Turkey: Silent Treatment of Hunger Strike met with Anger by Kurds

Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey have entered an indefinite hunger strike. The non-violent protest has gone unnoticed by international media agencies and human rights organisations. One activist, who has been vocal about this protest, says the hunger strike demands the following:

@hevallo: Releasing Kurdish leader of Kurdish Worker's Party (PKK) rebels to negotiate a peace settlement

@hevallo: Freedom to use Kurdish language in public sphere

@hevallo: Political settlement for the Kurdish question in Turkey

Today marks the 40th day of their hunger strike, and since their start there has been very little information about the prisoners on hunger strike, and their demands in media outlets. Al Jazeera's The Stream has showed some interest to highlight the hunger strike, while other media agencies that respond to social networking demands have remained silent.

Members of Committee of International Relation of Swedish Left Party have joined the indefinite hunger strike, which was started on 12 September by Kurdish political prisoners held in Turkey.

The Global Times reports that mainstream Turkish outlets have failed to report on this hunger strike because the journalists are too afraid of being charged by the Turkish state.

What is more humiliating is the ignorance of Turkish media. None of the mainstream press installations picked up the story. One might claim that most of Turkish public is not even aware of the hunger strike. The government threatens and then charges the journalists with terrorism if they report human rights issues, especially about the Kurdish minority.

This has angered Kurds on social media. Nechirvan says “No one cares about Kurds” and Saya asks “Where are the activists?” to fill in the vacuum which media agencies have created on the hunger strike by political prisoners.

Raphael Thelen recently wrote an article about the Hunger strike on Lebanon News saying:

Kurds are a forgotten people. Called the largest nation without a state, they have been fighting for social, cultural and, at times, national rights for decades. But most of the time, nobody cared. Recently the Kurdish Worker’s Party’s (PKK) renewed war against the Turkish government has made headlines. What bleeds, as journalists say, leads.

Despite the lack of reporting from journalists and mainstream news sites, ordinary Kurds have used Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites to raise awareness about this hunger strike, which many perceive as fundamental towards the future of Kurdish leaders of PKK rebels.


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