Turkey’s hunger-striking educator Semih Özakça battered by prison guards

Guards at prison where the dismissed teacher Semih Özakça is held battered the hunger-striking teacher, the People’s Law Office of Turkey (Halkın Hukuk Bürosu) announced from its official Twitter account.

Özakça’s wife Esra Özakça, who has also been on a hunger-strike since the arrest of her husband and the dismissed teacher Nuriye Gülmen back in May, told Serkan Alan of Gazete Duvar of Turkey that Semih Özakça was called by the guards at around 9 in the morning and told to go out to the prison yard.

Claiming that they were going to search Özakça, the guards then forcefully took him out to the yard, where they dragged and battered him, causing him to get bruises on his arms.

Expressing deep concern about the health condition of her husband as he has reached 142nd day of his hunger-strike in demand of his job back, Esra Özakça said: “While we cannot even touch them softly (Semih Özakça and Nuriye Gülmen), they (the authorities) are putting them under maltreatment. How could this be done to a person who has been on a hunger strike for 142 days? I cannot even find any words to say about it!”

Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça are two dismissed educators in Turkey who are among the tens of thousands who have lost their jobs with the order of emergency decrees of Erdoğan and the AKP ministers as part of a purge started off in reaction to an attempted putsch last summer.

Having held a months long demonstration in front of the Human Rights Statue in Ankara’s central Yüksel Street to demand her job back, Nuriye Gülmen was then joined by also dismissed educator Semih Özakça, and, others.

As they felt the authorities failed to hear their voices, the two began a hunger strike over 4 months ago. On the 75th day of their hunger strike, their houses were raided by police at a dawn operation and the two were arrested.

Lawmakers from opposition parties CHP and HDP; human rights defenders both in Turkey and abroad; public figures and artists in Turkey, as well as, millions of citizens in Turkey have expressed their solidarity with the two educators, who have stated that their protest is not only for themselves but for all other persons in Turkey whose lives have been jeopardized under state of emergency laws.

Some, including the jailed co-chair of HDP (People’s Democratic Party), Selahattin Demirtaş, have called on the educators to stop their strike for the sake of their own health. However, the two are insistant on continuing it until their demand is met and they are returned to their teaching positions.

The government officials in Turkey have yet to make any statement showing any concern about the demands of the educators.

In contrary, the ministry of education has published a book about the two educators, declaring them as ‘terrorists’ although there has been no court decision or a verdict against them.

Source: https://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/semih-ozakca-cezaevinde-darp-edildi-172061.html