‘Time is of the essence’: Professor Mary Davis calls for solidarity with trade unionists

PRESS STATEMENT

1 October 2012

 

Professor Mary Davis has reacted to the persecution of the pro-Kurdish movement in Turkey with a call action.

Speaking about the forthcoming trial of 69 members of the Confederation of Public Sector Workers’ union, KESK, Professor Davis called the news ‘shocking and appalling’, and denounced Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party for unleashing a ‘series of terror attacks on progressives’. Professor Davis is an academic, trade unionist and former elected member of the TUC women’s committee. She recently took part in a solidarity delegation to southeast Turkey in support of the Kurdish women’s movement.

She goes on: ‘We need to ensure that [British Prime Minister David] Cameron breaks all links with the Turkish government. We also need to alert the entire trade union movement of this heinous crime and to ensure that the trial is called off before it starts. Time is of the essence’.

The 69 KESK leaders standing trial this Thursday are all accused of terrorist offences and were arrested in June in police operations against the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). These investigations have lead to over 8,000 people being arrested since April 2009. Subjective indictments and the use of flimsy evidence has become a hallmark of the KCK operations, and in this case include participating in union demonstrations, strikes, or bugged telephone conversations between union members.

KESK, one of the more outspoken and critical trade unions in Turkey, has been repeatedly and systematically targeted by the ruling government in recent years. Turkey’s neoliberal economic policy has forcefully curtailed workers’ rights in the country over the past 30 years, as well as the rights to organise, a process that continued unabated during the rule of the AKP government. Associating these workers with the KCK, which the government claims is the ‘urban wing’ of the proscribed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is yet another tactic of repression by the Turkish state which is designed to cut off support for the Kurdish people and isolate those segments of society that question state policy towards the Kurdish question.

Across Europe and the UK, the international labour movement has been mobilising to support these workers. The International Trade Union Confederation has written a statement,[1] whilst in the UK, Labour Start has begun a campaign calling for their release. You can join them by writing a message to Prime Minister Erdogan through the Labour Start website.[2]

 

[1] http://www.ituc-csi.org/turkey-69-workers-standing-trial.html

[2] http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1592

 

*) Professor Mary Davis’ full quote: “ The latest news from Turkey is both shocking and appalling. Erdogan’s right wing AKP government has unleashed the latest in a series of terror attacks on progressives. This time its on women trade unionists, all members of the public sector trade union KESK. Ironically they are charged with ‘terrorism’ this is because they have had the temerity to join a union! We need to ensure that Cameron breaks all links with the Turkish government. We also need to alert the entire trade union movement of this heinous crime and to ensure that the trial is called off before it starts. Time is of the essence.”

 

For more information contact:

 

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596

 Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Alyn Smith MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Mark Thomas