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Jan 28 2019

Imprisoned opposition lawmaker to begin hunger strike

A former parliamentarian from Turkey's main opposition party jailed in June 2018 over links to a terrorist organisation on Monday said he would start a hunger strike on Tuesday to protest his detention. 

"I declare to the national and international public opinion that I indefinitely start 'justice fasting'," Erin Erdem, of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), wrote from prison, a week after his appeal of pre-trial detention had been denied. "I am initiating a peaceful protest as I have always done in my whole life in these tyrant circumstances that would force a member of parliament to start death fast."

The 32-year-old journalist-turned-politician is charged with links to the Gülen movement, which Ankara has designated a terrorist organisation and accuses of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

"As an intellectual, a politician, a journalist, a son and last but not least, an innocent father, I ask people to support my justice fasting, which is my last resort," Erdem said in his letter.

Erdem faces up to 19 years behind bars for “aiding a terrorist organisation,” “revealing the identity of a secret witness” and “violating the confidentiality of a criminal investigation", over publishing illegal wiretap recordings when he was editor of the opposition newspaper Karşı.

In his letter, Erdem said he was accused because he was a dissident. His whole life he has fought against the Gülen Movement, to which the authorities have linked him. Erdem also said he was isolated in a small cell in the prison, his family had been oppressed by authorities and his father fired from his job.

Eren Erdem letter