FILE: Families of prisoners decided to organize a sit-in in front of the Gebze Prison, but were quickly stopped by the police.
CAIRO – 16 July 2019: Turkish opposition has decided to finally expose a number of unspeakable violations committed by the Turkish regime, led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
One of these violations, as announced by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, is the mistreat of prisoners, especially females and pregnant inmates.
Gergerlioğlu is also a member to the Human Rights Investigation Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM).
A press statement by Gergerlioğlu has stressed that pregnant and ill inmates do not receive proper treatment as prison authorities do not transfer them to hospitals or at least less crowded prisons.
HDP Hakkari MP Leyla Güven, who went on a hunger strike for more than 90 days, demanding an end to the isolation imposed upon Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan, also stated that by February 301 inmates as well as 19 other politicians and activists have been on an irreversible hunger strike.
Despite being cut off from the outside world, Ocalan, the jailed Kurdish militant leader labelled the “nemesis” of the Turkish state, remained a highly influential figure.
Turkey captured Ocalan on February 15, 1999 after a relentless hunt. In 1978, Ocalan and a group of fellow students founded the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to struggle for Kurdish autonomy.
But apparently, even going on a hunger strike is not a right to protest, however, Güven stressed that inmates who are on a hunger strike are being systematically violated.
According to Güven, a disciplinary investigation has been launched against all inmates who have started hunger strikes in Bandırma No. 2 Type T Prison in Çanakkale.
Also, director of the Gebze Women's Closed Prison threatened hunger strikers with interfering in their strikes in case they continued their protests.
Özlem Söyler, one of the prisoners on hunger strike in Gebze Women's Prison for 98 days said in a letter to the press that it is hard even to talk among prisoners, as an ‘objectionable’ sentence could lead to a disciplinary punishment.
“Instead of living under the threat of death imposed on us, we are knowingly and deliberately going towards death. This is a matter of honor,” Söyler’s letter added.
Ocalan’s image can be widely seen in areas controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria. Turkey says the US-backed YPG militia is a “terrorist” offshoot of the PKK.
Syria’s permission for Ocalan to seek refuge there caused major friction between Damascus and Ankara, and political pressure forced him out in 1998.
He tried to seek political asylum across Europe, including in Greece, but in 1999 Turkish secret agents nabbed him in the Kenyan capital Nairobi outside the Greek embassy.
He was swiftly sentenced to death for treason, which was commuted to life imprisonment when Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2002.
With Ocalan in custody, Turkey believed the head of the PKK had been cut.
But even behind bars, he continued to exert control over the movement by issuing instructions to his lawyers and the Kurdish MPs who visited him.
Following Ocalan’s arrest, the PKK had said it would strive only for cultural rights rather than an independent Kurdish state.
Families of prisoners decided to organize a sit-in in front of the Gebze Prison, but were quickly stopped by the police.
According to press reports, the police issued fines for the vehicles parked outside the prison and forced the families to leave the area. They also confiscated footage from the journalists, but this did not stop the families from resisting,
As after two weeks of a sit-in that aimed at drawing attention to the hunger strike of thousands of prisoners against the isolation of Ocalan; families of prisoners were attacked brutally by the police.
The people gathered in the Kiziltepe Freedom Square to protest the police’s attack were also attacked by the police and 2 unidentified young men were detained there.
Peace Mothers Assembly members were to hold a press statement and sit-in before the police surrounded them and argued that they would not let the statement be made. During the talks, the police forcibly confiscated the signs the Peace Mothers were holding.
When the mothers protested the confiscation, the police tried to drown out their voice by playing police sirens.
Peace Mother Hevlet Oncu started to read the statement despite the police intervention and said they have no patience for another body to come out of a prison.
Oncu was still speaking when the police attacked the group with sticks, pepper spray and water cannons.
The police also dragged Hevlet Oncu on the ground after she fell. HDP District Co-chair Sirin Obek was lightly wounded by a blow to her face.
In his speech, Gergerlioğlu also pointed out to female prisoner Gülden Aşık in Bandırma Prison who suffered a delays in transfers to the prison’s medical facility, leading to having abortion of her 7-week old fetus.
“The blood of this child is on the hands of the Justice and Development Party,” he added.