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Hunger strikes in Turkish prisons called off as Öcalan releases a statement

Hunger strikes in Turkish prisons have been called off.

Mr Öcalan released a statement, in full below:

TO THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC:

We had another meeting with our client Mr Öcalan on 22 May in the İmralı Island Prison. 

Mr Öcalan once again emphasized the importance of the text he previously shared with the public. He expressed his content with the debates on the text with seven points, co-authored by our four clients on 2 May 2019. He was of the opinion that Turkey's fundamental need was a debate on social consensus, democratic politics, democratic negotiation and an honorable peace. He also said he would do his part to make these points the core values of Turkey's politics. He also added that everyone was aware of the hope and the setting in Turkey, created by the approach and stance in 2013, and that his message should be discussed further.

As he did during the previous meeting, Mr Ocalan reminded that the permission to have these meetings did not mean the presence of a negotiation process. He said his messages were to all the democratic forces, the political structures of various ranges in Turkey and the Turkish state. Regarding his stance, he also said: “We will see how these circles will react 30-40 days later.” We understood that he did not make any comment regarding the reaction of these circles for now. 

The message, which contained seven points and was presented to the public on May 6, explained how the solution to issues in Rojava, Northern Syria, SDF and Syria should be. He reiterated his opinions on this issue. Mr Ocalan said that if given the opportunity, he would play a positive role for the issues in Syria, including the Kurdish issue, within Syria's territorial integrity. He emphasised that his ideas and suggestions for solution would solve the problems in Syria and that the fundamental rights of the Kurds and other communities should be constitutionally secured.

It is a fundamental necessity that these discussions are carried out in a way that could lead to deeper and historical results and they should not be compressed into daily, narrow political agendas. In this manner, we would like to remind that Turkey and the Middle East have historical and profound problems and Mr Ocalan said that these problems could be resolved with rational, political and cultural approaches.

Imrali isolation is not only a serious legal problem, but also a phenomenon that politically undermines the climate of peacein Turkey. Turkey has witnessed Mr Ocalan’s positive impacton the country when he was able to even partially perform his role as a political subject and present his solutions to fundamental problems. In the last four years of the aggravated isolation on Mr Ocalan, war, chaos and crisis have intensified in Turkey and the region, and pessimism has dominated over all the social structures.

On the other hand, we have seen that when Mr Ocalan was able to share his opinions even in a limited way for twice in the last 20 days, hope in a different and new perspective for the rapidly deepening problems has raised.

In these meetings, we clearly observed that M. Öcalan had maintained his position to solve the problems based on a dignified peace through democratic resolution and he was hopeful and confident for the future. 

We hereby express our belief that democratic public opinion should take responsibility and be a follower of the process in order to overcome the immoral attitude that has been exhibited for many long years in İmralı Prison as a whole. It is a legal responsibility, as well as a moral responsibility of the administrative and judicial authorities to fulfill their responsibilities to ensure that the establishment of legal rights is provided without any conflict and discrimination,

Although several topics were discussed within the context of the meeting, the main agenda item was the hunger strikes and death-fasts that has come to a critical stage. 

In this interview, Mr. Öcalan expressed his gratitude for the will and dedication of the activists and considered this attitude as an honorable stance. At the same time, he found the attitude of the mothers to be very important and highly appreciated their value. We hereby send his special greetings to the mothers.

During the meeting, Öcalan insisted on his call for the termination of hunger strikes and death-fasts, which have achieved their goals. After this call, we believe that strikers will terminate the action. Our client stated that if talks were not held in the future, it could be protested by a political struggle, but actions such as hunger strikes and death-fasts should be avoided. He stated that the main thing is a culture of democratic political struggle and that it is more important for the strikers to be physically, spiritually and mentally healthy. Using Gandhi as an example for his hunger strike, he said that Gandhi made his hunger strike meaningful by his social struggle. 

In this context, Öcalan wrote a letter to the hunger strike and death-fast action activists. He requested this letter to be shared with them. We present this letter, which was delivered to us after the meeting, hand-written and signed by Mr Öcalan, addressing the activists of the hunger strike and death-fast actions.

“Dear Comrades,

“In light of the wide-ranging statements my two lawyers will be making, I expect the protests, especially of the comrades who have committed themselves to hunger strikes and death fasts, to come to an end. I would like to express that your intentions with regards to me have been realised and I present to all of you my deepest affections and gratitude.

“In fact, after this point, I diligently hope and expect you to accompany me with adequate intensity and will power.

“With lasting affection and regards,

“22 May 2019, Imralı Prison

“Abdullah Öcalan”

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