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Urgent Call for Kurdish Hunger Strikers in Turkey

[Protest in support of Kurdish hunger strikers in Berlin. Image by Thomas Rossi Rassloff via Flickr] [Protest in support of Kurdish hunger strikers in Berlin. Image by Thomas Rossi Rassloff via Flickr]

[The following letter is being circulated as of 3 November 2012 with respect to Kurdish prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey.]

To Your Attention:

Academicians from different disciplines and universities in Turkey have started a new campaign in the face of the hunger strike of 683 Kurdish detainees in Turkish prisons. Sixty-four of them have passed their fifty-third day while seventy-nine more have been continuing their strike for forty-three days.

The prime minister of Turkey has denied the existence of hunger strikes in a press conference in Germany at the exact same time when the Minister of Justice declared in Turkey that 683 prisoners are in hunger strike in sixty-six prisons.

The hungers strikes are the result of the fact that the war between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan’s Worker’s Party hasn’t stopped for 30 years. In the last three years, 8000 Kurdish politicians, municipality workers, journalists, lawyers, doctors, and students have been arrested. The detainees cannot stand in their defense because they are not allowed to speak in their native tongue. The Turkish government terminated peace negotiations, which were going on in secret, more than a year ago. Since then, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of PKK, who stays in a prison in Turkey, has not been allowed to see his lawyers.

In the face of the misinformation that Turkish authorities give about the Kurdish problem and the conditions of the detainees, we academicians have decided that it is crucial to discuss the facts and truths about the issue from an academic perspective. We are also worried that the condition in Turkey, the protests that have been going on for ten days, and how they are brutally repressed remain inadequately covered by world media preventing possible pressure for peace.

We strongly urge you to take issue with these grave events and show your solidarity with us in ways you see fit.

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