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Turkish Professor on 269-Day Hunger Strike Released from Jail

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

A Turkish academic on hunger strike for nearly nine months to protest her dismissal after last year’s failed coup has been released from jail.

Professor Nuriye Gulmen greets her supporters after she was released from prison in Ankara. (Adem Altan / AFP/Getty Images)

Nuriye Gulmen, 35, was sentenced to six years and three months in jail for being a member of the militant leftist DHKP-C group, deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey. However, the court granted the emaciated professor a conditional release, and she was freed from the hospital where she was in custody on December 1. Turkish authorities had transferred Gulmen into intensive care in September due to her failing health after seven months of surviving on water, herbal tea, and sugar and salt solutions.

Gulmen was arrested in May along with Semih Ozakca, 28, a primary school teacher who joined her in the hunger strike, which they launched in March. The two were protesting the loss of their jobs in a crackdown by Ankara on alleged coup participants that has led to the firing or suspension of more than 150,000 public sector workers.

Ozakca was acquitted on similar charges and released on October 21 for the remainder of the trial on the condition that he wear an ankle monitor.

We welcome the news of Gulmen's release with great relief and call on Turkish authorities to drop all charges against her. We urge the officials of the Turkish government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties to which Turkey has long been a signatory.


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