Jailed Kurdish writer: Give voice to the hunger strikers

In 104 prisons in Turkey, political prisoners are on hunger strike demanding the lifting of the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish question. Imprisoned writer Leyla Saraç appealed to the public.

Since Monday 29 November, political prisoners in 104 jails in Turkey have been on hunger strike demanding freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question. The hunger strike is being carried out in groups in rotation, and the first step is to demand that the isolation imposed on Öcalan is lifted. There has been no sign of life from the Kurdish people’s leader and his three fellow prisoners in Imrali since March 2021.

In the last few days, many prisoners have spoken out through their relatives or lawyers to publicly explain their concerns. One of the prisoners is Kurdish writer Leyla Saraç. She is imprisoned in the Şakran women's prison in Izmir.

In a phone call with her family, Leyla Saraç said that her fellow prisoners Kübra Filiz and Esma Başkale were participating in the hunger strike. “We want our families and the entire public to support us. You must give us a voice,” demanded Saraç, explaining that the resistance will continue until their demands are met.

Leyla Saraç

Leyla Saraç is the author of the Kurdish poetry collection “Werzeba” and the book “Zerya”, also written in Kurdish. She was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in 2015 for “membership of a terrorist organization” and released after five years and eight months. Eight months after her release, she was arrested at Izmir Airport in June 2022 and detained again due to outstanding disciplinary sanctions. Her expected release date is April 2024.