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Turkey: The Gezi uprising and the renewal of the left

Ender Imrek.

By I. Zekeriya Ayman

August 30, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly --Ender Imrek is a member of the Taksim Platform, the key organising centre during the Gezi Park protests. He is also former vice-president of the revolutionary socialist party Labour Party-Turkey (EMEP) and a central executive member of left-wing umbrella group the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK).

The HDK played a key role during the Gezi protests, when police brutally evicted protesters seeking to stop the destruction of trees in Taksim Gezi Park in May. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's I. Zekeriya Ayman

* * *

Can you tell us about the HDK?

The HDK formed in October 2011. It was preceded by a progressive electoral bloc (the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Bloc), which got 36 candidates elected to the 550-seat national parliament despite harsh repression and electoral fraud.

Most of our MPs were elected in the Kurdish region. We also won three seats in Istanbul, and one each in Mersin and Adana, where there is a Kurdish population concentrated outside the Kurdish region.

Dissent and politics: Assembling resistance in Turkey

The football supporter group "Çarşı" from Beşiktaş entering Gezi Park. Çarşı is at the forefront of the street battles, building on long experience of political activism and social mobilisation. Image by Kerem Öktem.

By Emrah Yildiz

June 4, 2013 -- Jadaliyya -- More than 10,000 people took over the streets of Ümraniye, a working-class neighbourhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, at around 10 pm on Sunday June 2 to stand in solidarity with the demonstrators not only in the grounds of the Gezi Park in Taksim Square, but also with those demonstrating in 67 cities all over Turkey from Ankara and Izmir, to Adana and Hatay.

Gathering on the main avenue of the May 1 Mahallesi (district) of Ümraniye, a neighbourhood always imagined as a stronghold of AKP politics and home to a socially conservative lifestyle among the diverse districts of Istanbul, over 10,000 Ümraniye locals marched onto the main artery of Istanbul’s highway system connecting the European and Asian sides of the city via the Bosphorus Bridge, known as TEM in Turkey.

Turkey: Unionised workers call general strike as mass protests reach more than 67 cities

June 4, 2013 -- Real News Network -- Today the uprisings witnessed a new development, when Turkey's Confederation of Public Workers Unions, KESK, consisting of 11 unions and approximately 240,000 members, declared their decision to stage a massive two-day strike. The action, which was originally planned for a later date in response to labor law modifications, was rescheduled to June 4 now, in response to the government's excessive use of police brutality and its increasingly undemocratic practices. For the full transcript, click HERE.

Turkey: ‘Occupy Gezi’ -- Istanbul’s red-green uprising; Right to the City movement and the Turkish summer

By I. Zekeriya Ayman

June 2, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- When the humble “Occupy Gezi” (Occupy Promenade Park) protest in Istanbul’s Taksim Square was brutally attacked on May 31 by police and spread like wildfire throughout Istanbul and into other cities, the Turkey’s left was in the thick of it.

Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK and the Kurdish struggle

Prison writings: The PKK and the Kurdish Question in the 21st Century
By Abdullah Ocalan, translated and edited by Klaus Heppel; preliminary notes by Cemil Bayik
Transmedia Publishing, London, 2011 [Order here.]

Reviewed by Chris Slee

September 6, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Abdullah Ocalan is (or was -- it is uncertain if he is still alive) the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group fighting for the rights of the oppressed Kurdish minority within Turkey and in the Middle East more broadly. Ocalan has been held in a Turkish prison on the island of Imrali since being kidnapped from Kenya by Western intelligence agencies and handed to Turkey in 1999.

This book was written in prison, as part of an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. It was later adopted as a manifesto by the PKK at its 2002 congress.

The geopolitics of the Syrian uprising/insurgency

[Click HERE for more analysis of the situation in Syria.]

By Michael Karadjis

August 13, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The continuing mass uprising against Syria’s Bashar Assad dictatorship on the one hand, and the growing intervention by the reactionary Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with Turkey, on the side of the growing armed insurgency on the other, has led to a situation where many on the left are sharply divided over who to “support”.

Some claim the Saudi-led covert intervention requires support for Assad’s bloody regime as a lesser evil “secular” alternative to what they believe is an inevitable “jihadi” regime, given the rise of a vicious Sunni sectarian aspect to the civil war and the Saudi-led backing of such forces. Also, given the largely verbal (until recently) support given to the Gulf states’ intervention by the US and other imperialist states, support for Assad against this allegedly “imperialist-backed” assault on Syria is necessary to prevent the destruction of the Syrian state, which they allege imperialism desires due to Assad’s alleged anti-imperialist credentials (which even most of these writers, however, admit is very tenuous at best).

Egypt: The danger to the revolution comes from Washington

Protesters stand in front of grafitti calling on the US government to stay out of Egypt's affairs, February 2, 2011. Photo by Matthew Cassel

By Ali Abunimah

February 6, 2011 -- The Electronic Intifada -- The greatest danger to the Egyptian revolution and the prospects for a free and independent Egypt emanates not from the baltagiyya -- the mercenaries and thugs the regime sent to beat, stone, stab, shoot and kill protesters in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities in early February -- but from Washington.

What next? The Freedom Flotilla and the struggle to break the siege of Gaza

By Rafeef Ziadah

June 5, 2010 -- The Bullet -- While people around the world are still in shock at the killing by Israeli commandos of innocent human rights activists on board the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, those who have been following Israeli state actions for some time are not surprised. This is an ongoing pattern of Israeli state terrorism and collective punishment. While we mourn the dead on the boats, we must not forget that the flotilla itself is in response to an even greater brutality – the slow starvation of more than 1.5 million people trapped in an open air prison called the Gaza Strip.

May Day 2010: For workers' rights and the environment, oppose racism, defend revolutions


Havana, May 1, 2010.

May 1, 2010 -- May Day -- saw millions of people mobilising around globe to oppose attacks on workers' rights, reverse the degradation of the environment, defend the rights of oppressed peoples and migrants and -- as in Nepal, Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia -- to make, extend or defend unfolding revolutions.

In Nepal, Jed Brandt reports that between 500,000 and 1 million people flooded the streets on Kathmandu to demand the resignation of the government. The massive mobilisation -- called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Young Communist League -- is the prelude to a general strike that begins May 2.

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