Yesterday (September 9) Tommy Murphy spoke at TUC for Unite seconding motion 75 on Turkey.
“Comrades, the Turkish regime is at war with its own people,” said Murphy.
It’s record of repression against trade unionists, journalists and civil society ranks it alongside the most oppressive regimes on earth.
“But, conference, the crisis in Turkey cannot be solved until the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom is resolved,” he said.
“That must mean the immediate end to the Turkish state’s war on the Kurdish people – inside its claimed borders and without,” he added.
Since Congress voted to support the Kurdish struggle for freedom last year by backing the Freedom for Ocalan campaign, the Turkish state has taken the war on the Kurds into Northern Syria.
“The invasion and ethnic cleansing of Afrin – a free canton of Rojava – is a war crime medieval in its barbarity,” said Murphy.
“President Erdogan has increased the arrests of Kurdish peace activists – and launched a murderous campaign of targeted assassinations of Kurdish political leaders in the region,” he added.
This year the Freedom for Ocalan campaign was the official international campaign of the Durham Miners Gala.
It was an occasion which linked our movement’s finest traditions of solidarity and internationalism with the most important struggle against tyranny of our age.
“On behalf of Unite I would like to put on record our thanks to the Durham Miners Association for having the courage and strength of conviction to give their support to the Ocalan campaign,” said Murphy.
In the year ahead, the leader of the Kurdish freedom movement – Abdullah Ocalan – will mark his 70th year – but also his 20th year of imprisonment.
Ocalan is not only the inspirational leader, whose ideas have been tested and put into practice in Rojava – he is a powerful symbol.
“Until Ocalan walks free, no Kurd walks free. Until the kurds are free, none of us are free,” said Murphy.
“That’s what it means to be an internationalist and I am proud that my union is building solidarity with free Rojava,” he added.
Murphy urged conference delegates to commit today to step up the pressure and build the campaign.
“We must demand that the Turkish government recommit to serious peace talks with the Kurdish freedom movement – represented by the PKK,” he said.
“We must demand, as a starting point, the immediate release of all political prisoners – including Abdullah Ocalan, the Mandela of the Middle East. Long live the free cantons of Rojava,” he added.