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.

In this context our Confederation and trade unions connected to us have been subjected to continual and growing repression, and public opinion in every part of Turkey knows of the arbitrary detention and imprisonment directed at our members and directors in an attempt to put us under siege. As a result of one operation after another in the past year, a total of 59 of our members and directors have been imprisoned for their trade union activities, but as it was not enough to put them behind bars, early this morning (February 19, 2013) Akman Simsek, our Confederation’s education and organising secretary,  and a large number of other directors and members of our Confederation have been taken into custody.

As KESK, we find that whenever we raise higher our labour and democratic struggle against the manipulation and attacks that do not respect our rights and freedoms, we find ourselves up against the empire of fear whose architect is the AKP. It is certainly no coincidence that this operation was carried out on the first day of an organising drive KESK is conducting throughout the country.

Because of the pretext that the investigation is confidential, we have not been informed how many of our friends have been detained. According to the information reaching our Confederation and through the media, over 100 people have been detained. We still do not know how many are members or directors of our trade unions. But if there is one thing we do know, it is that the AKP hostility to labour and democracy is so “expert” that it sees the very existence of an opposition and the most natural actions and activities by the opposition as criminal, and sometimes it will want to make what it does into criminal actions.

On the other hand in the latest period, the proliferation of these kinds of operations and raids have shown that the claims about democratisation and “judicial reform packages” are hollow. Today they claim they are settling accounts with September 12 and February 28 (note: coup dates in Turkey) but they are signing their name to repressive policies against the labour struggle that put even the practices during Turkey’s military coup periods in the shade.

It is known that we will not remain silent today, any more than in the past, concerning all kinds of illegal practices that try to turn us away from our just struggle and to subject us to repression. As KESK we want all practices aimed at intimidating the democratic opposition, our members and directors to end, and want our friends released immediately.

We know that we are up against this state of affairs because we have stated that we would resist under all conditions  this outdated system founded on repression and exploitation and that we defend the fraternity of the peoples against racism and chauvinism, independence as opposed to imperialism, peace as opposed to war, and the rights of labour as opposed to pillage and exploitation.

It must be known that KESK and its friends will continue to raise higher the struggle of labour and democracy in the face of every kind of illegal practice, and will continue to pursue in a determined manner its struggle to eliminate a state of affairs which darkens the forces of labour and democracy with every passing day.

We will continue to defend and protect the rights of our detained and imprisoned members. We will oppose the fascisation policy of the AKP government and will never give into the gentlemen who stand for oppression and tyranny.