On Saturday, 16 April, Georges Abdallah, the Lebanese Arab Communist struggler for Palestine imprisoned in France for over 37 years despite being eligible for release since 1999, announced a one-day hunger strike in support of Sibel Balaç and Gökhan Yildirim, two political prisoners in Turkish jails. Both have been on an open-ended hunger strike — termed a “death fast” in the movement in Turkey — since 19 December and 25 December respectively.
Abdallah joined other political prisoners in Europe for this solidarity hunger strike on 16 April, including Pablo Hasel in Spain, Musa Asoglu in Germany, Erdal Gokoglu in Belgium, Thanos Hatziangelou and Georgia Voulgari in Greece, and the 11 revolutionaries from Turkey imprisoned in Greece.
We are republishing the materials on Sibel Balaç and Gökhan Yildirim from the Anti-Imperialist Front and express our strong solidarity with them and with all of the prisoners who have joined in their strike.
WHY WAS SIBEL BALAC ARRESTED?
WHY IS SHE ON A DEATH FAST?
Sibel Balac is a former teacher who resigned from her job in protest of more than 100,000 arbitrary layoffs in the public sector in the wake of the state of emergency declared in 2016. She supported the sit-in on Yüksel Street in Ankara, which was started by dismissed academic Nuriye Gülmen and became internationally known.
Nuriye Gülmen is also in detention again today, while the struggle for the snatched jobs on Yüksel Street continues under daily attacks by the police.
Sibel Balac was arrested during one of these protests and imprisoned solely because of her participation in democratic actions against the mass dismissals of her colleagues by emergency laws. She was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison without any legal basis.
She has been defending herself against this injustice for more than 100 days (December 19, 2021) with a death fast, and at the same time she is standing up for the rights of all other political and seriously ill prisoners who, without publicity, would be at the mercy of their fate in prison.
For this reason, we would like to call for urgent solidarity with the demands of Sibel Balac and Gökhan Yildirim. Even if the form of protest is called “death fast”, it is a struggle for life that can only be won through the intervention and support of the democratic public.
Kadın Kapalı Hapishanesi
WHY WAS GÖKHAN YILDIRIM ARRESTED? WHY IS HE ON A DEATH FAST?
A former Kurdish “village guard” was used as the main witness against Gökhan Yildirim.
This so-called witness was involved in drug deals and other criminal activities after his informer services against Kurds in the progressive Alevi district of Gazi in Istanbul. Gazi residents had turned him over to police for an incident of sexual harassment. He was released and only later arrested when drugs were seized in his home.
Gökhan lived in Gazi and he tried to prevent the spread of drug trafficking and criminal gangs in his neighborhood by exposing them.
It is no coincidence that this criminal person, who was arrested for drugs and has been used as a “village guard” against Kurds before, was used as a witness against Gökhan.
In a statement, he claimed that Gökhan had been involved in protests and riots in the neighborhood, with which thousands of people turned against massacres of the Kurdish population in 2016. It was claimed that he had incited the protest.
Although there is no evidence of such accusations, Gökhan was sentenced to 46 years in prison based on the statements of this criminal.
He has been on a death fast since December 25, 2021. He demands the annulment of this illegal sentence and wants to obtain justice for all other political and sick prisoners as well.
1 No‘lu F Tipi Hapishanesi
TEKİRDAĞ – TÜRKEI