We have received this letter as an update on the situation of the struggle of the Tekel workers in Turkey. Due to their pressure, the Prime Minister and the Turkish Cabinet were now forced to take up this issue. At the same time the class consciousness of the workers is taking a huge step forward and the ideas of communism are gaining ground amongst them. The victory of the Tekel workers would not be only a victory for them, but a victory for the whole of the Turkish working class.
In this letter, I would like to give you more information about the present situation with respect to the Tekel resistance in Turkey. The resistance of 12.000 Tekel workers in Turkey has now entered a new phase. The details are as follows:
The Trade Union leader has talked with the Prime Minister yesterday, and after the meeting it was announced that the Prime Minister has asked the Trade Union for a three day period to discuss and study the issue in the Cabinet. This marks an important step in this resistance. Up until now, the Turkish Prime Minister has always looked down on the resistance and labelled the workers as agitators, and that there are provocateurs amongst the workers who are agitating them against the government, etc. Now at this point, it is the Prime Minister who demands extra time from the workers to discuss the issue in the Cabinet with his ministers. Now it is the workers who are granting time to the government.
The second, and I think the most important, development in this resistance that has now gone on for 46 days is the fact that the workers, who have in the past supported the right wing parties, now are changing their minds. One worker, who spoke on a TV programme yesterday, said the following words:
" ...I am a true believer in İslam. I pray to God 5 times a day (In the İslamic Kuran, it is obliged to pray to God 5 times a day). But now in this resistance I have learned what communism is. The university students who have come here everyday told me about Lenin and communism. Now I have become a Communist...."
The words above are almost shocking to anyone who knows a little about Turkey, Turkish society etc. We are living historical moments here in Turkey. I think the Tekel resistance has become a school for the workers. The workers are regaining their class consciousness, which they had lost as a result of neoliberalism, Thatcherism, and Reaganism. Now, the conservative-oriented workers in Turkey are discovering that communism is not a bad thing. In fact, they have started to realize that they constitute the working class which is the most powerful class only if it is united. Ten years ago, this was a real dream for many socialists in Turkey.
If the Tekel workers win, the whole working class will win.
If they lose, I don’t want to think about the possible consequences.