UNISON sends letter of solidarity to KESK and DISK unions

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public service union UNISON, has written a letter of condolence to the organising unions of last Saturday’s peace rally, in which over 100 people died following two bomb blasts. Addressed to Ismail Hakki Tombul, general secretary of the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) , and Kani Beko, Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), the letter reads:

Monday, 12 October, 2015

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of UNISON I send our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of so many of your members’ lives at the Labour, Peace and Democracy Rally in Ankara on Saturday. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of the victims, and our hopes for a full recovery for all those injured in the attack.

UNISON condemns this brutal attack on trade unionists who were campaigning in support of peace, democracy and workers’ rights, and against the increasing violence and repression that the people of Turkey are suffering. We support the call for a full, transparent and independent investigation into the circumstances of the attack and its aftermath. Continue reading

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GMB stands with Kurdish and Turkish colleagues

12 October 2015

GMB-unionGMB CALL ON TURKISH GOVERNMENT TO CEASE HOSTILITIES AGAINST KURDS TO SECURE NEGOTIATED END TO DECADES LONG CONFLICT

Turkish authorities must bring perpetrators of atrocity to justice and ensure that citizens can exercise their inalienable right to engage in peaceful protest says GMB

GMB commented on appalling bomb attack in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th where the death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded.

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said “GMB is outraged by the appalling bomb attack on fellow trade unionists and other marchers for peace in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th. The death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded and GMB wishes to express its deepest sympathy to the relatives of the deceased. Continue reading

PiK Trade Union Officer makes call to UK unions after Ankara bombing

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

Stephen Smellie – Trade Union Liaison Officer Peace in Kurdistan
(Deputy Convenor UNISON Scotland)

Colleagues

The trade union confederations in Turkey, KESK and DISK, along with the Engineers and Architects Association and the Medical Association organised the demonstration and rally in Ankara on Saturday which was attacked by 2 bomb blasts which have resulted in the death of over 100 people with many hundreds more being injured. The demonstration was called under the slogan of ‘Labour for Peace.’ Continue reading

Civaka Azad statement: Bomb blasts hit peace rally in Ankara: some 97 dead

civaka azad

Source: Civaka Azad, 10 October 2015

A peace rally outside the main train station in Ankara was hit by large bomb explosions this morning killing some 97 people. Eyewitnesses talk about hundreds of injured. Medical staff and civilians who rushed to help were allegedly attacked by the police with gas grenades.

The peace rally had been called by the trade unions DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Workers), KESK (Confederation Workers of Public Trade Unions) as well as by association such as TMMOB (Engineers and Architects Chamber of Turkey) and TTB (Doctors Chambers of Turkey). The call was also supported by the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) and several left and democratic parties and civil society organisations.   The gathering was to deliver a message of peace, democracy and solidarity in Turkey. According to the HDP MP Sirri Surreyya Onder there were three bomb explosions at the rally mainly targeting the HDP block and the Kurds at the rally. Continue reading

UNISON delegation visits Diyarbakir amidst ongoing violence and intimidation

PRESS RELEASE BY THE UNISON SCOTLAND DELEGATION WHO VISITED THE KURDISH REGION IN TURKEY

29 September 2015

A delegation of four trade unionists from Scotland: Stephen Smellie, deputy convenor of Unison Scotland; Viv Thomson, Chaiperson of UNISON’s national women’s commitee; Sarah Collins, UNISON East Ayrshire branch; and Paul Smellie, young member of Unite the Union, along with”Glasgow girl” Roza Salih*)  visited Diyarbakir in southern Turkey last week following news reports of military curfews in the predominantly Kurdish region. Continue reading

The GMB extends solidarity to the HDP

The GMB Congress has released a statement in support of the HDP this week after their fantastic election result. The Kurdish-Turkish peace process was one item of discussion at this weekend’s GMB Congress in Dublin, where a fringe meeting was also held to discuss the need to release Abdullah Ocalan’s release from prison.

