On 20 October 2000, hundreds of prisoners commenced a hunger strike to protest the F-Type prisons. On the 45th day of the hunger strike, some of the political prisoners have turned their hunger strike into a death fast as a response to their demands not being met. The state initiated a simultaneous operation in 20 prisons on 19 December 2000. In these operations, heavy weapons, chemical caustic materials which remain unidentified, heavy construction equipment, helicopters, and gas grenades were used. The prisoners were attacked after the forces entered the buildings perforating their roofs and demolishing their walls. In the operations which were carried out with hundreds of soldiers, police officers, wardens, and special operation units, 30 people were killed, and hundreds were heavily injured.
Following the 19th of December, many women from various women’s groups came together and decided to stand in solidarity with women prisoners and convicts. They started their protests under the statement “We are worried” about the unending death news and the isolation conditions of the prisoners in F-type prisons. On 13th of January, women did their first demonstration by flying balloons with “We are worried” written on them. Following this demonstration, every week, women sent letters to the women in prisons from Galatasaray Post Office at 1 PM and read a press release. Women, who previously protested using “We are worried” cockades to raise their concerns about women prisoners and convicts, in later protests, continued to raise their voices with cockades saying, “We are angry”.
Police attacked some of the demonstrations. In some cases, women were taken into custody and were not able to demonstrate. The last demonstration on 22 December 2001 also ended with women taken into custody.
The death fast and the massacre caused 122 people to lose their lives and more than 500 people were left permanently disabled.
Translator: İpek Tabur
Proof-reader: Müge Karahan