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Thousands attend funeral of murdered Turkish trade union leader

15 November, 2018Thousands of people gathered for the funeral of Turkish union leader, Abdullah Karacan, the day after he was fatally shot during a visit to meet workers at a Goodyear tyre factory in Adapazarı.

Abdullah Karacan, the much-revered president of IndustriALL Global Union’s Turkish affiliate, DİSK/Lastik- İş, united the union movement and civil society at a ceremony held at the social facilities of his union in the city of Izmit on 14 November.

The presidents and general secretaries of Turkish trade union national centres, DİSK, Turk- İş and Hak- İş, as well as leaders from all trade unions in Turkey, government officials, political figures and thousands of workers assembled to bid farewell to Brother Karacan.

The crowd listened to eulogies from three speakers: the general secretary of Lastik- İş, Alaaddin Sari, the president of DİSK national centre, Arzu Cerkezoglu and IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan, who said:

“Not just here in Turkey, but across the world, sisters and brothers at international, European and national trade unions are mourning Abdullah Karacan.

“As a good human, wonderful father and courageous union leader, Abdullah Karacan has left a proud legacy of struggle, a strong union and a vision. Now the ranks of Lastik- İş must promise in their final farewell to raise the flag higher.”

The regional president of Lastik-İş Mustafa Sipahi and shop steward Osman Bayraktar were also injured in the attack by the gunman. Both remain in hospital but are out of intensive care. Kemal Özkan visited the two wounded union officials at the hospital to convey messages of solidarity from IndustriALL. He will also visit the family of Abdullah Karacan, who leaves behind a wife and four daughters.

The gunman has been charged with murder and attempted murder and the police investigation continues.

As leader of the rubber and chemical union, Brother Karacan won significant victories against precarious work by persuading multinational tyre companies to end outsourcing at their operations in Turkey. 

Abdullah Karacan was also a substitute member of IndustriALL’s Executive Committee.