U.S. Funded Repression Sparks Prison Hunger Strike in Turkey

Some 1,000 political prisoners in Turkey have been on a
hunger strike since Oct. 20. About 300 of them are committed
to hunger strike until death if their just demands are not
met. The Turkish government wants to put them in individual cells
because officials think that, once isolated, they would no
longer be able to resist the government.

Some 1,000 political prisoners in Turkey have been on a
hunger strike since Oct. 20. About 300 of them are committed
to hunger strike until death if their just demands are not
met. The Turkish government wants to put them in individual cells
because officials think that, once isolated, they would no
longer be able to resist the government.

The current hunger strike is a struggle to prevent the
imposition of the F-System by Turkish prison officials. This
is a system modeled on U.S. maximum-security, behavior-
modification prisons that impose high-tech total isolation
in order to break down prisoners’ morale and control them
politically. This includes total isolation of all prisoners.
It is a form of physical and psychological torture that
means prisoners are being punished three times over:
imprisonment plus torture plus total isolation.

Members of three leftist groups in Turkey started this
hunger strike. Imprisoned members of the Revolutionary
People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), the Communist
Party of Turkey-Marxist-Leninist (TKP-ML) and the Communist
Workers Party of Turkey (TKIP) have called for the death
fast. These groups were followed by other organizations with
political prisoners, including the Kurdish Workers Party
(PKK). And the action has spread outside the prisons.

Some relatives of political prisoners and members of TAYAD–
Solidarity Association of the Prisoners’ Family–have been
on hunger strike since Nov. 13. And some writers are on
hunger strike to support them.

Every day there have been demonstrations in support of the
hunger strikers, not only in big cities in Turkey but all
over Europe. Lawyers in their judicial robes marched 500-
strong in support of the prisoners.

Before this hunger strike started the relatives of political
prisoners, along with members of socialist and human rights
organizations, held a lot of demonstrations outside the
prisons. Every Saturday they demonstrated against this
prison system and in support of the political prisoners.
And every Saturday the police would beat and arrest them.
Unions, doctors’ organizations–including the Union of
Turkish Doctors–lawyers’ and writers’ organizations have
been supporting the political prisoners. A member of the
Turkish doctors’ union recently examined the political
prisoners because of the hunger strike. After his visit
police arrested him.

Right now the main topic in Turkey is this hunger strike.
But the Turkish government has closed its eyes and ears.
Because the level of struggle has been very high in the
prisons, the officials are determined to break it down. They
have tried everything. Right now they want to try a U.S.-
made and developed system of isolation and torture called
the "F-system."

As the hunger strike continues, hundreds of political
prisoners in Turkey’s prisons are at risk of dying soon.

U.S. ROLE IN TURKISH REPRESSION

The massive repression in Turkey is bought and paid for in
the U.S.

Turkey receives large amounts of U.S. military aid to pay
for its services of providing the Pentagon with bases in its
strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and
the Middle East. These bases are used daily to carry out
bombing attacks on the people of Iraq and help Israel in its
genocidal attacks on the Palestinian people.

Turks are sent to the U.S. to be schooled in techniques of
torture. And U.S. aid enables the Turkish government to pay
for new high-tech torture prisons in Turkey, while the
people in Turkey and the U.S. need that money for schools
and hospitals.The prison system that the Turkish government is now trying to implement is modeled after the one in the U.S.

The U.S government is behind the repression in Turkey and is
benefiting from it. But it is in the interest of poor and
working people in the United States to stand in solidarity
with their sisters and brothers inside the Turkish prisons
and fight back against this repression.

The situation is becoming more drastic, menacing and
dangerous with every passing day. Death is getting closer
for the strikers. They are behind bars. They are using their
lives as a weapon of resistance because they have nothing
else to fight with.

[Cemile Cakir is a former political prisoner from Turkey who
participated in earlier hunger strikes.]

Author: Cemile Cakir and Frank Neisser

News Service: Workers World News Service

URL: http://www.workers.org/ww/2000/turkey1221.html