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IndustriALL joins Global Unions in demanding a stop to violence in Turkey

5 June, 2013On 3 June the Council of Global Unions (CGU) discussed the developments in Turkey and expressed their deep concern, regret and outrage over brutal and excessive violence applied by the Turkish security forces against people peacefully exercising their rights of freedom of assembly.

In their letter to the Turkish Prime Minister, the leaders of Global Unions said “The global union movement is concerned that your Government has turned violent repression into a regular practice. It is still fresh in our minds that this year’s May Day Celebrations, which were supposed to take place in Taksim Square in Istanbul, turned into bloodshed with the attacks of the security forces on demonstrators using tear gas and other repressive methods. According to reports received, there are a number of injured people and thousands in custody.”

Almost for one week, there have been clashes with police and since Friday night 31 May, clashes and mass demonstrations spread to all parts of Istanbul and many other cities including Ankara, Izmir, Samsun and Trabzon.

The initial reason of this mobilization was to block government’s decision to destroy the central park “Gezi Park” in Taksim Square of Istanbul and build a shopping mall in the area. The police tried to oppress this peaceful protest with excessive violence and at 5 am attacked people with tear and pepper gases. This oppression provoked anger of millions and suddenly on Friday night after 11 pm, hundred thousands of people poured to the streets to protest police acts of violence and state terror.

Particularly since the 2011 elections, the authoritarian actions in Turkey have increased. This includes legal and illegal union busting, adoption of laws that discourage rather than encourage the exercise of trade union rights, inaction, at best, against employers refusing to respect workers' rights, abuses in the judiciary system, and violence against trade unionists. Coupled with the limits on freedom of assembly and expression, these constitute attacks on fundamental human rights and democracy.

The CGU members called upon Turkish Government “urgently to take necessary actions to calm the current situation by entering into a real dialogue with your citizens and their representatives. The global union movement urges your Government to take action against those who are responsible for such massive unrest in society and for the violence. We also call on you to ensure that those detained  for participating in peaceful demonstrations be immediately released”.

Full text of the CGU letter to the Prime Minister of Turkey is available on the link.

The website www.labourstart.org has launched a campaign in support of the rights for freedom of expression and non-violence in Turkey which is available on the link http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1840.