Solidarity with Prisoners in Turkey


Debate in Irish News about Irish Republican Response to Prison Protest in Turkey


Turkish hunger strikers need your help NOW

Irish News, Letters Page, 12.6.2001


THE letter in your paper from concerned former POWs highlighting the plight of the political prisoners currently on hunger strike in Turkey is to be commended.
The Turkey-Ireland Solidarity Committee is a broad-based support group for the Turkish hunger strikers.
It was formed after a public meeting in west Belfast on the issue last month and we welcome support for the Turkish POWs.
Their plight is our plight and representatives of the Turkish hunger strikers have placed great emphasis on the highlighting of the terrible human rights abuses in Turkey by Irish groups – given our understanding of the trauma of hunger strike both inside and outside the prisons.
Anyone wishing to offer support can phone the Turkey-Ireland Solidarity Committee at 079 7966 8963 or on e-mail
Turkey-Ireland Solidarity Committee
Costello House, Belfast


Turkish hunger strikers must not be forgotten

Irish News, Letters Page, 8.6.2001

IN the year that marks the 20th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes it is ironic that, despite the lessons the British reluctantly but ultimately came to learn, other governments seem determined to repeat the disastrous mistakes of the past when it comes to dealing with prison issues.
The penal policy of the Turkish government which has left over 50 prisoners and their relatives dead, including many hunger strikers, is in effect an extension of that government’s approach to Turkish society; an approach now seen in the eyes of many as indistinguishable from fascism.
Members of a recent delegation to Ireland in support of the protesting prisoners and their families – a number of whom have also died on solidarity fasts – drew comparisons not only between the ongoing Turkish hunger strike and our own experience in Ireland, but also between the type of conditions that produced the prison protests.
In Turkey prisoners were being forced out of their collective accommodation and into isolationist cellular type confinement known to the prisoners as F-Blocks.
During the 1981 era we in the H-Blocks received much support from solidarity groups in Turkey.
Now that the baton of resistance to repression has been passed on to those in Turkish prisons, we who came through the H-Blocks shall not be found wanting in voicing our concern and offering all practical support.
Irish republican prisoners have historically occupied a honourable tradition of resistance to repression.
Throughout our time in prison we identified with those groups in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Argentina and Chile who opposed repression and sought freedom.
We supported the people of South Africa in their struggle against apartheid.
Although released that tradition still continues.
The silence of the media has been deafening on the plight of the Turkish prisoners.
In large part this may be explained by British and USA support for – and sponsorship of – the Turkish state in its bid to play a full part in the EEC and NATO club.
As former republican prisoners with experience of a repressive and brutal prison system we shall, in the coming weeks and months, be organising a series of events and protests aimed at highlighting the situation in Turkey.
We call on all ex-prisoners and interested parties to throw their weight behind the campaign to halt the ongoing state murders of political prisoners and their families there.

Sinn Fein has made peace with imperialism
Irish News, Letters Page, 17.1.2001
TOM Holland's letter (January 12) has been drawn to our attention.
Since October 20 2000 a hunger strike involving several hundred
political prisoners in Turkey has been in progress.
On the December 19 the state launched a massive operation involving
over five thousand police and army personnel in an attempt to end the
hunger strike.
Twenty prisons were attacked by the army and 32 prisoners were
killed, 27 of them from DHKP-C.
But they did not end the resistance: it still continues.
When the resistance started back in October, we contacted as many
political organisations and individuals as possible.
We have literally sent thousands of e-mails and faxes to people
including Sinn Fein.
Barring a few exceptions there was no response, and certainly none
whatsoever from Sinn Fein.
We did however contact Brendan Hughes and he agreed to meet us and to
give a talk to the friends and families of political prisoners about
his personal experiences in Long Kesh.
Tom Holland does not seem to know whom Brendan Hughes was referring
to in his original article on January 9 ... and then he states that
Brendan Hughes does not know the facts!
Tom Holland says in his letter that he has met with Kurdish people.
Which people? Certainly not those involved in the prison resistance.
This prison protest does not just involve Kurdish prisoners.
It involves Kurds, Turks, Arabs, Laz people and all of the other
national groups in Turkey.
The PKK are not involved in this protest.
Like the Provisional Republican movement, they have capitulated to
the state and have surrendered their beliefs.
The PKK are actually trying to copy the Provisional Republican
movement and Sinn Fein are encouraging them.
The Provisional Republican movement is having a negative affect on
liberation movements throughout the world.
We tried to meet Tom Holland in Belfast two years ago but he refused
to meet us!
The reality is that, since Sinn Fein have made peace with
imperialism, they do not want to be associated with those who fight
imperialism, wherever in the world that might be.
Who do the Republican movement wish to meet these days – the
bomber of Baghdad and Yugoslavia, and the man who condemns young black men
to the gas chambers.
The peace process is essentially about what one's attitude
towards imperialism is, that much is clear.
Brendan Hughes has made a stand... and for that Tom Holland has
attacked him.
Sinn Fein should know better, especially an ex-prisoner like Tom
We know what Brendan Hughes is prepared to do for the prisoners on
the Death Fast resistance in Turkey.
But the international solidarity Sinn Fein once showed has now
clearly been decommissioned.
Revolutionary People's Liberation Front
London Information Bureau
Sinn Fein has helped the Kurdish people
Irish News, Letters Page, 12.01.2001
I READ Brendan Hughes's letter (January 9) with sadness.
Meeting the families and friends of those Kurdish prisoners on hunger
strike must have brought back painful memories for him.
He is however, as he admits, not aware of the facts.
Sinn Fein has a proven record of support for those struggling for
human and civil rights around the world.
We have met with representatives of the Kurdish people as recently as
last December, and have consistently offered our help and advice to
Remembering the hunger-strikers
Irish News, Letters Page, 09.01.2001
WHY do we do it? Why do we bomb, shoot, kill?
I went to England recently; they pulled me in, the Special Branch.
I was not there to bomb, shoot or kill!
I was there to talk and listen to people!
I went on a protest march through London; nothing to do with the
Irish situation.
I met people in London, very few of them spoke English.
But when they were told I was a friend of Bobby Sands, I saw their
faces change ...
I was at one with them, I was their friend, I was a comrade.
Their family, friends and comrades were dying on hunger strike.
To my shame, I did not know that 12 people have died on hunger
strike, including a woman – 50 people are on hunger strike at
Did you know that?
Twenty years ago I was on hunger strike, the whole world knew.
Over 50 people are on hunger strike right now for the same principle
as we stood for and yet, the world does not know ... I did not know!
Sinn Fein's response to their cause – and this is a fact
which broke my heart when I heard it – "We do not get involved in the
internal politics of another country."
Bill Clinton was here last week.
Andrew King apart, no politician, no representative of any party
asked the questions:
"Why do you bomb poor people?
``Why do you give money and guns to people to kill kids?
``Why do you support the fascist regimes of Israel and Turkey?
``Why are people dying in Turkey?
``Why don't you speak out?
``Why don't our people speak out?"
People are dying in Turkey, kids are dying in Palestine, Mr Clinton
is responsible. Soon it will be Mr Bush.
It will take more than a Mexican Wave to brush it under the carpet.
The people who are dying in Turkey are no different from the people
who died in Ireland 20 years ago.
I call on all parties, and in particular Sinn Fein, to speak out for
these hunger strikers, just as we called on the world to speak out
for us.
Ten men dead was a crime against us!
It will be a crime and a shame perpetrated by us if we fail to speak
out on Turkey.
Brendan Hughes, Belfast



The Blanket
A journal of protest and dissent