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The BBC's Chris Morris in Istanbul
"The Justice Minister has been putting a very different spin on events"
 real 28k

Chairman of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer
"It is very urgent for the Turkish authorities to implement what was promised"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 18 April, 2001, 04:14 GMT 05:14 UK
No compromise in Turkish jail dispute
Funeral ceremonies in Istanbul
The prisoners are reported to have a list of demands
By Chris Morris in Istanbul

Mediators in Turkey say there is no sign of a breakthrough between the government and prisoners on hunger strike over planned prison reforms.

Thirteen people have died since late last month but the government says a return to the old prison system of large dormitory wards, which the prisoners are demanding, is out of the question.

Turkish prison
Prison reforms have provoked widespread protests
Some government ministers have promised to try to speed up legal reform including the abolition of a law which bans prisoners convicted of terrorism from meeting other inmates. But so far nothing has been done.

Left-wing groups, which are behind the hunger strike, seem determined for it to continue.

Dozens of prisoners are under guard in hospital in a critical condition but refusing medical treatment.

Demands

Doctors associations say further deaths could happen at any time. Many doctors have been criticised by the government for refusing to treat inmates against their will.

Relatives carry the coffin containing the body of a prisoner
Further deaths could happen at any time
The doctors say they don't support the hunger strike but they should not be blamed by the authorities.

The prisoners are reported to have a list of demands, including an end to the new regime of isolation in small cells.

The government does plan to implement prison reform but it says the process will take time. That is one thing that the hundreds of people on hunger strike don't have in abundance.

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See also:

18 Apr 01 | Europe
Turkey's radicals wait for death
10 Jan 01 | Europe
Shadow hangs over Turkish jails
05 Dec 00 | Europe
Call to end Turkey 'death fast'
21 Dec 00 | Media reports
The battle of Bayrampasa
09 Mar 00 | Middle East
EU urges Turkey to reform
26 Jan 00 | Europe
Analysis: Can Turkey fit in?
12 Jan 00 | Europe
Analysis: Turkey's Ocalan dilemma
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