CHP calls on gov’t to take action for hunger-striking educators

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers have called on the government to take action about two jailed educators who have been on hunger strike for over 200 days.

“We call on the government as CHP lawmakers: These two young people are heading towards death. If something happens to them, the conscience of Turkey will not be able to handle it. Two young people’s lives should not be ended with all our eyes open,” CHP Malatya lawmaker Veli Ağbaba said on Oct. 11 after his visit to academic Nuriye Gülmen at Ankara’s Numune Hospital.

Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were dismissed from their education posts with state of emergency decrees after the July 2016 coup attempt, started hunger strikes on March 9.

Both educators were arrested on May 23, the 75th day of their hunger strike, during a sit-in protest in Ankara’s central Kızılay district. Prosecutors accuse them of “making propaganda of a terrorist organization” and “conducting a protest on the instructions of the DHKP-C [outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front].”

Gülmen was taken to hospital on Sept. 26 due to her deteriorating health condition, the authorities stated.

“We are calling on the leaders of ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] to hear the voices of these children, if they have a bit of conscience. [Gülmen and Özakça] are saying on their own terms that they will not give up, not kneel down, or surrender,” Ağbaba also said.

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