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Turkey & Kurdistan

The STUC is appalled at the continuing deterioration of democracy and human rights in Turkey.  

The Turkish Government has demonstrated contempt for democracy with the repeated dismissals of elected politicians. Over 24 elected Mayors of the pro-Kurdish HDP have been dismissed by decree and replaced by Government trustees. Several have been jailed on false accusations of terrorism.  

Activists of opposition parties have been subjected to police harassment and arrest, party offices raided by police and attacked by Government supporting mobs.  

Human rights abuses are regularly reported to local and international human rights organisations. These include, women abused by police officers; restrictions on the right of trade unionists to protest and organise; restrictions on freedom of speech, journalists imprisoned, and media outlets closed down; the use of anti-terror laws to falsely accuse opponents; and trade unionists and prisoners denied their rights including, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who was denied access to his lawyers for years.  

The oppression of the Kurdish community in Turkey continues and has extended to attacking the Kurdish region in North East Syria with Erdogan, boasting of plans to resettle millions of Syrian refugees, effectively ethnically cleansing the region of its Kurdish inhabitants.  

The STUC condemned the invasion of northern Syria by Turkey in October 2019, and has called for the release from prison of elected politicians, journalists and trade union activists. 

We have also demanded that the UK Government ends all arms sales to Turkey and holds them accountable for war crimes committed in Syria. And we have supported the calls for the release of and restoration of negotiations with Abdullah Öcalan and the PKK for a peaceful settlement for the Kurdish question in Turkey. 

Additionally, the STUC has called for an end to the unfair criminalising of the Kurdish community in Scotland.  

Kurdish families in Scotland have been subjected to dawn raids by police officers using anti-terrorist legislation to enter homes, search and confiscate property and question people’s lives and political affiliations.  

Expressions of Kurdish identity have been cited as evidence of support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and thus, by simplistic UK security community logic, terrorism. By this reasoning, the whole Kurdish community is at risk of being criminalised.  

In Scotland, the trade union movement stands in solidarity with the Kurdish community as they seek to live in peace and participate in Scottish society.