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 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

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Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

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Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

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US
A socialist strategy to defeat Trump

14/02/2017: Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

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Scotland
Greens back SNP government austerity budget

13/02/2017: TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

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India
Upheaval in Tamil Nadu

09/02/2017: Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

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Britain
Universal basic income demand gains ground

08/02/2017: What approach should socialists take?

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Yemen
Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S

07/02/2017: Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

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CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification

06/02/2017: Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

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France
After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out

06/02/2017: Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

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Romania
Biggest street protests since 1989

04/02/2017: What position should the left take?

  Romania

Syria
Is an end to the war in sight?

03/02/2017: New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

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Quebec
Terrorist Attack in Québec City

01/02/2017: Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

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 CWI
9th Latin American school a success

31/01/2017: Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

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Sri Lanka
The year 2017

31/01/2017: Between oppression and struggle

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Canada
Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?

31/01/2017: Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

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US
Airport protests help block Trump travel ban

30/01/2017: Defend immigrant communities

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Russian Revolution Centenary
January 1917 - On the eve of revolution

29/01/2017: War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

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China
CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee

28/01/2017: Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

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Afghanistan
The limits of US power

28/01/2017: Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

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US
Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!

27/01/2017: Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

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Russia
Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence

26/01/2017: For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

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Tamil Nadu
Mass protests against state repression

26/01/2017: Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

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Millions on women's marches around the world

25/01/2017: Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

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Bangladesh
Hartal protest against power plant

25/01/2017: Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

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Côte d’Ivoire
Social revolts shake Ouattara regime

24/01/2017: Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

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US foreign policy under Trump

24/01/2017: Island risks being pawn in his game

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CWI joins protests around the world against Trump

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US
Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech

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New US President’s approach to China

21/01/2017: Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

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Russian Revolution Centenary
New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution

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Kazakhstan
Regime increases repression

20/01/2017: Citizens forced to register with police at all times

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Kurdistan

Turkey continues repression of Kurds

www.socialistworld.net, 17/11/2002
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Kurdish people, known as the Kurds, live in an area that consists of south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and a part of Syria.

Stephen Smellie

Visit to Kurdistan.

Stephen Smellie, South Lanarkshire UNISON branch secretary, recently visited the Kurdish area of Turkey as part of a trade unions delegation. Here he gives a report of the continued repression facing the Kurdish people in Turkey.

Turkey continues oppression of Kurds

The Kurds refer to this area as Kurdistan. The Kurds have their own language, culture and history as ancient as any other people in the region. Historically they have suffered oppression in all 4 countries that they inhabit.

When modern Turkey was established in the 1920s the Kurds were denied any distinct identity by the Turkish state who refused to acknowledge them as a minority group, referring to them as "Hill Turks." Over the years there have been a number of uprisings by Kurds trying to establish their own state, autonomy or simply their own identity. These risings have met with brutal responses from the Turkish state on each occasion.

In the 1980s the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) launched an armed struggle. This led to a prolonged period of civil unrest with the Turkish military occupying the area under military rule and brutally suppressing any support for the PKK. 30,000 people died during the conflict, thousands of villages were cleared with people forced to migrate to the cities, to western Turkey and abroad. Many came to live in western Europe, including Scotland, as asylum seekers and refugees.

During this period thousands of people were detained and tortured by the military. Many of these people disappeared. Families were persecuted and victimised.

Heroic struggle

A member of SES (Health and Social Workers Union) in the city of Van, Turkey brought home to me just how heroic ordinary Kurdish trade unionists need to be to struggle for basic human rights. He said "The head of our union in Van was suspended and exiled for making a statement to an Italian delegation. Since so many more people are here tonight I expect there to be many more suspensions."

I heard similar stories from trade unionists throughout the Region. The Secretary of KESK (Confederation of Public Service Employees) in Diyarbakir explained that when they elect their branch committee they also elect a second committee. This is because the state will target the committee members and probably exile them to other cities in Turkey. The members of the second committee are then able to step in to replace them. However, he pointed out, the second committee often are targeted as well. This makes it difficult to organize, he said with what must be an understatement.

The Kurdish (south east) region of Turkey suffered from years of brutal military rule as the Turkish state fought to defeat the armed struggle of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). 3 years ago the PKK’s leader, Ocalan, declared a ceasefire and since then the PKK armed units have retreated over the border into the hills of Iraq. This however has not ended the human rights abuses of people suspected of supporting the PKK, trade union activists, Kurdish politicians, socialists, lawyers and anyone else who argues for rights for the Kurds or working people.

