The Blanket


A journal of protest & dissent




The Turkish Hunger Strike And International Solidarity
by Davy Carlin


While watching a recent TV documentary on the 1981 hunger strike I caught a glimpse of a young black child looking nervously into a coffin. Twenty years on as I sit on the Belfast committee to build support for the Turkish hunger strike I try to recollect my young thoughts as I looked into that coffin of hunger striker Bobby Sands. The images of that time are etched firmly onto my mind.

Twenty years on it has given such inspiration to the Turkish hunger strikers with some who were involved in the Irish hunger strikes now providing solidarity.

Today the main demands are fourfold. Firstly the closure of the special F-type prisons which create the isolation cells. Incidentally it should be noted such a policy of these high security isolation prisons have been condemned by numerous international organizations as it has proven to be detrimental to both physical and mental well-being.

The second demand of the prisoners is for the abolition of law 3713 used against trade unionists or people sympathetic to revolutionaries on the grounds of 'aiding terrorism'. Thirdly the abolition of the state security courts; and fourthly investigations into murders and torture of prisoners.

The recent footage from Turkey showed the true brutality of one of Americans main military benefactors. On top of this we have the states response to the growing support and resistance. They release prisoners on 'death fast' to attempt to break that very resistance. So now we have seen that fight also taken to homes in solidarity, from Armutlu to Sefakoy. The death fast continues, forged by commitment, dedication, willpower and belief to each other, their struggle and their ideas.

Fighting back means then standing up not only to the brutal Turkish regime but to the very politic that supports and feeds it. The western governments and especially America arm, fund and train the Turkish military machine while they mention little of what is happening to the DHKP-C, the TKP-ML or the TKIP because it benefits them politically. They mention little also about the plight of the Kurds as it would run counter to their strategic interests and they say little of Turkeys human rights record as it would not tally with their foreign policy interests of the region economically.

Turkey recently has taken out a ten billion pound loan with the IMF which comes with severe measures attached to it. So we shall see the deepening of the pain and poverty of the working class and poor along with the intensification of repression of persons and organizations.

The ideology behind the Turkish struggle cannot be abstracted from the increasing practicalities of this period while they give the ultimate sacrifice for those ideas. For revolutionaries our support is crucial but so also is the understanding of the system that has forced such sacrifice, and why collectively with our class we need to organize our stance against such a politic of brutality.

Davy Carlin is a Marxist activist currently involved in organising support for the Turkish hunger strike.




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The Blanket




Republicanism in Crisis

The Cracks in the "PNF"

A Journal of Dissent

Under the Foot of the Mountain: Brendan Hughes

Author's Choice: Rogelio Alonso, A Just War?

Interview: Marian Price

Books: Soul Wars

Books: Anthologies Package our Literary Past

Unionism and Decommissioning

Turkish Hunger Strike Report

Taking Sides in the War on Modernity

Writing This Issue

Latest News & Views

Index: Current Articles

Book Reviews



The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002

Republican Voices