On Movements & Locomotion…
She could casually take strolls even three weeks ago… well, now, she cannot! However, she is not ready to suppress her plight. The 55-year-old Leyla Güven’s hunger strike entered its 90th day on February 15!
Güven, member of Turkish Parliament for the left-wing Kurdish-led People’s Democratic Party (HDP) launched an indefinite hunger strike on November 7, 2018 from the Amed Prison, demanding an end to the isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. Jailed by the Turkish Authority since 1999, Ocalan has been unable to meet his lawyers since 2011. However, the Turkish government tried its best to suppress the issue.
The Recep Tayyip Erdoğan administration in Ankara had sent Leyla to the jail in January 2018 for opposing military operation in the predominantly Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria. Currently, she is facing more than 100 years in prison on charges of membership and leadership of an armed organisation, terror propaganda, and inciting people to hatred Leyla is also a leader of the Democratic Society Congress that has been accused by the Turkish government of backing the Kurdish militant outfits.
Meanwhile, the Ocalan issue has resurfaced because of Leyla’s hunger strike! Her move has inspired at least 250 prisoners to launch hunger strike (in support of Leyla) in different prisons. Also, people have taken to the streets in major Turkish cities. Soon after thousands of people staged protests in Istanbul in the first week of February, the concerned authorities allowed Ocalan’s brother to meet the PKK leader.
Kurds live in different parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and other West Asian nations. For the last three decades, various Kurdish insurgent groups have been demanding separation from Turkey to create an independent Kurdistan or to have autonomy. Ocalan is the leader of such an outfit. And, Leyla is fighting against the Turkish government for the betterment of the Kurds. She served prison terms many a times in the past. This time, the hunger strike is beginning to take its toll on her health.
Sabiha Temizkan (R) says she is very worried about the decline in her mother’s health
Leyla’s daughter Sabiha Temizkan recently posted a photo of herself planting an affectionate kiss on her mother’s cheek, tweeting: “Mum, don’t leave me!” Talking to the media, Sabiha said: “I saw her for the last time over a week ago. I was supposed to see her again today, but she couldn’t make it to the visiting room. Her health is in a very poor condition.” She claimed that her mother lost 9kg of weight in the past three months, stressing: “The most critical thing at the moment is that she now has difficulty in consuming liquid, too.”
At the same time, Sabiha made it clear that she would not urge her mother to end her hunger strike. “It gives me unimaginable pain to see my mother going through this. But, I cannot ask her to end the hunger strike because she says she is doing this for peace,” said the daughter.
Leyla’s health was in critical condition after 98 days on hunger strike as she had been taken to a hospital in Diyarbakır in southeast Turkey on February 13. However, she refused treatment. The hospital authorities later confirmed that Leyla had been taken to her home in an ambulance after signing a document, stating that she had refused any treatment.
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