EU Füle calls on hunger strikers to give up, blames PKK for terror

9 November 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, ANKARA – The European Union’s top enlargement official, Stefan Füle, on Thursday called for an immediate end to the Kurdish hunger strike.

In a written response to a letter from Leyla Zana, an independent pro-Kurdish deputy from Diyarbakır who wrote letters to several European leaders urging them to take part in ending the hunger strike in Turkish prisons, Füle called on the hunger strikers not to endanger their health and lives. In Füle’s letter, obtained by Today’s Zaman, the commissioner also blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for continuing violence that has resulted in the loss of life. Füle thanked Zana for her personal endeavors to promote a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue by means of dialogue and negotiations and underlined that he is following the situation of the hunger strikers closely.

Welcoming the announcement by the government on Nov. 5 that the Code of Criminal Procedure will be amended to allow for the use of mother tongues in the courts, Füle said: “I look forward to a swift adoption of this amendment and its implementation. I would call on the hunger strikers not to endanger their health and lives. I also expect the authorities to prevent, in line with international human rights standards, a further deterioration in the health of the prisoners, and have raised this issue with [Foreign] Minister [Ahmet] Davutoğlu when meeting him on 7 November 2012.”

Füle stressed the Southeast’s need for peace, democracy and stability as well as social, economic and cultural development and noted that reaching a consensus over concrete measures expanding the social, economic and cultural rights of the people living in the region is the only way to achieve this. “Finding a solution to the Kurdish issue and to all the problems in the South-East requires the widest possible contribution of all democratic forces, and an open and frank public discussion that can be conducted in the full respect of basic fundamental freedoms,” Füle added.