EuroMed Rights Alerts European Parliament on Public Servants’ Hunger Strike in Turkey

Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society, Turkey

In a letter sent today to Members of the European Parliament, EuroMed Rights’ President, Michel Tubiana, who has just been on a mission in Turkey, alerts on the hunger strike of three public servants.

Ms Nuriye Gülmen, a postgraduate student, and Mr Semih Özakça, a high school teacher, have been on a hunger strike for 250 days. Ms Esta Özakça, Semih’s wife, has been on hunger strike for 173 days. Like 130.000 other public servants in Turkey, they have been dismissed from their public function, following the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016. Yet they are rejecting this arbitrary decision.

Commenting on the situation, EuroMed Rights’ President, Michel Tubiana, said:

“It goes without saying that the bodies of the three academics have already suffered irreversible damage. Ms Nuriye Gülmen and Mr Semih Özakça are subjected to criminal proceedings for protesting peacefully. They can’t even defend themselves as their lawyers are also tried and detained. We fear that those academics may die. The international community and the European Parliament need to intervene urgently in their favour and call on Turkish authorities and on the international community to end this growing repression of human rights. The European Parliament has to condemn these arrests and demand for Turkey to respect human rights and the rule of law.”