A press conference was held in Istanbul by the Hunger Strike Monitoring Commission that underlined problems experienced by prisoners.
Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO), Health and Social Service Workers Union (SES) Istanbul Branch, Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul Branch and Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) conforming the Hunger Strike Monitoring Commission held a press conference at the IHD Istanbul branch office.
The press release was read by Dr. Murat Ekmez, Member of Board of Directors of ITO.
Ekmez said: “Unfortunately, in the past, we witnessed the deaths of many people and permanent damages affecting those who survived a hunger strike.
Unfortunately, we are the world’s most experienced country when it comes to hunger strikes. We health professional organizations and human rights institutions are concerned that given the stage reached dead can occur at any time and for this we want to reiterate our call to people and institution in Turkey to act as there is nothing more important than human life.”
Number of activists going on hunger strike increasing
Ekmez underlined that death is not the aim of those who go on hunger strike. The aim is to make their voice heard and their demands dealt with.
Ekmez confirmed that the number of people who are going on hunger strikes indefinitely in prisons is increasing by the day. “There are around 300 prisoners on hunger strike. In Istanbul – he said – prisoners are on hunger strikers in Silivri, Bakırköy and Maltepe jails and in Bakırköy Women Closed prison there are 4 prisoners who are on their 53rd day of fast and are at risk of life.”
Ekmez added that “hunger strikers are not regularly checked by doctors, B1 tablets containing vitamin B are not given to the hunger strikers on a regular and full dose. The ward is experiencing fundamental problems such as lack of heating, lighting and ventilation, limitation of social activities, and violation of communication rights.”
Ekmez confirmed that Istanbul Medical Chamber, SES Istanbul Branches, TIHV, IHD have created a monitoring commission.
“We share with the public – he said – our decision to monitor the hunger strike and we present a series of demands to both the public and the Minister of Justice.”
“ * Ensure that prisoners on hunger strikes are regularly checked by doctors in accordance with national and international ethical principles and ensure that independent physicians conduct examinations in prisons.
* Providing B1 (TIAMIN) vitamin in addition to water, salt, sugar and carbonate to prisoners for the prevention of disabilities or giving a full dose of B vitamin complex tablets containing B1.
* We demand hunger strikers are dealt with the necessary humanitarian sensibility before possible deaths and irreversible disabilities, and urged anyone to work for a democratic solution.”
Isolation should end
Gülseren Yoleri, head of the IHD Istanbul Branch, spoke about the Monitoring Commission the organisations formed saying: “We will conduct monitoring and visit prisons. In addition, we are planning to share the results of our impressions and information with the press and public.”
Yoleri confirmed that indefinite hunger strikes in the Marmara Region are going on in Istanbul, Edirne, Tekirdag, Bandirma, Gebze, Kandira, Burhaniye, Duzce, Balikesir prisons.
“There are problems with hygiene, some prisoners are kept in isolation”, said Yoleri.
SES Anadolu branch co-chair Erdal Güzel said isolation must be removed, while Ayşe Çetintaş from THIV underlined that “there is nothing more precious about the right to life.”