Turkey

Turkish trade unions oversee sackings of tyre workers

By our Turkish correspondent, 20 August 2008

Just a month after the Union of Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Industry Workers of Turkey (Lastik-Is) ended a two-week strike in northwest Turkey, the companies involved have begun discriminatory dismissals, targeting workers who are known for their opposition to the union leadership.

As inflation soars

Real income losses for Turkish workers

By Sinan Ikinci, 11 August 2008

On August 4, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK) announced that in July Turkey’s inflation rate rose to 12.1 percent from 10.6 percent in June. The annual rise in inflation was only 6.9 percent over the same period last year.

Turkey’s economic indicators worsen

By Sinan Ikinci, 8 August 2008

On July 26, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren announced that the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government has decided to establish a committee, comprised of government officials, representatives from the private sector as well as academics, to develop a long-term solution to the country’s longstanding current account deficit.

Turkish courts impose ban on YouTube

By Kerem Kaya, 6 August 2008

On May 5, all access to the popular video-sharing web site YouTube was banned in Turkey. YouTube was banned in connection with a video that allegedly insulted Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. The ban continues up until today and is the longest ban of a web site in the history of Turkey.

Dormitory collapse in Turkey kills 18

By our Turkish correspondent, 5 August 2008

On August 1, at around 5:00 a.m., a gas explosion at a three-story girls’ dormitory in a remote district of Konya—a city in central Turkey—led to the death of 18 girls and the injury of many others. The building, which partially collapsed, was being used for a private, unlicensed Koran-study course.

Constitutional Court rules against ban on Turkey’s ruling party

By Sinan Ikinci, 2 August 2008

On July 30, Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected the chief prosecutor’s demand to permanently shut down the ruling Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party) and ban Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and 70 other leading AKP members from political office for a period of five years.

On eve of court case to ban AKP

Turkish prime minister blames PKK for Istanbul terror attacks

By Sinan Ikinci and Stefan Steinberg, 29 July 2008

On Sunday, Istanbul, Turkey’s major city and economic centre with 12 million inhabitants, was rocked by two successive bomb blasts in the residential neighbourhood of Gungören at around 9:45 p.m., killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 150. Many of the injured are in critical condition.

Istanbul police attack municipal workers

By our Turkish correspondent, 19 July 2008

Some 2,000 municipal workers trying to stage a peaceful protest in Istanbul July 17 as part of a labour dispute were violently attacked by Turkish riot police.

Armed attack on US consulate in Istanbul

By Sinan Ikinci, 11 July 2008

On July 9, at about 10:30 a.m., a group of assailants opened fire on police in front of the US consulate in Istanbul. A gun battle ensued in which three police officers and three of the four attackers were killed.

Turkey: Coup plot arrests deepen political crisis

By Sinan Ikinci, 7 July 2008

With the arrests of 23 people in the early morning hours of July 1 on charges of involvement in an alleged coup plot, the bitter struggle within Turkey’s state apparatus has escalated sharply.

Strike by Turkish tyre workers ends with real wage losses

By our Turkish correspondent, 21 June 2008

On June 13, the Union of Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Industry Workers of Turkey (Lastik-Is) ended a two-week strike at four factories of three multinational rubber companies. On June 14, 4,000 tyre workers returned to their jobs with substantial real income losses.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court re-imposes ban on Muslim headscarf at universities

By Sinan Ikinci, 9 June 2008

On June 5, Turkey’s Constitutional Court took another critical step towards unseating the governing Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party) by annulling recent constitutional amendments permitting women students to wear the Muslim headscarf at universities.

Turkish tyre workers strike Bridgestone, Goodyear and Pirelli

By our Turkish correspondent, 5 June 2008

Approximately 4,000 workers—members of the Union of Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Industry Workers of Turkey (Lastik-Is)—went on strike late Saturday, May 31, at four tyre production facilities belonging to the multinational corporations Bridgestone, Pirelli and Goodyear.

Turkey: Conflict escalates between government and judiciary

By Sinan Ikinci, 29 May 2008

The conflict between the Kemalist establishment and the elected government of the Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party) led by Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan has reached a new peak.

