From Turkey’s iconic music figure Sezen Aksu to main opposition lawmakers, from internationally famous Marxist sociologist David Harvey to intellectuals from all political creed, they all urged political authorities to pay attention to hunger strike carried out by two academics purged in the post-coup crackdown on universities.
Now, marking 65 days in the hunger strike, Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca thrust to public and media spotlight, grabbing press attention after thousands of people from all walks of life joined their civic resistance.
People called on the Turkish authorities to intervene to end hunger strike of the two to save their lives by addressing their demand: restoring them to their posts.
Turkish authorities finally involved in the hunger strike saga that captured the entire nation’s attention but in a different way. Turkish police intervened to break up the crowd in Yuksel street in Ankara’s Kizilay Square, a neighborhood known as a hub for college students, activists, young artists and book lovers.
Yüksel'de saldırı var.Gündüz esnaf şikayetçi demişlerdi 1.33'de ne esnafı! O alanı bırakmayacağız!Herkesi Yüksel'i sahiplenmeye çağırıyoruz! pic.twitter.com/DzrHnZb8Pu
— Semih-Esra Özakça (@SemihOzakca) May 12, 2017
The police fired tear gas and used force to divide the protesters, justifying its actions on alleged complaints by shop owners. But the protesters rejected that rationale, saying that there was no disturbance related to their presence in the street.
Semih Ozakca tweeted that as the number of protesters increased, the authorities regarded their peaceful resistance as a threat, and thus felt the need to break it up.
At least 13 protesters who remained at Yuksel street to show solidarity with hunger strikers have been detained by police, activists said on Twitter.
Lawyers who organized a protest to support the two academics have also been detained on Friday.
— Gazete Hayır (@gazetehayir) May 12, 2017
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