Turkey has been going through hardship for many years, but the worst experience has taken place since the AK Party and Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime. The country witnessed more than a few uprisings and many people lost their lives fighting the Erdogan’s dictatorship.
By Canan Sagar.
The law has been changed
Arbitrary treatment is applied in many parts of the country; journalists are imprisoned, workers are left unemployed, sexual assault and abuse has increased, women are killed daily, hunger has risen. Yet, the government does not accept the reality of its failures and has won by cheating the vote for a presidential government.
The state of emergency declared by Erdogan has given him the power to dismiss many people from their jobs with unjustified reason. These arbitrary decisions have made living conditions worse for many people. Academician Nuriye Gülmen and teacher Semih Özakça started a hunger strike in Ankara on 9 March after being dismissed from their jobs using the Decree Law (KHK). Hunger strikes are on the agenda of Turkey again, but the government is keeping its silence.
Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça began a sit-in Yüksel Street, Ankara’s Kızılay Square to protest the dismissal of their jobs as academics and started a hunger strike several months ago.
Although Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça garnered public attention the government has still not taken any action to end the hunger strike. Day by day two people are getting closer to losing their lives and nothing is done to stop a tragic end. Police and authorities attack the peaceful hunger strike, many protestors have been detained.
Other cities have shown support and the hunger strike has received national and international recognition. Protests took place in many parts of Turkey including Aydın, Bodrum, Didim, Ankara, İstanbul and Düzce. Protesters in these other cities were also attacked and people were detained and beaten. In accordance with the arrests Nuriye Gülmen who has become very weak said, “This is mine and Semih’s home. If the attacks continue we will no longer leave the area. If our friends are taken into custody they will have to take us too.”
On the 69 day of the hunger strike Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça sent solidarity to the on-going hunger strike in Palestinian prisons. “We represent the peoples of the world,” said Nuriye Gülmen, “Today, our resistance is on its 189 day and 69 day of the hunger. It’s a very meaningful and special day for us. Because today we devote the 69 day of our hunger to prisoners in hunger strikes in Palestine. In fact, we share hunger, the same hunger with them. The wrongdoers are the same, they persecute us with their persecution, they are the same as those who cast us from our jobs. They come from the same genre, and we come from the same genre. We represent the peoples of the world. Today we are proud that we share hunger with them.”
In Dersim, Eastern Anatolian Turkey, Kemal Gün (70) has been on hunger strike for 83 days demanding the bones of his dead son that was killed by the authorities during an air attack in the area. Kemal Gün continued his peaceful protest until the authorities accepted his demand on the 83 day of the hunger strike. However, after receiving the bones he declared “I will not finish my hunger strike without taking all the bones of my son. It has only 160 bones. The bones that I collected with my own hands were only half in the bag. If you give me all the bones, I will take them to my village in Erzurum and bury it.” On the 77 day of the hunger strike Kemal Gün asked those people in Ankara to support the righteous struggle of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça.
At this point, it is important to state that hunger strikes after thirty days start to cause serious health matters. People on hunger strikes reject proteins, minerals, vitamins, oils and energy that are used in tissue production. As the body cannot regenerate itself and as it moves it causes energy loss very quickly. In the first 30 days 5-10 kilo loss is expected.
After 40 days, there are damages that can lead to both tissue loss and loss of organ failures, and this can lead to the loss of lives. After the 60 day on the hunger strike, vital organs begin to be affected, there could be consequences such as heart and kidney failure, or weakening of the heart muscle due to excessive weakness could lead to sudden deaths. Nuriye and Semih have been on hunger strike for over two months, the seriousness of their health conditions is inevitable and an action must be taken to stop it straight away!
Gülmen and Özakça’s protests started 192 days ago as a sit-in action in Ankara, Yüksel Street Human Rights Monument and lasted for 120 days. Straight after that action a hunger strike started. Gülmen and Özakça have only been consuming certain amount of sugar and water for over two months; yet, no response has been made by the government. In accordance with the situation the government officials that were contacted said that they could not comment on the matter. AKP Human Rights Vice-President İbrahim Aydemir said “according to the collective decision taken in the group, we will not give a statement on this issue”. Clearly, AKP and Erdogan’s regime is refusing the right to live, they are prolonging the time to take action, and two people are dying as the world watches.
We call upon the Turkish Authorities to hear the voice of Nuriye and Semih.
We support life, not death!
Action must be taken immediately!