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Brussels, 8 November 2012
Letter of Commissioner Štefan Füle to Leyla Zana, Member of Turkish Parliament
Dear Ms. Zana,
Thank you for your letter concerning the on-going hunger strike by Kurdish detainees in Turkey.
Allow me first of all to pay tribute to your personal endeavours to promote a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue by means of dialogue and negotiations. Such efforts are now more needed than ever, against the background of continuing violence and loss of life due to PKK terror.
I am indeed following the situation of the hunger strikers closely, and reports that the health condition of the prisoners is deteriorating are a matter of great concern to me.
I would call on the hunger strikers not to endanger their health and lives. I also expect the authorities to prevent, in line with international human rights standards, a further deterioration in the health of the prisoners, and have raised this issue with Minister Davutoġlu when meeting him on 7 November 2012.
As a general principle, let me reiterate the importance to adequately address the Kurdish issue. The South-East needs peace, democracy and stability as well as social, economic and cultural development. This can only be achieved via consensus over concrete measures expanding the social, economic and cultural rights of the people living in the region. In this context, I welcome the announcement of the government on 5 November that the Code of Criminal Procedure will be amended to allow for the use of mother tongue in the courts and I look forward to a swift adoption of this amendment and its implementation.
Finding a solution to the Kurdish issue and to all the problems in the South-East requires the widest possible contribution of all democratic forces, and an open and frank public discussion that can be conducted in the full respect of basic fundamental freedoms.