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Unite members pledge support for progressive forces in Turkey and the Middle East

IMPRISONED Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan was compared by Unite trade union members to Nelson Mandela today as they pledged solidarity with progressive forces in Turkey and the Middle East.

Speaking at Unite’s biannual policy conference in Brighton, delegates lined up to attack the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Criticising the “fake results” for Erdogan in the recent presidential elections, London printing delegate Mick Cotter spoke out against the imprisonment of Turkish workers.

Mr Cotter said that “repression has been intensifying more recently as the Turkish economy falters and particularly since the so-called attempted coup in 2016 that resulted in massive clampdowns, arrests, trumped-up charges, show trials and draconian prison sentences for workers.”

Pointing out that Turkey is the “world’s biggest jailer” of journalists, with the number ranging between 150 and 200, Mr Cotter warned the Turkish government that “the world is still watching” and called for an end to political “show trials” and the reinstatement of all dismissed workers.

South East delegate Stephen Phillips compared the ongoing repression in Turkey and against Ocalan to apartheid South Africa and Nelson Mandela.

Reminding conference of the union’s struggle against apartheid and for the freedom of the Miami Five, Mr Phillips said that “we now need a similar campaign to free Ocalan.”

North West young members delegate Damian Bailey highlighted the ongoing revolution in Rojava, northern Syria, where left-wing forces helped defeat Isis in the region.

He said: “We should support our Kurdish sisters and brothers in northern Syria against the fascism of Isis and Erdogan’s Turkey.

“There is to be no discussion with, and no compromise with, fascists.

“Our courageous sisters and brothers know all too well that the language Isis fascists understand are heels from boots and bullets from Kurdish rifles."

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