Sunday, 16 June 2013

Turkey: Statement from DISK trade unions - striking with KESK tomorrow

This way to Taksim
Before I post my own report, I am sharing a message I have received tonight from Kivanc, from DISK's International Relations Department. He was a great support to the British trade union delegation over the weekend, including as we stood facing the police near Taksim last night.

Kivanc confirms that the DISK federation of unions will be joining the KESK federation in taking strike action tomorrow in protest at the invasion of Gezi Park. 

In addition, here is a statement that he also passed on to me from a DISK source:

The people's resistance and mobilization is in its 20th day. Since 8 pm last night, in Taksim Square and many districts there have been non-stop clashes with police. Police attackes over peaceful protestors with excessive violence, with pepper and tear gasses, water cannons and water with liquid pepper gas and plastic bullets.

On Friday early morning, PM Erdoğan had to meet with Taksim Solidarity representatives including DİSK General Secretary Mrs. Dr. Çerkezoğlu, Turkish Doctors Association, Turkish Architectures Association and other mass organizations to find a solution however PM was very angry and agressive, he discussed with our General Secretary and after the meeting he targeted our Secretary, claiming that she is a "ultra unionist". After the meeting, spokeperson of the government stated that they would respect to the legal court's decision that stopped the construction of the shopping mall in Gezi Park, the only green public place in central Istanbul.

However this is not sufficient for people. If government had stated this 20 days ago, this might be a solution, however in this 20 days, 5 people died, almost 7.000 people were injured. 15 people lost their eyes. There are 50 heavily injured people. Thousands of people were taken under custody. In all cities millions poured to the streets demanding resignation of the government. The number of people joined this mobilization is estimated to be as almost 10 million by press but this may be higher. Government now tried to limit all mobilization to Gezi Park issue and make propoganda to spare "innocent-pacifist environmentalists vs marginal, illegal groups." People oppose and object this issue.

In Saturday, Taksim Solidarity decided to normalize the process, they cleaned some barricades and decided to establish one symbolic tent and lifting all other hundreds tents. Platform decided to continue mobilization with other peaceful mass demonstrations. However despite such decision, at 8 pm, police attacked Gezi Park with intense gas bombs, injured hundreds of people and destroyed all tents. Since then, spontenously, hundred thousands poured to streets in all parts of Istanbul, ten thousands of people closed the traffic in main international motorway and marched over the Taksim Square. Ten thousands marched in Asian side over Bosphorus Bridge. They clashed with police and passed all police barricades.

Police forces normally have numbers in their helmets but in this two days, there is no any number in helmets of police that let them to do whatever they like. They even got in Shopping Malls and 5 star hotels where protestors try to hide. They send pepper gas inside hotels, cafes and normal houses. There is no limit of the police violence.

Clashes still continue in many districts and people insist on pouring streets and marching over police by using ferries, buses, cars and on foot since 8 pm last night. (this is written on 6 pm) People will meet at 7 and 9 pm as well. People only use peaceful ways, protesting police, horning their cars and they try to re-send pepper gases back to police.

Last night one lady (55) was died in Istanbul by hearth attack after police attack with pepper gas. Today there are many heavily injured people and there may be more deads.

Clashes have spread to Ankara, Adana. In Ankara since last night, clashes have been continuing. Today there was a funeral of a young man, Ethem Sarısülük, who was killed last week by police bullet that was recorded by TV channels. Police even attacked over the funeral with water cannons. There are mass demonstrations in Izmir, Eskişehir, Bursa, Trabzon and even strongholds of the government as Kayseri, Konya.

DİSK and KESK declared strike and called their members to be at demonstrations to protest government.

Government and Pm Erdoğan's reaction was to polarize people and suppress the mobilization with violence. He calls mobilization of his supporters. Yesterday, he had a mass meeting in Ankara and he declared that he will clean the Taksim Square and just 2 hours later police started intervention. Now he organizes a mass meeting in Istanbul. government uses all public sources to mobilize his supporters with free transport and free meal. Erdoğan targets CNN; BBC and other international media channles by giving fabr,cated news and blaming foreign and domestic interest groups to stop raise of Turkish State as a global power. But until today, he was defending to be a part of EU, NATO and he was enjoying the US support. He is threatening protestors and making propaganda of fabricated lies as showing people as looters, anti-religion, anti-nationalist people.

His aim is to consolidate his support. He had almost 50 % vote in the election and he defends that he is still having support of 50 % and threatening the other 50 %. But it is widely known that AKP government is a coalition with different groups. ıt is estimated that political Islamists have almost 10 % vote power. AKP Government could come to power after the 2001 economic crisis in which central right parties had collapsed. People who vote for central right, secular parties voted for him for the economic stability. And he knows that he may lose this support immediately as a result of this mobilization and authoritarian rule of PM. Additionally, economy is not going well for over 1 year. Also his adventurous Syrian policy had conflicted with the US policy, so he had danger of losing support of the US. It is necessary to note that Turkish economy is heavily dependent to short flow of foreign debt. They fear of losing flow of debt that would definitely bankrupt the economy. Now from one hand, by polarazing people, he tried to consolidate his power and tried to show that he preserves mass support to international public.

However hundred thousands of people who are resisting against excessive police violence in Istanbul and in almost all cities, demonstrates that this is the final phase of the PM Erdoğan.

We call for international support for the cause of people!

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