Hunger strike teachers in critical condition

Three academics and teachers who began a hunger strike after they were removed from their positions by emergency decree are in critical condition, the Ankara Chamber of Doctors announced on Thursday.

After 316 days on the hunger strike, the academic Nuriye Gülmen’s weight has dropped from 59 to 33 kilograms, while the teacher Semih Özakça’s weight has fallen from 86 to 45 over the same period. Semih’s wife, Esra Özakça, has lost 20 kilograms after being on hunger strike for 241 days.

Nuriye and Semih’s protest has drawn support and concern within Turkey and internationally since it started in early 2017. The pair were removed from their positions by emergency decree after the July 2016 failed coup, and have vowed to remain on hunger strike until they are reinstated.

As well as the weight loss, the hunger strikers are suffering from a range of severe health problems, including difficulty sleeping, pain in their limbs, and muscular problems. Wounds in their mouths have made it difficult for them to consume liquids.

Due to their critical condition, the strikers are being attended by several doctors every day.