Demo in Istanbul in solidarity with hunger strikes in prisons

Demonstration outside the Bakirköy women's prison in Istanbul called for solidarity with hunger-striking political prisoners. "No one has a guarantee that they will not be in prison tomorrow," said HDP MP Züleyha Gülüm.

A demonstration was staged in front of Bakirköy Women's Prison in Istanbul in support of the hunger strike against the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and the prison conditions of political prisoners in Turkey, which has been going on for forty days. The rally was obstructed by police citing pandemic restrictions, and participants were pushed back from the planned location of the event.

Speaking here, HDP deputy Züleyha Gülüm said: "The isolation imposed in Imrali prison has spread to all prisons and the entire country. Prisons have become torture centers. Maltreatment, disciplinary punishments and forced transfers are used as a system of punishment. This is what we wanted to speak out about today."

The demands of the hunger-striking prisoners must be heard, the HDP deputy said. She pointed out that especially sick prisoners have been in mortal danger since the beginning of the pandemic, adding: “Several sick prisoners have recently been able to leave prison only as corpses. Isolated from the public, systematic mistreatment is taking place in the prisons. The aim is to intimidate society as a whole. The judiciary has been instrumentalized by the government and the pandemic is being used to curtail democratic rights and suppress opposition.”

"None of us has a guarantee that we will not be in prison tomorrow ourselves," Züleyha Gülüm said, calling for support for the hunger strikers. She called on the government to immediately lift the isolation on Öcalan in Imrali.

The rally ended with the slogans "Political prisoners are our honor" and "Bijî berxwedana zindana" (Long live the prison resistance).