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News ::
Solidarity and Fundraising Event for Turkish Hunger Strike
27 Feb 2002
A Fundraising and Solidarity Event with Turkish Political Prisoners at the Community Church of Boston on Saturday March 2 at 2pm; co-sponsored by the IAC-Boston and the Community Church of Boston; for more information visit http://www.iacboston.org
The longest hunger strike in the world
by Cemile Cekir
http://www.iacboston.org

This longest hunger strike in world history was started in 20 October 2001 to protest F-type prison system which means isolation for political prisoners. Before this prison system was forced on Turkish political prisoners, the inmates used to live in dormitories. Against the oppression in the prison, the dormitory-type prison system used to provide them solidarity and resistance conditions. Because resistance was very high in the prisons, the Turkish government wanted to break down this resistance and adopted the isolation system, which was created by the US during the Cold War against the communist struggle in the third world countries.

In the year 2000, the Turkish government started to build F-type prisons. Even though there was a lot of resistance, the Turkish government hadnít given up about this system and on 20 October 2000, 780 prisoners went on hunger strike and 205 prisoners went on hunger strike to death. Three leftist groups carried this hunger strike: First one is DHKPC/ (Revolutionary Popular Liberation Army/ Front), TIKP (Turkish Revolutionary Communist Party) TKP/ML (Turkish Communist Party/ Marxist-Leninist)

When a lot of people started to support the hunger strikers, the Turkish government made a plan instead of negotiation. They attacked the 20 prisons using machine gun, gas bombs, bulldozers and unknown chemical agents. Because of this bloody massacre, which the government named ďReturn to life", 32 hunger strikers and two soldiers were killed. Most prisoners were seriously injured, and after this bloody operation, all of political prisoners were put in the F-type jail. In the F-type jail, the prisoners were threatened not only with isolation but also torture.

After this massacre, the hunger strikers havenít given up. After this massacre their numbers increased to two thousand. They have been continuing the hunger strike. Because of the hunger strike 47 of them died. 24 of them died in the prisons, 13 of them died after they were released from the jail because of very bad health conditions. 8 of them were the relatives of the prisoners who went on hunger strike outside of the prisons.

Most of them lost their mental ability and suffer from Wernica-Korsikoff syndrome. The Turkish government hasnít cared about the prisonersí deaths. The Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and The Minister of Justice Hikmet Sami Turk said that they would never change their policy. What they did was only to release the prisoners whose health conditions were worse. 400 of the hunger strikers were released. After they got released they continued hunger strike mostly in a small town, Kucukarmutlu and some houses in different cities.

Right now there are 6 F-type prisons in Turkey and 5 more are being built. Only leftist political prisoners have been put in these prisons.

Since hunger strike started, government oppression has increased, especially against some organizations who are in support hunger strikers, like human rights organizations, Istanbul Doctors Union, Lawyer Unions, radio stations and newspapers and magazines which have written about hunger strike. To write about the hunger strike was forbidden by the DGM/ State Security Court. 147 people were arrested and put in jail because of making demonstrations to support the hunger strike. The police closed 6 branches of IHD/ Human Rights Association.

by Cemile Cakir
See also:
http://www.iacboston.org
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