ANKARA: Thousands of prisoners in Turkey ended their hunger strike against the conditions of jailed militant Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, their representative told pro-Kurdish media on Sunday.
“After the call ... we are ending our hunger strikes,” Deniz Kaya said in a statement, quoted by Kurdish news agency ANF, following a call by Ocalan for the hunger strikes to end.
The protest began after Leyla Guven, a lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched her hunger strike against Ocalan’s isolation in November.
Until May, Ocalan, who co-founded the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), did not have access to his lawyers for eight years.
After the first visit on May 2, Turkish authorities lifted an official ban on lawyers’ visits. Then on May 22, his lawyers made a second trip to see Ocalan.
Earlier on Sunday, his lawyer Nevroz Uysal read a message from Ocalan on May 22 in which he said the hunger strikes should come to an end after they had “achieved” their goal.
MP Guven said in a statement that although the hunger strike was successful, “our struggle against isolation and our struggle for social peace will continue in all areas.”
Some 3,000 prisoners across different prisons were on hunger strike and only consuming liquids and vitamin B, the HDP said, in solidarity with Guven who began her action while in custody and continued after she was released earlier this year.
Eight people also killed themselves over the issue, according to the party.
Kaya said 30 prisoners who had begun a “death fast” in April and May — only consuming water with sugar and salt — would also end their action.