Turkish youth hit hardest by unemployment

By Sinan Ikinci, 16 May 2008

A recent report by the UN’s global development network, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), entitled “Youth in Turkey,” paints a grim picture of the future prospects for Turkish youth. According to the report, of the 12.4 million young people aged 15-24 (almost 18 percent of the total population), only 30 percent go to school and 30 percent work. This means that almost 40 percent, or 5 million young people, have no proper education and/or are unemployed.

Turkish government pledges new attacks on workers

By Sinan Ikinci, 15 May 2008

On May 9, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) convened and completed the seventh review of its standby arrangement with Turkey, which was given final approval on May 11, 2005. The Letter of Intent for the review dated April 28 reveals that the AKP (Justice and Development Party), which heads the Turkish government, is preparing new attacks on the working class.

Turkey: May Day demonstration in Istanbul brutally suppressed

By our correspondent, 5 May 2008

On May 1, Turkish riot police savagely attacked peaceful demonstrators with clubs and fired pepper spray and water cannon to prevent them taking part in a May Day rally heading to Taksim Square, the central meeting place in Istanbul.

Turkish jobless rate increases dramatically

By Sinan Ikinci, 23 February 2008

According to recent data published by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), the country’s official unemployment rate once again neared the crisis level of 2001, rising to 10.1 percent in November 2007. One year ago, unemployment stood at 9.6 percent.

Turkey: Amnesty International documents attacks on democratic rights

By Sinan Ikinci, 8 February 2008

On January 14, Amnesty International published a memorandum addressed to the Turkish government highlighting serious problems regarding the human rights situation in the country. The memorandum underscores that not only do major problems remain unaddressed, but that the situation is deteriorating.

Professor sentenced for criticising Turkish founder

By Sinan Ikinci, 31 January 2008

On January 28, Atilla Yayla, a professor of political science at Gazi University and the president of the Association for Liberal Thinking in Ankara, was sentenced to 15 months in jail for allegedly insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. The charge arose from a speech made by Yayla in Izmir more than a year ago.

Turkey: Workers protest against betrayal by trade union confederation

By Sinan Ikinci, 11 January 2008

On January 2, a group of workers conducted a protest in the Turkish capital of Ankara against Turkey’s biggest trade union confederation, the Confederation of Labour Unions of Turkey (Turk-Is). Turk-Is is supporting the implementation of a woefully inadequate new minimum wage announced by the Minimum Wage Fixing Commission a week ago.

Turkey: 15-month strike ends with betrayal by union bureaucracy

By Sinan Ikinci, 28 December 2007

On December 18, the Union of Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Workers of Turkey (Petrol-Is) and the management of German-Italian owned Fresenius Medical Care signed a contract covering some 300 workers at Novamed, a manufacturer of bloodline and kidney dialysis equipment located in the Antalya Free Trade Zone of Turkey.

US backs Turkish military attacks on northern Iraq

By Peter Symonds, 19 December 2007

With the backing and assistance of the Bush administration, the Turkish military has launched two attacks in the past three days on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq. While targetted against the guerrilla forces of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the operations are threatening to provoke a broader conflict involving Turkey and Iraq.

Scores of migrants drown as boat sinks off Turkish Aegean coast

By Sinan Ikinci, 14 December 2007

According to the latest official data, at least 49 people drowned when a boat carrying dozens of migrants sank December 8 off Turkey’s Aegean coast. Some of the rescued would-be migrants stated that there were around 70 people in the boat. However, according to the information given by the Coast Guard to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number was 85. These people had reportedly set sail from a southern Mediterranean country en route for Turkey.

Turkey: Assaults on freedom of expression continue

By Sinan Ikinci, 7 December 2007

Ragip Zarakolu, owner of the Belge Publishing House and chairman of the Committee for Publishing Freedom, is facing up to three years in prison for publishing a book by a British-Armenian author, George Jerjian, entitled The Truth Will Set Us Free. The book deals with the mass deportations of Armenians in 1915 and chronicles the life of Jerjian’s Armenian grandmother who survived the genocide with the help of an Ottoman soldier.

Conflict between Turkey and the US intensifies

By Peter Schwarz, 17 October 2007

The conflict between Turkey and the US over the question of military intervention by the Turkish military in northern Iraq is intensifying.

Turkish government gives green light for military intervention in northern Iraq

By Peter Schwarz, 15 October 2007

The Turkish government has given the army a green light to cross the border and conduct a military action in Iraq. A crisis group chaired by President Abdullah Gül gave permission October 9 for the military to intervene against the separatist Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) in neighboring northern Iraq.

