Kurdish prisoners, MP in Turkey end hunger strike after Ocalan's call
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkish jails and four lawmakers ended a months-long hunger strike on Sunday following a message urging to do so by the imprisoned founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan.
Ocalan’s lawyers met him for the second time this month on May 22, after their first meeting in eight years three weeks ago.
In both occasions, Ocalan’s messages were relayed days later as the lawyers did not explain why.
“I would like to state that your objective has been realized, as I present you my thankfulness and heartfelt love,” Ocalan said in a short letter addressing the strikers who demanded from the Turkish state to stop a policy of isolation on the PKK leader.
“I hope you will, particularly, from now on, accompany me with a stronger will,” he said, without further elaboration.
Leading the strikes was pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Leyla Guven of Diyarbakir, who was herself in prison until January.
She was taken to a Diyarbakir hospital from her home after she ended her strike.
Political prisoners across Turkey were taken to hospitals from jails after they announced an end to their strike.
HDP has said at least six people in Turkish jail died as a result of the strike. Guven was fed vitamins, sugar, and water to be kept alive.
Ocalan’s lawyers at the Istanbul-based Asrin Law Bureau dismissed claims their two meetings with him meant fresh peace negotiations between the PKK and Turkey, as the two sides continue a decades-long conflict over Ankara’s suppression of Kurdish demands for self-rule and cultural rights.
There has been much speculation in the Turkish media and nationalist political circles that Ankara was trying to lay the ground for new talks with the PKK after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party lost Istanbul in March elections to the opposition backed by Kurdish votes.
Istanbul elections are set to be re-run on June 23, after authorities nullified the March 31 results in which the opposition’s Ekrem Imamoglu won by a small margin.
Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul has also denied any talks with Ocalan.
According to the lawyers, Ocalan said he was ready to take an active “positive” role to help solve the Kurdish issue in Syria where US-backed Kurdish groups have set up a de facto autonomous region much to the chagrin of Turkey whose Erdogan constantly threatens yet another invasion.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany