LA Kurds plan solidarity hunger strike

10.11. 2012 – Press Release by KNC-NA: Los Angeles, CA – As members of the Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC-NA) and the Kurdish Americans of California, we will hold a 48-hour hunger strike in front of the CNN building in Los Angeles, starting on Monday, November 12th.

This is to express our solidarity with the 10,000 Kurdish political prisoners who have been on hunger strike in Turkey, some of whom since September 12, 2012. With this protest, we want to simultaneously attract attention to the lack of international media coverage of the hunger strike and raise awareness.Those who have started on September 12 are reaching the 60th day of an indefinite and irreversible hunger strike. Death and serious health problems are imminent, as the US-backed Turkish government refuses to meet the strikers’ legitimate demands.The hunger strikers simply want legal reforms that would allow the use their mother tongue in education and in legal defense, and the ending of the now sixteen-month-long solitary confinement of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan  so that negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict can restart.

The Kurdish struggle for equal rights has made historic gains in recent years. Turkey has responded by imprisoning thousands of Kurdish democracy advocates, including elected parliamentarians,  mayors, intellectuals,  lawyers, journalists,  students,  and human rights defenders. The Kurdish movement continues to call for a democratic solution to the conflict within Turkey’s  territorial  borders. Despite this, the  Turkish government has taken an increasingly hard-line attitude. It unilaterally terminated negotiations with  the Kurdish movement, intensified military and police  operations to repress the Kurdish movement, and prevented Abdullah Ocalan from meeting his lawyers since July 2011.

The root cause of the hunger strike is the Turkish government’s refusal to accept a negotiated solution to the Kurdish issue and its endeavors to crush any democratic resistance to its unjust policies. Any adverse outcomes resulting from the hunger strikes will be due to the government’s intransigence. Despite the fact that this hunger strike has reached the borders of death, the international media outlets have mostly remained silent on the issue. This parallels with the attitude of mainstream Turkish national media, who have ignored the hunger strike or reported it very lately and only peripherally.

Contact: Luqman Barwari, (805) 402-6440, kncna@kncna.