Kurdish prisoners in Turkey end hunger strike (PHOTOS)

Members of a pro-Kurdish party stand behind a banner reading "They are dying" as they start on November 17, 2012 a two-day hunger strike in support of the several hundreds Kurdish inmates who have been on hunger strike for 67 days in Ankara. (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
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.

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Members of a pro-Kurdish party sit on the ground as they start on November 17, 2012 a two-day hunger strike in support of the several hundreds Kurdish inmates who have been on hunger strike for 67 days in Ankara. (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
Members of a pro-Kurdish party sit on the ground as they start on November 17, 2012 a two-day hunger strike in support of the several hundreds Kurdish inmates who have been on hunger strike for 67 days in Ankara. (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
A Kurdish family cross the street during clashes on November 17, 2012 between Turkish police and Kurdish protestors in Diyarbakir during a Kurdish demonstration in support of a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)
A Kurdish family cross the street during clashes on November 17, 2012 between Turkish police and Kurdish protestors in Diyarbakir during a Kurdish demonstration in support of a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)
A Kurdish boy flashes the V-sign in front of barricade on November 17, 2012 in Diyarbakir as police forces clash with Kurdish protestors demonstrating to support a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)
A Kurdish boy flashes the V-sign in front of barricade on November 17, 2012 in Diyarbakir as police forces clash with Kurdish protestors demonstrating to support a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)
A Turkish police officier detains a protestor on November 17, 2012 in Diyarbakir during clashes with Kurdish demonstrators supporting a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)
A Turkish police officier detains a protestor on November 17, 2012 in Diyarbakir during clashes with Kurdish demonstrators supporting a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)
Turkish special police forces take position in downtown Diyarbakir on November 17, 2012 during clashes with Kurdish protestors demonstrating to support a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)
Turkish special police forces take position in downtown Diyarbakir on November 17, 2012 during clashes with Kurdish protestors demonstrating to support a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners. (AFP Photo)