Scottish activists wrote to MEPs after visiting hunger strikers in Strasbourg.
Sarah Glynn from Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan, and Fiona Napier from Aberdeen Trades Council have just returned from visiting the Kurds on indefinite hunger strike in Strasbourg.
The Scottish activists said: “We are appalled that the indifference of the world to the Kurdish situation has led them to take such desperate action and put their lives on the line, and we have written the open letter below to Scottish MEPs, calling on them to do all they can to make Turkey concede to the hunger strikers’ simple demand to respect basic human rights law and end the isolation of Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan.”
The activists sent their letter to Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, David Martin, Nosheena Mobarik, Ian Hudghton, Catherine Stihler.
The text said: “We are writing to draw your attention, as a Scottish MEP, to the Kurdish hunger strikers in Stasbourg, who we visited last week and whose condition is getting increasingly serious. These 11 men and 3 women have been on indefinite hunger strike since 17 December with one, simple, demand: that the Turkish Government complies with their own constitution and international conventions on human rights and ends the isolation of imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan.”
Recalling that “the first hunger striker was Leyla Guven, a Kurdish MP and political prisoner in Turkey, but there are now over 250 people on indefinite hunger strike in Turkish jails, and across the world”, the letter continued: “A hunger strike is an action of last resort, only taken when the world refuses to listen. Öcalan is recognised as their leader by millions of Kurds, and you don’t have to be Kurdish to recognise the huge impact of his ideas in bringing democratic practices to Northern Syria, building bridges between different ethnic groups and – especially – ensuring women can take a full part in society. In the last two decades Öcalan has made repeated attempts to negotiate a peaceful and respectful future for the Kurds in Turkey, and the respect that he himself commands makes his role vital to any peace settlement between the Kurds and the Turkish Government.”
The group of hunger strikers in Strasbourg, said the letter, “expressly call on the European institutions to put pressure on Turkey, as a member of the Council of Europe.”
Which is why, the activists said, “we call on you, as an MEP, to use your influence to see that the European Court of Human Rights takes action against Turkey for its human rights abuses, including the isolation of Öcalan, and that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture carries out its fundamental duty and visits Öcalan in prison. We also call on you to do what you can to help the EU develop a more critical relationship with Turkey and stop giving the Turkish Government European money.”