Dr. Fahrettin Gulsen spoke about the 5 months of the hunger strike in Strasbourg and said the activists have several serious issues, ranging from extreme weight loss to severe neurological detriment.
Having monitored the indefinite non-alternating hunger strike in Strasbourg closely since day one, Dr. Fahrettin Gulsen spoke to the ANF on the five months of the hunger strike. Gulsen answered questions about the state of the activists and said there are some activists who lost over 30 kg in the process.
“The hunger strike has continued for over 150 days. Of course it wasn’t an easy process, they have severe health issues. But with exceptional morale and motivation, they overcame the health issues to an extent and were able to continue until this day.
There are some among them who have lost over 30 kg. There is an average of 19 to 22 kg of weight loss, but some have lost much more. The most weight loss was seen in the women, and this has brought on serious issues due to the body depleting. The first significant thing is muscle pain. The muscle pains disrupted sleep cycles for all activists completely. They can sleep only 3 to 4 hours a day and even if they are in bed, they spend the rest of the day awake.
Of course this leads to serious neurological issues. The weakening of the nervous system lead to headaches and neurological pains.
The tissue loss in such a long period of starvation causes the organs to fail to work at desirable levels. The functionality loss in the digestive system is extremely high. Cardiac issues are also prominent in many activists, like low blood pressure and high pulse. The cardiac arrhythmia is also causing issues for the activists.
They don’t like to speak of these things, but we as doctors can see. The activists also have issues with their hearing and other senses. The tinnitus leads them to mishear many things. All these lower the quality of life for them. The tinnitus also results in further headaches.
They also have serious issues with their eyes. Many activists have developed glaucoma and that has reduced their vision severely. Light sensitivity is at a maximum. Most of the activists have shut themselves in darkness almost. We are concerned about these symptoms.”