GUE/NGL supports the demands of the Kurdish hunger strikers

By Roni Alasor – Brussels, 8 November 2012 – Ararat News (ANP)- In a press conference in the European Parliament today, Members of the European Parliament from European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) gave their support for the demands of the Kurdish hunger strikers in Turkey. The hunger strikers continue their protest action since 12 September.

Jürgen Klute, coordinator of the European Parliament Kurds Friendship Group, and Marie-Christine Vergiat, MEP from France, expressed their solidarity with the demands of the Kurdish prisoners : “The GUE/NGL is in solidarity with the hunger strikers and we support their demands”.

The Kurdish hunger strikers are demanding the right to use the Kurdish language in judicial proceedings, the right to education and teaching in Kurdish, and an end to the isolation of Öcalan and his release. GUE/NGL MEPs underlined that the EU countries, which don’t put pressure over Turkey and continue to tolerate its anti-democratic policy towards Kurds, are becoming accomplices of the Turkish government and prolong the continuing conflict, instead of contributing constructively for finding peaceful solution of the Kurdish question in Turkey. At the same time, MEPs advised the Kurdish activists to not use wrong methods in their justified struggle.

“Around 700 political prisoners in Turkish prisons are currently on hunger strike, with more and more joining every day,” reported GUE/NGL MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat, who returned yesterday from a delegation of elected representatives to Turkey.

Speaking in the European Parliament, Marie-Christine Vergiat continued: “I can report that the situation has significantly deteriorated since my last visit in February. There has been an unprecedented wave of arrests since the last general elections. There are 140,000 prisoners, out of which 10,000 are there for political activities. Among them are six Kurdish elected parliamentarians, many mayors, journalists, lawyers and trade unionists. Some have been imprisoned for up to four years without trial. This constitutes arbitrary detention and is not acceptable in a country that calls itself democratic.”

During her visit in Turkey, MEP Vergiat tried to meet some of the Kurdish jailed hunger strikers, but she didn’t receive permission from the Turkish authorities. MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat was disappointed that she could not get any assistance from French and other EU Embassies to meet the hunger strikers either.

With reference to Prime Minister Erdogan’s denial of a mass hunger strike in his country, German MEP Klute said: “It is a shame that the German government has offered Erdogan a platform for those lies. Turkey signed up to the Copenhagen criteria and it must implement these values into daily life.”

Eyyup Doru, Europe representative of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), called for an end to the contradictory statements from Turkish leaders and condemned the continuing Turkish government policy of “terror and arrests”. He underlined that the hunger strikers’ demands are reasonable and could easily be fulfilled by the Turkish government.