In solidarity with the  hundreds of political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey, 15 Kurds from across Europe have been on a continuous hunger strike for 51 days to protest Abdullah Ocalan’s isolation at Imrali prison. Having had visits from the BDP, letters of support from Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, and with an online signature campaign underway, the strikers were finally visited yesterday by 10 members of the European Parliament who joined Leyla Zana and South African Judge Essa Moosa to offer political support and highlight their cause.

Ms Zana also met with EP president Martin Schulz to discuss the Kurdish conflict, and participated in a press conference which you can watch in full below:


GUE/NGL Press release:

Cross-political group of MEPs express solidarity with Kurdish hunger strikers in Strasbourg

published by GUE/NGL Group in the EP on Thursday 19 Apr 2012

Drawing attention to the dramatic situation of fifteen Kurdish hunger strikers in Strasbourg, 10 Members of the European Parliament from various political groups today joined Sakharov Prize Laureate Leyla Zana, South African Judge Mr Essa Moosa and parliamentarians from several European countries in a visit of solidarity to the strikers.

Fifteen Kurds from several European countries have been on an indefinite hunger strike in Strasbourg’s Saint Maurice Church since March 1st following a similar move by 400 political prisoners in Turkey in mid-February.

Today’s visit by MEPs to lend humanitarian and political support to their cause highlights their plight and the disastrous consequences of Turkish policy towards Kurds.

The hunger strikers, whose physical condition is seriously deteriorating began this unprecedented action to protest against Turkish political repression of Kurds, to demand more political freedoms for Kurdish people in Turkey, the restart of negotiations for a political solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey and the release of all political prisoners, including Abdullah Öcalan. They asked the MEPs, the EU and the Council of Europe to do their utmost to protect the Kurds’ fundamental rights.

Earlier on, Leyla Zana met with European Parliament President Martin Schulz to discuss the situation of the Kurds. She also held discussions with EPP – Conservative, Socialist, Liberal, Green and Left political groups in the European Parliament and meets with the GUE/NGL group this evening.

The meetings with Members were followed by a European Parliament press conference in which Leyla Zana joined MEPs Jürgen Klute and Søren Søndergaard, hunger strikers and their supporting committee in calling for a political solution to the Kurdish question and for the hunger strike to end without any loss of life. Hunger striker Nigar Enayeti also spoke at the press conference, criticising the abuse by Turkey of Kurdish fundamental rights and highlighting the situation of Abdullah Öcalan who has been in Imrali’s island prison for many years, in total isolation.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Sonja Giese (DE) +32 486 94 50 21