ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey

Defend Trade Union Rights in Turkey.

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Just in:

“111 trade union leaders and members, including the President of the IUF-affiliated TEKGIDA-İŞ along with four other national officers of the union and 12 branch presidents, and current and former officers of the national centers DISK and KESK, have been indicted on criminal charges in connection with an April 1 demonstration in Ankara in support of 12,000 tobacco workers whose jobs and acquired rights were eliminated overnight.

The charges carry prison terms of up to 5 years.

The trials, which begin on June 3, are a massive attack on trade union rights and the rights of all workers. ”

The IUF has more:

“The Turkish government has filed criminal charges against 111 union leaders, members and supporters which carry prison terms of up to 5 years in connection with a 2010 demonstration in Ankara. The Ankara action was in support of 12,000 workers made redundant overnight following the privatization of the state tobacco monopoly TEKEL.

Following the sale of the TEKEL tobacco manufacturing activities to BAT in February 2008, the state retained control over the 40 warehouses where leaf and semi-processed tobacco was stored. IUF-affiliated Tekgida-Is, which represents the workforce at TEKEL, continually sought negotiations with the government over the future of the 12,000 warehouse workers, who were offered only insecure contracts at half their former wages and no rights or benefits. In December 2009, their employment was abruptly terminated.

Three months of union protests in Ankara brought no results, but as a goodwill gesture the union ceased public action and waited for a response to their demands for new employment with acquired rights – as required under Turkish law.

When the government failed to offer anything concrete, TEKGIDA-IS and their many supporters demonstrated again in Ankara on April 1, 2010. They were beaten and pepper-gassed – and now they face prison. “

(H/T: Eric Lee)

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20/05/2011 at 13:57

Chemical Weapons and Turkey.

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It is not clear yet if these allegations are proven, but either way they are rather alarming, Spiegel reports:

“German experts have confirmed the authenticity of photographs that purport to show PKK fighters killed by chemical weapons. The evidence puts increasing pressure on the Turkish government, which has long been suspected of using such weapons against Kurdish rebels. German politicians are demanding an investigation.

It would be difficult to exceed the horror shown in the photos, which feature burned, maimed and scorched body parts. The victims are scarcely even recognizable as human beings. Turkish-Kurdish human rights activists believe the people in the photos are eight members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) underground movement, who are thought to have been killed in September 2009.

In March, the activists gave the photos to a German human rights delegation comprised of Turkey experts, journalists and politicians from the far-left Left Party, as SPIEGEL reported at the end of July. Now Hans Baumann, a German expert on photo forgeries has confirmed the authenticity of the photos, and a forensics report released by the Hamburg University Hospital has backed the initial suspicion, saying that it is highly probable that the eight Kurds died “due to the use of chemical substances.”

Did the Turkish army in fact use chemical weapons and, by doing so, violate the Chemical Weapons Convention it had ratified?

Repeated ‘Mysterious Incidents’

German politicians and human rights experts are now demanding an investigation into the incident. “The latest findings are so spectacular that the Turkish side urgently needs to explain things,” said Claudia Roth, the co-chair of Germany’s Green Party. “It is impossible to understand why an autopsy of the PKK fighters was ordered but the results kept under seal.”

The politician said there had been repeated “mysterious incidents of this type that are crying out for an independent investigation.” Roth demanded that Turkey issue an official statement on the possible use of chemical weapons “in order to nullify further allegations.”

Ruprecht Polenz, a member of the German parliament with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union and the chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Relations Committee, sees it the same way. “Turkey needs to urgently look into these accusations,” he told SPIEGEL ONLINE, adding that an international investigation would be the best approach.

Turkey has been suspected of using chemical weapons for years, points out Gisela Penteker, a Turkey expert with the international medical organization International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. “Local people have said that again and again,” she explained. Finding proof is difficult, however, she said, because bodies were often released so late that it was hardly possible to carry out a thorough autopsy.”

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13/08/2010 at 11:08

Not Too Proud.

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Whatever you think of David Cameron, and I try not to, you have to admire his gall.

Cameron is, at the present moment, sucking up to the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which must be a bit of a come down for a British PM.

Still, these once imperial powers have more in common than people will often admit.

Perhaps Cameron could inquire about Turkey’s treatment and murder of Kurds?

Or maybe the Turkish Prime Minister is advising Cameron on how to avoid charges of torture, or collusion with torture?

Anyone that needs reminding of Turkey’s appalling human-rights record could do worse than read Amnesty international’s and Human Rights Watch’s summaries.

Written by modernityblog

27/07/2010 at 15:47

Roma in Turkey.

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Disturbing news from Turkey:

“Local Roma in the Selendi district of the province of Manisa were taken out of the city and will be relocated elsewhere after being subject to violence that the Roma claimed the mayor of the district provoked.

Early media reports from the Aegean province said fighting began after a member of the Roma community, Burhan Uçkun, wanted to smoke in a coffeehouse. But Uçkun told daily Radikal that it was not about smoking; instead, he said, the owner of the coffeehouse refused to serve him tea.

Uçkun’s father died on the same day of the fight from a heart attack. Five days later, a second fight erupted between the same people, but this time, around 1,000 local people attacked Roma houses, tents and other property.”

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09/01/2010 at 15:51

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In Turkey.

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LabourStart reports on the plight of trade unionists in Turkey:

“Recently, the Turkish government has been systematically pressuring KESK (the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Unions) with banishments, dismissals, investigations, detentions and arrests. The operation against KESK started on 28th May 2009 in the early hours (about 04:00 AM), and 22 trade unionists including KESK women’s secretary Songül Morsümbül, former General Secretary Abdurrahman Daşdemir, women’s secretary of EĞİTİM-SEN Gülçin İsbert and former one Elif Akgül Ateş were arrested and the number of KESK arrested members increased to 32. These people are now in “F-Type”, or small group isolation prisons. On 28th May 2009, the headquarter of KESK, its branches in İzmir and Van and houses and workplaces of the detained members were raided and searched by the Gendarmerie. In the search of the office of Songül Morsümbül in KESK all official documents, national and international documents about women’s issues and trade union activities were seized as evidence of crime. These proceedings took place in contradiction of the Code of the Constitution and Criminal Procedure. In Turkey, collective “talks” by which the living and working conditions of public employees are to be determined, are going to be launched on 15th August. KESK took the first step of our struggle for transforming Collective Talks into Collective Agreements on 15th May. KESK had organized a great demonstration against the effects of the economic crisis in Ankara on 29th November and in İstanbul on 15th February with the participation of more than 100.000 people. On May Day KESK demonstrated in Taksim Square. On 5th June 2009, the march of Eğitim-Sen (the biggest teachers’ union) was prevented by the police using very extreme violence. KESK calls on the Turkish government to secure the immediate release of all trade unionists, to take any necessary steps to guarantee their safety and to abide by the international norms ratified by Turkey.

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26/07/2009 at 17:31

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