Turkish Police Use Tear-Gas Against Protesting Mothers

Kurdish political prisoners have reached their 55th day of hunger strike. There are hundreds of political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey, and this has led to solidarity protests throughout Europe, and in particular within Turkey. Earlier yesterday [November 4, 2012], the mothers of some of the political prisoners staged a sit-in, and were met with tear-gas, as well as water canisters was sprayed directly on them. Turkish mainstream media and governmental ministers remain oblivious to unfolding anger by Kurdish people, and their disregard for a political settlement of Turkey's Kurdish question has made the situation worse.

In much of Kurdistan, there has been solidarity protests but despite the attention the hunger strikes have received within Kurdish regions, there are few mainstream media outlets reporting on the hunger strike. The lack of media coverage has angered many Kurds, who are being vocal on social networking sites. Hulya, from Liverpool, says:

@hulyaulas: The biggest political hunger strike in history by Kurdish political prisoners is being ignored in world's media.

Dirman adds:

@dirman95: It is so hard to eat knowing that the hunger strike has been going on for over 51 days and the world is doing nothing about it… disgusting.

Al Jazeera’s The Stream has been the only internationally acknowledged mainstream outlet that has highlighted the gravity of the hunger strike. They have used their social media outlets to raise awareness. For example they recently tweeted:

@ajstream: Why has the government and Media in Turkey ignored the hunger strikes of 715 Kurdish political prisoners?

An online petition has been launched, with 3,451 supporters so far, that asks the Turkish government to engage in constructive dialogue with the prisoners. Judith Butler from Berkeley comments:

The Turkish government must enter into serious dialogue with these prisoners who now risk their lives to expose the injustice under which they live.

KurdishBlogger.com posted the following picture on Facebook.

Kurds in Slemani, South Kurdistan show solidarity with their Kurdish sisters and brothers (at least 682 inmates) who are on hunger strike in 67 prisons across Turkey.

And Tara Fatehi, a Kurdish activist in Australia, expressed her anger at the international community:

Thousands of Kurdish political prisoners have been on hunger strike in Turkey since Sept 12 and the International community remains silent. This is Kurdish hunger for freedom, it is not a new concept. The Kurds have been fighting for rights, peace and freedom for decades. Hannelore Kuchlersaid said it best “Kurdistan is a country taken hostage.” and whilst the international media want you to think this is solely about Abdullah Ocalan and the PKK, it is not. It's about acquiring basic human rights in their own homeland.


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