Esra Özakça, who is the wife of the dismissed and jailed hunger-striking teacher Semih Özakça, has left behind 72 days of her hunger-strike, which she started when here husband Semih was arrested back in May, along with dismissed educator Nuriye Gülmen.
Giving a statement about the critical health condition of Esra Özakça, representatives from Turkey’s Ankara branch of the Chamber of Medicine and the Human Rights Foundation said Özakça lost 7 kilos – dropping from 56 kg to 49 kg – and began to have muscle pains, allergic reactions, and other complications due to her prolonged hunger.
Speaking on behalf of the doctors and human rights defenders at the press conference held in Ankara, executive member of the Chamber of Medicine, Benan Koyuncu, called on the authorities in Turkey to be ‘considerate and sensitive’ about the critical conditions of the hunger-striking couple Semih and Esra Özakça and Nuriye Gülmen.
Koyuncu also mentioned that just like their family, friends, and members of the public who are worried about their health, the jailed teachers Özakça and Gülmen are also concerned about their own situation since their strike is ‘not an attempt to commit suicide but to protest against their unlawful dismissal and to have their voices heard’.
The two jailed teachers are among the tens of thousands in Turkey who have lost their jobs with the order of emergency decrees of the government and Erdoğan passed in response to a failed coup.
Their protest had started months ago in Ankara. After violent intervention of police several times and almost daily detentions, the educators went on a hunger-strike to draw attention to their demands to be returned to their jobs. On the 75th day of their hunger-strike, they were taken into custody from their houses by police officers who raided their houses in a dawn operation.
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