Ankara : Thousands Join General Strike to Protest Massacres

While the two-day general strike witnessed large participation across Turkey, thousands of people and workers took to streets in Ankara where Saturday’s twin blasts claimed the lives of over a hundred people and left as many wounded.

October 12, 2015
ANKARA – ANF

While the two-day general strike witnessed large participation across Turkey, thousands of people and workers took to streets in Ankara where Saturday’s twin blasts claimed the lives of over a hundred people and left as many wounded.

The general strike declared by four main trade unions in Turkey in protest at the massacre in Ankara has witnessed massive participation across the country, bringing the life to a halt.

The slogans of “Thief-Murderer Erdoğan”, “The dictator will be defeated, the people will win” were resonated in all the streets of Ankara as thousands flocked to the streets in the city, vowing to bring the AKP government and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to account.

Gathering at central Ziya Gökalp Street, thousands of workers from two main trade unions KESK and DİSK opened a banner which read “We are mourning, we are striking”, and carrying the photos of the victims of the twin blasts. The trade unions, also supported by many leftist organisations, made a statement amid angry slogans directed at the AKP ruling and the the Turkish president Erdoğan.

Addressing to the crowd here, head of DISK, Kani Beko said said those responsible for the massacre are those who demanded 400 deputies and added: “I call out the dictator once again here. You will be drowned in the blood you have shed”.

Beko said the massacre targeted those who gathered against the ruling of the Palace and the war policies of those who shed blood. He said it was peace envoys, carnations and pigeons of peace were murdered in mass in Ankara.

Beko stressed that the murderers are evident, whom they know very well from the previous blasts in Diyarbakır, Adana and Suruç. “We also know them from May 1977 in Taksim. We know those contemptible and dishonourable ones very well”, he said.

Speaking after, co-chair of KESK, Şadiye Köse, said those massacred came to Ankara to ask the rulers of the country “How much longer will we sacrifice the bodies of our youth? How much longer will you perform dances of war on our bodies?”. Köse said the massacres will not make them give up on their demand for peace.

In the meantime, health workers, lawyers, transportation workers in Ankara also joined the strike in mass, while students of universities and high schools also boycotted the classes.

The strike started in Ankara with one minute’s silence in almost all the workplaces, schools and many other places at the time of the blasts at 10:04.

Gathering in front of Ankara Courthouse, lawyers from various organisations announced participation in the strike and nonattendance in court sessions for two days in protest at the massacre in Ankara. Head of Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), Selçuk Kozağaçlı, said “You cannot mourn by working and laughing. We will be boycotting work for two days in our workplaces. A real mourning means to resist fascism”. Libertarian Lawyers’ Association (ÖHD) Ankara Branch co-chair Nuray Özdoğan said lawyers will closely follow the case on the massacre.

Boycott at universities

Students and academics at Ankara University gathered on Cebeci Campus where they held a march to the entrance gate and they left carnations on the street before holding one minute’s silence at 10:04 in memory of the victims. Students and academics at Hacettepe and Middle East Technical University also boycotted the classes.

High school students boycott classes

In the meantime, high school students in Ankara have also boycotted the classes in support of the general strike. The students of Anatolian High School and Ege High School in Mamak district of Ankara took to the streets in protest at the massacre, while the school administration of Ege High School closed the doors of the school in an attempt to prevent the students from taking to the streets.

Health workers also joined the strike

Many health workers in Ankara hospitals also joined the strike and provided service only for emergency cases. All the members of the two biggest trade unions in health sector (SES and Dev-Sağlık İş) also joined the strike, as well as the physicians affiliated to Turkish Medical Association (TTB). Gathering in the garden of İbn-i Sina Hospital, hundreds of physicians announced participation in the strike for two days. The health workers joined the strike by wearing aprons on which it wrote “We are sad, we are angry, we are mourning”.

Police attack increased the number of casualties in Ankara

Witnesses of the massacre in Ankara told that the police attack soon after the blasts increased the number of casualties, saying; “As if already prepared in advance, police started to attack the people after the blasts.”

