Political prisoner who ended her life buried in Mardin

Political prisoner Nurcan Bakır has been buried at her birthplace in the Northern Kurdish province of Mardin. After 28 years in jail, she took her own life yesterday in a Turkish prison in protest against the prison conditions.

Nurcan Bakır was a political prisoner in Turkish prison for 28 years. Yesterday she took her own life in protest against the prison conditions in Balıkesir-Burhaniye prison. Today she was buried at her birthplace, the village of Sulakdere (Heciya) in Mardin’s Ömerli district.

The funeral procession to the cemetery was stopped by the police at the entrance to the Ömerli district. The vehicles were searched and the mourners were subject to criminal record check.

At the entrance to Heciya, the gendarmerie (military police) stopped the convoy again. All passengers were made to get out and the cars were searched with dogs. A military policeman insulted a mourner, asking: "Did you come to the funeral of a carcass?"

In the village the convoy was received by the people. The coffin was shouldered by women and carried to the cemetery. The women shouted: "Bijî berxwedan a jina" - long live the women's resistance.

At the cemetery, HDP politician Perihan Ağaoğlu said in a speech: "Nurcan has today returned to the place where she was born and where she had been longing. We all know about the oppression of the Kurdish people in Turkey and the Middle East. The Kurds are not allowed to have any living space. Neither their identity and language nor their humanity is recognised. As women we hold our heads high. Nurcan joined the struggle very young. The memory of her shows us the way. We will embrace the legacy she left behind and continue on her path."

Nurcan Bakır had been transferred against her will from the women's prison in Gebze to Burhaniye Prison in Balıkesir after the mass hunger strike last year. The 47-year-old political prisoner had two year prison sentence left before her release. She had appealed to the European Court of Human Rights because of a serious illness. In a conversation with relatives on Tuesday, she had declared that she would "not remain silent in the face of oppression" and that she saw murdered children every night in her dreams.