Published: 10/10/2015
Twin bomb explosions at the outset of a rally for ‘Labour, Peace and Democracy’ in Ankara, Turkey on Saturday, October 10 have, as we write, officially claimed the lives of 86 people, with hundreds of wounded.  Two trade union organizations, DISK and the public-sector union KESK, were among the rally organizers, which also included professional organizations of doctors and architects. The two union organizations have called for a two-day strike beginning Monday to condemn the attack and allow people to attend the funerals. The IUF mourns together with the families, colleagues and friends of the victims.

Violence and the criminalization of democratic dissent have intensified in Turkey since the electoral breakthrough of the Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP appeared to thwart President Erdogan’s drive to install an authoritarian executive. The October 10 bombings mark a new, even more dangerous escalation.

The electoral success of the HDP not only blocked the ruling party’s schemes to deepen their institutional grip on power; as a broadly-based democratic alternative to the fundamental discourse and methods of the AKP and its allies, the HDP represented a profound challenge to the entire system.

Bombings and mob violence plagued the electoral campaign, with Erdogan denigrating his opponents as “terrorists, marginals, gays and atheists.” There have been no prosecutions. The aggressive rhetoric, crackdown on democratic dissent and attacks on civil liberties have intensified since the elections, in preparation for a November rerun. The Ankara bombings had a lengthy incubation period.

The government has condemned the bombing and promised an investigation, all within the framework of its ‘war on terror’ which has neutralized western governments’ criticism of its violent and authoritarian methods. No one should hold their breath. Police protection was lacking as the rally preparations got underway; after the explosions, witnesses confirm that the police used tear gas and water cannon on demonstrators, preventing the wounded and dying from receiving immediate medical care.

The IUF extends its full solidarity and support to our sisters and brothers in Turkey. At this time unions everywhere must insist that every possible international pressure be put on Turkey to ensure the government provides safety for all citizens and respect for fundamental democratic rights.

Click here to read the article in Turkish.