Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

February 16, 2019 | 10:16
DIYARBAKIR: Turkish police on Friday (Feb 15) prevented supporters from rallying outside the home of a pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike for 100 days.
turkey bans rally for kurdish mp on hunger strike
Guven launched her hunger strike on November 8 AFP/ILYAS AKENGIN

The protest bid coincides with the 20th anniversary of the capture of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in a notorious prison island near Istanbul.

Leyla Guven of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), launched her action on Nov 8 while in jail to protest against Ocalan's prison conditions.

She was freed last month under judicial supervision but continued her protest, refusing any treatment. Guven, 55, is consuming only sugared- or salted water.

Police on Friday blocked supporters from approaching Guven's house in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir after a rally called by the HDP, an AFP correspondent said.

"The biggest task ahead of us today is to turn every aspect of life into an arena for struggle and support hunger strikes at the highest level," HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir said.

"This dark picture and severe conditions of fascism can only be broken through our organised struggle," Tasdemir said.

More than 200 prisoners are on hunger strike to protest what they call Ocalan's isolation, according to the HDP.

Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Ocalan was caught in Kenya outside the Greek embassy in Nairobi on Feb 15, 1999 by Turkish secret service agents after attempting to seek asylum in Europe.

Turkish authorities last month allowed Ocalan's brother Mehmet to see him, the first visit in over two years.


What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional