Call from the Peace and Democracy Party’s elected mayors to the public in relation the non-alternate and indefinite hunger strike, which is in its 60th day (11/10/2012)

Dear Press Members,

We, as the members of the Peace and Democracy Party and as those elected by people’s free will, would like to announce that our society has come to a decisive crossroads. This is a result of the fact that public conscience has not responded to the urgent call made by Kurdish politicians in prison.

These hunger strikes, which have come to a very critical point, cannot be evaluated separately from Kurdish people’s demands of freedom and the resolution of the Kurdish issue with peaceful means.

Since 2009 under the rubric of KCK operations –which are in fact attacks against the Peace and Democracy Party – more than 9 thousand politicians, NGO workers, activists, lawyers, journalists, elected mayors, city councilors, provincial assembly members, parliamentarians and students; in short, men, women, children, elderly and people from all walks of life, have been put in prison. These arrests are aimed at disenfranchising Kurds from legal politics and have caused great suffering among our people. 

By arresting elected members of the Kurdish opposition and escalating military operations the government has opted once again for 90 year-old state policies of security and destruction. This goes entirely against the Kurdish people’s expectations of a fair solution to the Kurdish question based on the principles of justice and freedom. Turkish government has further intensified its strategy of conflict over negotiation by holding Mr. Abdullah Öcalan in solitary confinement for 16 months on İmralı Island.


Turkish government’s policy of exclusion, isolation and conflict has claimed the lives of at least a thousand people since last year. It is in such an atmosphere that thousands of unjustly and unlawfully imprisoned political hostages have laid down their bodies to death on the condition of three basic demands.

We would like to announce to the public that the demands prisoners are voicing belong to all of us. These demands are that Abdullah Öcalan’s isolation be removed so that peace negotiations can be resumed and that the right of education and defense in Kurdish be officially recognized.

Isolation is against domestic and international law and it is essentially a legal violation.   Therefore, the fact that Öcalan has not been allowed to see anyone in the last 16 months is a crime. Additionally, this strategy aims to intensify the conflict and is part of a military logic. The only consequence of this policy is conflict and death. It is the architects and executors of the isolation policy who are primarily responsible for the suspension of negotiations, resumption of military clashes and increased number of deaths.

The Kurdish problem stems from the fact that the Kurdish people as a nation are not able to use their linguistic or cultural rights, nor is their identity and status recognised. Education and legal defense in mother-tongue, and living and developing the Kurdish language in every aspect of life, are the most natural rights of Kurdish people.  The denial, usurpation and even negotiation of this right can only be explained by the racism and fascism of the existing government.  A Kurd values his/her language and identity as much as a Turk, a Persian, an Arab, a French or a German does. We are neither asking for more than these other nations have nor settling for less.

To put it more clearly, the only reason that people have laid their bodies to death in prisons and died in combat outside of prison is that the government keeps repressing Kurdish people’s demands for freedom, and uses the conventional 90-years old policies of denial, conflict and destruction.

Turkish and Kurdish people should be well aware that people, who are in prison and who are laying their bodies to death, are doing so in order to prevent further lives from being lost in combat and so that the channels for negotiation will re-open.  The position taken by the Turkish public, primarily that of the government, suggests that the conscience of people is blunted and our society has come to a crossroad.  The public should also be aware that the position the government takes from now on, and the way in which it resolves the hunger strikes will be crucial for our future.

Here is our call to Mr. Prime Minister, the government and the Turkish people: any provocative, derogatory and contemptuous statement and position is an invitation to death. We do not have one second to lose in our struggle to achieve an equal and free life, to open the doors to the solution of our problems through negotiations and in a conflict-free manner. 

We are worried that the loss of a single life amongst our people who are on hunger strike will be the start of an irreparable rupture and a deepened conflict. As such, the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan must be removed and the negotiations should start immediately. We would like to declare to the public that in order to achieve our common goals, we, as elected mayors and provincial general assembly presidents together with our assemblies, are ready for all kinds of duties and contributions, asked from us by the BDP Head Office.  

With our kindest regards.

