Press Statement, 21 April 2012

The 15 Kurdish activists in Strasbourg have ended their hunger strike action today on the 52nd day. At a press conference they declared, that the action has broken a wall of silence. The hunger strikers are also convinced that their demands have been taken seriously by the relevant institutions, and that practical measures will be taken.

After the appeals of the General Secretary of the European Council, the President of the European Parliament, the European Commissioner for Enlargement, and the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), for an end to the hunger strike, the 15 activists announced in a press conference today, that their action had ended.

At the press conference, which was held in Kurdish, Turkish and French, the following statement was issued:

‘Our hunger strike, which begun with the demand “Freedom for Ocalan, Recognition for Kurdistan”, is now in its 52nd day.

‘We, 15 activists for the “Initiative to Free Ocalan”, comprising of five women and ten men, through our hunger strike, have made our central demands, that the health, safety, and freedom of the representative of the Kurdish people, Mr Ocalan, is secured. Our most urgent demand was for the ending of Ocalan’s isolation. It was our objective to expose, for the public, the prison system in Imrali and the isolation policies, and to move the relevant institutions to perform their duty. The clearest evidence that institutions like the European Council or the CPT are not fulfilling their duty, was their silence in response to the fact that, for nearly nine months no news of Ocalan’s life had been able to reach the public. Neither his family members nor his lawyers were granted permission of a consultation. The current phase signifies that the fears and worries of the Kurdish people and his friends regarding Mr Ocalan’s situation, have reached their highpoint.

‘In order to contribute to easing the worries of the Kurdish population, to become the effective voice of  the demands of the Kurdish people, and to raise awareness in society of the situation, we carried out this hunger strike for 52 days.

‘We would like to publicly say, that our action has reached a new stage. We see that the relevant institutions have been made aware of the legitimate demands of the Kurdish people. In addition, we also see that a wide range of supporters for the Kurdish people and for their freedom movement now exists.

‘The Kurdish people have, through their willingness to make sacrifices, their support, and their actions, not left our action alone for a single second, and have made great efforts for the freedom of the representative of the Kurdish people.

‘The demand for the assurance of Ocalan’s safety, health, and freedom will no longer take the form of a campaign. We see, that the main objective of this campaign, and of the awareness of it, that freedom is possible and can be attained through resistance, was made. Our action received great public support over the past 52 days. We know that the first step for the ending of Ocalan’s isolation must be made by the European institutions. The appeals of the General Secretary of the European Council on 13th April, and of the President of the European Parliament on 18th April, the declaration of the KCK on 20th April, as well as the outcomes of the talks with different people from the support groups, have all convinced us further of this fact. We also believe that the relevant institutions have taken our demands seriously, and that they will commence practical measures.

‘So that these institutions can speed up these tasks and act more smoothly, we declare that our action has fulfilled its aim, and we end our hunger strike with immediate effect.

‘We thank all those who have stood by us from the start who have supported us with their thoughts, words and actions. We thank the Kurdish people, our friends and supporters in Europe, and the representatives of alternative and opposition media. We want to emphasize that we achieved our success as the result of collective resistance.

‘Also, we would like to thank those people responsible in St Maurice Church. They have not only opened their doors and taken care of us, but also supported us right to the end on diplomatic and other levels. Thank you for everything.’

Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK
KNK <[email protected]>

Source: Initiative for the Freedom of Ocalan – Members of the indefinite hunger strike
21 April 2012