Jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş calls on Turkish educators on hunger strike to end protest

Selahattin Demirtaş.

Jailed co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş has called on two educators who went on a hunger strike after they were purged from their posts in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 to end their protest.

Writing a letter to the two educators, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça who entered the 112th day of their hunger strike on Wednesday, Demirtaş said: “The decision to begin a hunger strike and end it depends on your free will. Yet, as a friend of yours from politics who represents the will of the millions, I request you to end your hunger strike.”

Gülmen was fired from Konya Selçuk University, and Özakça was a teacher at a primary school in Turkey’s eastern province of Mardin before he was purged over ties to a “terrorist” organization.

Gülmen and Özakça were arrested on terror charges in Ankara on May 23 while they were on a hunger strike demanding their reinstatement to their jobs.

In his letter, which was made public by the press office of the HDP, Demirtaş said he finds the resistance of Gülmen and Özakça meaningful and they are showing an effective resistance against injustices.

Demirtaş was jailed last November on terror charges along with several other deputies from his party.

In the meantime, Gülmen and Özakça told a group of opposition deputies who visited them in jail on Tuesday that they are determined to continue their hunger strike until they are reinstated to their jobs. Yet, the educators said they are aware the calls made to them to end their hunger strike are good-intentioned. (turkishminute.com) June 28, 2017

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