After the big eruption of anger in Turkey, also the big Turkish Diaspora in Austria has been shaken to the core. Especially in the small region of Vorarlberg this was very visible in the last few days.
The biggest group of immigrants here comes from Turkey and so a big solidarity demonstration with the events in Istanbul was organized at short notice for last Sunday. Central to the mobilisation were mainly various Alevi cultural clubs, but also various Turkish communist groups. Also, the Marxist-led socialist youth participated.
At 4pm the demonstration started out in the capital of the region Bregenz, which has 20,000 inhabitants. Many people from all over Vorarlberg, but also parts of neighbouring Switzerland and Germany came. The bourgeois press and the state were astonished by the turnout and heavily contradicted themselves. The police spoke of 700 people participating, as did the first press releases; later this became “nearly 1000 people” and then “over 2000 people”, all reports from the same media-cooperation!
The last figure is definitely the most precise, but the demonstration had a really dynamic character, which made it really hard to figure out how many had turned out. From the starting point to its end destination at the Turkish consulate, people were constantly joining in under cheers from the side. For many people this was clearly the first demonstration in their lives.
The slogans were quite wide ranging, from the slogans also heard in Turkey (“tayyip, step down” and “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance”, “shoulder to shoulder against fascism“) to slogans praising Mustafa Kemal and the secular state, but also “long live international solidarity” could be heard thundering through the sleepy streets of Bregenz.
When we arrived at the consulate, there were speeches in Turkish and German. There was no space left there, so many people started leaving. Notably, when the list of the organisations which supported the demonstration was read out, the Socialist Youth got the most cheers. This reflects the understanding and desire, that this is not only a thing that should matter to the people of Turkey, but has a much broader meaning. The movement in Turkey is not only showing the awakening of the working class in Turkey, but also, that in the 21st century revolution is international.