The working masses of Turkey have been protesting against the anti popular policies of the government and the attack on their rights, including trade union rights, as well as the active support of the Turkish government to the US led war in neighbouring Syria.
The AKP government of Turkey headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has unleashed fascist repression against the working masses who have been protesting in defence of their rights.
On May Day 2013, police used tear gas to disperse thousands of workers for celebrating International Working Class Day and asserting their rights.
Beginning May 31, 2013, the government unleashed its police forces who fired tear gas shells from helicopters and armoured vehicles to quell mounting protests all across the country. The immediate provocation for the latest round of protests was the government’s move to remodel a historic park in the city of Istanbul, converting it into a shopping mall. This park is associated with many working class struggles and popular protests. In 1969, the bloody Sunday massacre of demonstrators protesting the deployment of the US Sixth Fleet to Turkey took place in this area. On May Day 1977, dozens of workers were killed by the fascist state in this place.
The protests of the working class and people have spread from Istanbul to the capital Ankara and to other towns. The people are demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. According to the Home Minister, 939 people have been arrested. There are reports that at least two people have been killed. Doctors have reported treating thousands of protestors injured as a result of the violence unleashed by the government.
However, far from cowing down the working people, the repression has only led to more sections of the working class and people coming on the streets.
On June 1, 2013, tens of thousands of workers clashed with the police in Istanbul and Ankara, chanting “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism”, and “government resign”.
KESK, the Federation of Public Employees’ Unions, gave the call for a Sector wide strike for 5 June. There are reports of the trade unions planning a General Strike as well.
Turkey has been a frontline state for NATO and US imperialism in its struggle against socialism and the freedom and independence of the peoples. Successive regimes in Turkey, whether open military dictatorships, or so called democratically elected governments, have resorted to fascist repression to crush the struggles of the working class and people for their rights, as well as participated in the US led NATO’s wars of aggression against other countries.
As recently as May 16, 2013, Erdogan met US president Obama in Washington. The main topics discussed at their meeting were the US-Turkey economic ties and assistance to the US backed rebel forces in Syria.