Turkey: Referendum planned for direct election of president

By Sinan Ikinci, 6 October 2007

Just three months after the national elections on July 22, which resulted in a landslide victory for the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey will hold a popular vote on October 21 on a controversial constitutional change allowing the election of the president by popular vote. Voting at Turkish border posts has already begun.

New Turkish government prepares assault on working conditions

By Sinan Ikinci, 21 September 2007

The program of the 60th Turkish government, formed under the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) and led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was approved in parliament on September 5. In the national elections on July 22, the AKP won a landslide victory and has now formed a single-party government.

Turkey: Abdullah Gül sworn in as president

By Justus Leicht, 6 September 2007

On August 28, the Turkish parliament confirmed former foreign minister Abdullah Gül as the country’s 11th president. Gül, from the Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party), received the votes of 339 of the 550 deputies, 63 more than necessary. He only succeeded in a third round of voting, when an absolute majority was sufficient, having failed to gain the required two-thirds majority in the first two rounds.

Serious water shortage in Turkey

By Sinan Ikinci, 22 August 2007

Ankara, Turkey’s capital and home to more than 4.5 million people, has been in the grips of a serious water shortage for the last three weeks.

Turkey: Textile firms demand wage freeze, layoffs

By our correspondent, 13 August 2007

On August 8, the Union of Textile, Knitting and Garment Industry Workers of Turkey (TEKSIF) announced that it could not reach an agreement with the Turkish Textile Employers’ Association (TUTSIS). The union gave notice of its intent to call a strike by 11,000 workers at 17 companies.

Fifty-five years after founding, Turkish union confederation a bureaucratic shell

By Sinan Ikinci, 11 August 2007

Turkey’s biggest trade union confederation, Turk-Is, which was founded on July 31, 1952, is currently celebrating 55 years of existence. Any celebration, however, is largely limited to the corrupt trade union bureaucracy and ignored by the Turkish working class. The total membership of Turk-Is has fallen to a historical low of 450,000-500,000.

Washington, EU welcome AKP victory in Turkish elections

By Stefan Steinberg, 25 July 2007

Business, finance and political circles in the United States, the European Union and within Turkey itself reacted positively to the victory of the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan in national elections held Sunday.

As the Turkish military provocatively shells northern Iraq

Social tensions at the forefront in run-up to Turkish parliamentary elections

By Sinan Ikinci and Justus Leicht, 21 July 2007

On Sunday, July 22, Turkey will vote for a new parliament. The fact that these elections are taking place in July and not, as scheduled, in November is a reflection of the profound divisions in Turkish society. The Turkish army has sought to directly intervene and increase tensions in the run-up to the election by deliberately shelling Kurdish-occupied positions in northern Iraq on Wednesday. While the Iraqi government condemned the shelling, the Turkish government led by Prime Minister RecepTayip Erdogan has so far refused to criticise the military provocation.

Amnesty International report on Turkey: failure to punish perpetrators of torture

By a correspondent, 14 July 2007

A new report published by Amnesty International on July 5, entitled “Turkey: The entrenched culture of impunity must end,” clearly demonstrates that torture, ill-treatment and killings continue to be practiced with impunity by the security forces in Turkey.

Turkish army intervenes ever more openly in political life

By Justus Leicht and Sinan Ikinci, 11 July 2007

The Turkish army is intervening ever more openly into political life as the country’s July 22 parliamentary election approaches.

Turkish military flexes its muscles in northern Iraq

By Peter Symonds, 7 June 2007

Reports of a Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq yesterday have highlighted the escalating tensions between the two countries along the border. In recent weeks, Turkish leaders have repeatedly warned that the Turkish army would take action against separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) camps in Iraq, if US and Iraqi forces failed to do so. The PKK has waged a guerrilla war inside Turkey for more than two decades.

Turkey: Political allies of military move to unseat moderate Islamist government

By Sinan Ikinci, 4 June 2007

Last week the leadership of the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) publicly announced that its election strategy to unseat the ruling moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) would be based on criticisms of government corruption and the practice of parliamentary immunity. According to the declaration, the CHP leadership and its temporary ally, the Democratic Left Party (DSP), will emphasise that the AKP has failed to deal with these two closely interlinked issues, although they promised the opposite to the Turkish electorate before the 2002 national elections.

