When an elected Mayor goes on hunger strike…

UPDATE: 8/11/13…. the hunger strike is over. She is in treatment. People protesting. Wall construction is halted. But the questions at the end of this post still hold.

Post from 7/11/13

Nusaybin Mayor, Ayse Gokkan, has been on a hunger strike for 8 days. And Turkish government is not doing anything about it.

She is not a prison to be forgotten in a cell.

She is the elected Mayor of Nusaybin, a border town of the city of Mardin.

She is protesting against the ‘wall of shame’ that’s being built between Nusaybin and Qamislo (Rojava) in Syria.

In her press release, she said:

“Borders divide women the most. Men parcel up the land as if it’s their fields. The issue is not really the wall. in 21st century, we need to get rid of borders. Just as Nusaybin is home to Arabs, Syriacs, Armenians, Yezidis, Mehelms and Kurds, so is Rojava. The objective of the walls is to build a wall of shame between Kurdish peoples. It’s unacceptable in the 21st century”

“there is no threat to Turkey from Rojava. There is a peace process going on in Turkey. If Kurds living in Turkey is not a threat, how can the Kurds living in another country be so”

The Home Secretary, Muammer Guler, said the wall is a security measure to protect the local people from mine fields near hte border as a road is being built. Gokkan’s point of view is that Turkey is a signatory to Ottowa Convention which requires cleaning up of mine fields, not building walls around them. She is on hunger strike while keeping watch in the mined area.

There are other areas along the border where similar walls are being built between Turkey and Syria.

Whatever the government’s reasons and however righteous they are, this is another example of a democracy that is not as democratic as it likes to be seen: no official information about the wall has been issued to the local authorities, local people protesting have not been listened to.

In the meantime, there is another human being suffering – on her 8th day of hunger strike (with no deadline), Ms Gokkan has lost 9 kg and doctors checking up on her say that as she is not taking salty sweet water, what water she drinks she throws up, and her muscle tissue is beginning to be lost.

How can an elected government remain silent against an elected Mayor going on hunger strike? Oh, sorry, they do something like tear gassing the crowds protesting…but more importantly: How can a government run a country in a way that an elected Mayor resorts to hunger strike?

ayse gokkan

For Turkish:




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