In mid-April 2013, I visited Istanbul to meet a group of socialist activists involved in building a workers’ support group, Uluslararası Işçi Dayanışması Derneği (Association of International Workers’ Solidarity, UID DER).
When George W. Bush proclaimed his “War on Terror” more than a decade ago, there was some concern in the USA and its allies that the war might not be confined to fighting actual terrorists overseas and could also be directed against ordinary dissenters at home.
On 19 February, more than 100 trade unionists were arrested in co-ordinated raids by the authorities in 28 provinces across Turkey.
Dave Quayle, the chair of the Political Committee of Unite, and Tony Woodhouse, the Unite Executive chair, have backed the campaign to defend Bob Carnegie, the Australian trade unionist facing legal charges for his role in a community protest in Brisbane.
UID-DER, a rank-and-file caucus within the Turkish labour movement, has spoken out against the victimisation of Australian union activist Bob Carnegie.
Istanbul branches of the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party, the main Kurdish nationalist party in Turkey) held sit-ins, and other direct actions on 10 November, in solidarity with Kurdish political prisoners who have been on hunger strike since 12 September.
The first hearing of the case against 15 women trade unionists of the Turkish Confederation of Public Employees Unions (KESK) was held in Ankara on 4 October. Nine of the 15 have been in prison, awaiting a court hearing, for eight months.
Workers' Liberty has recently begun discussions with a Marxist group active in Turkey, Marksist Tutum [Marxist Attitude].
The biggest influence in the outcome in Syria, if the Assad tyranny falls, is likely to be Turkey.
Trade unionists launched a one-day general strike in Turkey as our last issue went to press. On Thursday 4 February, tens of thousands of public sector workers staged a one-day walk out in solidarity with employees of the government’s Tobacco and Liquor Administration (TEKEL).