Turkish police lift blockade targeting pro-Kurdish MP on hunger strike

Turkish police lifted a blockade around the house of Leyla Guven, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP after installing it for three hours.

Guven has been on hunger strike since November 2018. The lifting of the ban was reported by pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency (MA) on Thursday.

After the removal of the brief police blockade around Guven’s house, a riot squad dispatched to the area left after three hours, while an armored vehicle and a riot control vehicle with water cannons remained in the vicinity.

The blockade around the MP’s house in the Baglar district of the southeastern Diyarbakır province was put up and then lifted by the police with no particular reason known to Turkish media on the 169th day of Guven’s hunger strike.

On November 7, 2018, the pro-Kurdish lawmaker initiated a partial and indefinite hunger strike demanding an end to what she describes as the aggravated isolation regime imposed on Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

Participation in the strike has been spreading among Kurdish inmates in prisons, notably in March. Seven inmates ended their lives through the strike so far in protest of the isolation imposed by the Turkish state.

Nimetullah Erdogmus, an HDP MP in Diyarbakir, said about hunger strike initiated by Guven: “She wants to make way for peace. Thousands of people, who don’t want to leave her alone in that effort, call on us, on humanity, in the same way, that she does. The addressee of that call is the [Turkish] parliament, the government itself.”

His comments, made in front of religious leaders on Thursday, were reported by the news portal, Arti Gercek.

Ocalan has been held mostly in solitary confinement in Imrali, an island prison in the Marmara Sea, since his arrest in 1999 by the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT).

He has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011, his family members since 2014, and HDP lawmakers since April 2015.

Ankara regards PKK, a militant group that took up arms for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast, a terrorist organization. PKK has stirred up a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984.

Prisoner Commits Suicide Amid Increasing Hunger Strikes to Protest PKK Leader’s Isolation

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