IHD and TUHAY-DER call on people to support prisoners on hunger strike

IHD executive Yoleri said that the resistance in prison will only succeed if there is an enlargement of the social struggle.

Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul branch chair, Gülseren Yoleri, and Marmara TUHAY-DER co-chair, Hüsnü Taş, talked with ANF about the resistance in prison.

Yoleri said that the resistance will only succeed if there is an enlargement of the social struggle, Taş called on families and society to support the resistance, saying that "the prisoners are determined."

Taş added: "This is an act of warning. If the demands are not accepted soon, the action could step up and turn into an indefinite and irreversible hunger strike."

Gülseren Yoleri said: "There are two basic things to know: First, isolation is a torture; a torture aimed at breaking the prisoner's will, destroying his relations, and destroying solidarity. Second, it is systematically applied in all prisons, in the heaviest form in Imrali."

Yoleri added: "Prisoners talk in their letters about the hunger strikes which has been going on for 60 days, and say that the heavy isolation imposed on Imrali prison has spread to all prisons during the pandemic period. They also underline that the hunger strike is carried out against the isolation and against rights violations in all prisons.”

Drawing attention to the fact that there is a system prepared and implemented with political motives in Imralı, Yoleri said: "The Imrali isolation is seen as closely related to the government's distance from peace. It is evident that the alternating hunger strike is actually a warning, to draw attention to all the problems. And we hope it won't be turned into a death fast."

Yoleri underlined that “the hunger strike should not be seen as a successful act in terms of eliminating isolation. Because isolation is applied systematically and with political motivation. What will be important is to eliminate this political motive, and this can be achieved with the power of social struggle. The task that awaits the forces of democracy, the society, is a long-term, planned and programmed struggle against isolation and violations of rights, which can only be meaningful with a democratic constitution and work towards a lasting peace."

Marmara TUHAY-DER co-chair Hüsnü Taş emphasized that the resistance has spread to 108 prisons and added: "The government has not taken a single step to meet the demands of the prisoners. Isolation continues. Lawyers are still not allowed in Imrali. The government insists on isolation. This means it insists on war."

Emphasizing that "isolation is now a torture system", Taş said: "Mr. Öcalan

continues to be kept in isolation. The anniversary of his capture is nearing and this policy is the continuation of that conspiracy.”

Taş reminded that the police attacked a press statement in Kadıköy. “It was a joint statement, signed by political parties and associations and the police attacked us. They don't just want to prevent our democratic rights, they don’t want to even hear the word isolation. They are very aggressive and maintain their anti-democratic attitude."

Speaking about on the attacks against the prisoners during the hunger strike, Taş said that in Silivri and Kandıra, raids were carried out in a provocative manner with guards not wearing neither masks nor gloves despite the coronavirus pandemic, and that the prisoners' belongings were confiscated.

The repression also targets ill prisoners, said Taş adding: "Ill prisoners are not taken to the hospital, and when they are, they are just given painkillers and sent back to their cells."

Addressing the families and the people, Taş said: "The families are extremely anxious. A strong reaction is needed from the families. Otherwise, hunger strikes will be turned into death fast. The voice from prisons should be listened to in order to avoid deaths, like it happened in the hunger strikes of the past.

The prisoners' demands must be accepted. The state and the government will be responsible for whatever turn the protest takes."