GMB CONGRESS WELCOME GAINS FOR KURDS IN TURKISH ELECTION AS A VICTORY FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN TURKEY

GMB Congress extends its solidarity to the HDP and sent a message of support to the party on their success and the challenges that lie ahead

The 98th GMB Congress in Dublin welcomed the success of the HDP in the 7 June Turkish general election where it achieved 13% of the vote on a stance of pluralist democracy and a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish Question within Turkey and for an end to the support for ISIS in the Syrian conflict. Continue reading

STUC conference passes motion supporting Rojava

The motion below was recently passed at the STUC conference in Ayr. Kurdish activists and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s Trade Union Liaison Officer Stephen Smellie (UNISON) were at the event for three days, where they met with union activists including Dave Parentis, general secretary of UNISON.

Kurdish activists with Stephen Smellie and UNISON general secretary Dave Parentis

Kurdish activists with Stephen Smellie and UNISON general secretary Dave Parentis

STUC April 2015

104. SUPPORT ROJAVA, DEFEND KOBANE, DEFEAT ISIS

“That this Congress expresses its concern at the events in Syria, resulting in thousands of deaths resulting in thousands of deaths and that conflict and the rise of ISIS has created a humanitarian crisis in the region and that millions of refugees have been displaced and some are now surviving with the assistance of local authorities, trade unions and volunteers, often without international aid.

Congress note:

  • the efforts in Rojava to establish an inclusive, non-sectarian and democratic self-rule, which has attracted considerable attention because of their experiment in democratic self-government, which is unique within the region;
  • the role that women are playing in the administration, and defence, of Rojava;
  • the role of the defence forces of Rojava, the YPG and the women’s YPJ, the Peshmerga of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and the PKK, in defending Kobane and the battle against ISIS in Iraq; and
  • That assemblies and popular militias have been formed, regime property turned over to worker co-operatives and all despite continual attacks by ISS forces.

Continue reading

UNISON branch declares support for Rojava

The South Lanarkshire Branch of UNISON recently passed a motion in support of the Rojava initiative and in solidarity with the defence of Kobane. The motion is below in full.

ROJAVA

This meeting expresses its concern at the events in Syria in recent times with the bloodshed and violence resulting in thousands of deaths and displacement of people throughout the country. We note that in Rojava attempts have been made to establish an inclusive, non-sectarian and democratic self-rule since the Assad’s army was forced to withdraw over two years ago. We wish to express our support for the people of Rojava in their effort to build a peaceful community where all people, Kurds, Arabs, Alevis, Shia, Sunni, Christians and others can live and work together and contribute to peaceful change across Syria. Continue reading

Trade Union arrests: Egitim Sen Trade Union Central Management Council statement

We will not give in to the AKP arrest system! Our friends who are under arrest must be released!

Turkey wakes up each morning to a new wave of arrests. The AKP is trying to silence and intimidate every opposition voice, all different views, by using repression and arrests.

Today it carried out operations in 28 towns and cities early in the morning, arresting 167 people, among them members of KESK (Confederation of Workers in the Public Sector).

Among those detained are Akman Simsek, member of the board of KESK, as well as his wife Mehtap Simsek. Numerous members and office-holders of our trade union  have been detained, accompanied by the scenarios already known to us. The central office of KESK was visited by the police.

Continue reading

Trade Union raids: KESK Statement

This is the text of a statement by our confederation KESK’s management board entitled ‘We will not be silent! We will resist! Repression cannot intimidate us!’.

The AKP’s “advanced democracy ” continues with a daily glut of arrests and imprisonment. But it has always been seen that this allegedly “advanced democracy” was built on hostility to labour and democracy, and like authoritarian and fascist regimes it detains and imprisons its opponents.

We have seen most recently that the AKP shows there is no part of the country where its empire of fear is not determined to cast its shadow. It is quickly dragging Turkey towards the image it has formed of a one-man dictatorship; its aim is to condemn the whole of society to deep silence by putting its opposition-democratic sections through the mangler. For this reason it sees no problem in using illegal imputations to detain and imprison everyone who raises their voice against its empire of fear, be they students, lawyers, trade unionists or journalists. In short, everyone who wants to live a decent life in a democratic country continues to be targeted.

Continue reading