Turkey: stop the Junta's atrocities!

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 16, February 1982

The veritable flood of angry and indignant protests by imperialist politicians and journalists against martial law in Poland have served imperialism in more ways than one. At a recent press conference, US Secretary of State Haig refused to answer a question about US support of fascistic dictatorships in El Salvador and Turkey. Haig had to refuse to answer the question. For hand in hand with imperialist attacks on socialist Poland disguised as 'support' for 'human rights' and 'freedom' is imperialist support for fascist regimes in the oppressed nations installed to crush and destroy democratic anti-imperialist and socialist forces. So while imperialism, in pursuit of counter-revolution in Poland raises the false flag of 'freedom' it remains silent about the murder, torture and concentration camps in Turkey. One cannot expect anything else from imperialism. The article below, submitted to FRFI by the Turkey Solidarity Campaign, exposes the extent of barbarism which imperialism and its lackeys are concealing with layer upon layer of anti-socialist propaganda about Poland.

Turkish Junta's savage record

The regime which seized power in Turkey on 12 September last year has established a savage record of repression and denial of human rights — and won the full backing of NATO, the IMF, and the governments of the West virtually without exception. The Junta's declared intention to 'return to democracy' has been taken as good currency, willingly, by the press who have colluded with the whitewash. The facts speak otherwise: no one in the labour movement, no democratic or progressive people, can ignore this repression or believe that it is a 'step on the road to democracy'.

As in Chile and Argentina, the IMF's monetarist policies have had to go hand-in-hand with brutal dictatorship. And we know from our own experience of monetarism, the effect of these policies is to decrease living standards and increase hardship. In a country like Turkey that means increasing poverty and malnutrition and suffering for working people. For a working population already subject to barbaric conditions of labour, the effects have been catastrophic.

The facts about the brutality of the Junta speak for themselves. Since the military takeover, 10 people have already been hanged, at least 82 people have died under torture, and over 600 have died in 'military operations'. The latest count of the number of people who have death sentences demanded against them by the military prosecutors now stands at 2449. Altogether over 120,000 political prisoners are being held in Turkish jails. Many of whose ‘crime' was simply to belong to a trade union.

The recent jailing of Bulent Ecevit, the former Prime Minister and leader of the now banned Republican Peoples Party, for making a statement which was critical of the Junta, together with the death sentences demanded for the 52 leaders of the Progressive Trade Union Confederation DISK, must make it very difficult for the West to persist in its description of the Junta as being ‘democracy-loving'.

It is essential that solidarity work in this country should use these two events — the jailing of Ecevit and the opening of the DISK trials — as a lever to expose the face of the Turkish Junta and for the British labour movement to take a stand in defence of the labour movement in Turkey against the repression it is now suffering. Concrete solidarity action could include the blocking by trade unions here of all military and economic supplies to Turkey's dictators; supporting a delegation to observe the trials of the DISK leaders; participating in a campaign condemning the brutality of the regime, in particular the tortures and executions; protesting openly against the shameful alliance between the Thatcher government and the Turkish Junta.

The Turkey Solidarity Campaign is committed to building the solidarity movement in Britain. It is fighting for:

  • An end to torture and capital punishment
  • The release of all political prisoners
  • The full freedom of all democratic institutions and organisations, including the trade unions, to organise and carry on activity in Turkey
  • An end to the repression of the Kurds, and the suppression of Kurdish national rights. For the right of self-determination for the Kurdish people
  • An end to military rule in Turkey/ Turkish Kurdestan. An end to martial law and the special military courts set up to terrorise the masses. Solidarity with the Turkish and Kurdish masses in their struggle against the military Junta
  • Opposition to NATO's reactionary role in Turkey
  • An embargo on all shipments, military supplies and economic aid to the Junta.


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