Yaşar: Hunger strikers risk death to see life prevail

Sevican Yaşar took part in the hunger strike launched in 2019 for the lifting of the isolation of the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan. Hunger strike means "accepting death for life," she says.

HDP member Sevican Yaşar has called for support to the current hunger strikes carried out in prisons. “The people would have to stand against the oppression and the regime’s comprehensive attack on society. To do this, fear must be overcome,” she said.

In 2018/2019 the isolation of Öcalan was broken by a hunger strike led by Leyla Güven. Sevican Yaşar took part in the 200-day hunger strike at the time. She talked to ANF about the the hunger strike as a protest action and the current resistance.

‘Fear is a human feeling, but through cowardice a person loses’

Sevican Yaşar said: “Hunger strikes are always associated with death, but actually they mean to accept death for life.”

Yaşar added: “It also takes a lot of outside strength. Building that strength only works on the basis of overcoming fear. The essence of the demand is peace and nobody should be allowed to label it as 'terror'. Fear is a human feeling, but when it turns into cowardice, a person loses. There are many alternatives out there for us. The regime may attack as violently as it can, but this is only an expression of its impending collapse. It rules through violence and attacks on all levels, but we are right and we are strong."

‘Isolation goes far beyond Imrali’

Regarding isolation, Yaşar says: “Not being ablet to defend something, somehow means isolation. That is the current form of isolation. We also see that isolation is imposed through a certain policy. Isolation may have started on Imrali, but it is no longer limited to that. It is targeting against every individual. You have to resolutely oppose it."

‘The campaign can result in great losses’

Talking about the current hunger strike under coronavirus pandemic conditions, Yaşar warned: “In prison it is difficult to get health care even under normal conditions. So it is even more difficult for the prisoners in time of coronavirus. The action can result in great losses.’

The Ministry of Justice has not yet officially responded to the hunger strike

A large indefinite hunger strike has been taking place in Turkish prisons since 29 November 2020. Launched by PKK and PAJK prisoners, the hunger strike has been joined by thousands who fast in an alternated way, for five days.

The prisoners are demanding the end of isolation imposed on Abdullah as well as the end of the life-threatening conditions in Turkish prisons. The Justice Ministry has not yet responded to the prisoners' demands and has not issued any statement on the matter.