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RSF statement of solidarity and support with Kurdish Hunger Strike

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The International Bureau of Republican Sinn Féin extends greetings and solidarity to the Kurdish people in these hard times. On September 12, 63 Kurdish political prisoners embarked a hunger strike until death. These 13 women and 50 men are held in seven Turkish prisons. They were soon followed on hunger strike by more than 600 political prisoners. In early November elected representatives of the PKK, Kurdistan Workers Party, the PAJK, Kurdistan Women’s Liberation Party, and the BDP, Peace and Democracy Party, went on hunger strike. BDP is the main opposition party in the Kurdish areas. The protest has now spread to 39 prisons.

 

September 12 was chosen since the day is the anniversary when the Turkish military seized power in a coup d’état in 1980. Since 2009 the Turkish state arrested more than 9.000 Kurdish politicians, parliamentarians, majors, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and trade union members.

 

The International Bureau of Republican Sinn Féin fully supports the hunger strikers and their demands. The three main demands are a) an end to isolation imprisonment of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, B) the recognition of the Kurdish language in schools, public sphere and in courts and c) the respect of the democratic rights of the Kurdish people.

 

Abdullah Öcalan is held in solitaire confinement for the last 13 years. He has not been allowed to see his lawyer since July 27, 2011.

 

Dieter Blumenfeld, international spokesperson of Republican Sinn Féin, said Abdullah Öcalan is a leader such as Bobby Sands was. He said: “In 1981, the British government said the Irish Hunger Strikers have no support and the Irish freedom struggle has no justification. With the election of Bobby Sands as TD for an All-Ireland Dáil, they were proven wrong. We witness a similar situation nowadays but even the very fact that there are more than 600 political prisoners on hunger strike show the huge amount of support for the Kurdish freedom struggle.”

 

He continued: “As Irish Republicans we know too well what it means for a revolutionary movement to see their political prisoners forced to go on hunger strike. Since the beginning of the 20st century, the Republican Movement has seen 22 men from within their own ranks die on hunger strike. In 1981 the world supported the Irish hunger strikers and today it is our duty to support the Kurdish hunger strikers and the Kurdish people. The Irish freedom struggle is as justified as is the Kurdish fight for national self-determination and socialism. Abdullah Öcalan has suffered far too long. Bobby Sands was labelled a criminal by the imperialist forces because he was an Irish Republican. And Abdullah Öcalan is labelled a terrorist by the same forces because he believes in the freedom of Kurdistan.”

 

“We say to the Kurdish hunger strikers: You supported our demands in 1981 and now we as Irish republicans are there for you and we support your demands. On behalf of Republican Sinn Féin I extend revolutionary greetings and solidarity to all hunger strikers. The Irish Republicans will always be the allies of the Kurdish people in their fight against imperialism and for national and social liberation”, Blumenfeld said.

 

Críoch/Ends.

 

For confirmation: Dieter Blumenfeld, International PRO, 0043 664 556 18 68, international@rsf.ie

 

http://www.rsf-international.org/

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