EU troubled by Turkish hunger strikes

Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM

BRUSSELS, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The president of the European Parliament said Tuesday he was very concerned about the conditions of Turkish prisoners engaged in a hunger strike.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz issued a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin expressing his concern for Turkish prisoners, some of whom are elected officials, who are on a hunger strike.

Schulz called on Turkish authorities to ensure medical care is readily available to the demonstrations.

"I call on hunger strikers to put an end to an action which is putting their life in peril and to revert to political dialogue as a way to advance their requests," he added.

Turkish lawmakers last week said they'd join a two-month hunger strike by 700 prison inmates to pressure officials into ending the isolation of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. His group, known by its Kurdish initials PKK, has waged a guerrilla campaign in Turkey in support of more Kurdish rights.

Ocalan is serving a life sentence on a island detention center. His attorneys haven't been able to meet with him for 15 months.

Gultan Kisanak, a leader from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, expressed frustration after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the hunger strike as "showing off."

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