ILPS statement of solidarity and support for the Kurdish political prisoners on hunger strike

By the Office of the Chairperson,
ILPS International Coordinating Committee

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) extends its most militant greetings of solidarity and support to the hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners who have been on hunger strike in different prisons in Turkey since September 12, 2012.

The Kurdish political prisoners have embarked on this hunger strike to call attention to the continuing violations of the human rights of the Kurdish people by the Turkish state, particularly their inalienable right to national self-determination, their right to speak and assemble freely and the right to due process

The hunger strike that was started on September 12, 2012 by 13 women and 50 men political prisoners in 7 prisons has now spread to 39 prisons with the number of hunger strikers rising to more than 600. Many of the prisoners are members of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and PAJK (Kurdistan Women’s Liberation Party). Some are members of the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party).

The hunger strike was launched on September 12 to mark a black day in Turkey’s history when the Turkish military seized power in a coup d’etat on September 12, 1980. The military went on to put over a million people in jail, tortured and killed tens of thousands and imposed fascist terror on the people. The AKP government is carrying out the same policy of repression especially against the Kurdish people.

This government much like the military regimes it replaced has put in prison tens of thousands of Kurdish politicians, journalists, health workers, lawyers, human rights activists and young people who oppose the oppressive policies of the AKP regime. It is significant to note that many of the people arrested are members of the legal Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) which is the strongest opponent of the AKP and the only opposition party in the Kurdish areas of Turkey.

The hunger strikers have three specific demands. Firstly, they demand a stop to the cruel conditions of detention and they demand freedom for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan who has been kept in isolation for 13 years and has not been allowed to see his lawyer since 27 July 2011. Mr. Ocalan is the acknowledged leader of the Kurdish people and a person who possesses enough prestige and authority to play a key role in any negotiations for a just solution to the ongoing armed conflict between the Kurdish people and the Turkish state.

Secondly, the hunger strikers demand the recognition of the Kurdish language and its use in schools and in the public sphere. In this connection, the prisoners demand the right to use their mother tongue for their defense in court.

Thirdly, they demand respect for the democratic rights of the Kurdish people such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and other universally recognized civil and political rights.

The ILPS, an alliance of more than 300 mass organizations in over 40 countries in Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe, fully supports the just struggle of the Kurdish people for national self-determination and to the exercise of their collective rights in the social, economic, political and cultural spheres.

We call on all the member organizations of the ILPS and all people of goodwill to show their support to the hunger strikers by sending solidarity messages and doing solidarity actions condemning the repressive measures of the Turkish state and supporting the specific demands of the hunger strikers and their general demand for the exercise of the right of the Kurdish people to national self-determination.

Long live the struggle of the Kurdish people for national self-determination!
Freedom to all political prisoners!
Long live international solidarity!


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