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Suicides urged to stop as fourth prisoner dies in Turkey

Kurdish liberation activists are calling on the Turkish state to end the continued isolation of the imprisoned PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan

MEDYA Cinar became the latest to die in a Turkish prison as opposition MP Leyla Guven called for an end to the suicides in protest at the continued isolation of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.

 

 

She took her life in the Mardin E-type closed prison in Turkey’s south-east this morning where she had recently been transferred from the Van high security closed prison to face trial.

Ms Cinar was arrested in May 2016 in connection with the Nusaybin resistance.

 

 

This happened when the Kurdish freedom movement declared autonomy in a number of cities in largely Kurdish areas in response to increased state repression.

The response was brutal with almost a quarter of the residents’ homes flattened in the onslaught and hundreds arrested as a military curfew was imposed by Turkish security services.

Many of those detained, including Ms Cinar, alleged they were tortured while in prison and banned from conducting their trials in their mother tongue, Kurmanji Kurdish.

Ms Cinar became the fifth person to have committed suicide in protest at the continued isolation of Mr Ocalan. 

Zulkuf Gezen, Ayten Becet and Zehra Saglam have killed themselves while in prison while Ugur Sakar died from his injuries last week after setting himself on fire in the German town of Krefeld in February.

As many as 5,000 people are believed to have joined the hunger strike campaign initiated by Ms Guven on November 8 2018. 

However the HDP MP called for an end to the suicides saying the duty of a revolutionary “is to resist until the end.”

In an audio message to the Denge Welat radio station Ms Guven said those protesting will not accept a life in isolation and although she “bows respectfully” before those who have died, said “every friend [who] does this takes away a part of my soul, my heart.”

“We have respect for these acts. But I want to say that we already have a protest that was started. We are already protesting. We are close to getting results. We should be around the hunger strikers. We shouldn’t do new protests,” she said.
 
In a joint press statement Human Rights Association co-chair Ozturk Turkdogan and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey secretary general Metin Bakkalcı said the suicides left them with “deep sadness.”

They demanded an end to the suicides inside and outside of prisons.

“We want to state that we absolutely don’t approve this type of act and we are against them.”

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