Joint Press Release on the Ongoing Hunger Strikes in Turkish Prisons


 22 April 2019

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Hakkari Deputy and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chairperson Leyla Güven has been on an indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike since 8 November 2018 in order to end the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners in İmralı Prison. Deputy Güven is now on the 166th day of her hunger strike.

According to our data 2,983 prisoners in 90 prisons have been on the 127th of their indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike since 16 December 2018 and various other dates having stated that they too shared the goal of this protest to end isolation. Please see the annexed list for the list of prisoners on hunger strike based on our data. We believe that the number of prisons and prisoners listed are higher.

The hunger strikers face serious health risks. We will be communicating our report on the issue with the Ministry of Justice and the political parties with a group in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey today and will share it with the public as well.

Eight people have taken their own lives up to today in order to end the isolation in İmralı Prison. We would once more like to remind everyone that such protests should not be resorted to and state that the right to life should absolutely be protected.

The Turkish legislation on the execution of sentences does not prescribe any provision that imposes long-term bans on conferences between prisoners and their lawyers and families. The Ministry of Justice had issued a circular letter in order to provide for conferences among prisoners kept in single and 3-inmate cells in F-type prisons. According to this regulation, while these prisoners should have been given the opportunity to see one another in common spaces in prisons up to 10 hours, many problems are witnessed in practice. Many F-type prisons, notably Silivri Prison No. 9, have arbitrarily failed to implement the provisions of this circular letter. Prisoners in such a condition have nevertheless been able to confer with their lawyers and meet with their families every fortnight up to a certain point during weekdays and office hours. It is, however, our observation that there exist many problems regarding this issue as well.

The prisoners in İmralı Prison, on the other hand, have neither been permitted to confer with their lawyers nor meet with their families for a long time now (except for the half-hour visit by his brother on 12 January 2019). This state of affairs is clearly against Law No. 5275 on the Execution of Sentences along with the bylaw and guidelines on the execution of sentences. The Ministry of Justice should immediately put an end to this unlawful practice and grant the prisoners in İmralı Prison their rights.

We have met with the authorities a number of times regarding the conditions of prisoners on indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike and requested a solution to the problems within this process. The authorities, however, have failed to come up with a solution to the grave problems we have communicated. We would once more like to remind everyone of the necessity to provide for regular health checks for hunger strikers in order to protect their lives and we hereby present a summary of what should be done medically:

  • Hunger strikers should be provided with minimum 5 large glasses of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 5 tablespoons of sugar, 1 large teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate and 500 mg Vitamin B1.
  • Vitamin B1 should be provided and delivered to the hunger strikers.
  • Hunger strikers who face health risks due to comorbid conditions should be treated accordingly during the hunger strike. Hygiene and sanitation of the material used should be guaranteed. Hunger strikers should be kept in a warm and humid place without being exposed to much physical activity.
  • Hunger strikers should be informed about the ways in which they should continue administering medication because of their previous diseases.
  • Those who assist and attend to the hunger strikers should be supplied with the necessary information and means. To this end, the briefing report drafted by the Turkish Medical Association entitled “Points to be Considered During Hunger Strikes” should be communicated to these individuals and hunger strikers.
  • Individuals should be followed-up by a physician, whose intervention they have accepted, beginning with the moment they have gone on hunger strike and they should be informed about their own health conditions daily by their physicians.
  • The “Treatment Care Protocol for Patients on Hunger Strike” -drafted by the Turkish Medical Association based on studies conducted with previous hunger strikers regarding re-feeding, replacement therapy, and the treatment of ensuing diseases and disorders- should be consulted when the patient decides to end his/her hunger strike on his/her own accord and at the stage of transition to treatment and re-feeding.
  • Referrals to hospitals and treatment should not be conducted in handcuffs as it may lead to vomiting and pressure wounds.
  • Physicians and medical staff who might be needed at the stage of replacement and transition to feeding pursuant to the end of the hunger strike should be ascertained beforehand and these individuals should be provided with the necessary know-how about treatment.
  • Prison visits and monitoring by “Independent Medical Follow-up Delegations” formed by relevant professional organizations, healthcare and human rights bodies are significant for the treatment of hunger strikers and reduce the rate of complications. All the necessary opportunities should be provided for these delegations to visit prisons.

We would like to reiterate our call to the Ministry of Justice to take measures ending isolation without delay in order not to risk the health of all prisoners on indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike, notably Leyla Güven.

We request that the democratic protests staged by prisoners’ families, particularly prisoners’ mothers, seeking their rights should not be intervened; effective investigations and legal proceedings should be initiated against police officers engaged in acts infringing upon the ban on torture and ill-treatment during these interventions.