Turkey: Constitutional Court stops presidential election

By Justus Leicht, 3 May 2007

Following a thinly veiled threat of a coup by the military, the Turkish Constitutional Court issued a ruling on Tuesday halting the country’s presidential election. The head of the government, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, immediately responded by proposing new parliamentary elections.

Political tensions increase as Turkish presidential elections approach

By Kerem Kaya and Sinan Ikinci, 16 April 2007

As presidential elections approach, Turkey’s political tensions are continuing to intensify both domestically, between the Kemalist establishment and the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, as well as internationally, between the Turkish establishment and the Iraqi Kurds.

A damning report on attacks against free speech in Turkey

By our correspondent, 3 April 2007

On March 26, the Freedom to Publish Committee of the Turkish Publishers’ Union issued an alarming report on the state of free speech in Turkey. The report lists the large number of book confiscations and prosecutions of writers, editors and translators tried and sentenced in 2006 and the first quarter of 2007. The report is dedicated to the memory of Hrant Dink, a well-known Turkish-Armenian journalist who was killed by a 17-year-old fascist assassin on January 19 in Istanbul in front of his paper’s (bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos) office.

IMF and Turkish government agree to new attacks on workers

By Sinan Ikinci, 28 March 2007

On March 9, the International Monetary Fund issued an edict to the Turkish authorities signalling a new wave of far-reaching attacks on Turkish workers in both the public and private sectors.

Turkey: Kurdish nationalists and left groups move towards electoral bloc

By Sinan Ikinci, 21 March 2007

With national elections set to be held in Turkey on November 4, political parties on both the right and “left” are increasingly engaged in unprincipled horse-trading. Plans and proposals to form electoral blocs are floated frequently and get considerable coverage in the media. An indispensable part of this process is the mutual political recriminations between competing bourgeois factions.

Turkey: depressed prices sparking farmers protests

By Sinan Ikinci, 12 March 2007

Turkish hazelnut estimates for 2006-2007 show a significant excess supply, putting huge downward pressure on prices of the key agricultural and export commodity and threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers. This will be the second blow to Turkish farmers after excess supply last year led to hazelnut prices plummeting to around 2.5 YTL per kilo from the previous year’s level of 7 YTL.

The background to the murder of Turkish journalist Hrant Dink

By Sinan Ikinci, 27 January 2007

On January 19 Hrant Dink, the well-known Turkish journalist of Armenian origin, was murdered in broad daylight on the streets of Istanbul by a right-wing assassin. Dink’s murder is the tragic result of a wave of nationalism and chauvinism spearheaded by the Turkish military, supported by its “civilian partners,” which has terrorized the country over the last few years.

Freedom of speech under continuing attack in Turkey

By Sinan Ikinci, 27 October 2006

Last week, a court in Istanbul began hearings against the Turkish publisher, editors and translator of the book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman. The charges related to Article 301 and Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Turkey: A new military intervention in the making

By Sinan Ikinci, 20 October 2006

Two weeks ago the high command of the Turkish military, with the full support of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, launched a new campaign against the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. The campaign takes place within the context of US war preparations against Iran and a general increase of anti-Islamic propaganda in all Western countries. Without offering the slightest support for the reactionary AKP government, one must recognize that this military intervention represents a genuine threat to the Turkish population.

What lies behind the terrorist attacks in Turkey?

By Justus Leicht, 7 September 2006

At the end of August, five bombs exploded within 24 hours in three Turkish cities, killing three people and injuring more than 120, among them many foreign tourists. Besides Istanbul, the tourist destinations of Marmaris and Antalya were targeted by the bombers.

Mass protests by Turkish farmers

By Sinan Ikinci, 29 August 2006

On July 30, Turkish farmers held a 100,000-strong demonstration in the northeastern Black Sea city of Ordu to protest the policy adopted against hazelnut producers by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Turkey: Police brutality intensifies along with the political crisis

By Sinan Ikinci and Kerem Kaya, 25 August 2006

Last week, daily papers in Turkey reported widely the case brought by Cigdem Nalbantoglu before a Republican Court against the conduct of police officers, including women, in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district. She stated in her complaint that the police assaulted, beat and threatened her in the course of a random street search.