Monday, October 12, 2015
MERSİN – ANF

Witnesses of the massacre in Ankara told that the police attack soon after the blasts increased the number of casualties, saying; “As if already prepared in advance, police started to attack the people after the blasts. Everything was being put into practice in a planned manner.”

In addition to thousands from across Turkey and Kurdistan cities, hundreds of people from Mersin had also gone to Turkish capital Ankara to join Saturday’s Peace Rally which was targeted by a bloody bomb attack that left around a hundred people dead and hundreds of others wounded. Six of the hundreds going from Mersin also lost their lives in the twin blasts, and dozens of others were wounded.

HDP Mezitli district co-chair Nursel Demir, HDP members Dilan İvrendi and Fadile Dayan talked to ANF about the deadly blasts and the following police attack on the people still in the shock of the deadly attack.

HDP MEZİTLİ DISTRICT CO-CHAIR NURSEL DEMİR

“I lived in Ankara for 13 years during which I attended numerous demonstrations and rallies. All the areas of Ankara are a center of security, including the area of the peace rally. Dozens of checkpoints would be set up and a heavy presence and blockade of police forces would take place in every rally, even in the most smallest ones. However, this was not the situation in Saturday’s rally. It was the first time I could easily reach the rally area without encountering any checkpoint or control by police. This made me feel concerned, but I relieved myself, thinking that a peace rally would not possibly be targeted by an attack. When I think about it now, I actually see that the attack came blatantly, which we weren’t able to perceive at that moment. Everything was weird, not usual. The lack of police in the area was kind of giving a message of ‘a conspiracy, a massacre’.

‘POLICE SHOWED UP AND ATTACKED SOON AFTER THE BLAST’

I lost consciousness when the blast occurred. I was very close to the area of the blast, and I soon later saw hundreds of bodies in pieces. Police teams showed up soon after the blast, as if they had already been prepared in advance. We couldn’t understand where that many police came from. They suddenly appeared and started to attack the mass, which actually reveals who had organized the bloody attack.

‘POLICE ATTACK INCREASED THE NUMBER OF CASUALTIES’

I can say that many of the wounded lost their lives due to the police attack which caused casualties as many as the blasts did. Police opened fire on the mass and the wounded. How could such a thing ever happen? Where else in the world did such a case take place, with police shooting at the people wounded in a bomb attack? AKP will give an account of this. Our response to this massacre will be to overthrow the ruling of the palace, have millions rise up and bury the AKP in the ballot box on November 1st. We will never forget this massacre.”

DİLAN İVRENDİ

‘POLICE SHOT AT THE PEOPLE AFTER THE BLAST’

“The people who wanted to help the wounded were attacked by police with tear gas, bullets and water cannons. The health workers joining the rally were going to perform emergency response on dozens of people who were slightly injured but suffering a loss of blood. The police attack didn’t allow them to do so, because of which we lost dozens of comrades of ours. I was also trying to reach my friends wounded there, but I couldn’t because of the police attack. Ambulances came to the area very late, police deliberately retarded their arrival. Everything was happening and being put into practice as if had been planned in advance. We will never forget this massacre and bring the perpetrators to account.”

FADİLE DAYAN

‘THIS IS THE WAR OF THE GOVERNMENT’

“This is the war of the government and the palace, not the people. Everyone must know that AKP is the single murderer of all the soldiers, civilians and babies. We will suffer more and more deaths and massacres as long as the AKP remains in the power ruling us. Our friends were murdered in front of our eyes.

‘POLICE SAID ORDER GIVEN FROM ABOVE’

A policeman whom I encountered after the blast and asked why they attacked and didn’t protect us, told me that “The order was given from above”. This is true, we know that the order came from AKP and they obeyed it. There exists no ISIS in Turkey, and there is no need for ISIS anyway, as AKP already perpetrates massacres anyway. AKP is the ISIS of Turkey. The entire society should stop looking for the murderers. There is only one single murderer, which is the AKP that wants to split the country.

‘WE WILL EXPEL THE AKP FROM THE POWER’

We all are the children of this country. No soldiers, no police, no civilians and no babies will die if we expel the AKP from the power. The society of Turkey must know this truth and overthrow the murderer AKP.”