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SPOT Conference Report

Report from last weekend's Solidarity with the People of Turkey Conference in London


I was very happy to speak at the Solidarity with the People of Turkey conference on Saturday, This is an organisation set up after the Gezi park uprisings in 2013, launched by socialists and trade unionists to solidarise over a range of issues including state repression of protest,attacks on workers rights, attacks on the Kurdish people, violations of press and academic freedom.

It was supported by a range of organisations including trade unions and campaigning organisations. It was not before time and since then the situation has got worse. The conference heard from a number of Turkish voices about the situation after the failed coup in the summer and the growing repression. Hours after the conference finished we received an email from the conference organisers that another 1267 academics had been suspended, another 10 newspapers had been shut down, and the broadcasting rights of two more news agencies had been taken away. Earlier in the week the two mayors of Diyarbakir were illegally detained.

Little of this news filters out into the mainstream media, especially given Turkey's key role as a Nato member and its dirty deal with the EU over refugees. It is therefore crucial that organisations like SPOT can disseminate information and let people know the actual situation.

The great thing about the Turkish and Kurdish organisations in Britain is that they are very involved in the politics of Britain as well as Turkish/Kurdish politics. This greatly enriches the movement here and helps to widen knowledge about the situation there. They have always understood that domestic and international politics are the same struggle, and that strengthening trade union organisation, anti war organising and campaigns for civil liberties in one country helps the fight elsewhere.

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