Turkey: Protests in Istanbul against Israeli aggression

Islamic organizations seek to dampen opposition to government

By our correspondent, 8 August 2006

On August 4, hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists took part in demonstrations at several Istanbul mosques, including the Fatih and Beyazit mosques, which are strongholds of radical Islamic organizations, following Friday prayers. About 500 people took part in each demonstration.

Turkey: privatised oil-refinery firm slashes 800 jobs

By Sinan Ikinci, 1 August 2006

On July 26 management of the recently privatised oil refining company Tupras (Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation) announced the first stage of its restructuring plan, which calls for the destruction of 828 jobs (16 percent of its total workforce) nationwide. Before the current retrenchment the company employed nearly 5,000 workers.

Turkey: Twelve dead and hundreds injured in Kurdish protests

By Justus Leicht, 6 April 2006

During the past week, violent protests and demonstrations have taken place in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey, particularly in the regional metropolis of Diyarbakir. On Monday, 12 demonstrators were shot dead by security forces, including three children. More than 300 people were injured, including over 100 policemen. Several hundred Kurds were arrested, and in Diyarbakir and other southeastern cities, the Turkish army intervened with armoured vehicles.

Turkey: public prosecutor accuses general of involvement in terrorist attacks

By Justus Leicht, 21 March 2006

A bomb attack carried out last November in the southeastern Anatolian city of Semdinli has provoked sharp conflicts within the Turkish ruling elite. The controversy centers on charges related to the attack brought by a public prosecutor from the city of Van against Yasar Büyükanit, the head of Turkish ground forces.

Turkey: Court drops prosecution of writer Orhan Pamuk

By Justus Leicht, 6 February 2006

An Istanbul court last month ended the trial of Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk on technical grounds. In many similar but lesser- known cases, however, journalists, writers, human rights activists and politicians have been prosecuted and convicted to prison sentences or fines.

EU in crisis over Turkish membership

By Justus Leicht, 18 October 2005

Negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union began officially on October 3. The diplomatic wrangling in the run-up to these negotiations and the implications of Turkish membership show clearly that the EU represents neither the genuine unification of Europe nor a social and democratic project.

Turkey: trampling on free speech continues

Novelist Orhan Pamuk faces jail terms

By Kerem Kaya, 8 October 2005

The prominent Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk will be tried on December 16 and faces up to four years imprisonment on charges of “public denigration” of Turkish identity for publicly speaking out about the Armenian genocide. It is estimated that more than one million Armenian were killed between 1915-1918 during World War I when the Ottoman Empire—the precursor of the Republic of Turkey—was crumbling.

Turkey: corruption scandal erupts in Tek Gida-Is trade union bureaucracy

By our correspondent, 8 September 2005

Tek Gida-Is, the Union of Tobacco, Alcoholic Beverage, Food and Related Industry Workers of Turkey, has been shaken by allegations of corruption. Amid claims of widespread corruption in the central office of the union, the chairman, Korkut Guler, has resigned, citing the allegations as the reason.

Turkey: poverty increases with economic expansion

By Kerem Kaya and Sinan Ikinci, 11 June 2005

Despite the expanding Turkish economy, the figures recently released by the State Institute of Statistics (DIE) point to growing poverty in the country. According to DIE figures, in 2003 the number of individuals living in poverty exceeded 20 million. This represents close to a third of the population (29 percent) and an increase of 5 percent—close to a million people—in the number of poor from the previous year.

Turkey: IMF plan demands new attacks on working people

By Sinan Ikinci, 30 May 2005

On May 12, Turkey signed a new three-year, $US10 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Turkey: military’s nationalist campaign conceals rapprochement with US

By Justus Leicht, 18 May 2005

During the past seven weeks a wave of chauvinism has swept through Turkey. Initially aimed against the Kurds, its real target is the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and its orientation towards membership in the European Union (EU). The nationalist hysteria has not emerged spontaneously from the population, but has been manufactured by a faction of the state apparatus, especially the military and security forces, supported by organized fascistic bands.

Turkey: union leadership intervenes to end paper workers’ struggle

By our correspondent, 15 March 2005

The 51-day workers’ occupation of Turkish Cellulose and Paper Factories (SEKA) in Izmit, northwest Turkey, came to an end March 11, after some 700 factory workers accepted an offer by the Turkish government.

