THE SCANDAL : EU OOMEN-RUIJTEN : Hunger strikes unacceptable in democracies: Turkey rapporteur

16.11.2012 – Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, has harshly criticized the over 700 protesters currently conducting hunger strikes across Turkey, saying their actions are undemocratic.

“[Conducting a] hunger strike is an inacceptable method in a democracy. If you have an aim, you should get involved in politics and try to convince people. If you conduct a hunger strike for something today, you’ll do the same for something else tomorrow. This is inacceptable. There’s no place for oppression and force in democracies. I demand officials prevent any possible deaths from happening,” she said earlier today at a symposium organized by the German Marshall Fund and International Strategic Research Institution (USAK) in Ankara, daily Hürriyet has reported.

The mostly Kurdish protesters are demanding an end to the isolation of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, as well as an end to restrictions on mother tongues other than Turkish in the courts and in education.

Oomen-Ruijten also touched on Turkey’s current debate on the death penalty, noting that it was the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government itself that signed two international conventions banning capital punishment.

“The prime minister says something and everyone debate it for weeks. And they do it by knowing that the death penalty won’t be reinstated. I don’t believe it will be reinstated because the person who signed the conventions against it and the one who proposes reinstating it is the same. This is so ridiculous,” she said.