For many months Kurdish activists have criticised the BBC for its silence of the plight and cause of the hunger-strikers. Well today BBC News London released a video interview they recorded with two hunger-strikers at the Kurdish Community Centre in Haringey. Nahide Zengin and Mehmet Sait Yilmaz told the journalists about their health conditions and loss of weight. While BBC did not say too much about the demands of the hunger-strike, as one might (albeit it cynically) expect, it is a positive development for the movement to finally be noticed by large media organisations.
You can WATCH THE CLIP here.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt replied to enquires from Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts about concerns for Imam Sis and the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan. It doesn't make for a great read; while he expresses concern for the well-being of the hunger-strikers, Hunt suggests that the cause of the hunger-strikers is now void. The UK government has "raised" the issue of the isolation of Öcalan with Turkey, asking them to abide by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture's suggestions, and Turkey has subsequently allowed Öcalan's lawyers to visit and Öcalan himself has, to quote Hunt, "advised against" the continuation of the hunger-strikes. It washes the Turkish state of any guilt.
Hunt's letter also symbolises the deftness of Turkey's decision to allow a visit; not only did it create a certain (if small and temporary) sense of confusion for the hunger-strikers and activists with regards to their strategy, it gives national governments outside Turkey the ability to throw up their hands, saying they did what they could, and that a certain victory has been won for the Kurds. Of course this is nonsense; neither those on hunger-strike in Turkish prisons, the hunger-strikers across Europe, nor the KCK consider one visit in eight years, a gesture, to be the conclusion of the isolation, which is why their struggle continues. But it does raise strategic challenges. Where do we go politically when the cause can now be easily discarded? Maybe it presents a block for any progress with the current UK government, but nobody expected the Conservative Party to damage the interests of the British State and capital with Turkey. Maybe parliament is closed off for now, but we still have a lot of work to do and angles to play. The fight goes on, comrades.
Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP, spoke about Imam Sis and the demands of the hunger-strikers in Westminster today during Prime Minister's Questions. She asked Theresa May if she, along with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, would intervene to push Turkey to end the illegal isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and to abide by international law.
See this link for a video clip of her speech.