Saçaklıdır: Prisoners on hunger strike want their demands accepted

Political prisoners in Turkey are on hunger strike demanding a democratic solution to the Kurdish question. Esra Saçaklıdır from the IHD in Amed spoke about the determination of the prisoners and the punishments they get from the prison administration.


There has been no news from Abdullah Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners, Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş on the prison island of Imralı, for three years. The legally required possibility of contacting lawyers and relatives is also prohibited. Öcalan's isolation reflects the Turkish state's refusal to resolve the Kurdish question.

On 10 October 2023, an international campaign was launched calling for the release of Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question. As a contribution to this campaign, political prisoners in Turkey went on an alternate hunger strike on 27 November 2023.

Esra Saçaklıdır is a member of the prison commission of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Amed, and she is closely following the hunger strike. The lawyer told ANF that the IHD, together with the Amed Bar Association, the Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) and prisoner support associations, have formed delegations that regularly visit the prisons and record their observations in reports. She said: "Our reports often talk about the disciplinary sanctions imposed on prisoners. The prisoners taking part in the hunger strike are being moved to individual cells and, in our opinion, they are not receiving enough sugar, water and salt. Many already suffer from previous illnesses and their condition is worsening. We have been told that some prisoners can no longer look after themselves and are in need of care. It is also reported that social activities have been restricted by the prison administration since the hunger strike began. We hear the same complaints in all prisons. According to our findings, hunger strikers are punished. There are no health checks. To break resistance, disciplinary sanctions are imposed."

According to the lawyer, the prisoners are determined to continue the hunger strike for a political solution to the Kurdish question until their demands are met. "During our visits we see how much the prisoners insist on this. They want the Kurdish question to be resolved on a democratic basis. The state must take appropriate steps. As long as there is no solution, the hunger strike will continue."