Human Rights Association – Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

Association of Lawyers for Freedom – Progressive Lawyers Platform




The number of hunger strikers according to our data:

  1. Afyon Dinar T-Type Prison; 4 Prisoners
  2. Afyonkarahisar E-Type Prison; 3 Prisoners
  3. Akhisar T-Type Prison; 17 Prisoners
  4. Alanya L-Type Women’s Prison; 21 Prisoners
  5. Amasya E-Type Prison; 3 Prisoners
  6. Antalya L Type Prison; 43 Prisoners
  7. Bafra T Type Prison; 49 Prisoners
  8. Bakırköy Women’s Prison; 29 Prisoners
  9. Bandırma T-Type Prison No. 1; 69 Prisoners
  10. Bandırma T -Type Prison No. 2; 66 Prisoners
  11. Batman M-Type Prison; 40 Prisoners
  12. Bayburt M-Type Prison; 9 Prisoners
  13. Bolu F Type Prison: 93 Prisoners
  14. Buca Kırıklar F-Type Prison No. 1; 12 Prisoners
  15. Buca Kırıklar F-Type Prison No. 2; 10 Prisoners
  16. Burhaniye D-Type Prison; 2 Prisoners
  17. Burhaniye T-Type Prison; 13 Prisoners
  18. Burhaniye T-Type Prison; 16 Prisoners
  19. Bursa H-Type Prison; 15 Prisoners
  20. Bünyan T-Type Prison No. 2; 64 Prisoners
  21. Bünyan Women’s Closed Prison; 28 Prisoners
  22. Ceyhan M-Type Prison; 8 Prisoners
  23. Çankırı E-Type Prison; 4 Prisoners
  24. Denizli T-Type Prison; 10 Prisoners
  25. Diyarbakır Prison No. 1; 35 Prisoners
  26. Diyarbakır D-Type Prison; 173 Prisoners
  27. Diyarbakır E-Type Prison, 13 Prisoners
  28. Düzce T-Type Prison; 12 Prisoners
  29. Edirne F-Type Prison; 24 Prisoners
  30. Elazığ Maximum Security Prison No. 1; 57 Prisoners
  31. Elazığ Maximum Security Prison No. 2; 74 Prisoners
  32. Elazığ Women’s Prison; 3 Prisoners
  33. Ereğli T-Type Prison, 2 Prisoners
  34. Erzincan T-Type Prison, 1 Prisoner
  35. Eskişehir H-Type Prison; 3 Prisoners
  36. Gaziantep L-Type Prison; 3 Prisoners
  37. Gebze Women’s Prison; 31 Prisoners
  38. Giresun E-Type Closed Prison; 15 Prisoners
  39. Gümüşhane E-Type Prison; 5 Prisoners
  40. Kahramanmaras Türkoğlu T-Type Prison No. 2; 7 Prisoners
  41. Kalkandere L-Type Prison; 9 Prisoners
  42. Kandıra F-Type Prison No. 1; 44 Prisoners
  43. Kandıra F-Type Prison No. 2; 24 Prisoners
  44. Kandıra T-Type Prison No. 2; 5 Prisoners
  45. Karabük T-Type Prison: 30 Prisoners
  46. Kepsut L-Type Prison; 4 Prisoners
  47. Kırıkkale F-Type Prison; 46 Prisoners
  48. Kürkçüler F-Type Prison; 20 Prisoners
  49. Malatya E-Type Prison; 15 Prisoners
  50. Maltepe L-Type Prison No. 1; 7 Prisoners
  51. Maltepe L-Type Prison No. 2; 16 Prisoners
  52. Manisa T-Type Prison; 5 Prisoners
  53. Mardin E-Type Prison; 131 Prisoners
  54. Menemen R-Type Prison; 1 Prisoner
  55. Menemen T-Type Prison; 6 Prisoners
  56. Oltu T-Type Prison; 8 Prisoners
  57. Ordu E Type Prison; 21 Prisoners
  58. Osmaniye T-Type Prisons No. 1 & 2; 32 Prisoners
  59. Ödemiş T-Type Prison; 27 Prisoners
  60. Patnos L-Type Prison; 163 Prisoners
  61. Seydişehir T-Type Prison, 2 Prisoners
  62. Siirt Prison: 9 Prisoners
  63. Silivri F-Type Prison No. 5; 186 Prisoners
  64. Silivri F-Type Prison No. 9; 9 Prisoners
  65. Sincan Women’s Closed Prison; 27 Prisoners
  66. Siverek T-Type Prison; 25 Prisoners
  67. Şakran T-Type Prison No. 1; 5 Prisoners
  68. Şakran T Type Prison No. 2; 55 Prisoners
  69. Şakran T-Type Prison No. 3; 43 Prisoners
  70. Şakran T-Type Prison No. 4; 43 Prisoners
  71. Şakran Women’s Prison; 30 Prisoners
  72. Şırnak T-Type Prison; 14 Prisoners
  73. Tarsus T-Type Prison No. 1; 73 Prisoners
  74. Tarsus T-Type Prison No. 2; 23 Prisoners
  75. Tarsus T-Type Prison No. 3; 24 Prisoners
  76. Tarsus Women’s Closed Prison; 20 Prisoners
  77. Tekirdağ F-Type Prison No. 1; 55 Prisoners
  78. Tekirdağ T-Type Prison No. 1; 21 Prisoners
  79. Tekirdağ F-Type Prison No. 2; 55 Prisoners
  80. Tekirdağ T-Type Prison No. 2; 16 Prisoners
  81. Tokat T-Type Prison; 16 Prisoners
  82. Trabzon M-Type Prison, 2 Prisoners
  83. Urfa T-Type Prison No. 1; 85 Prisoners
  84. Urfa T-Type Prison No. 2; 99 Prisoners
  85. Ümraniye E-Type Prison; 6 Prisoners
  86. Van F-Type Prison; 67 Prisoners
  87. Van T-Type Prison; 194 Prisoners
  88. Van Maximum Security Prison; 148 Prisoners
  89. Vezirköprü M-Type Closed Prison; 3 Prisoners
  90. Yozgat E-Type Prison; 4 Prisoners


(TOTAL: 2,983 Prisoners)