On September 12, 2012; sixty three Kurdish political prisoners began an indefinite and irreversible hunger strike in 7 Turkish Prisons.
On 22 September 2012, ten days later 79 more prisoners joined the hunger strikes. Today with continuing participations, more than 600 Kurdish political prisoners and convicts in prisons are on an indefinite hunger strike in 58 prisons. Imprisoned member of parliament elected BDP Şırnak deputy Faisal Sarıyıldız and Mayor of Van Bekir Kaya are also participating this hunger strike.
Their demands are simple, as members of a nation long denied collective and linguistic rights; these man and women wanted the ability to use their mother tongue during their trials. Furthermore, they rightly believe that the Kurdish language should be used in the Turkish public sphere; for self defense in the courtrooms, for education in schools and for governing in parliament and other institutions. The Turkish government, up until this time, has denied the existence of Kurds, estimated at roughly 30% of the population. These man and women have been joined by about 600 prisoners across the country, denied basic human rights, many arrested under Turkey’s draconian anti-terrorism laws.
We are writing this petition to ask Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul to acknowledge the suffering of Kurds in Turkey. We want the Turkish Government and its institutions to remove barriers and obstacles that are preventing the Kurdish population to use their own language in public and to help bring a peaceful resolution for the Kurdish conflict. Help us in giving Kurds the ability to speak their own language and be represented by political leaders of their own choosing. By signing this petition you are standing with dignity, freedom and the right to self-determination for a people who have for too long lived under repression.