Turkey: union bureaucracy works to sabotage paper workers’ occupation

By our correspondent, 10 March 2005

On March 4, in cities across Turkey, tens of thousands workers from several industries remained at their workplaces to demonstrate their solidarity and support for the SEKA paper workers, who have been occupying their factory in Izmit, northwest Turkey, since January 20. The SEKA workers took action to oppose the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government’s plan to shut down the plant and turn it over to the local council.

Turkey: paper workers occupy factory

By our correspondent, 25 February 2005

More than 700 workers together with family members have occupied the Turkish Cellulose and Paper Factories (SEKA) in Izmit, northwest Turkey, since January 20. The SEKA workers oppose the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government’s plan to shut down the plant and turn it over to the local council. There is also strong community support for the action undertaken by the SEKA workers.

Turkey’s train wreck: a tragedy rooted in the drive for profit

By Sinan Ikinci, 2 August 2004

A new express train linking Istanbul to Ankara derailed on the evening of July 22 in the country’s northwest, killing 38 and leaving 80 injured.

Turkey: Victory for the AKP in local elections masks social tensions

By Justus Leicht and Sinan Ikinci, 16 April 2004

The moderate Islamic AKP (Party of Justice and Development) led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan emerged the winner of local elections in Turkey on March 28. The traditional parties of the Turkish establishment lost further ground and left-wing and Kurdish parties are hit by a particularly deep crisis.

The dead end of nationalism

Turkey: Successor organization of the PKK curries favour with US

By Bülent Kent, 8 April 2004

The successor organization of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which in the 1990s led an armed struggle for a Kurdish state in eastern Turkey, today supports the American occupying forces in Iraq.

Turkey: Inflation decreases but wages still lag behind

By Sinan Ikinci, 27 January 2004

According to recently published figures, the Turkish economy managed to remain within official guidelines for inflation in 2003. The State Institute of Statistics (DIE) announced that consumer prices rose by 0.9 percent in December over the previous month, and that the inflation rate for the past 12 months was 18.4 percent. Wholesale prices increased by 0.6 percent in December compared to November, up 13.9 percent over the same period.

Change of government following elections in North Cyprus

By Justus Leicht, 13 January 2004

Elections in December 2003 dealt a heavy blow to the right-wing parties governing the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) under President Rauf Denktash. Despite a stalemate in the allocation of seats in parliament, Denktash has asked the former opposition leader Mehmet Ali Talat to form a government. The elections have not only revealed the deep divisions in Turkish Cypriot society, but have stoked up the conflict between the government and military in Turkey.

Terror blasts in Istanbul: atrocities aid Bush’s “war on terror”

By Justus Leicht and Peter Schwarz, 21 November 2003

On Thursday, the Turkish capital of Istanbul with its 12 million inhabitants was rocked by violent explosions for the second time within the space of a few days.

Turkey: Reform limits some military powers

By Justus Leicht, 19 August 2003

With the signature of Turkish state president Ahmet Necdet Sezer to the so-called “seventh reform package” the moderate Islamic government of Recep Tayip Erdogan has been able to register a minor victory in its power struggle with the Turkish military.

Turkey: Power struggle between government and army

By Justus Leicht and Sinan Inkinci, 18 July 2003

The tensions between the elected Turkish government headed by Recep Tayip Erdogan of the moderate Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the leadership of the Turkish army have now developed into an open power struggle. The generals are being spurred on by the US to act against the elected government.

In wake of US reprimand

Threat of military coup grows in Turkey

By Justus Leicht, 2 June 2003

Just a few weeks after US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticised the Turkish military for failing to veto the elected civilian government’s position on the war in Iraq, there are growing concerns in Ankara about a possible military coup.

Wolfowitz in Ankara:

US urges military to overrule Turkish government

By Justus Leicht, 24 May 2003

If any additional proof were needed to demonstrate that the aim of the US in the Middle East is the subjugation of the region rather then the introduction of “freedom” and “democracy,” then it was provided by the visit to Turkey two weeks ago by US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Earthquake in Turkey sparks violent protests

By Justus Leicht, 16 May 2003

According to recent estimates, the May 2 earthquake in Turkey killed 167 people—including 84 children—with 521 people injured. As was the case with the earthquake of 1999, which killed 17,000, this latest quake further highlights the social conditions that have resulted from the policies of the Turkish ruling elite and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Turkey’s bloody 1977 May Day still clouded in mystery

By Sinan Ikinci, 1 May 2003

May 1, 1977 was a time of increasing economic and political crisis for Turkey.

Turkey: Growing poverty and social inequality

By Sinan Ikinci, 24 April 2003

Income differences between social classes are deepening and becoming one of Turkey’s major problems, a recent survey conducted by the Kum Company has shown. Turkey’s richest families have upwards of 10.5 billion Turkish lira (TL) in monthly income—approximately $6,360 at current exchange rates—while the poorest families try to survive on TL 132 million ($80).

Antiwar protests continue throughout Turkey

By our correspondent, 8 April 2003

Thousands gathered in squares and took to streets across Turkey over the weekend to protest the US-led war in Iraq. Some 20,000 people joined an antiwar demonstration Sunday in Istanbul organized by a group of peace activists named “Coordination of No to War in Iraq”.

Turkey: Protests against US army

By our reporter, 2 April 2003

On March 31, groups of villagers showered a passing US convoy with stones, breaking two windows. The 37-vehicle convoy was heading out of Mardin, carrying equipment used to upgrade Turkish bases in the eventuality that US forces might use them.

Antiwar protests in Turkey

By our correspondent, 29 March 2003

On March 27, public workers held a protest at Ankara’s Kizilay square, displaying their attitudes concerning the budget and the US-led war against neighboring Iraq.

Turkey: AKP leader Erdogan wins by-election in Siirt

By Justus Leicht, 15 March 2003

The way is now free for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the Islamic AKP (Party of Justice and Development), to become Turkey’s president. On Sunday, March 9 he won a parliamentary seat in a by-election in the province of Siirt, following his exclusion as a candidate in last November’s general election. Erdogan had been barred from standing because of a prior charge of encouraging religious hatred. He is now widely expected to replace his governor, Abdullah Gül, as head of government in the next few days.

The Bush administration, Turkey and democracy

By Henry Michaels, 7 March 2003

Only last week, US President George W. Bush solemnly proclaimed that his administration’s impending assault on Iraq was driven by a “vision” of democracy and liberation for the entire Middle East. Iraq’s conquest, he declared, would “serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.”

Turkish parliament votes down US war plans

By Justus Leicht and Peter Schwarz, 4 March 2003

In a surprise vote last Saturday, the Turkish parliament denied permission for the stationing of US troops on Turkish territory as part of the preparation for a war against Iraq. A draft law allowing 62,000 US troops to use Turkey as a base for invading Iraq failed to gather the necessary absolute majority. Those voting against the motion included members of the opposition social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP) as well as nearly a third of the deputies of the ruling Party of Justice and Development (AKP).

Ankara lines up behind a war against Iraq

By Justus Leicht, 14 February 2003

On February 6 the Turkish parliament officially agreed to permit the use of military bases in Turkey by American military forces for a war against Iraq.

War plans against Iraq aggravate conflict over Cyprus

By Justus Leicht, 24 January 2003

During the past weeks, tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots have demonstrated for reunification with the Greek part of the island and for accession to the European Union (EU). These mass demonstrations were directed against Rauf Denktash, the president of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), who has blocked the proposals by the United Nations (UN) to end the division of the island. Only Turkey recognizes the TRNC.

Turkey prepares to line up behind US war vs. Iraq

By Justus Leicht and Peter Schwarz, 9 January 2003

Ninety years ago Leon Trotsky compared the political course of underdeveloped countries to a barge which has been taken in tow by a steamboat. “The captain of the steamship has to show initiative in choosing a course, whereas the man in command of the barge is bound hand and foot..” This is how Trotsky wrote about the Serbs at that time.

Devastating defeat for established parties in Turkish elections

By Justus Leicht and Peter Schwarz, 8 November 2002

On November 3 voters delivered a devastating rebuff to all the parties that have dominated Turkish politics for the past two decades. None of the parties in the previous governing coalition cleared the 10 percent vote needed to secure parliamentary representation. The opposition Party of the Right Path (DYP), led by the former head of government, Tansu Ciller, also failed to get into parliament.

