Zeliha Ertürk

Zeliha Erturk started the Death Fast on June 3 (2001) as a resistance fighter in the 5th Death Fast Team in Kartal Prison. Zeliha was born in 1978 in Istanbul. Originally she came from Sivas-Zara (central Turkey). She was a Kurdish Alevi.

As a child of a poor family she was not able to continue school after primary. She worked during her childhood and youth. She did various types of work, from tailoring to selling. She got to know the revolutionaries and fascism during the Gazi Uprising (1995, in a district of Istanbul where people rose up to oppose a fascist provocation). She was 17 at the time.  She lived in a different area but often came to Gazi because she had relatives there.

There she got to know the supporters of the Front, saw their publication for the first time and immediately became familiar with it. In Gazi she kept watch on the barricades. She buried those who were murdered by fascism. Then she sought out and found the Front supporters in her own district. She started work by taking part in activity in the neighbourhoods.

During the 1996 Death Fast she was detained and tortured. She was taken to the cell-type prison in Eskisehir. So in 2000, when discussion of F-Type Prisons and the resistance started, she stated in a letter she wrote as a Death Fast volunteer:

“In 1996 when the Death Fast began, I was not in prison. After a time I joined the resistance in the Eskisehir Coffin Prison. Finally we gave 12 martyrs and achieved victory. In this period I did not truly understand the Death Fast. But in my minds eye I always had the image of Berdan (Berdan Kerimgiller, one of the martyrs in the 1996 Death Fast). Now it is our turn. We face the same attacks again. We will oppose it with our bodies, just like the 12.”