Gülmen and Özakça’s lawyer: They will end hunger strike when their voices are heard

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Turkish former primary school teacher Semih Ozakca (R) and Turkish academician Nuriye Gulmen sit in wheelchairs wearing facemasks on the 63rd day of their hunger strike during a demonstration to call for the authorities to give back jobs to public employees who have been dismissed from their positions by decree of law since the imposition of the state of emergency rule in Turkey, in Ankara, on May 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Selçuk Kozağaçlı, the lawyer for imprisoned educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, has said the two will end their hunger strike when they feel their voices are being heard.

Reminding that the academics started the hunger strike in order to protest their dismissal under state of emergency decree-laws issued after a failed coup in Turkey last year and demand reinstatement, Kozağaçlı said: “They are not trying to die. They are on a hunger strike to strengthen their voices. When they feel that their voices have been heard they will end it. That is my opinion.”

The two educators, who were on the 76th day of a hunger strike when they were arrested on terror charges on May 23 in Ankara, have now been without food for 140 days.
Kozağaçlı stated that government did not seem interested in mediation proposals by deputies from opposition parties, intellectuals, artists and scientists.

Regarding the health of Gülmen and Özakça, their lawyer said: “Unfortunately their health is related to the number of days they have been hungry. It has been a very long time. And there are all kinds of dangers and problems that can be expected from being hungry for such a long time. They are using wheelchairs; they are not able to walk without help. They have pain. They are conscious; they are able to meet with their lawyers, doctors and families.”

According to Kozağaçlı, contacts from the government promised them their files would be the first to be evaluated by an OHAL commission that was set up to deal with the cases of those who were dismissed under state of emergency decree-laws.

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