Scottish union activists send solidarity, condemn Turkish government

On the day of Turkey’s pro-peace demonstration in the capital, Ankara, two blasts have killed at least 100 people  and injured hundreds more. The demonstration organised by trade unions in support of labour, peace and democracy, was being held in protest at the Turkish government’s escalation of violence in the Kurdish regions.

Trade unionists from Scotland visited Diyarbakir last month to find out more about the situation. Whilst there, they met with leaders of the trade unions who organised today’s demonstration. The message was quite clear: there can be no fair and open election in November whilst trade union offices are being attacked by the police (as they are in Diyarbakir), whilst the pro-Kurdish leftist HDP offices are being attacked, whilst pro-Kurdish towns are under military curfew, whilst HDP parliamentarians are being imprisoned and whilst HDP and trade union rallies are being bombed.

Stephen Smellie, depute convenor of UNISON Scotland, who was part of a delegation said:

“Everyone should strongly condemn the attacks on trade union rallies in Turkey. Dave Prentis of UNISON sent a message of support to the Turkish trade unions wishing them success for the day and in their search for peace. This attack is the worst possible news and shows that some in Turkey are opposed to peace and prefer violence, whether it is against Kurds or trade unions.  We offer our full solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the unions – KESK, DiSK, TMMOB, TTB – who have called a general strike for Monday and Tuesday against, what they claim, is an act of state terrorism.”

At the moment, Turkish state news agencies are suggesting that Saturday’s bombs could have been the work of an ISIS suicide bomber. There were also reports of police tear gassing and using water cannons on the crowds.  It should be noted that all claims of ISIS bombing on Turkish land (including Diyarbakir in June and Suruç in July) have been in pro-Kurdish areas. The bomb comes one day after Kurdish PKK organisation claimed that there should be another ceasefire with the Turkish state.

All messages of solidarity should be sent to international@disk.org.tr and please send your messages of protest to:

President of Turkey
Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr, Fax 0 (312) 470 24 33

Prime Minister of Turkey:
PM Ahmet Davutoğlu,
Email: bimer@basbakanlik.gov.tr, Fax: +90 312 422 26 69, +90 312 422 18 99