Hunger strikers detained after Turkish police raid

Semih Ozakca (left) and Nuriye Gulmen in Ankara during protest.

Academic Nuriye Gulmen and teacher Semih Ozakca, on a hunger strike for the past 75 days with the demand for reinstatement to their jobs, were detained after having their apartments in Ankara raided on Sunday night by Turkish special operations police.

Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca’s wife Esra Ozakca both tweeted during the raid. The latter was also detained together with the two lawyers of the strikers. Gulmen wrote that the police were breaking in through her door.

Gulmen and Ozakca were dismissed from their jobs by government decree law following last year’s coup attempt, but have not been accused of having ties to the alleged coup plotters.

The pair started a sit-in in Ankara in November 2016 and hit the headlines for being detained dozens of times by police in a matter of a few weeks.

Their protest evolved into a hunger strike on 9 March and the teachers put forward several demands to end the indefinite and irreversible protest: “For state of emergency to be lifted; for all revolutionary and democrat public sector workers to be reinstated to their jobs and for an end to arbitrary and illegal dismissals.”