Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça end hunger strike

The State of Emergency Examination Commission has dismissed Nuriye and Semih’s applications to return to their jobs. Nuriye Gülmen announced in the statement she made that they were ending their hunger strike. Following Nuriye Gülmen, Semih Özakça, Esra Özakça and Acun Karadağ also made statements.

27 Ocak 2018 Cumartesi, 16:30
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On hunger strike for 324 days, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça had applied to the State of Emergency Examination Commission to be reinstated in their jobs. The State of Emergency Commission, whose decision had been awaited for months, dismissed Gülmen and Özakça’s applications to return to their jobs.

Following the dismissal decision passed by the State of Emergency Commission over Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who had been on hunger strike in a bid to return to their jobs, they gave a press statement. Participating at the statement were Human Rights Foundation of Turkey General Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ankara Chamber of Doctors General Chair Vedat Bulut, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey General Secretary Metin Bakkalcı, Gülmen and Özakça's doctors and lawyers and the Yüksel Street resisters. Nuriye Gülmen started the statement with a reference to the resolve of the Yüksel resisters. Gülmen said, “We cannot thank them enough. They jointly shouldered our struggle at its zenith and shared in the hunger.” Gülmen, recounting that she came out in Yüksel Street on 9 November, thanked the lawyers, writers, MPs and doctors affiliated to the Ankara Chamber of Doctors who had given support from that time until today.

Gülmen spoke as follows:

“We have brought one person’s small resistance that was heeded by ten people who were arrested within seconds forward, knitting stitch by stitch, for 444 days. We have no chains. We were afraid, but we surmounted our fear. We really love our resistance because it has given us our honour. It smashed the AKP’s decrees with the force of law. The people did not betray our faith. This resistance gave a renewed lesson in comradeship, loyalty and love. We redefined them along with the Yüksel resisters, who were arrested twice a day and went out there every day for eight months. We are much stronger today than on the first day. Today, there is a ‘we’ that remains with us. We are very strong in number.”

Gülmen, noting that they had received service of the State of Emergency Commission’s decision and it was a dismissal, said, “We will take judicial recourse. We are ending our hunger strike as of today, but our resistance has not ended. Once our hospital procedures have ended we will continue to fight. It will not end until we say so.”

STATEMENT FROM NURİYE AND SEMİH

Nuriye Gülmen spoke about the progression of the 324-day hunger strike.

The key points from Nuriye Gülmen’s statement are as follow:

“I thank the Public Workers Front that has been at our side until today.”

“I thank the People’s Law Office that took on our defence and once more showed how lawyers are supposed to do their jobs.”

“I greatly thank the people from the arts world who supported us and the journalists who gave support in making our voice heard.”

“I greatly thank the beloved ‘free captives’ who with their letters never left us on our own for the duration of this resistance and never left us without letters while we were captives, and all the political captives who wrote letters from prisons in all four corners of the country.”

“I greatly thank my friends who stood watch in front of Numune Hospital, did not leave courtrooms empty and visited me and held my hand following release.”

“I thank the people from the arts world who gave voice to our resistance on all platforms.”

“I greatly thank the doctors affiliated to the Ankara Chamber of Doctors who took efforts to assuage my pain.”

“As children and members of this people we trusted this people and embarked on resistance.
Our trust was not betrayed. We spoke and they listened. They did not betray our trust. They held our hands and opened their doors to us. I greatly thank them.”

“We stepped up by increments a resistance lasting 444 days. We really love our resistance. Our resistance has given us our honour. We became free the first day we went out into that space rejecting the submission imposed on us and declaring our refusal to accept what had been imposed on us. We became even freer with each day that passed. We have no chains. We were afraid, yes, we were. But we did not take a step back. We really love our resistance because it has restored our honour.”

“I embarked on this resistance saying, ‘Now is the time to speak and create stories that are worth living. If there is oppression, resistance is a right.’ The Yüksel Resistance is the name of a resistance. Let us be a candle if need be so as not to leave the stage of history empty. When teachers of the future look back to today, let a void not be what they see. Let there be educationalists in struggle. This resistance is a resistance we started to defend our honour. This is how it started and it has continued like this until today.”

“Our resistance has been an example for other resistances. It started other resistances in other cities. Our resistance pierced the state of emergency darkness, smashed the legitimacy of decrees with the force of law, lit the fuse for taking to the streets and showed that resistance is possible under all conditions. It was a resistance that started in very adverse circumstances in which it was said, ‘Nothing can be done’ and parliamentarians and journalists were being detained. The Yüksel Resistance was a resistance that lit the fuse for taking to the streets.”

“This resistance smashed the force of decrees with the force of law. They have TV stations and channels. We have no TV stations or channels, but we did not ask how we were to explain this resistance. We came out into the street saying we would explain it to one person at a time. We first explained it to one person, and then two. Then this resistance reached out to millions.”

“This resistance has taught us many values once more. Affection, loyalty, love, devotion. We redefined these. We redefined them with Nazife and with Esra. We learnt about them again along with the Yüksel resisters who for months came out twice a day and were arrested.”

“The AKP rulership used all the means at a rulership’s disposal. They attacked with the Interior Ministry’s resources of all kinds. Right up to declaring us to be terrorists. While the trial was underway, they made statements aimed at influencing the trial. But we managed to emerge strengthened from each of these attacks. These attacks did not cow us. When we look at the day on which we started the struggle, we are far stronger today. We have managed this thanks to our struggle.”

