Imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has called for an end to jail hunger strikes in Turkey, his lawyer Nevroz Uysal said on Sunday.
“I expect the action to conclude in light of the broad statements to be created by my two lawyers,” Ocalan said in a message read by his lawyer in a press conference at Istanbul.
Ocalan, the co-founder of the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was permitted to see his lawyers this month for the first time in eight years.
Approximately 3,000 Kurdish prisoners have been holding hunger strikes since November to protest Ocalan’s isolation and improved conditions for him, and eight have killed themselves over the issue as stated by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party.
Nevroz Uysal said earlier this month that the leader wanted the hunger strikers to limit their protests.
“We respect the resistance of our clients inside and outside prisons but want them to not take this into a direction which may threaten their health or lead to death,” Uysal quoted Ocalan as saying.
Turkey seized Ocalan in February 1999 and imprisoned him where he’s been kept for two decades.
Ankara, United States, Nato the United Kingdom and other Western allies blacklisted PKK and declared terror group. The conflict has claimed over 40,000 lives.
Mehmet, Ocalan’s brother, was allowed to visit him in prison in January for the first time since 2016.
Kurdish leader was sentenced to death for treason by Turkish agents in Kenya, but this was commuted to life imprisonment if Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2002 at a time when it seemed close to securing membership of the European Union.