Jailed PKK leader calls for end to hunger strike in Turkey

The jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan has called for Kurdish lawmakers and thousands of prisoners who are protesting the conditions of his detention to end their hunger strike, news site Gazete Karınca reported on Sunday. 

"I expect the action to come to an end in light of the broad statements to be made by my two lawyers," Öcalan said in a statement read by one of his lawyers on Sunday, 200 days after one pro-Kurdish MP launched the protest. 

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Leyla Güven began a hunger strike in November to try to end Öcalan’s isolation in prison by securing him regular access to his family and lawyers.  

Öcalan, held in İmralı Prison in western Turkey since his capture in 1999, was allowed to see his lawyers this month for the first time in eight years.

Turkey views the PKK, which has fought Turkish security forces since launching a separatist uprising in 1984, as a terrorist organisation. 

However, Öcalan is widely respected among Kurds in Turkey and its neighbours as a leader of the Kurdish political movement.

Güven is expected to announce an end to the nationwide protest that has seen thousands of people join her in the hunger strike, Gazete Karıca said. 

There are close to 3,000 prisoners in Turkey who have joined the partial hunger strike protest as well as some HDP lawmakers. Hunger strikers in Turkey traditionally refuse food, however, take vitamins and salt and sugar solutions.