Mehmet ÇALĞAN Adıyaman – Çelikhan –  Pınarbaşı Mayor

Yusuf YILMAZ – Ağrı – Patnos Mayor

Serhat TEMEL – Batman Deputy Mayor

Selahattin BULUT – Batman – Kozluk – Bekirhan Mayor

Esat ÖNER – Batman – Gercüş Mayor

Mehmet Raşit HAŞİMİ – Batman –  Kozluk Mayor

Reşit ÖZEN – Bingöl – Karlıova Deputy Mayor

Mehmet Emin ÖZKAN – Bitlis – Güroymak Mayor

Lezgin BİNGÖL – Bitlis – Hizan – Kolludere Mayor

Mehmet DEMİR – Bitlis – Ahlat – Ovakışla Mayor

Abdullah OK – Bitlis – Tatvan Mayor

Metin DİNDAR – Diyarbakır – Kulp – Ağaçlı Mayor

Yüksel BARAN – Diyarbakır – Bağlar Mayor

Jamila EMİNOĞLU – Diyarbakir – Bismil Mayor

Osman BAYDEMİR – Diyarbakır Mayor

Ahmet CENGİZ – Diyarbakır  – Çınar Mayor

Nusret AKBAŞ – Diyarbakır – Dicle Deputy Mayor

Petek Elyuse ÇAPANOĞLU – Diyarbakır – Eğil Mayor

Fesih YALÇIN – Diyarbakır – Ergani Mayor

Abdurrahman ZORLU – Diyarbakır – Hani Mayor

Mahmut DAĞ – Diyarbakır – Kayapınar Deputy Mayor

Mehmet SALIK – Diyarbakır – Kaygısız Mayor

Remzi ÇALİ – Diyarbakır – Kocaköy Mayor

M. Nesim ŞİMŞEK – Diyarbakır – Kulp Mayor

Seyit NARİN – Diyarbakir – Hani – Kuyular Mayor

Fikriye AYTİN – Diyarbakır – Lice Mayor

Fadıl ERDEDE – Diyarbakır – Silvan Mayor

Abdullah DEMİRBAŞ – Diyarbakir – Sur Mayor

Selim KURBANOĞLU – Diyarbakır – Yenişehir Mayor

Mehmet KANAR – Hakkari – Çukurca Mayor

Tacettin SAFALI – Hakkari – Yüksekova – Esendere Deputy Mayor

Fadıl BEDİRHANOĞLU – Hakkari Mayor

Sedat TÖRE – Hakkari – Şemdinli Mayor

Ercan BORA – Hakkari – Yüksekova Mayor V.

Ömer AKSU – Iğdır – Halfeli Mayor

Hüseyin MALK – Iğdır Deputy Mayor

Hüsnü ANCI – Kars – Digor – Dağpınar Deputy Mayor

Muzaffer KUTAY – Kars – Digor Mayor

Mehmet ALKAN – Kars – Kağızman Mayor

Lokman FINDIK – Mardin – Nusaybin – Akarsu Mayor

Süleyman ASAN – Mardin – Dargeçit Mayor

Doğan ÖZBAHÇECİ – Mardin – Derik Deputy Mayor

Zeki KAVAK – Mardin – Nusaybin – Duruca Mayor

Ömer ALTUN – Mardin – Nusaybin – Girmeli Mayor

Ahmet İNCİ – Mardin – Dargeçit – Kılavuz Mayor

Haşim BADAY – Mardin – Kızıltepe Deputy Mayor

Hasip AKTAŞ – Mardin – Mazıdağı Mayor

Ayse GÖKKAN – Mardin – Nusaybin Mayor

Abdülkadir DAĞ – Mardin – Savur – Pınardere Mayor

Fikri ÖKMEN – Mardin – Savur – Sürgücü Mayor

Abdulkerim ADAM – Mardin – Yalım Mayor

Gülbeyaz GÜNEŞ – Mardin – Savur – Yeşilalan Mayor

Bahattin BAHADIR – Muş – Korkut – Altınova Mayor

Ziya AKKAYA – Muş – Bulanık Mayor

Mustafa ORHAN – Muş – Bulanık – Elmakaya Mayor

Mehmet YAŞIK – Muş – Bulanık – Erentepe Mayor

Kemal ÇETİN – Muş – Malazgirt – Konakkuran Mayor

Nuri BALCI – Muş – Malazgirt Mayor

Mashar YILMAZ – Muş – Bulanık – Mollakent Mayor

Resul YÜCA- Muş – Malazgirt – Rüstemgedik Mayor

Cemil YÜNAÇTI – Muş – Bulanık – Sarıpınar Mayor

Gülşen DEĞER – Muş – Varto Mayor

A. Haydar AYDIN – Muş – Bulanık – Yemişen Mayor

M. Melih OKTAY – Siirt – Eruh Mayor

Necdet YILMAZ – Siirt – Kurtalan Mayor

Selim SADAK – Siirt Mayor

İsmail ARSLAN – Şanlıurfa – Ceylanpınar Mayor

İbrahim PARILDAR – Şanlıurfa – Suruç – Onbirnisan Mayor

Ethem ŞAHİN – Şanlıurfa – Suruç Mayor

Leyla GÜVEN – Şanlıurfa – Viranşehir Mayor

Bazo YILMAZ – Şanlıurfa – Halfeti – Yükarı Göklü Mayor

Abdulrezzak YILMAZ – Şırnak – Balveren Mayor

Sinan UYSAL – Şırnak – Silopi – Başverimli Mayor

Yusuf TEMEL – Şırnak – Beytüşşebap Mayor

Mustafa GÜNGÖR – Şırnak – Cizre Mayor

Resul SADAK – Şırnak – İdil Mayor

Abid DURAK – Şırnak – Kumçatı Mayor

Nuri AKMAN – Şırnak – İdil – Sırtköy Mayor

Emin TOĞURLU – Şırnak – Silopi Mayor

Şükran SİNCAR – Şırnak – Uludere Mayor

Ali BAYRAM – Şırnak – Uludere – Uzungeçit Mayor

Faik SALTAN – Şırnak Deputy Mayor

Edibe ŞAHİN – Tunceli Mayor

Bekir KAYA – Van Mayor

İhsan GÜLER – Van – Başkale Mayor

Nezahat ERGÜNEŞ – Van – Bostaniçi Mayor

Veysel KESER – Van – Erciş – Çelebibağ Mayor

İzzet ÇELİK – Van – Muradiye Mayor

Murat DURMAZ- Van – Özalp Mayor

Fazıl TÜRK – Mersin – Akdeniz Mayor

Muzaffer YÖNDEMLİ – Aydın – Ovaeymir Mayor

Ahmet ÖLÇER – Aydın Söke Savuca Mayor

Molla Ali ŞİMŞEK – Konya Cihanbeyli Gölyazı Mayor

Semra AZİZOĞLU – Diyarbakır Provincial General Assembly President

Leyla BİRLİK – Şırnak Provincial General Assembly President

Serdar ERDOGAN – Tunceli Provincial General Assembly President

Semire VARLI – Van Provincial General Assembly President

Abdulbaki ALP – Muş Provincial General Assembly President

Ferzende YILMAZ – Hakkari Provincial General Assembly President

Idris AKKUŞ – Iğdır Provincial General Assembly President

Salih AKTAN – Batman Provincial General Assembly President

Mesut GÜMÜŞ – Mardin Provincial General Assembly President