Father on hunger strike in Turkey for son’s corpse losing eyesight after 77 days without food

70-year-old Kemal Gun, on hunger strike in the centre of Tunceli (Dersim), for 77 days has begun losing his eyesight. (Dihaber)

A 70-year-old man who has been on hunger strike for 77 days in Turkey’s southeastern Kurdish province Tunceli (Dersim) has begun losing his eyesight.

Kemal Gun went on hunger strike on 24 February demanding that he be given the remains of his son, who was killed in airstrikes by the Turkish military.

His son Murat Gun, a member of the outlawed left-wing Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKC), was killed alongside 10 other members of the group in airstrikes on 7 November 2016. According to reports 10 of the 11 militants’ corpses have not been handed over to families.

The old man, who is on hunger strike in the centre of the city, said he began the protest after having waited for a long time for officials to hand over the remains so that he could bury his son.

“They are trying to delay and put us off. I will resist till the end. I will not leave here until I get even a single bone belonging to my son,” Gun said, adding that he would die if necessary.

Human rights groups have called for public awareness and government officials to address Gun’s appeal, Dihaber news agency reported. Despite calls officials have not made any statements.

Hundreds of Kurdish prisoners went on hunger strike in Turkish prisons earlier in the year to demand an end to rights violations and military operations, as well as a return to peace talks between the government and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Kom News has also been reporting on the hunger strike by purged teachers Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca, who launched a hunger strike 64 days ago, demanding they and others be reinstated to their jobs.