Jailed journalist Nedim Türfent joins the hunger strike against isolation
"As all our rights have been suspended, I am going on a 5-day hunger strike to raise a voice against isolation. Ending of isolation will give all of us a breath," said Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent who has been behind bars since May 2016.
The indefinite-alternating hunger strike launched by PKK and PAJK prisoners in Turkish jails in protest at the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and massive rights violations in prisons on November 27, 2020, continues.
Abdullah Öcalan, mastermind of the Kurdish freedom movement, has been imprisoned in Turkey since his capture as result of an international conspiracy in February 1999. Since the termination of the PKK's peace negotiations with the Turkish government in 2015, Öcalan has been isolated from the public.
Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent, held in the High Security Prison in Van province, has announced his participation in the 26th group of the hunger strike.
Türfent has been in jail in Turkey since May 2016, accused of membership of a terrorist organisation. The journalist had been working in the country’s southeast as a correspondent for the Dicle News Agency (DIHA), which was shut down by a presidential decree after the July 15, 2016 attempted military coup.
Türfent said the following in a message he sent through his family:
“Taking pandemic as a godsend opportunity, the Ministry of Justice has expanded the isolation executed on Imralı to all prisons across the country. There are efforts to take prisoners’ breath away through subjecting them to a strict isolation. As all our rights have been suspended, I am going on a 5-day hunger strike starting today to raise a voice against isolation. Ending of isolation will give all of us a breath.”
Türfent had previously reported on the abuse of power by state officials. Specifically, it was about a video recording from August 2015 from the northern Kurdistan province of Hakkari. The video showed a special unit of the Turkish security forces handcuffing several dozen construction site workers and forcing them to lie down on the ground with roars, racist insults, threats.
Towards the end of the video, the following sentence can be heard: "Now you will feel the power of the Turks! I know your faces now. Anyone who cheats on us has to expect the consequences. What did this state do to you? Now you will feel the power of the Turks."
After Nedim Türfent reported on the incident, he was repeatedly threatened, including by members of the JİTEM (Intelligence Service of the Turkish Gendarmerie) before he was finally arrested on the basis of fictitious investigations. The indictment against the journalist was first written after he had been in custody for 13 months. The attorney-in-charge found sufficient evidence in Türfent's journalistic activities and articles to require a prison sentence of over 22 years.
On 15 December 2017, Nedim Türfent was finally sentenced to seven years in prison for being a member of a terrorist group. Later, the term was then extended to eight years and nine months because of the "continuation of the findings".