People wearing T-shirts featuring jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan applaud during a speech by Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party co-chair Sebahat Tuncel speech on September 5, 2016 in Diyarbakir before starting a hunger strike
Diyarbakir (Turkey) (AFP) - A group of 50 Kurdish activists, including MPs, on Monday began a hunger strike to protest the lack of news about the welfare of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
The protesters, wearing T-shirts with bearing Ocalan's image, said they had received no update about him for several months.
"We haven't received any objective information about Ocalan's state of health and security," said the group's spokeswoman Sabahat Tuncel in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir in the southeast.
"We, as 50 volunteers, are beginning a hunger strike for an unspecified period of time until a meeting is secured between Mr Ocalan and his lawyers, his family or a political delegation."
Ocalan, who heads the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which is blacklisted as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies, is serving life for treason at an island prison near Istanbul.
Since the collapse in July 2015 of a fragile ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish state, he has not been permitted visits by lawyers or supporters.
"We joined this (hunger) strike voluntarily and will continue till the end," Ferhat Encu, MP for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), told AFP.
He confirmed that there was no scheduled end date for the protesters' action.
Fellow HDP lawmaker Dilek Ocalan, a niece of the jailed PKK leader, said their protest should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
"It is the minimum demand of people who call for peace and settlement," she added.
- 'False information' -
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on Sunday dismissed claims there were any problems with Ocalan's health or his security, in a statement carried by state-run Anadolu news agency.
"On the subject of Abdullah Ocalan, the subject is constantly exploited by the separatist terror organisation (PKK) and the public receives false information," he said.
"To mobilise the public and for their own objectives, they spread unfounded information about (his) health and safety," he added.
The hunger strike comes as Turkey's military steps up its campaign against PKK rebels in the southeast.
Turkish war jets on Sunday bombed PKK bases in northern Iraq, Anadolu reported, citing the army, and "neutralised 30 terrorists including those from the leadership cadres of the separatist organisation," it added, referring to the PKK.
At the weekend, Turkish warplanes also bombed four PKK targets in the Cukurca region near the Iraqi border after 22 soldiers and a village guard were killed in clashes and an attack blamed on the rebel group.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim visited Diyarbakir on Sunday in a bid to boost investment in areas "damaged by PKK terror."
He said that 1.9 billion lira ($645 million/577 million euros) would be invested in the city's historic Sur district, which has been ravaged by renewed violence.