Birdal: Isolation and hunger strikes should be first issue on the country's agenda

IHD Honorary chair, Akın Birdal, said that isolation and hunger strikes should be the first item on the country's agenda and suggested holding a peace and democracy conference.

Human Rights Association (IHD) Honorary chair, Akın Birdal, said that social peace begins with the end of isolation and improvement of prison conditions.

The indefinite-alternating hunger strike carried out by more than 2,000 prisoners in 107 prisons continues on its 63rd. Prisoners are demanding the end of the isolation imposed on Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan. Birdal talked to ANF about the isolation in Imrali and said it constitutes a crime in terms of domestic and international law, and that it is against human rights, democracy and the peace, which is what society needs the most.

Birdal underlined that during the hunger strikes launched by DTK co-chair Leyla Güven, it was necessary the sacrifice of 9 young people's lives to make the process visible. Birdal added that a solution to the question posed by the democratic public opinion "What to do?" is needed.

Do people have to die to see their rights respected?

Reminding that the conditions in prison are very harsh, Birdal said: “Do people have to die one after another in prison in order to improve conditions? Do hunger strikes have to be irreversible to be heard?"

Noting that isolation and hunger strikes should be the first item of the country’s agenda, Birdal added that the isolation imposed upon Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan has another meaning. He said that this isolation and practices in prison are the result of the lack of solution in the Kurdish issue.

Peace and Democracy Conference

Birdal said that the media should address this issue and underlined that social peace actually begins by ending the isolation and improve the conditions in prison. Birdal argued that there is an urgent need for a peace and democracy conference and suggested that the roadmap that could emerge from there could be the guide to follow. Birdal said that the derailment of democracy, the polarization of society and the departure from peace are the result of the deadlock in the Kurdish issue, and noted that the solution to the Kurdish issue should be the first item on the agenda.