Europe

Jailed pro-Kurdish party leader begins hunger strike

FILE- In this Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, Turkish co-chairman of pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, or HDP, Selahattin Demirtas speaks with journalists after his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in Athens. The jailed leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party says he is embarking on a hunger strike to protest prison conditions, he said in a statement released by his party on Friday, March, 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

FILE- In this Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, Turkish co-chairman of pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, or HDP, Selahattin Demirtas speaks with journalists after his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in Athens. The jailed leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party says he is embarking on a hunger strike to protest prison conditions, he said in a statement released by his party on Friday, March, 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)  (The Associated Press)

The jailed leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party says he is embarking on a hunger strike to protest prison conditions.

Selahattin Demirtas said Friday in a statement released by his People's Democratic Party, or HDP, that he would refuse food to denounce what he described as "unlawful, inhuman and arbitrary practices" in Turkish prisons.

Demirtas said he also wanted to draw attention to hunger strikes by other prisoners in Turkey. The HDP says more than 100 Kurdish or other prisoners are on hunger strikes in Turkish prisons, some for the past 40 days.

It was not clear how long Demirtas' hunger strike would last.

Hundreds of Kurdish prisoners held a hunger strike in 2012 which they ended after a call by jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.