vest that say "hunger strike", Kurds in Armenia have joined an international
On September 1 members of Armenia's
Kurdish community joined comrades world wide in protesting treatment of the imprisoned
leader of the Labor Party of Kurds (LPK), Abdullah Ocalan.
Protests are to be
carried out for three months, in objection to what Ocalan's followers call life-threatening
treatment by Turkish doctors. The Kurds claim doctors have given Ocalan chemicals
that cause his health to deteriorate.
Twenty-five Kurds of Armenia joined
the protest in a hunger strike at their Yerevan office under the slogan "The
freedom of our leader is our freedom".
Zafic Khodoyan, 52, left her
family and household in the Armavir region to join her comrades in Yerevan for
the hunger strike.
For Khodoyan it is the third time she has participated
in such a strike. She vows that she and other women are ready to strike as often
"We just want to defend our leader. We want to defend our
rights," the woman says.
The head of the LPK Caucasian office Denis
Baran says that Ocalan, who is in custody on Imraly Island, in the Sea of Marmara,
is getting worse day by day.
The 54-year-old Kurdish leader has been in
prison since February 15, 1999, convicted of high treason and terrorism.
considered the Kurdish leader and his party a threat to its national security
for their activity to create an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey
and parts of neighboring countries.
A Turkish court convicted Ocalan of
high treason and sentenced him to death.
Ocalan appealed the decision to
the European Court of Human Rights, and Turkey, which is seeking EU membership,
has agreed to await its judgment.
During his latest meeting with his lawyers
Ocalan said that he was injected with preparations that contained damaging chemical
components. Ocalan demanded that international independent doctors take part in
his medical examination.
"Our basic demand is to force international
organizations to send a group of specialists to Ocalan and bring our leader out
of political isolation," says Baran, who is among the strikers.
Ocalan's health and prison conditions are not improved, there will be unpredictable
consequences," Baran stated.
Further, Kurds are demanding that Turkish
authorities stop hostilities towards Kurdish people. LPK says it will give Turkey
three more months to hold negotiations with the Kurds. If Turkey does not agree,
the Kurds say they will declare war.
"If the demands of the Kurdish
people are not met, the Turkish government and Turkish people will find themselves
in undesirable conditions. The Kurdish people want peace but we are ready to fight"
In all there are about 50 million Kurds throughout the world.
About 40, 000 Kurds live in Armenia.
The participants of the hunger strike
in Yerevan said they planned to hold their protest action in one of the Yerevan
squares, but the Yerevan authorities rejected their appeal.
of the City Council say that there is no appropriate place for the demonstration
at present as construction is going on everywhere, including Republic Square and
Ocalan supporters say they will launch a series of actions
everywhere from September 1 to December 1.