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.

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Turkey’s Shame, by Mary Davis

Mary Davis, prominent trade unionist, academic and new patron of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, recently wrote this piece on the KCK trial of 69 union members which featured in the Morning Star. Professor Davis recently travelled to north Kurdistan on a solidarity delegation in support of a variety of women’s groups working in the area.

 

Turkey’s shame

11 October 2012

The trial of 69 Kurdish trade union organisers which started yesterday should remind the world of the continued denial of democratic and national rights in Turkey. These trade unionists are being prosecuted under the country’s anti-terrorist legislation for being leaders of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCM).

The government claims that the KCM has links with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Their actual crimes consist of organising demonstrations and taking part in strikes.

Eight thousand people have been arrested under this legislation over the past four years. Almost 6,000 are still in detention – including many women.

Today around 20 million Kurds live within Turkey. They do so as a result of the arbitrary carve-up of the Middle East after the first world war by Britain and France.

The new states of Iraq (British), Syria (French) and a residual Turkey all contained sizeable Kurdish minorities, as did north-west Persia (modern Iran), another British dependency.

Read the rest of the article on the Morning Star website.

 

Appeal to delegates at the TUC Congress 2012

 

Support Kurdish and Turkish Trade Unionists

Resisting Repression in Turkey

The political situation inside Turkey is rapidly deteriorating with an alarming increase in repression of opposition activists, including trade unionists, and the increasing militarisation of the State’s conflict with the Kurds. Turkish leaders feel that they have the green light from their NATO allies to use increasingly savage repression against their own people who are fighting for basic civil and political rights.

While the bloody conflict in raging across the border in Syria, where Turkey is playing an overt role in training and providing logistical support for Syrian rebels, the violence and repression within Turkey itself is completely ignored. Continue reading

PiK public meeting: “Mass political show trials in Turkey”

6.30-8.30pm Tuesday 18 September 2012

Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ  (nearest tube: Holborn)

Chaired by Prof Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, President of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) and International Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Speakers include

Margaret Owen OBE, barrister, member of the Bar Human Rights Committee

Ali Has, solicitor

Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation; editor of “The Spokesman”

Barry White, NUJ representative of the European Federation of Journalists Continue reading

Seminar on Turkey, the Kurdish Struggle and the New Middle East

The significance of the continuing Kurdish struggle for the future of Turkey and the Middle East as well as its implications for politics in Britain were issues on the agenda at the Marxism 2012 conference and festival which took place in central London on 5-9 July.

A seminar, organised by the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign as part of the Marxism 2012 programme on 7th July, brought into focus the plight of Kurdish activists within Turkey and drew attention to the key democratic demands of the Kurdish movement.

Turkey, recognised as a key ally of the West in the reshaping of the Middle East in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring”, was currently stepping up its repression of Kurdish organisations; arrests of political and civil society activists were increasing and draconian legal manoeuvres were being taken against the main pro-Kurdish political party, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in an orchestrated attempt to render it incapable of operating effectively. The resilience of the Kurdish people in the face of decades of savage repression was widely seen as inspirational by participants in the seminar. Continue reading

First impressions from women delegates to North Kurdistan

“More and more women are becoming politically active and so the number of women in prison is rising too.”

First impressions and meetings of the delegation

Since 6th July 2012 a women delegation, with 12 participants from England and Germany in total, has been in North Kurdistan. Amongst the participants are representatives of different women’s rights and human rights organisations, as well as the well-known trade unionist and member of the women’s committee of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Professor Mary Davis.

The delegation was initiated by the Kurdish Women’s Office for Peace (Ceni) and supported by the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign in London, in order to give the work of the women’s academies a wider publicity; to strengthen the exchanges between women’s projects, women’s rights and human rights initiatives in Kurdistan and Europe, and to learn from each other; as well as to show practical international solidarity in the face of the increased repression by the Turkish state against the women’s movement and trade union movement.
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UNITE passes motion to support union members in Turkey

We are happy to receive news that the following motion was passed at the UNITE policy conference held in Brighton in June. We’d like to thank Alain Herztmann at the London North West Branch 9708 of Unite for proposing the motion and for his and his branches long term support and friendship with the Kurds.

MOTION

WORKERS IN TURKEY

This Conference commits itself to support workers in Turkey and their trade unions. It also supports the right of the Kurdish people in Turkey to self determination.

The AKP is the dominant party in Turkey and is has governed Turkey for several years. It is presenting itself as a moderate Islamic party. It projects itself as a moderate, modernising, democratic party, successful in developing the national economy on the basis of a neo-liberal economic agenda. De facto it has done so by a severe, ruthless exploitation of working people, implementing laws on:

“Flexible” work (outsourcing and off shoring)

“Flexible” wages (poverty wages even under the minimum wage level) Continue reading

Protest against the arrest of human rights campaigner, Osman Isci, and 27 trade unionists

29th June 2012

In a joint statement, the organisations listed below have expressed their concerns about the arrest of 28 trade unionists, amongst them being Osman Isci.

Contents: 1. Background 2. Demands 3. Signatories 4. Contacts 5. Websites

Background

On 28th/29th June 2012, the Heavy Penal Court (12) in Ankara issued a warrant of arrest against Osman Isci, a member of the human rights group IHD, of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network  EMHRN, and the education trade union Egitim-Sen, which in turn belongs to the Confederation of Trade Unions for Public Services. Another 27 trade unionists were also taken into custody under the charge of membership to an illegal organisation according to article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code. 25 trade unionists were released, but can expect to face trial.

All suspects were arrested for the charge, so-called the “city-structure” of the PKK, of belonging to the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK). As well as the education trade union Egitim-Sen, the trade unions of the SES (Occupations in Health and Social Services), the BTS (Occupations in Transportation), and representatives of these trade unions in the provinces of Ankara, Diyarbakir, Istanbul, Agri, Bitlis, Siirt, Adana and Eskisehir were also affected. Continue reading

Kurdish community celebrates May Day

Long Live May Day! Biji Yeke Gulane! Yaşasın 1 Mayıs!

 KURDS ARE CELEBRATING MAY DAY IN THE SPIRIT OF NEWROZ

Once again this year Kurds are celebrating May Day in Kurdistan, Turkey and all the capitals of the world, in the spirit of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. This is because for Kurds, May Day is not just a day for workers and labour, but for the freedom and resistance of all the oppressed nations, classes and ‘others’ of the world; this is why May Day is also a celebration for Tamils, Baloch, Sindhi, Basque, women, students, religious groups and all oppressed peoples.

We are thousands here today from all these nations and groups, in exile, away from our lands, and we are in solidarity with the British working classes, of which we have also become a part of. But we have been made the scapegoats, the unemployed, pushed into menial labour as underpaid service providers of this system, which, in its economic crisis has targeted us more savagely than any other. Millions of people, officially and unofficially have lost their jobs, millions who did not have access to work have had their social security benefits cut, student fees have been tripled, access to housing and basic council services have been eroded, local community funding and services have become almost non-existent, and as the riots last year showed, there is a growing discontent among the working classes, which unfortunately has no political direction, at least not yet. Continue reading