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Remember this name and why he died: Zülküf Gezen

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Reportage. Thousands of Kurdish prisoners are participating in a hunger strike to end the solitary confinement of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Nine people have already taken their own lives as acts of protest. The family of the first, Zülküf Gezen, asks only that the memory of his suicide not fade.

written by Laura Sestini


April 15, 2019

In the days following the March 31 Turkish administrative elections in Diyarbakir, in spite of the victory of the pro-Kurdish HDP party, there were no official manifestations of celebration, and life in the cities went on exactly as before.

It was as if nothing had happened, even though the election results in the region represented a resounding defeat for the AKP, the ruling party of President Erdogan, who is governing the country with increasingly repressive measures against ordinary citizens and democracy, and who is also responsible for a growing economic crisis that is having severe effects on the country and is adding to the numbers of families in need.

But the business-as-usual atmosphere is just a facade. Behind the semblance of normality, rumors are swirling and there are plenty of portentous omens of bad things to come: a few days after the vote, the Ankara government decided to contest the election of newly elected mayors across Diyarbakir, a region in the heart of Turkish Kurdistan—a sign of a possible return of the government’s active campaign of persecution against this Kurdish-majority district, and not only.

In November 2018, as part of a continuing........

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