Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Wave of repression hits Turkish trade unionists

Tim Baster and Isabelle Merminod report on the third police operation in 12 months against trade unionists in Turkey

February 26, 2013
2 min read

Supporters for the 3 KESK women outside the Ankara court, Turkey 13.12.2012A solidarity demonstration outside the court in Ankara. Photo: Isabelle Merminod.

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.


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? 

‘We are hungry in three languages’: The forgotten promise of the Bosnian Spring
Ruth Tanner looks back at a wave of protests which swept through Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.

It’s time for a cultural renewal of the left
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.

Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.

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

Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week

A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes