Activists launch platform for Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk and other sick prisoners

A platform defending Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, who has been jailed since 2016 though she suffers from early-onset dementia, as well as other sick prisoners, has been established in the Aegean province of İzmir. 

Duvar English 

A platform defending former People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy co-chair Aysel Tuğluk and other prisoners was launched in the Aegean province of İzmir. 

The "Freedom for Aysel Tuğluk and Sick Prisoners Platform" was founded after an online meeting was held on Feb. 6, which was joined by independent individuals, political parties, women’s organisations, LGBT organisations as well as human rights and labor organisations.

The platform held a press conference on Feb. 9 at the İzmir branch of the teaching union Eğitim Sen. Speaking on behalf of the platform, Meltem Işık said that prison conditions across Turkey were getting worse by the day.

Işık said that prisoners were struggling with sexual and physical violence such as bare-searching, harassment and brutal beatings as well as many rights violations such as exorbitantly expensive canteens, raids carried out in the ward at midnight, book restrictions, medicine being denied and arbitrary punishments.

She added that sick prisoners were not granted accurate diagnoses and treatments and that their release was constantly being prevented. What is more, Işık emphasized that all legal and political attempts at pushing for their release were unfruitful.

“While we wait for positive news, funerals are taking place inside the prisons,” she warned.

Meltem Işık said that Aysel Tuğluk’s person embodied the torture and human rights violations that mar the country and which have caused deep wounds in the society’s collective consciousness.

“The more noise we make, the higher the chances of having an impact beyond the prisons’ walls. During such days when human dignity is trampled, we need to raise our voices together so that all sick prisoners, especially Aysel Tuğluk, are released and receive treatment,” Işık stated.

Işık urged everyone to join an online meeting the platform plans to hold on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.