European doctors: CPT and CoE should act for hunger strikers

"Mr. Abdullah Öcalan is the only politician who can put the Kurdish problem back on the solution track. And this role of Öcalan is denied in Europe."

Doctors from Germany, Switzerland and France have visited the 14 Kurdish activists in Strasbourg who have been on hunger strike for 76 days demanding the end of isolation of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The delegation, who visited each activist separately, was made up of the following doctors: Gerhardt Trabert, Alexandre Köroğlu, Bianca Winter, Serhed Sönmez, dentist Gülnur Polat, orthopedist Basravi Ali, Dersim Dağdeviren and Gule Atasoy.

First of all the doctors carried out a health checks trying to identify the health problems of each activist. After the examination, the doctor issued a press release.

Doctor Köroğlu: They are giving us morale

Cardiologist Mehmet Köroğlu said: “The morale is fine. They even give us morale. A very surprising and reassuring situation. They experienced heavy weight loss. Heart problems and neurological problems have emerged. These problems are under control. Internal medicine specialists have also carried out examination.”

Professor doctor Trabert: I am here in solidarity

Doctor Gerhardt Trabert from Germany, while criticising the European states for remaining silent on a human rights issue, underlined that the problem is not only a problem of Kurds.

Professor Trabert said: “I am here in solidarity. I often go to Rojava. We have work with health institutions there. We came here in solidarity. It is important for us to stand up against human rights abuses in Turkey and underline the attitude of the European states on this. In the Kurdish resistance culture, I know that hunger strikes are a means of resistance, but this issue is not only of concern of Kurds: it concerns human rights, democracy, and peace, and these are issues that are relevant to everyone. And indeed, the courage of people on hunger strikes is worth commending.”

Emphasizing the high motivation of the activists, doctor Trabert continued: “Of course we fear for these people, and I see that there is a motivation here. On the other hand, we see that the health situation of the activists is bad.”

Criticism of CPT and Council of Europe

Doctor Trabert responded to a question regarding institutions such as the Council of Europe and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and their attitude towards the demands of the activists.

Gerhardt Trabert said: “It is a duty to keep this issue on the agenda and to make every effort to ensure the European institutions take action. It is necessary to ask ‘What value do these democracies have?’ if they will not fight for human rights.”

Doctor Winter: The CPT must act

Human rights advocate Bianca Winter stressed that the removal of isolation, which is the main demand of hunger strikers, is also the responsibility of the CPT. She reminded that the CPT is the only institution that can go and visit prisoners by asking to do so to the member states at any time and situation.

Would the world be silent if this action had been done for Mandela?

Winter added that CPT is not fulfilling its responsibilities. “The lives of people here are in danger, unless these states do not listen to the people here and their completely legitimate demands. Mr. Abdullah Öcalan is the only politician who can put the Kurdish problem back on the solution track. And this role of Öcalan is denied in Europe.

What would have Europe - that was fighting the Apartheid regime - done if Nelson Mandela had been denied visits by his lawyers? I cannot imagine that the European governments would have behaved in the same silent way as they are acting now.”