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.

But in recent months over 6,000 people have been arrested, including around 40 trade unionists, nearly 100 journalists, hundreds of elected mayors, councillors and thousands of members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, BDP. This wave of arrests, designed to suppress mainly Kurdish critics of the Turkish regime, is now being followed by mass show trials of extremely dubious legality. Trial observers from Britain have testified to this fact.

Turkey, it should be noted, is a NATO member and a country that tries always to portray itself as modern and democratic; it also wants to join the European Union. However, it is rapidly becoming a place where normal political activities are outlawed and where people live in constant fear of arrest and police intimidation.

An encouraging new initiative has been supported by veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the opening of peace talks between Turkey and legitimate representatives of the Kurds to resolve the continuing Kurdish conflict. It is this very issue that lies at the heart of the profound crisis facing Turkey today and that calls into question the very legitimacy of the state. The roots of the Kurdish conflict have their origins in the Turkish State’s stubborn unwillingness to seriously and openly address the legitimate grievances of its Kurdish population, who only recently were permitted to give their children Kurdish names or speak their own language. It is as a result of campaigning for Kurdish political rights that many thousands of activists are being harassed, persecuted, tortured and put on trial today.

We are appealing to all trade unionists to support the release of political prisoners currently languishing in Turkish gaols and to demand an immediate end to this persecution of progressive Kurdish and Turkish political activists, trade unionists, lawyers, journalists and academics.

We also appeal to you to pay close attention to developments inside Turkey and to use your union’s influence to put exert pressure on political parties in this country to take some action to foster peace and reconciliation between Turks and Kurds in recognition that this is the only means of building a truly stable and democratic society in Turkey, which is in everyone’s interest.

Solidarity with Kurdish and Turkish trade unionists – support the struggle for political rights in Turkey and justice for the Kurds. 

Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK, Kurdish Federation UK and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

For information contact: Peace in Kurdistan Campaign: Tel 020 7586 5892