Kurdish party: 162 inmates on hunger strike in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A pro-Kurdish party lawmaker says scores of prisoners have joined a hunger strike in a show of solidarity with an imprisoned opposition legislator who has been refusing food since November last year.

People’s Democratic Party legislator Meral Danis Bestas said yesterday that her imprisoned colleague, Leyla Guven, has reached “a critical stage” in her hunger strike.

Guven launched the hunger strike to press authorities to allow family members and lawyers to visit jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, whom she says is unlawfully being kept in isolation in a prison on an island off Istanbul.

Bestas said 162 other prisoners in 36 prisons across Turkey have joined the hunger strike.

Hunger strikers in Turkey traditionally refuse food but take vitamins and sugared water which prolongs life.