The AKP Government violates one of the most fundamental human rights

The hunger strikes initiated by HDP Deputy Ms. Leyla Güven on 8 November 2018 is spreading in Turkish prisons with new alarmed situations. There are around 5000 political prisoners in Turkish prisons on hunger strike to demand the removal of the aggravated isolation, imposed on Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. Zülküf Gezen, a 32 years old Kurdish political prisoner, took his own life on 16 March 2019 at Tekirdağ F2 Type Prison to protest the isolation on Mr. Öcalan.

Gezen’s family was informed about his death on the morning of 17 March 2019. The family signed a contract with the Turkish Airlines to transfer the body from Istanbul Atatürk Airport to Diyarbakır where he would be buried with the participation of his family members, supporters and friends. Turkish Airlines was supposed to transfer the body at 9.50 am on 18 March 2019 according to the contract. However, Gezen family heard rumors that the body had already been transferred to Diyarbakır at midnight without their knowledge and rushed to the Diyarbakır airport with HDP deputies to retrieve the body.

Security forces had surrounded the airport, blocking all entrances, told the family that if they did not bury the body immediately, they would. Gezen family and HDP deputies rushed to the Yeniköy cemetery to participate in this forced burial. Yet, the security forces allowed only four members of the Gezen family in the final service and physically harassed the HDP deputies, protesters and the rest of the Gezen family members who wanted to pay their respect to the deceased.

This unacceptable approach towards Zülküf Gezen’s death body clearly shows the hostile attitude of the government against hunger strikers and Kurdish people. The AKP government does not even respect for death and reveals inhuman practices. If the Turkish government continues to stay indifferent to the rightful demands of the hunger strikers, more deaths will follow and result in an irreparable polarization of the already divided society. In this context, we once again call on international community and institutions to raise their voices to put pressure on the Turkish government to meet the rightful and legal demand of the hunger strikers.

Hişyar Özsoy
Deputy Co-chair of the HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs Deputy for Diyarbakır