility of the state. Their entire existence depends on the state and they have no chance or possibility to protect themselves. Therefore, the death of prisoners from epidemic or other diseases cannot be compared with the pandemic outside.

For almost a year, because of pandemic, all common areas are closed, sports, classes, family visits and social activities are prohibited. In parallel, repression, raids, bans and violations of rights have intensified. In October, Kurdish language was banned with a circular and suddenly it was decided to send legal Kurdish books to the police. Our written literary works are not allowed in or out. Thus, the mental, spiritual and productive space of the prisoners is also curtailed beyond recognition. With the system set up and the new prohibitions, prisons have become a kind of Big Brother house. There is no longer a single area that is not observed and recorded.

This is an open extermination operation in the prisons, which is carried out with the cooperation of the Ministry of Justice and Interior, General Directorate of Police and MIT (Intelligence Services). During the week of resistance against violence against women on November 25 and the anniversary of the foundation of our party on November 27, raids took place in various prisons, openly showing hatred towards women and Kurds and obviously spreading the viral disease. In the affected cells, every scrap of paper was confiscated, including self-written notes, stories, novel, researches and letters in which the prisoners have invested up to thirty years of work. Correctional staff entered the cells with shoes on, stepped on the beds with shoes on, and used the same gloves to rummage through clothing, books, and everything else. It was an open attempt to kill. The prisoners who cannot be forced to surrender are wanted infected with the virus and murdered without treatment. Another kind of murder is the prevention of any mental and emotional productivity in social form. Against these attacks, no one in Turkey who still has a conscience and does not want to lose his humanity should be silent. Relatives of the prisoners, human rights organizations, democrats, intellectuals and artists must raise their voices.

The indefinite hunger strike, carried out in groups, continues. In the prisons where the attacks have taken place, the prisoners have been trying for days to make themselves heard by shouting slogans and banging on the doors.

As PKK and PAJK prisoners, we say like our companions in the face of the interstate conspiracy: we do not surrender and we will not be brought to our knees. You have not been able to darken our sun, and you will not be able to do so in the future.”