Kurdish prisoners in Turkey end hunger strike
Hundreds of Kurdish prisoners have ended a 68-day hunger strike after an appeal from jailed former leader Abdullah Ocalan. The prisoners were demanding more rights for the Kurdish population in Turkey and better jail conditions for Ocalan.
Ocalan was sentenced to death in 1999, but the term was commuted to life imprisonment following the abolition of the death penalty in Turkey in 2002. Most of the prisoners on strike are serving time for alleged links to the PKK, and are deemed terrorists by Turkey and its Western allies.Turkey’s government has tried to reconcile with members of the Kurdish minority, which makes up nearly 30 percent of the country’s population. However, activists who seek autonomy in the mostly Kurdish southeast say state concessions have not gone far enough. Ocalan is serving his sentence in solitary confinement on an island near Istanbul.On Saturday, his brother Mehmet said Ocalan told him that the hunger strike had "achieved its goal.”Doctors recently warned that many of the strikers were in imminent danger of starving to death. However, authorities have not indicated that the conditions of Ocalan's detention will be changed.