Commenting on Saturday’s bomb attacks on a peaceful pro-democracy and justice demonstration, ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) general secretary Steve Cotton stated: “A nation’s heart is breaking today. These attacks targeted what is best about Turkey, and some of its most idealistic and motivated people. We in the international union movement share that grief.
“Among the main organisers of this peaceful demonstration were trade unions affiliated to the ITF. Among the dead are good friends of ours such as Ali Kitapci of the Birlesik Tasimacilik Çalisanlari Sendikasi (BTS) union. I can personally attest to the fact that for years Ali upheld workers’ rights in Turkey and the duty of unions to protect them. It is typical that he should have been attending an event designed to defend peace and democracy. The loss of such a man, and the loss of all those killed on Saturday, is immeasurable.”
ITF president Paddy Crumlin added: “These shameless attacks cannot be forgiven. They must be fully, effectively – and transparently – investigated. That process must be open to international observers.”
He concluded: “We don’t yet know who was responsible for this outrage. We do know how grievously they have damaged the causes of peace and democracy. We also know that even as the innocent, some of them our friends, are dying or in hospital, the values they were defending on Saturday will be upheld and promoted and carried on in their name by trade unionists and people of good will worldwide.
“It is in that spirit that trade unions in Turkey are declaring three day of mourning and a two-day strike in protest at this appalling attack. We fully support them.”
The ITF has eight trade union affiliates in Turkey. They are: Birlesik Tasimacilik Çalisanlari Sendikasi (BTS) (United Transport Workers’ Union); Deniz Çalisanlari Dayanisma Dernegi (DAD-DER) Marine Employees’ Solidarity Association (MESA); National Port and Land Stevedores Union of Turkey (LIMAN-IS); Railway Workers’ Trade Union of Turkey (DEMIRYOL-IS); Trade Union of Revolutionary Land Transportation Workers of Turkey (Nakliyat Is); Turkish Civil Aviation Union Hava-İş; Tüm Taşıma İşçileri Sendikası (All Transport Workers’ Union of Turkey); and Türkiye Denizciler Sendikasi (Seafarers’ Union of Turkey)
The following statement from Steve Cotton and Paddy Crumlin was delivered at the funeral this morning of BTS victims of the bombings. An English translation appears below the Turkish original:
Uluslararası Taşımacılık Çalışanları Federasyonu (ITF) adına aralarında uzun süredir dostumuz olan Ali Kitapçı’nın da olduğu yoldaşlarımızın iki gün önce Ankara’daki cani saldırıda yaşamlarını trajik bir şekilde yitirmesinden dolayı bilhassa yakınlarını yitirenlerin aileleri ve dostlarımız olmak üzere sizlere başsağlığı diliyor, en sıcak selamlarımızı yolluyoruz.
Daha geniş uluslararası sendikal hareketle birlikte faillerin ve sorumluların adalet karşısına çıkarılması için kapsamlı ve şeffaf bir soruşturma talep ediyoruz.
Dünya genelindeki 4.5 milyon taşımacılık çalışanları adına, kayıplarınızı unutmayacağımızı ve bunun mücadelemizi geriletmeyeceğini net bir şekilde deklere ediyoruz.
Mücadeleye devam etmek isteyeceklerinden emin olduğumuz yoldaşlarımız huzur içerisinde yatsın. Tüm işçilerin her türlü baskıdan kurtulduğu bir dünya yaratmak için kavganıza bıraktığınız yerden devam edeceğiz.
ITF Genel Başkanı Paddy Crumlin
ITF Genel Sekreteri, Stephen Cotton
Dear brothers and sisters,
On behalf of the ITF we send our deepest possible condolences over the tragic loss of our BTS comrades whose lives were taken away so brutally in Ankara only two days ago, including our long time friend, Ali Kitapci. In particular we send our deepest sympathy to the victims’ families and colleagues at this difficult time.
We join the wider international trade union movement in calling for a full and transparent investigation in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.
On behalf of 4.5 million transport workers worldwide, we declare firmly today that the losses you have encountered shall not be forgotten or be a setback against our movement.
Comrades, rest in peace although we know so well that you’d have wished to keep on fighting for the cause. We shall pick up the fight where you have left off to build a world where all working people irrespective of their backgrounds are free from all forms of oppression.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin
ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton