Black Rose / Rosa Negra is publishing this news summary as a notice to our friends and comrades who are members of teachers’ unions in the United States about the brutal war-mongering activities of the Turkish state and their repression of the segments of the labor movement that have been in solidarity with Rojava and the Kurdish Freedom Movement. Teachers’ union activists are encouraged to push their unions to send solidarity to Eğitim-Sen and protest the government’s actions, as these are only the first movements in what is becoming a full war in Turkey and Kurdistan, and every bit of international solidarity is needed now.
On July 25th the headquarters of the left-wing teachers’ union Eğitim-Sen (Education and Science Workers’ Union) was raided by police forces, without a search warrant or a court decision. The raid was part of the wave of operations against terrorism initiated by the AKP government. The raids were initiated by the government in response to the ISIS suicide bombing on July 20th of a gathering of socialists in Suruç, Turkey, who were supporting the reconstruction of the Kurdish city of Kobane (which successfully resisted a siege by ISIS last year) across the border in Syria. The bombing killed 32, including the Eğitim-Sen representative and English teacher Suleyman Aksu. Instead of targeting ISIS, the government’s anti-terrorism operations have so far mostly targeted leftist groups, social movements and unions in Turkey.
At the time of raid, Syrian refugees from the city of Kobane were staying in the union’s guesthouse at their headquarters. All of the refugees had official papers from the Turkish authorities. Some of these refugees were injured and were recovering in the guesthouse. The police arrested the refugees from Kobane who were hosted by Eğitim-Sen. Officials of the union were not allowed to enter to the building while the search was going on.
Unlawful police actions
The Police carried out the raid with only a prosecutor’s request, and not by a judge’s decision. The arbitrary nature of the raid was also evident in the arrest of the voluntary translator İbrahim Baş. He was a voluntary translator who was helping the injured in the guesthouse. Police asked him to come with them to the police center and help with them in taking statements from the arrested Syrian refugees. Baş declined this request. The Police in front of eye witnesses made just two telephone calls, and then arrested him with the charge of being a member of a terrorist organisation.
On July 26th it was revealed that the whole raid was based on only one telephone call that blamed Eğitim-Sen with helping terrorists. As there was thus no real basis all but one of the arrestees have been released now.
Eğitim-Sen in its press release said that “The operations must be made against ISIS terrorists, not labor or democracy activists…. HDP’s crossing of the electoral threshold made the temporary government and President Tayyip Erdoğan angry…. So now they turned to war politics…. Security forces, instead of finding the supporters of the murderers of of Suleyman Aksu, who was our representative in Yuksekova but killed in the massacre in Suruç by IS, targeted our union.”