What lies behind the political crisis in Turkey?

By Justus Leicht, 20 July 2002

Turkey’s current government is collapsing. The government, a coalition of the social democratic Democratic Left (DSP) of Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, the neo-fascist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP—Grey Wolves) of Vice Premier Devlet Bahceli, and Mesut Yilmaz’s conservative Motherland Party (ANAP), lost its absolute majority following the resignation of 59 deputies and seven ministers and state secretaries earlier this month.

US war plans intensify political crisis in Turkey

By Justus Leicht, 12 April 2002

In spite of all attempts to convince it otherwise, the Turkish government has so far expressed scepticism—at least on the surface—in regard to a military operation in Iraq to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. Behind this political stance looms Turkey’s deep social and economic crisis as well as the unresolved issue of the Kurds, once again arousing bitter dispute among the various sections of the Turkish establishment.

Turkey: "War against terrorism" emboldens fascists and the military

By Justus Leicht, 29 September 2001

While most of the Turkish population has reacted to the terror attacks in New York and Washington with sincere sympathy for the victims, the Turkish establishment has barely tried to conceal its pleasure and cynical calculation. From the broadly acclaimed “democratic reformer”, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, to his social democratic prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, to the bulk of the Turkish mass media, the message reads: the attack and the “war against terrorism” confirm the correctness of the state terror carried out by Ankara against Kurdish separatism. In the future, they hope, the Turkish state will no longer be beleaguered with demands for greater democracy and respect for human rights.

European Court confirms ban on Turkish Islamic Party

By Justus Leicht, 15 August 2001

The European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled July 31 that the ban on the Islamic Refah (Welfare) Party in Turkey did not constitute a violation of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which upholds the right to assemble and maintain political parties. The judgement was delivered only a short time after a ban was imposed by Turkish courts on the successor party to Refah, the Fazilet (Virtue) Party.

Turkey: PKK offers its services to Finance Minister Dervis and the military

By Justus Leicht, 12 May 2001

In a series of statements, leading members of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) have not only expressed support for the right-wing, neo-liberal policies of Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Dervis and the employers' federation Tüsiad, but also indicated their readiness to work with the generals of the Turkish army.

As Turkish economic crisis deepens, tens of thousands protest IMF and government policies

By Justus Leicht, 20 April 2001

Last Saturday, as tens of thousands of workers protested in the streets and following massive pressure from western banks and financial institutions, the Turkish government presented a programme for an extensive reorganisation of the economy and drastic cuts in living standards.

Political and social dimensions of the Turkish financial crisis

By Justus Leicht, 7 March 2001

The recent collapse of the Turkish financial markets was an important turning point in the crisis of Turkish capitalism. The political and social consequences will be dramatic. The most powerful and aggressive groups of the Turkish and international bourgeoisie want to use the justified and widespread indignation within the population over official corruption to implement extensive changes in Turkey's structures of rule.

Corruption row sparks financial storm in Turkey

By Nick Beams, 23 February 2001

The decision by the Turkish government and central bank to float the lira is the latest twist in a political and economic crisis that has engulfed the country over the past four days.

Letter on the Turkish prison crackdown

23 December 2000

To the WSWS,

Turks mount protests in London

By Julie Hyland, 22 December 2000

Demonstrators protesting the brutal killing of dozens of political prisoners by Turkey's security forces earlier this week occupied the London Eye—the English capital's big wheel attraction—on Wednesday afternoon.

Turkish state suppresses prison revolts

By Justus Leicht, 22 December 2000

Brandishing rifles and waving the Turkish flag, thousands of right-wing policemen have demonstrated over the past days for the release of their colleagues in the prison service who have been convicted of torture. Their slogans included: “We want blood!” and “Left-wing organisations should get out of the way. We are ready to use our weapons!” A deputy of the fascist MHP (Grey Wolves - part of the ruling coalition) publicly called for “prisoners to be allowed to rot:” On Tuesday they got what they wanted.

European Court of Justice allows complaint against death sentence by Kurdish Workers Party leader Ocalan

By Justus Leicht, 20 December 2000

On December 15 the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg accepted a complaint filed by the lawyers of Abdullah Ocalan. Last year a Turkish court passed a death sentence on the leader of the nationalist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).