Indefinite and Non-Alternate Hunger Strikes Ended
Hunger strikes ended as of 26 May 2019 which had been initiated by Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair and Hakkari Deputy Leyla Güven on 8 November 2018 and later on adopted by 3,065 prisoners in 90 prisons all over Turkey according to our data. 30 prisoners had stated on 30 April and 10 May that they would continue with the hunger strike until they died.
The major goal of hunger strikers was to lift the isolation in prisons and particularly in İmralı Prison. We would like to state that we welcome the end of hunger strikes with the will of the prisoners themselves and the call of Abdullah Öcalan who was permitted to confer with his lawyers on 2 and 22 May 2019 as a result of the hunger strikes.
We have, at the same time, been deeply saddened by the fact that 7 prisoners in Turkey and 1 person abroad took their own lives in protest within this process.
Prisoners’ mothers, standing side by side with their children, have staged democratic and peaceful protests in order to prevent their children from getting hurt but the police violence they have been subjected to will not be forgotten.
Rights organizations have closely followed the situation and reported the situation in prisons from the very beginning of the process, stood with those who sought their rights, adopted a clear attitude towards the lifting of isolation and respected the will of the hunger strikers. All kinds of initiatives have been taken within this process before the political power and the Ministry of Justice and meetings have been held, calls on the international community have been issued and the necessary initiatives and meetings have been undertaken with the CPT. We have, as significant constituents of the human rights movement in Turkey, once more demonstrated our active and effective stand in the struggle for rights and will keep on doing so.
Utmost care should be paid to avoid further risking the prisoners’ health with the termination of hunger strikes.
Management of the treatment process in a manner that will not risk the prisoners’ health conditions is of prime significance for the prevention of permanent damage. The Turkish Medical Association has drafted “Recommendations for the Treatment of Patients after Hunger Strike Termination: A Simple Algorithm” for this particular condition which requires specialized information and compliance to ethical conduct. Ultimate care should be paid to ensure the treatment process be managed in a way that is respectful of human dignity in healthcare institutions appropriate for hunger strikers and within the framework of the guidelines shared by the TMA.
We, İHD and HRFT, will be closely following this process as well.
Human Rights Association Headquarters
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey Headquarters