Modal close

Hi there,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. This month, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 23rd birthday. For over two decades, we've produced our daily news hour without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, in honor of Democracy Now!'s birthday, every donation we receive will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $30 today, Democracy Now! will get $60 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else. Thank you! -Amy Goodman

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Donate

Turkey Cracks Down On Prisoner Hunger Strikers

Default content image
Listen
Media Options
Listen

More than 2,000 inmates in Turkish prisons are on a hunger strike, some for nearly two months. Hundreds are near death, vowing to oppose a shift from group cells to U.S. style high security units in which prisoners are held for years in isolation and incommunicado. Turkish and international human rights groups charge that the single-person cells will make the abuse of prisoners even more easy and common. This in a prison system in which inmates are already subject to torture and fatal beatings.

Late last week, 5,000 soldiers stormed 20 prisons around Turkey using helicopters, bulldozers and massive quantities of tear gas. During a fire at one prison, 27 people burned to death. One woman who survived briefly, shouted out “They are burning us to death.” Nonetheless, the New York Times repeated the Turkish government’s claim that it was the prisoners who set themselves on fire.

Turkey is a key link in U.S. geopolitical strategy. Since 1993, President Clinton has approved $8.3 billion worth of weapon sales and giveaways to Turkey. After Israel and Egypt, Turkey had garnered the most U.S. foreign aid until it was recently displaced from the number three spot by Colombia.

Those U.S. weapons and aid dollars have enabled Turkey to prosecute a 13-year counterinsurgency war against its Kurdish population while at the same time maintaining a police state. Many of the prisoners targeted in the crackdown are in jail for opposing the government’s repressive policies.

Guests:

  • Sebnem Korur, Professor of Criminal Medicine Turkish Doctor’s Association. She is the forensic physician who bought to light previous prison massacres by authorities who had beaten prisoners to death. She will also be on the team that evaluates the recent deaths and abuses.
  • Yavuz Onen , Head of Human Rights Foundation, Ankara
  • Arturul Kerkchu, Turkish journalist with the Independent News Network. He served 17 years in jail for opposition to the government.
  • Bob Bazzanko , Professor of History at the University of Texas, Houston

cc

Related Story

Video squareStoryMay 20, 2015Sgt. James Brown, 26, Survived Two Tours in Iraq Only to Die Begging for His Life in Texas Jail
The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Up arrowTop