Demand Turkish Government Provide Medical Care to Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Target: Turkey’s Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin

Goal: To provide proper medical care to prisoners on hunger strike in Turkish prisons

Hundreds of prisoners across Turkey are participating in a hunger strike as a protest against the refusal to allow Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Ocalan to meet with his lawyers and to demand the provision of education in the Kurdish language.

Lawyers representing those individuals participating in the hunger strike say that prison doctors have been refusing treatment to hunger strikers. Lawyers also contend that prison officials have not been providing the hunger strikers with the vitamins that the lawyers bring in to their clients. There are reports that prisoners on hunger strike have been placed in solitary confinement and guards have been routinely abusing them. This is unacceptable in a country that follows international law.

In Turkey, hunger strikes have often been a tool in prisons in order to have prisoner’s voices heard. In 2000, a similar protest wound up claiming the lives of dozens of inmates. Government officials broke up that strike by force-feeding inmates who had chosen to starve themselves. It is reasonable to fear that there will be a similar outcome this time around.

Authorities must respect the decisions of inmates and allow them to strike but at the same time must allow them the proper medical care to do so. It is within their freedom of expression to be allowed to starve in order to try and enact some sort of change.

Sign this petition in support of hunger strikers in Turkey and urge the Turkish government to allow proper medical support to those who choose to strike. The Turkish government has a responsibility to respect the rights of their prison population and that includes the right to a hunger strike.



Dear Minister Sadullah Ergin,

Hundreds of prisoners across your country are participating in a hunger strike as a political protest. Your government must respect the right to protest of the prison population. This includes the right to a hunger strike.

The reports coming out of Turkish prisons that doctors have been refusing treatment to hunger strikers are very distressing. Inmates must be provided with proper nutrition and treatment, not placed in solitary confinement and left to their own devices. No punitive measures should be taken against prisoners peacefully protesting.

We ask that an independent and prompt investigation be made into the allegations of mistreatment at the prisons affected by hunger strikes. This way future incidents of a similar nature will be dealt with in an appropriate and legal manner.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: ali kemal ergelen via Fotopedia

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