Turkey: Update on Tekel workers

We have received some brief updates on the situation being faced by the Tekel workers in Turkey. It clearly indicates the widespread support through Turkey for this struggle, but also the tough situation the striking workers are facing.

The workers who were on hunger strike for seven days stopped the hunger strike because of poor health, but 16 of them decided to continue the struggle no matter what. Today [February 12, 2010] the five confederations (one confederation which was pro-government decided to leave the struggle) will convene today to discuss the issue of what can be done from now one.

Meanwhile the general strike of 4 February was boycotted by two confederations (out of the 6) which decided not to join the strike at the last minute. Despite all attempts by the government to prevent the strike, one million workers stopped working in 82 provinces of Turkey.

The prime minister of Turkey threatened the workers that if they did not leave their protest tents by the end of February, there will be police action. The workers responded to these words with determination: "we will die but not give up!"

February 12, 2010


Now I must tell you that the situation is getting more severe. The four confederations that called the 12 February action decided that on 20 February 100,000 workers from all over Turkey would come to Ankara and spend 24 hours with the Tekel workers. The Tekel workers have decided not to give up fighting, but rather they say that they will die but not give up. One worker has said that they have almost won because they have attracted the support and sympathy of the nation”.

The contact between the students and the Tekel workers is coming under more pressure as each day passes. One university, Haccettepe University, sent letters to the families of 20 students, telling them that their children have become anarchists. This shows the level of tragic-comedy staged in Turkey.

February 14, 2010

The Hook