Hunger strikers in Turkey show support for imprisoned PKK leader

Fifty pro-Kurdish politicians and activists have begun a hunger strike in Turkey in support of Abdullah Ocalan, who leads the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an opposition party spokeswoman told dpa on Monday.

Five of the hunger strikers are members of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the spokeswoman said.

The HDP has faced growing pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over its alleged support for PKK militants, with whom the government has been engaged in bloody fighting in the predominantly Kurdish south-east.

The PKK and the state have been locked in conflict for over a year, leading to hundreds of deaths on each side and hundreds more civilian fatalities. The HDP has condemned PKK attacks but is also sharply critical of the government's heavy-handed crackdowns.

Ocalan was incarcerated on Imrali Prison Island in 1999 and has been cut off from the outside world since April 2015.

A statement released by his supporters said that they had no information on the PKK chief's state of health and urged the government to provide access to his lawyers and family members.

It added that Ocalan has been excluded from peace talks and that any efforts to resolve the conflict have been "in vain."

Last update: Mon, 05/09/2016 - 19:03


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