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At five in the morning on 19 February, police raided homes across Turkey arresting 169 trade unionists, all members of KESK, the independent confederation of public service unions in Turkey.
The police said this operation was related to DHKP, a banned left wing party which claimed responsibility for the bombing of the American Embassy on 1 February. But Lami Özgen, president of KESK, pointed out that those arrested were members or officials, of unions affiliated to KESK. He stated that this is: ‘…a new operation to blockade and defeat KESK.’
This is the third operation against KESK trade unionists in 12 months. Police took 73 members in two previous operations in February and June 2012. These trade unionists were charged with involvement in the KCK (the Union of Kurdish Communities) alleged to be an urban wing of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) the armed Kurdish movement fighting for autonomy.
Between 7,000 and 10,000 people are in prison in Turkey facing terrorism trials. On 22 February, Amnesty International issued a statement calling on the Turkish government to: ‘…amend the vague and overly broad definition of terrorism in Turkish law, to bring it into line with international standards regarding legal clarity and legal certainty.’ Amnesty International reports that terrorism convictions are obtained solely: ‘…on the basis of people’s writings, association with certain recognised political groups or participation in peaceful demonstrations.’
Tim and Isabelle will report in greater depth on the repression the AKP is unleashing on the left and Kurdish groups in the April/May print issue of Red Pepper. Get a trial subscription for just £5.
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A deeper engagement with culture can strengthen our democracy, taking political projects beyond electoral impact and festival memes into a whole new world of radical, lasting change.
Ruth Tanner writes that revelations about Oxfam's behaviour in Haiti are shocking, but not surprising.
The actions of Oxfam officials are horrendous - but gutting foreign aid funding just puts more people at risk, writes Daniel Gibson.
For All, By All
The latest issue of Red Pepper asks - how do we invite, support and nurture greater public participation so that our cultural capabilities are empowered beyond the crushing logic of market fundamentalism?
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Ruth Tanner looks back at a wave of protests which swept through Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
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Andrew Dolan writes that we need to integrate art, music, films and poetry into our movement, creating spaces where political ideas are given further room to breathe.
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Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
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