Justice Minister meets BDP co-chair on hunger strike issue

Hurriyet 3.11.2012 – Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin today met with Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and BDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder on the issue of the ongoing hunger strikes in prisons.

“We are fighting to draw attention to this issue. In the meeting, we shared information regarding  the conditions of the strikers and the possible consequences,” Önder said following the meeting. “We don’t consider this a political problem. It is a humanity problem. This problem should not be used as an instrument for political reasons.”

Önder said a solution could be found in one hour, if everyone wished for it, but warned that confrontational attitudes were damaging to the process. “It’s not possible to find a solution through accusations and by targeting the reputations of others,” he said. “No one can force anyone to go on hunger strike, I know because I’ve also been on a hunger strike before,” Önder said. “If the government supports the liberty of civil politics, then other problems can be solved. Tomorrow we are planning to hold a demonstration, but the government does not allow us,” Önder said, stressing the importance of the mother tongue issue. “I don’t see any problem in people wanting to defend themselves in the court in their mother tongue.”