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Hunger strike by Kurdish inmates spreads across Turkish prisons

A hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners, initiated by a female parliamentarian to protest restrictions on visits to jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, may have dramatic consequences if Ankara sticks to its indifference, lawyers and activists warn.
Soldiers stand guard at the entrance to the Aliaga Prison and Courthouse complex in Izmir, Turkey October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RC1B8D521D10
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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — As election fever engulfs Turkey ahead of local polls in March, a hunger strike that began quietly in a prison in Diyarbakir is spreading to prisons across the country, with activists warning that Ankara’s apathy might lead to grave consequences.

The hunger strike was initiated two months ago by Leyla Guven, a lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who has been in prison for nearly a year over her critical social media posts on Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, northern Syria.

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