The hunger strike resistance was led by DTK Co-chair Leyla Guven who went on hunger strike on 7 November 2018 and spread throughout prisons in Turkey and various centers around the world.The indefinite hunger strike by 14 activists in Strasbourg launched on 17 December 2018.
14 members of the Freedom for Öcalan Initiative have been on an indefinite and non-alternating hunger strike in the French city of Strasbourg which houses prominent European institutions such the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). On the other hand, the Freedom for Öcalan Vigil has continued in Strasbourg for 7 years.
The activists held a press conference on Sunday following the message Öcalan conveyed through his lawyers in which he called for the end of hunger strike and death fast actions inside and outside prisons.
The activists announced ending their hunger strike upon the call of the Kurdish leader and vowed to continue their struggle until his freedom is achieved.Speaking on behalf of the 14 activists, KCDK-E (European Democratic Kurdish Society Congress) Co-chair Yüksel Koç recalled Öcalan’s remarks on “adequate comradery to walk alongside him” and stressed that they have made a promise to the Kurdish leader in this regard.
Speaking after Koç, Mustafa Sarıkaya said the following; “We are going through an important and historic process. The resistance initiative has left a significant phase behind and achieved a substantial success which is thanks to those martyred in actions of self-sacrifice.”Sarıkaya recalled that the martyrs in prison have led the resistance which has spread all around Turkey, Kurdistan and Europe.
Pointing out that Öcalan is the hope of not only Kurdistan but of the entire Middle East, and guarantee of peace, Sarıkaya continued; “Leader Apo is the guarantee of a free and common living of everyone living on these lands. All peoples need Leader Apo. In his last two messages, Öcalan put emphasis on peace and co-existence. The Kurdish people and all the concerned institutions should treat the matter this way.”
Sarıkaya emphasised that their struggle will continue until Öcalan is granted with conditions of working freely. “For this reason, we say insistently and unrelentingly that Leader Apo must be free.”
Highlighting the role of international institutions in the isolation of Öcalan, Sarıkaya said that the isolation issue does not concern Turkey alone.Stressing that the Kurdish people will never accept the isolation of their leader, Sarıkaya called on the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and all authorised institutions to act with responsibility.
Sarıkaya remarked that the people in Europe have played a particularly deterministic role in the resistance and pointed to the importance of the Kurdish people’s actions in Strasbourg and all around Europe in the success of the hunger strike action.Sarıkaya ended his remarks by extending their thanks to everyone for their support.
The 14 activists who joined the hunger strike in Strasbourg are: Gülistan İke, Dilek Öcalan, Nurgül Başaran, Mustafa Sarıkaya, Mehmet Nimet Sevim, Yüksel Koç, Deniz Sürgüt, Kardo Bokani, Ramazan İmir, Ekrem Yapıcı, Ayvaz Ece, Mohamad Ghaderi, Agit Ural and Kerem Solhan.