During the time of the conflict the military destroyed thousands of villages and forced the small peasant farmers to migrate to the cities, to the west of Turkey and to Western Europe. The Kurdish cities were given no additional funding to cope with this huge influx of people. Many of these people had been victims of torture, had seen members of their family detained or murdered by the state or by the village guards. These guards continue to be a problem. Employed originally by the military to report any sympathies among the local population for the PKK, they have now became local warlords who terrorise the villagers and steal the best land for themselves.

Lawyers who represented people accused of supporting "separitism" were themselves targeted by the security forces. 70-80% of the members of the Bar Association in Diyarbakir were prosecuted or had charges brought against them. According to the Medical Association, Doctors, who examined people who had been detained for weeks before they appeared in court and who reported signs of torture, were threatened by the military.

Since the ceasefire the situation has improved but there are still reports of people being tortured in prison. Any country which sends 2 or 3 security police to wait for a Unison activist to come down to breakfast in the morning and follows him around all day for a week clearly has some way to go before it achieves a genuine democracy.

The Turkish state does not allow any language but Turkish to be used in any official setting. So even in schools where the children speak Kurdish teachers must only use Turkish. Failure to stick to this ruling can result in teachers being disciplined or exiled to another city. In the past year a campaign for the right to be taught in Kurdish has gathered momentum amongst students and parents of younger children. Signatures were collected on petitions to be presented to University rectors. This mild form of protest was met by a brutal response by the military. When Razat Bapci, a 19 year old student at Dija University, went to present a petition, he and his 2 colleagues were arrested, searched and beaten up by police before being detained for 3 days. They were sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in jail. They were also suspended from university just at exam time so they were unable to sit them. They are now appealing their sentence.

The teachers union, Egitim Sen, have always supported the right to "Mother Language Education." However when Abdullah Demirbas, the Chair of the unions Diyarbakir branch, made a statement on the subject he was sacked from his job. In the union office he showed me photographs of numerous union activists who had been shot by the state over the years.

While I was in Turkey the election campaign had just begun and many of the trade union and human rights activists I met were supporting DEHAP (the Democratic People’s Party)*. This was an alliance of the Kurdish party HADEP and 2 small socialist parties (EMEP and SP). This combination of nationalist and socialist outlooks continually emerged in the discussions I had with people I met. On the one hand they would emphasise the democratic struggle for Kurdish rights and on the other point out that the struggle in Turkey was against globalisation. On more than one occasion the view was expressed that the unions in Western Europe had not done enough to resist privatization and the programme of the IMF.

The activist from the SES in Van ended his contribution by making a plea for the movement against the War against Iraq. A war would not help either the Kurds in Iraq or in Turkey he said. "I am asking the socialist groups in your country to help us."

*In the election DEHAP received over 40% of the vote in the Kurdish region but only 6% of the vote nationally. They failed to win any seats in the Parliament as parties need to get at least 10% to get candidates elected.

This article was printed in the November 2002 issue of the International Socialilst, monthly paper of the International Socialists, the CWI’s section in Scotland. To receive a regular copy write to CWI, PO Box 6773, Dundee, DD1 1YL or cwi@blueyonder.co.uk



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NEWS

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

Solidarity: French presidential candidate Mélenchon backs #JobstownNotGuilty campaign
17/02/2017, socialistworld.net :
Support the international solidarity campaign

Britain: Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
16/02/2017, Editorial comments from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

Spain: Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress
15/02/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain:
Time to build the class struggle on the streets

US: A socialist strategy to defeat Trump
14/02/2017, Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative :
Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

Greece: Athens’ bus cleaners win bulk of wages owed
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Scotland: Greens back SNP government austerity budget
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TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

Yemen: Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S
07/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
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Romania: Biggest street protests since 1989
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What position should the left take?

Quebec: Terrorist Attack in Québec City
01/02/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) :
Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

CWI: 9th Latin American school a success
31/01/2017, socialistworld.net:
Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

US: Airport protests help block Trump travel ban
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Defend immigrant communities

China: CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee
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Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

Russia: Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence
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Bangladesh: Hartal protest against power plant
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Côte d’Ivoire: Social revolts shake Ouattara regime
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US: CWI joins protests around the world against Trump
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US: Global resistance against Trump’s inauguration
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CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

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06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
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Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
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New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

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Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

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Cuba: Fidel Castro, leader of 1959 revolution, dies at 90
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