“WE ARE ENDING THE HUNGER STRIKE”

“Today, there is a ‘we’ that remains with us on the 444th day. We never felt ourselves to be alone on this resistance. We did not feel alone thanks to the strength we derived from history and the ‘we’ we felt ourselves to be.”

“For its part, the State of Emergency Commission has dismissed our application. We will take judicial recourse. We are ending our hunger strike as of today. But, our resistance continues. Once our hospital procedures have ended and we have returned to health we will continue our fight. This fight will not end until we say so. They could not make us abandon the struggle and resistance. I thank you all.”

SEMİH ÖZAKÇA: THIS RESISTANCE HAS BEEN A HOPE

“For us, the greatest achievement of this resistance is that it has been a hope for the peoples of the world. And in the worst and harshest of conditions. This resistance showed that we are capable of accomplishing some things if we do not abandon our resolve.”

“This resistance was a historic resistance. This resistance has left a footnote in history. This resistance has exposed just how pitiless and brash the rulership is, and at the same time how weak and unjustified it is.”

“There have been bodies that have not resisted, have persistently opted not to resist and have stood back, fearing the oppression and what would befall them. We actually exposed them. There is no place to run and no place to hide. Even people who post Tweets are being detained. There is no place for the people to run and hide.”

“They are trying to crush our personal identities. We were thrown in jail because we would not let them crush our personal identities. A booklet was published to prove us to be terrorists. This is a first in history.”

“They wanted to break up our families. The efforts to break up our families and divide us came to naught. We were at one with our families and waged this struggle. My mother, wife, mother-in-law and wife’s brothers and sisters were forever at my side over this process. We became even more attached to one another over this process.”

“Both my release and Nuriye sister’s release were thanks to the struggle fought on the outside over the course of our trial, thanks to this resistance on the outside. This has also shown what resistance can achieve.”

“We won. This is a victorious resistance.”

“WE ALSO GREW OUR LOVE WITH THIS RESISTANCE”

“Together with my beloved wife Esra we also grew our love. We showed what love should be in a system in which the attempt is made to fob off degeneration and selfishness as love.”

“My beloved wife shared in my hunger. We shared pain, hopes and life together.”

“I made a note from the Little Prince. ‘"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.’ We both gazed at each other and looked outward in the same direction.”

“We love our people and our country with our affection and the love we feel for our people. We were struggling for them. We also enhanced our resistance with that affection.”

“My mother, the mothers. Veli Saçılık's mother Kezban Mother. My mother was arrested for the first time in her life. There are currently lots of trials. What was a mother to do for her child? This was the most she could do. I really feel pride. She showed how a mother should be, risking a huge price and swallowing huge fears. One of the great things about this resistance, one of its achievements, was also my family.”

“We spoke of concrete achievements. Some things need to be done. The commission decision has opened the way to judicial recourse. Is the judiciary just? No. But a channel has been opened. Before this resistance, there was not even such a possibility. They were thinking of dragging out the commission as a stalling tactic. In fact, this resistance has made this commission really work. Even its passing a work reinstatement or dismissal decision is an achievement. They could have taken this decision under a decree with the force of law, but opted for this road to leave thousands of people in limbo. They wanted us to be people who committed suicide and had psychological breakdowns over this process by stretching things out. No, we are not opting for suicide and are not having psychological breakdowns. In the end, we will win and our resistance will continue.”

“I wish to stipulate that I was not placed in full solitary confinement, but I was the only person to be expelled from the sub-province in which I was located. Later, my friends in the union who were under suspension and my wife went back. Just my wife was expelled once more under a decree with the force of law issued in February. And this shows that she was expelled for supporting me or just for being my wife. No decision has come from the commission about my wife, either.”

“Our struggle will continue. If workers are exploited and thrown out of their jobs, resistance is a right. We will resist until the end. I thank everybody.”

ESRA ÖZAKÇA

“There are those we forget when thanking. But Solidarity with Nuriye and Semih never gave up. There is an additional need for thanks for this specially dedicated solidarity. I also thank the families.”

ACUN KARADAĞ: THE RULERSHIP SHOULD KISS NURİYE AND SEMİH'S HANDS

“We resisted for months in the fear that something might happen to our friends. But, today I am very happy. At least we will continue to resist with our hope kept up rather than fearing the loss of our friends.”

“The rulership is a rulership unable to rule. It declares the state of emergency because it is unable to rule. We did not expect a better decision from a rulership that cannot rule. They did the best they could do and opened the way for judicial recourse.”

“Five people have displayed great resolve with their bodies. Yüksel Street drew strength from them as they did from Yüksel Street. We actually won every day. Every day we tore a strip off the rulership.”

“If I were the rulership, I would send a representative to these people and get them to kiss their hands. They owe a debt of gratitude to this resistance for preventing them from being a rulership that goes down in history as murderers.”

“Let me wind up with Veli’s comment. Let us say, ‘Resistance is permanent.’ When our friends Nuriye and Semih have returned to health, we await them at the resistance in Yüksel.”

The doctors from the Ankara Chamber of Doctors indicated that they would not comment on the decision in view of resisters who may subsequently embark on similar action and their rights to a decision, and provided information about the subsequent medical process.