27 May 2019|Peace in Kurdistan

After 200 days, HDP MP Leyla Guven,  along with other Kurdish MPs and thousands of Kurdish prisoners in Turkey, have ended their hunger strikes in response to the breaking of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan’s isolation.

In ending her hunger strike, Leyla Guven, whose action in November 2018 started a mass movement, said the strike had achieve its immediate demands. She went on to declare that the struggle would continue by other means.

“But our struggle against isolation and our struggle for social peace will continue in all areas. This struggle must lead to an honourable peace,” she was quoted as saying in a written statement.

As is known, Leyla Guven began her hunger strike in a bid to end Ocalan’s years of isolation by securing him regular access to his family and lawyers. This has been achieved. Her action inspired a mass hunger strike campaign involving Kurdish politicians, thousands of prisoners, activists and others within the community inside Kurdistan and overseas, such as in the UK.

The dramatic ending of the hunger strike came after an appeal from Abdullah Ocalan issued through his lawyers and read out at a press conference in Istanbul.

A central lesson to be drawn from the episode is that Abdullah Ocalan remains a vital player in the Turkish political arena and simply cannot be ignored anymore. The Kurds and their demands for justice cannot be ignored.

Attempts to silence Ocalan have totally failed and the Kurdish movement has not been derailed from the pursuit of its historic demands.

In fact, the Kurdish people as a whole have been galvanised into political action by the hunger strike campaign and will draw lasting strength from this experience to re-energise their struggle to enable them to achieve peace, justice and full recognition.

Peace in Kurdistan salutes and pays fulsome tribute to all those who demonstrated such remarkable courage and commitment by embarking on the life-threatening ordeal of the hunger strike. Your collective resilience, and that of the millions of supporters, achieved major results, most of all by giving voice to the Kurdish demands and making it impossible for the Kurds to be silenced for any longer.

The world is compelled to address these demands and to take steps to resolve the deadlock in the peace process, including ending the threat to the Kurds in Syria, namely Rojava.

Leyla Guven and her hunger striking comrades showed that it is possible to remain defiant and prevail against the full weight of oppressive state power and to confound President Erdogan’s attempts to erase the Kurdish presence from Turkish politics. Now there is an opportunity for democracy in Turkey to prevail thanks to the remarkable resistance shown by the Kurdish hunger strikers.

The ending of this action marks the start of a new chapter in the Kurdish struggle. The new period opens up the possibility of restarting the peace process with the participation of Abdullah Ocalan, whose isolation, having been broken, must not be re-imposed.

Efforts must now be stepped up to ensure that the momentum generated by the hunger strike is maintained and that it leads to permanent results. Leyla Guven and her colleagues have demonstrated great leadership. Their courageous and selfless actions have ensured that the Kurdish movement is much the stronger going forward.

Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk


Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890