Parents of Turkish hunger strikers say police threaten them to halt protest

The parents of hunger strikers Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça made a statement to the press regarding police threats to halt the protests.

The family members of Nuriye Gülmen spoke of their daughter who is still in hunger strike, and police threatens to halt the protest, according to a report published by Yolculuk daily. Şaban Gülmen, father of Nuriye Gülmen who has still been held in prison, stated that the security officers threatened his family after trying to convince them to break strike of his daughter when they come his house. Father Gülmen said, “We are threatened. They said that their house will be burnt and stoned.”

Speaking for the first time about the protest of his daughter Nuriye Gülmen, father Gülmen said “We do not want to be an enemy of the state. Police practices do not make us enemies of the state.” In reference to police cruelty and threat, father Gülmen also said that the police officers are trying to force them to be enemies of the state.

He also said that as parents they want their children to return their profession to preserve peace. “Governments must be unifying to assure peace. We do not want to be an enemy of the state. When our children return their work, it will ensure that our life routine return to normal,” said father Gülmen.

Sultan Özakça, mother of Semih Özakça, who was released from jail recently, has also made a reaction to the State of Emergency (OHAL) Commission’s failure to not making any decision. She told that their children ‘started to eat their organs.’ “I am calling the authorities. Our children were dismissed from their jobs without any crime. I want our children to go back to work without risking more life and end the strike. We have no power to bear.”

Meanwhile, Ankara Governor’s Office has announced that a ban has been imposed on all protest activities and demonstrations in the city for a period of three months effective as of November 1 on the intellingence that some groups were planning to organize protests in support of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça.

The protests may disturb the public order or some terrorist organizations may plan attacks to abuse such gatherings, a statement by the Ankara’s Governor office said. All types of protest activities including marches, the issuing of press statements, demonstrations, concerts, the holding of sit-ins and the carrying of banners and placards have been prohibited for a period of 90 days. The governor’s office based the decision on the rule of emergency that went into effect in Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Academic Nuriye Gülmen and teacher Semih Özakça are two of the tens of thousands of people who were expelled with a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 20176.

Gülmen and Özakça were holding demonstrations on the Yüksel Street in the heart of Ankara against their dismissal with a arbitrary government decree and later started a hunger strike to get their jobs back in March 2017. Both educators were jailed in May 23 and since then they have continued their hunger strikes in prison.

Gülmen and Özakça said their strike aims to draw attention to the situation of more than 150,000 public employees who were dismissed from their jobs.

The Turkish government started a crackdown on the opposition in the wake of the botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and arrested more than 50,000 and dismissed or suspended some 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants.

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