Kurds In Ireland Are Going To Hunger Strike Outside Irish Parliament
ireland / britain |
repression / prisoners |
Tuesday November 06, 2012 18:49 by Kurdistan Solidarity Ireland
WEDNESDAY 7th of november at 2 PM
Hundreds of Kurdish prisoners are now taking part in a hunger strike which they have declared is to be indefinite.
This hunger strike began on 12 September, a not insignificant date in Turkey¹s political history, with 63 people, including 13 women, in seven prisons. The numbers have grown rapidly with hundreds more Kurdish political prisoners joining the action and it is reported that 600 prisoners are currently on indefinite hunger strike.
The prisoners' demands appear simple and reasonable: the right to education and legal defence in their mother tongue of Kurdish; and the start of direct peace talks to resolve the outstanding conflict by peaceful, constitutional means and with the full participation of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
If nothing is done to meet the demands of the hunger strikers, more martyrs will be added to the Kurdish dead and it is feared that the situation could rapidly take the country to the brink of chaos. Renewed conflict would become inevitable if this action were to end in fatalities. We therefore call on the Turkish government to respond positively to the legitimate demands made by the hunger strikers.
The majority of those who have joined this action are members of the Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, including elected politicians and officials; they are responsible citizens striving to do the best for their communities who have found themselves detained and gaoled on the basis of largely spurious allegations.
It is clear that the Kurdish citizens in very large numbers regard Ocalan as their political leader and they have chosen him to speak on their behalf. Ocalan himself has shown consistently that he is ready to reach agreement; he has put forward many constructive proposals as a basis for negotiations.
It is right to see Ocalan as a responsible leader of a responsible peace-loving people. It is high time that Turkey changes its approach to the Kurds and ceases its attempts to demonise the Kurdish people, their organisations and their leaders; Kurds should not be seen as enemies in a war but as partners in the pursuit of peace. They want to help build a modern, truly democratic Turkey.
It can hardly be surprising that it is from inside Turkey's notorious prisons that this drastic action has been initiated. For nearly four years, the world has looked on aghast as Turkey has been imprisoning Kurds in their thousands.
Ostensibly, this is part of a counter-terrorism strategy to safeguard the unity of the country allegedly threatened by guerrilla violence. In reality, the anti-terror law has been used to punish, isolate, and silence the Kurdish community.
Anyone who has been courageous enough to criticise Turkey¹s militarisation of the Kurdish conflict, or who has demanded the right to speak their own language in school or to have their Kurdish identity recognised, are criminalised and arrested.
The Turkish Government has a responsibility to resolve this outstanding conflict in a spirit of justice, democratic inclusiveness and respect for the rights of all the country¹s citizens.
The individuals who have taken their decision to join this hunger strike are demonstrating their dedication and commitment to a cause that is unquestionably just and right.
The men and women on hunger strike see no other avenues open to them when faced with a situation where elected politicians are criminalised and Kurdish community leaders are harassed, detained and sent to court to face grotesque show trials.
These repressive measures shame Turkey and represent a dangerous political course that is now threatening to bring calamity on the country. All Turkey¹s citizens, Turks and Kurds equally, will suffer as will future generations if the conflict and animosities are permitted to linger on and escalate.
We have no hesitation in expressing support for the demands of those on hunger strike -
Education in the mother tongue
The right to use Kurdish in defence in trials;
Respect for the Kurdish people¹s democratic rights;
Freedom for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
For further info contact Latif Serhildan,