October 31st, 2012 • SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has asked the EU authorities to take action to ensure humane treatment of hundreds of Kurdish prisoners in Turkey currently on hunger strike, urging High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton to put pressure on the Turkish government to respect internationally-recognised human rights. ‘Prisoners, including those on hunger strike, must have access to medical treatment and support. Human rights organisations report that hunger strikers are being isolated, given no vitamins and are not being visited by doctors or other medical personnel, all of which conflicts with their human rights. The EU must take action, now.’
Approximately 700 prisoners have been on hunger strike for more than fifty days. Amongst their demands are the right to speak Kurdish during legal hearings, and for children in the future to be able to learn the language in school. The rights of the Kurdish people have long been a point of contention between the EU and Turkey, while the SP does not believe that Turkey respects minority rights and expects the EU to do something about this. Meanwhile, in The Hague, SP national parliamentary foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel has called on the Dutch government to take action.