Turkey’s artists go on one-day hunger strike in support of hunger-striking educators

On the 120th day of a hunger strike launched by two educators, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were fired from their jobs in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt last July, several artists and intellectuals announced on Thursday that they will join the hunger strike for one day.

Edip Akbayram, Hüseyin Turan, Fatoş Güney, Deniz Türkali and Ataol Behramoğlu are some of the artists who are giving support to Gülmen and Özakça by going on a one-day hunger strike.

Gülmen and Özakça were on a hunger strike demanding  reinstatement to their jobs when they were arrested on terror charges on May 23 in Ankara in the wake of the botched coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Some of the artists shared their videos on Gülmen’s Twitter account, which she used before being arrested.

In his video on Twitter, Behramoğlu said, “It is July 6, Thursday. Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have left behind the 120th day of the righteous resistance they started by risking their lives. In order to call on the authorities to give up their obstinacy and listen to the law, justice, and conscience, we, artists and intellectuals including friends like Edip Akbayram, Fatoş Güney, Hüseyin Turan and Deniz Türkali, will not drink one sip of water, will not take a bite of food for one whole day to support our friends.”

Meanwhile, a court decision to arrest two educators who had been fired from their jobs lists the date of their crime as July 15, 2016, the same day a failed coup attempt took place in Turkey, according to their lawyer.

Selçuk Kozağaçlı, attorney for the educators, shared on his social media account on Tuesday that the Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace registered the “date of the crime” of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were accused of membership in a terrorist organization, as July 15, 2016.

“Do you know the ‘date of the crime’ of Nuriye and Semih? Here, learn it from this copy-paste court! Rejoice that you have found the real putschists!” wrote Kozağaçlı.

Last month, Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected a petition for the release of Gülmen and Özakça, arguing that being in prison did not pose a threat to the lives and physical or moral integrity of the educators.

Gülmen was fired from Konya Selçuk University for her alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement. 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.

The two protested for months in the same area of Ankara before they started their hunger strike. Both were detained several times due to their protests and arrested on terror charges in May. (SCF with turkishminute.com) July 6, 2017

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