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16 August 2001 Edition

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Turks lobby in Ireland

Two human rights activists, Lavant Kanat and Hüseyin Karabey, from Turkey, visited Dublin last Wednesday to discuss the hunger strike in Turkey. They held meetings with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin. They held a press conference in City Hall, where they met with Dublin City Councillors including the Sinn Féin group on the Council and then went on to meet with Dublin's MEP, Patricia McKenna.

In Coiste, the delegation had an opportunity to meet with republican prisoners who had spent years in prison in solitary confinement.

They later addressed a packed public meeting in Dublin's Irish Film Centre, where they spoke of the prison death fast struggle in Turkey, now in its 294th day. Jim McVeigh, himself an ex-prisoner from the H Blocks who recently visited Turkey, talked of the death houses and of how the young people, the neighbours and supporters look after the hunger strikers.

Lavant Kanat, a civil rights lawyer, spoke of the suppression of human rights, of censorship, and of the widespread use of torture in Turkey.

Huseyin talked of the war in Kurdistan, where 3,000 villages and hamlets have been burned, and 25,000 have been killed. A Kurdish source estimates that some 3 million people have been displaced, forced to move away from their land in a policy of Vietnamisation to deny the Kurdish liberation fighters a support base. These displaced people have been moved into urban centres in extreme poverty, with no prospects of employment.

In a population of only 63 million, the armed forces of Turkey number 700,000. Ironically, the Turkish government has attempted to justify the introduction of F-type cells by the claim that they will bring the Turkish prison regime up to European standards.

Death fast toll now 31

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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