Well having read all the discussions I felt it will be right for someone who was at the march to respond.
First of all I do not blame anyone who have expressed views here for the way they think. I will take all of the points here as a way of developing and improving our links with the native community we live with.
On 13th May 2013, at least 301 coal miners have lost their lives in the western town of Soma, Turkey, after an explosion caused a pit to collapse. Dozens of miners have injured, 4 of which are in critical condition. Hundreds are still trapped underground, 2km below the surface and 4km from the mine entrance. Soma Kömürleri AŞ privately owns the mine. The explosion occurred during a shift change, therefore it is still unclear as to exactly how many people are still underground in the mine. It is said that during the shift change there were 787 workers, this means that there is still 220 miners still unaccounted for!
Morgues in the nearby hospitals have filled up. The dead bodies are now being stored in the cold air storages of butchers. The declaration of three days mourning; cancellation of the Prime Minister’s travel plans; messages of condolences; the presence of a minister at the scene; these are all crocodile tears and attempts to hide the reality! The people have not forgotten that it was Prime Minister Erdogan who cried out “death is the destiny of coal miners” after a murder incident that took place in the mines a short while ago.
The “research and investigation commission” of mining risks proposed by the opposition parties CHP, MHP and BDP’s members of parliament was rejected by the AKP government just 20 days ago. Motions forwarded by the HDP Istanbul MP Levent Tuzel in relation to the coal mining industry were brushed aside with excuses such as “the relevant ministers are carrying out constant inspections”. The coalmine where the latest murder occurred was recently privatized when an opening ceremony was attended by the Energy and Natural Resources and Social Security Minister Taner Yildiz, who declared the coalmine as the “safest coalmine in Europe”, clearly expresses the two-faces of the government.
The recent statement made by directors of the company that owns the mine, which bragged on about reducing expenses by around 60%, also has not been forgotten. Reducing the workforce, compulsory redundancies of experienced workers, subcontracting inexperienced workers, these are just some of the tactics of the greedy bosses in pursuit for higher profit margins, which prepared the conditions for this mass murder. One of the workers who died was only 15 years old; this clearly expresses the extent of the exploitation that is taking place. If the bosses are still claiming that this was a “painful accident”, despite all that has occurred, this shows that they are ready to commit more murders of workers, all in the name of higher profit!
The media exponents of the bosses and government speak of high standards of safety within the mines and also refer to the incident as a “painful accident” in their headlines. Furthermore, the value given to workers is clearly expressed in the words of an “expert” of Soma coalmines, Professor Dr. Orhan Kural, who said on a TV channel that “Dying from carbon monoxide is sweet; they would feel no pain. I wish myself a painless death too”.
This has made the people of Turkey angrier about the government, especially after what happened last summer with the Gezi park. So there were mass protests in more or less everywhere in Turkey protesting the death of coal miners and governments role in implementing privatisation and sub contracting of workers, people of Turkey demanded the government to resign!! Turkish police have followed the orders of the government in brutally beating and using tear gas on people. This brutality forced more people to go out on streets which initiated the police to start using their guns with real bullets. This resulted with two more young people losing their lives, this came on top of the killing of Kurdish people in Easter Turkey in Rojava, killing of 8 young person last year during Gezi Park upraise, followed by 301 coal miners who were murdered as the government failed to regulate the coal mines properly.
As members of this community we have been doing lots of activities to raise awareness within the native community and build international solidarity for the people of Turkey. As well as doing protests and demonstrations in central London we felt it was important raise awareness within the Turkish and Kurdish Community in North London. Also communities in North London of whom which we have been living together also needed to know the issues as media have constantly failed to show a detailed account of the events in Turkey. Hence that’s why we have organised the march in green lanes.
Is this enough? Can other things be done to highlight issues in Turkey?
Protests and marching on its own is certainly not enough and cannot be the only way of highlighting the issues of people of Turkey. Also as migrant communities our aim should not just be about raising awareness of these issues but also to build international pressure that could get the Turkish government to act. On this note there things than can be done by everyone. As a trade unionist I can tell you what I did, having contacted all the trade unionst in my union and other unions I got them to send emails to Turkish government representatives whose details are below. This has an impact as it is coming from outside and from Europe. As country who is trying almost everything to go into EU this sort of pressure makes an impact, more of this the better. Lots of trade unions around UK have done this and even done fund raising to support the families who got killed. We have also managed to organise events in front of Turkish embassy to protest the killings and demanded justice.
More can be done and should be done. For example, main political parties can do things to highlight these issues and do some lobbying in the parliament. However despite having Turkish speaking councillors not one main political party has done anything on this. Even last year when things were much more serious they have failed to do anything to highlight the issues and failed put Turkish government under international pressure for it to stop killing its own people.
The only source of support have been organisations like TUSC and trade unions. A group of trade unions have even went to Turkey as delegates and made observations which they later share with the media here.
No one is too late to support the people of Turkey against the killing and recent issues in Turkey. If you want to help then do take few minutes to send protest emails to below Turkish government officials to put further pressure. Or simply write to your local mp to do something..
Mr Abdullah Gül
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax 0 (312) 470 24 33
Turkish Republic Prime Minister:
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,
Email: email@example.com, Fax: +90 312 422 26 69, +90 312 422 18 99
Turkish Republic Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
Mr. Taner Yıldız
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +90 312 212 64 20
Apologies for the long post.
PS: If you want more info or like to discuss this further do email me on email@example.com
When the Orangemen march in Belfast it's not just to protest, it's an assertion of a right. Please march from here down to the Turkish Embassy at Knightsbridge, then it will feel like a protest and I will join you.
Good on them. The Turkish government is corrupt and increasingly authoritarian and the Kurds have been treated appallingly by all the nation states they live in. But we need more protests of our own like this. Would that the British would actually get off their arses and protest (and I include myself in that). Occupy was the most recent time people have protested and despite being crushed by the police that has had a massive effect, pushing inequality and our broken and corrupt financial up the agenda and influencing the way we look at the news media. Nothing gets politicians attention like mass rallys. Not even a Twitterstorm ;)
Oh yeah, the 2003 anti-war march, the biggest ever peacetime protest march in Britian, had a great effect.
The anti war-march in 2003 did not stop the war however Blair could never at any point say that that there was a consensus backing him, I know this is precious little comfort to the victims, but history, and learning from it, is important. The protest against the war did not end on that day either and perhaps the continuing public pressure on Blair and friends, supported by that huge global demonstration, gave legitimacy to those fighting to get at the truth behind the war and enabled a greater scrutiny exposing the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" fiasco, and all the lies.
Perhaps in the end it was Blairs unsupportable position on the war, (and the anti war march underlined the lack of public support for this war) together with all the exposes of lies that drove him from office. People are now more sceptical about politicians making it more difficult to wage war in this way.
Do demonstrations ever directly effect anything? The people demonstrating to stop cuts at Lewisham Hospital and The Whittington Hospital may think so. Do online protests ever change anything? The government did a U turn on the sell off of our forests after massive petitions. I'm sure there are more.
John (can't link)
Re "which counts for more than sitting in your bedroom alone spouting on line"
While this was in a paragraph addressed to you John it was not aimed at you and I'm sorry that it comes over like that. It was meant to be a general statement about us all, me included (who was indeed at that particular time sitting alone in my bedroom 'spouting' on line), regarding the usefulness or not, of isolated individuals trying to change things as opposed to getting together to try to change things.