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Medical concerns for hunger-striking teachers in Turkey

Europe
19.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - Doctors in Ankara have expressed serious concern for two Turkish teachers who have been on a hunger strike for more than 300 days.

University lecturer Nuriye Gulmen is now emaciated, having dropped from 59 kilograms to a mere 33.8 kilograms, the Medical Chamber in the Turkish capital said on Friday.

Elementary school teacher Semih Ozakca, who was 86 kilograms at the start of the hunger strike, now weighs just 45.3 kilograms.

The open-ended hunger strike began last March after Gulmen and Ozakca were fired from their jobs as part of the massive purges in Turkey following a failed coup attempt last year. More than 150,000 people have lost their jobs in the crackdown.

After their hunger strike drew international attention, they were arrested in May on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Ozakca was released from custody in October, Gulmen in December.

The medical association announced that Gulmen has wounds in her mouth which are complicating fluid intake; the wounds are due to a weakened immune system and vitamin deficiency. After a fall, "advanced osteoporosis" was confirmed due to mineral deficiency. Gulmen is also suffering from a severe sensory disorder and swelling on her legs.

Ozakca is suffering numerous conditions related to the hunger strike including numbness, bone pain, migraines for days, worsening balance disorders and sudden blood pressure fluctuations.

As of March 9 last year, the pair have pledged to live off only water, sugar, salt and vitamin B until they are reinstated as educators.

 

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