Hunger strikes end after call by Ocalan

There were huge rallies backing the hunger strikers

KT News and Comment:

Up to 10,000 Kurdish political prisoners today ended their hunger strike. This was in response to the message issued by PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan through his brother Mohammed who visited him yesterday on Imrali island, where Ocalan has been held prisoner for more than a decade.

Ocalan called on the prisoners to end their hunger strike and pursue their struggle by political means, now that the Turkish authorities have felt the united pressure of the people of north Kurdistan. He told his brother that the hunger strike had “made its point” and now was the time to end it because it could not resolve all the problems.

Across Turkey the hunger strikers have accepted Ocalan’s message and ended their strike.

The role of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is undiminished because it has played a big role in supporting the hunger strikers. BDP Co-chairwoman Gülten Kışanak visited Dyarbakir jail to convey Ocalans’ message and a spokesperson for the hunger strikers there told the media: “We appreciate the message of Abdullah Ocalan. We are not going to dispute it and we are going to end our strike. If he asks for anything else we will do it”.

In north Kurdistan there are around 10,000 political prisoners affiliated to the PKK and PJAK.  Turkey holds more Kurdish political prisoners than Israel holds Palestinians. The hunger strikes began on 12 September and some prisoners have been on strike for 68 days.

Drawing on the experience of the Kurd struggle in south Kurdistan,  Gorran leader Nawshirwan Mustafa told the Turkish newspaper Milliyet that the Turkish government “cannot resolve (the Kurdish issue) through arms” as Saddam Hussein also discovered. The way forward is through genuine negotiation.

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