Başaran: Let’s be the voice of the hunger strikers

HDP’s Başaran underlined that the situation in the prisons is worsening and appeal to the society to speak out.

Ayşe Acar Başaran, spokesperson of the HDP Law and Human Rights Commission, organized a press conference yesterday on the hunger strike carried out by DTK Co-Chair and HDP Hakkari MP Leyla Güven and the political prisoners.

Başaran spoke on behalf of the Freedom Initiative against Isolation and said: “Today is the 60th day of the hunger strike initiated by DTK co-chair and Hakkari MP Leyla Güven. She began fasting on 7 November 2018. Together with the hunger strike initiated by Leyla Güven, more than 100 prisoners in dozens of prisons are trying to reach the society by silently crying out the same demand. The lifting of absolute isolation imposed on Mr. Abdullah Öcalan is the joint demand of them all.”

Başaran added: “As you know, no news has been received from Mr. Öcalan after a meeting with his lawyers in 2011, a meeting with the Imralı delegation in 2015, and the meeting with his family on 11 September 2016, after another hunger strike.”

Öcalan, said Başaran “has no contact with his family or his lawyers nor with any delegation. Of course, it is a shame to consider Mr Öcalan just as an ordinary prisoner. Because it is obvious that these 3 years of isolation have been experienced not only by him but by the whole of Turkey. The ground of conflict he tried to address continued, with more war and without solutions.”

Leyla Güven’s demand, said Başaran, “is not only the abolition of the isolation regime imposed on a person. She is demanding to abolish the isolation imposed on the people of Turkey, dissidents, young people, women. Hundreds of prisoners, including Leyla Güven, have tried to convey this legitimate and just demand to the society for days.”

Health of hunger strikers reached critical stage

The health status of Ms. Güven, said Başaran “has reached a critical stage. She has high blood pressure, dizziness and difficulty in fluid intake. In other prisons, nothing that a hunger striker needs is met. In some prisons, B vitamins are not given, and some hunger strikers are kept in single cells and dragged to death.”

A deafening silence

Despite the critical situation, Başaran said: “The silence within the society is frightening. The fact that society is so silent shows that we could expect the worse in the coming days. Leyla Güven is at a critical stage, and in the case of other prisoners, they are fast heading towards a critical stage.”

We must be the voice of the hunger strikers

Başaran continued: “I appeal to all social dynamics, civil society organizations, political parties, women's organizations, youth organizations and to whoever calls him/herself ‘a democrat’, or says ‘I want Turkish society be a free society’. Leyla Güven’s demand is not a personal demand. Although Leyla Güven and other friends are held as hostages illegally, they do not have personal demands. Leyla Güven's demand is the demand of the whole society. It’s the demand of the people of Turkey, to live in a free and democratic country. We repeat our call. The hunger strikes in the past had different results. We also saw success and the door to a solution was opened. The closest example was in 2012. After the hunger strike in 2012, a process of dialogue with Mr Öcalan began, and these talks had begun to provoke a change.”

Now, said Başaran, “we are at a crossroad: we will either continue to ignore and pretend that these prisoners do not have justified demands, and we will watch them slowly fading away. Or we will raise their legitimate demand and wait for the power to take a step. It's not a very difficult or impossible demand.”

Başaran ended her remarks by saying: “We speak to the youngest women who are most affected by war policies. Let's give voice to the silent cry out of the prisoners kept among those four walls. Those prisoners who have nothing to resist other than their body. Let's appeal to the power to meet this demand. We therefore call upon all our people, all institutions to become sensitive and to demand the end of isolation.”