Palestinian leftist leader and resistance icon Leila Khaled visited Leyla Güven on the 159th day of the latter’s hunger strike against the isolation of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan. Khaled visited Güven at her home in Amed/Diyarbakir on Monday, 15 April.
Leila Khaled also visited HDP MPs on hunger strikes Dersim Dag, Tayip Temel and Murat Sarisac after her visit to DTK Co-chair Leyla Guven. Leila Khaled visited the HDP provincial offices and spoke with the MPs.
Khaled said there are similar practices in place in Palestine and Turkey and added that the hunger strikes launched in prisons against such practices have been done before in the past as well.
Leila Khaled protested the government’s silence in the face of these protests and said:
“The government did not respond, but at least the parliament should have. I hope your parliament will announce that they are against these violations. You are members of the parliament, I am as well. We have many MPs in Israeli prisons. So, our struggle is common. We must continue this struggle, but we need to change our tools. I hope the government hears your voice. All of my people salute you. You speak with us and the whole world through your hunger. I wish you good health and I hope you prevail in your struggle.”
Khaled said there were hunger strikes in prisons during another visit she made to Turkey in the past: “They demanded freedom. Hunger strike itself is a call for freedom. I met with Leyla Guven. She is a strong woman. I felt a responsibility towards her. Leyla Guven is putting her life on the line to protect her comrades and to protest the injustice. She is doing it for Mr. Ocalan in particular and her message has spread throughout the world.”
Khaled said the public supports the hunger strikers and their demands: “You and Leyla Guven all went on hunger strikes and your people support you. Various organizations throughout the world support you too. No human being can accept these human rights violations. They are messing with the people in prisons.”
According to Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network: “The visit came as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are themselves on hunger strike inside Israeli occupation prisons in what they have named the Battle of Dignity 2. The strike comes in response to intensified repression inside the prisons. The demands of the strikers include access to family visits and phone calls with family members, appropriate medical care and treatment, an end to collective punishment and improved conditions for women and children prisoners. “
MP on hunger strike Tayip Temel said they were happy that Leila Khaled’s visited.
Temel said: “The Kurds know Leila Khaled very well- The Kurdish people know you rstruggle and your long winded struggle for freedom. In many ways we share a common fate. You visiting us and Leyla Guven has undoubtedly given us morale and strength. You have added your voice to ours.”
Earlier, Khaled sent the following letter to Leyla Güven as she continued her strike within Turkish prisons:
My dear friend Leyla Güven. Leyla in the dungeons of the persecutors, thousands of warm greetings to you.
The dungeon could not block your voice that came to us to mobilize the world’s people to fulfill the demand for the release of political prisoners, especially the great revolutionary Abdullah Öcalan.
In Turkish and Israeli prisons revolutionaries are going on hunger strike for freedom, justice, and to stop the ruling system wanting to break the voice of the people who want democracy.
On behalf of myself and in the name of Palestinian women I say that I will use my voice against all attacks against the revolutionaries.
My dear friend Leyla,
We say that the persecution of the dungeons will not continue. Your patience and your struggle will beat hunger.
The harder the hunger strike, the more honorable the struggle. The people and all the freedom lovers in the world will respond to your actions.
I kiss you on the forehead, I hold your hand.
You’re a model for all the women in the world. With the hope of freedom…
Your friend in struggle