Following its support of a TUC Congress motion against the authoritarian tactics of the Turkish government, Unite has spoken in support of a young Kurdish journalist who is exiled in London after her home was raided by Turkey’s authorities.
Under the county’s dictatorial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan the state has arrested thousands of people, including academics, journalists and politicians, for no other reason than their perceived political dissent.
Since an attempted coup in 2016, more than 160,000 people have imprisoned and around 150,000 public-sector workers have been removed from their jobs.
Journalist and biomedical graduate Sarya Tunc avoided arrest after travelling to the UK earlier this year to learn English in order to embark on a PhD in genetics.
Tunc, who is Kurdish and member of the Labour Party of Turkey (EMEP), was forced to claim asylum in Britain after the Turkish authorities raided her home while she was away.
Tunc’s father, brothers and uncle have also been forced to leave the country under the threat of jail by the Erdogan regime.
Sadly, Tunc’s mother is unable to join her relatives because the Turkish authorities have confiscated her passport.
As well as coming from Turkey’s persecuted Kurdish minority, the family has also drawn the ire of Erdogan’s government because of their history of journalism and political activism.
Tunc, who is as journalist for the feminist website Ekmek ve Gul (Bread and Roses), said, “Turkey has jailed more journalists than anywhere in the world. Those not in prison are working under pressure facing the threat of jail or closure of their newspaper or media organisation. During the state of emergency Erdogan banned strikes and told bosses he was doing it for them. Working conditions are worsening so despite the ban workers went on strike.
‘Cities and streets burned’
“In my country academics who wanted peace are taken to court. In the east of the country most of the cities and streets are burned and Kurdish people are on trial. The economic and political situation is worsening and the Erdogan regime is increasing pressure.
Highlighting the fact that Erdogan received a warm welcome by the UK government during his election campaign in May, Tunc said it was wrong for Britain to support his regime.
She said, “Anybody who is interested in the cause of democracy should tell the UK government to stop supporting Erdogan.”
Unite executive council member Tommy Murphy, (pictured above with Tunc) who this week seconded a TUC Congress motion decrying the Turkish regime’s “war against its own people” and calling for the release of political prisoners – including Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan – agreed.
He said, “Anyone who has an opposing view of Erdogan is labelled a terrorist no matter what: It could be you don’t like his tie. He has such an authoritarian grip on Turkey.”
Murphy said Tunc, who is unable to work in the UK and has been provided with no support by the government, is one among countless victims of Erdogan’s increasingly fascist hold over Turkey.
He said, “Her dignity has been stripped by the Turkish government and by our government because they’re not helping at all. In Sarya’s case as a trade unionist and as a member of our movement, an injury to one is an injury to all. We need to show support for her fellow brothers and sisters in Turkey as well.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Tunc’s solidarity fund should contract firstname.lastname@example.org.