ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The co-leader of Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Pervin Buldan, and 10 other lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish opposition plan to start a hunger strike at the Turkish Parliament on Tuesday in solidarity with an imprisoned fellow Kurdish politician.
The party said in a statement that its leadership decided to join the hunger strike symbolically for two days after Turkish police raided an HDP local branch in the Mediterranean city of Mersin and arrested nine people who were on hunger strike.
Leyla Guven, a long-time veteran of the Kurdish movement in Turkey, launched a hunger strike 26 days ago in prison to protest the Turkish government’s isolation policy on the jailed founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan.
Ocalan has not been allowed to receive visitations from family members since late 2016, and it has been even longer since the last time he had a chance to see his lawyers.
Guven, the Co-chair of the Diyarbakir-based Congress for a Democratic Society (DTK), herself was arrested almost a year ago at the beginning of Turkey’s invasion of the Afrin region in Syrian Kurdistan due to her comments to the media condemning the assault.
The HDP, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration views as a political front for the outlawed PKK did not mention Ocalan by name but said Guven was right in demanding the Turks to lift the isolation on him.
Apart from the national assembly in Ankara, similar strikes are scheduled to be held in other major Turkish and Kurdish cities, including Istanbul and Diyarbakir where some have already begun.
The Co-leader of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), an HDP sister party, Sebahat Tuncel, and 14 other female political prisoners joined the protest on Nov. 27.
Staff at the HDP representation in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil have been on a hunger strike in solidarity since Nov. 20.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany