past three weeks have seen the deaths of four young
women prisoners in the ongoing hunger strike against
the F-type isolation prisons in Turkey.
hunger strikers have now died on the Death Fast, which
began in October 2000. A total of 95 people have died
overall in the protest against the isolation prisons.
Semra Basyigit, aged 22, died on 30th July after
367 days on hunger strike.
had studied at Uludag University and became involved
in revolutionary politics in 1996. She wrote for the
magazine Kurtulus ('Liberation') and was imprisoned
for a short time in 1998. She resumed political activity
on her release. She took part in solidarity actions
in support of the political prisoners and went on
hunger strike with relatives and friends of prisoners.
She was jailed in January 2001 and continued her struggle
in prison by volunteering for the Death Fast in Kartal
Fatma Bilgin died on August 10 in Ankara Numune Hospital.
She had been on hunger strike since June 3rd 2001
and was brought to hospital in March 2002,
where she was subjected to the torture of forcible
medical intervention, a process which rendered her
unconscious. In Turkey persons in hospital are allowed
to have a companion, usually a friend or relative,
stay with them. Fatma's relatives say that this right
was withdrawn in her case as the authorities wanted
to try further force feeding.
had served seven years of a twelve year sentence for
the offence of 'membership of an organisation".
August 12th the military attacked 500 people attending
Fatma's funeral in the village of Kuzetepe. Eleven
people were detained, two of whom received
serious head injuries in the attack.
Birsen Hosver, aged 32, died in Ankara Numune Hospital
on August 22nd.
studied languages, history and geography in Ankara
University, where she was involved in youth struggles
and organisations. She was detained and spent several
months in prison. She left university in 1995 and
became involved full time in political struggles,
during which time she was detained and tortured.
1997 she decided to become a guerilla and joined an
armed propaganda unit of rural guerillas in the Dersim
area. She was arrested in February 1999.
began the Death Fast on September 26th 2001 on the
7th Death Fast team. While in Malatya Prison she was
put in with the non-political prisoners in an attempt
to break her resistance. When this failed she was
put in total isolation, which also failed to break
Gulnihal Yilmaz, aged 37, started her hunger strike
on June 3rd 2001 and died in Kutahya Prison on 25th
August 2002, the 449th day of the struggle.
had been a law student and involved in student and
youth campaigns. She was jailed in 1993 as a member
of the DHKP-C and was held in several Turkish
jails. In the December 2000 prison massacre she saw
her friends murdered in the state attack on the prisons.
Turkey is currently in severe political turmoil. It
is an economic basket case, kept going solely on multi-billion
dollar 'rescue packages' from the International Monetary
Fund. The country has mass unemployment and 18% of
people live below the level of absolute poverty.
elderly Prime Minister, Bülent Ecevit, is dying
and the succession battle is on. A General Election
not due until April 2004, will be held this autumn.
As the old Democratic Left Party - the main coalition
partner - falls apart a faction is re-organising to
present itself as a reforming movement which will
bring a social democratic Turkey into the EU.
recent passage of laws dropping the death penalty
and providing some legal rights for the Kurdish people
were aimed at presenting Turkey in a good light to
the EU. Militarily Turkey is of extreme importance
to the American 'war against terrorism'. At present
Turkey commands the International Assistance Force
in Afghanistan and it's role as a NATO member will
make it's support vital in the upcoming American war
the reports in the Western media about democratic
reforms in Turkey the repression against the hunger
strikers and their supporters has continued.
August 11th dozens of people were detained at the
house of Niyazi Agriman, where a solidarity hunger
strike was going on. Four people were subjected to
two days of physical and psychological torture before
being brought before the State Security Court. Others,
who were released, continued the resistance at the
August 16th a number of prisoner support groups, including
the families group TAYAD, visited the French consulate
to hand in a request about the F-type prisons. The
group was attacked by the police and 13 people were
In Ireland 'Solidarity with Hunger Strikers in Turkey'
is still active and holds protest vigils at the Turkish
Embassy in Dublin each time a hunger striker dies.
The protests are well supported, but new people are
also needed. Recent protests have been increasingly
monitored by police, special branch and Turkish Embassy
officials, attempting to intimidate the picketers
out of protesting.
organisation publicises the issues in the hunger strike
and raises awareness and support in Ireland for the
ongoing protest of Turkey's political prisoners.
information can be obtained from our website at http://www.geocities.com/turkishhungerstrike
95th Life In The Deat Fast: Gulnihal Yilmaz
The Tayad Families
Yilmaz started resistance to the F-Type isolation
prisons on June 3, 2001 in Kutahya Prison, as part
of the 5th Death Fast Team. On August 25, 2002, the
449th day of the resistance, she was martyred in Kutahya
was born in 1965. She was the child of a family in
Sivas (central Turkey) which was Cherkess by nationality.
(Note: The Cherkess or Circassians are a minority
mainly found in the Caucasian part of the Russian
Federation, but a number of them moved to the Ottoman
Empire after the Caucasus came under the domination
of Tsarist Russia in the 19th century. They remain
a distinct group in Turkey.) She came to know the
revolutionary struggle during the years 1988 and 1989.
During that time she was a student in the law faculty
of Ankara University. She took part in the academic
and democratic struggle of student youth.
July 1993 she was jailed as a DHKP-C Trial prisoner.
First she was put in Ankara Ulucanlar Prison, and
from there she was transported to Sakarya Prison.
After the August 17 earthquake (1999) she was removed
to Canakkale Prison. She experienced the December
19 "Operation Return to Life". Her friends
were murdered before her eyes. After December 19 she
was transported to Kutahya Prison.
Yilmaz continued the Death Fast resistance to her
last breath with determination and devotion, demanding
that the inhuman conditions in the F-Type Prisons
be removed. Gulnihal's was the 95th life taken by
BALANCE SHEET OF ISOLATION:
Up to the present, 95 human beings have died. As a
result of forcible medical intervention, hundreds
of human beings have been left handicapped. How many
more will die, how many more will be left handicapped?
TO ISOLATION!!! STOP THE DEATHS!!!
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