By Simon Dubbins:
Dear Friends and Comrades of the DBP,
On behalf of General Secretary, the Executive Council and the 1.4 million members of UNITE the union I send you our fraternal greetings and warmest wishes of solidarity for your annual conference.
I am extremely sorry that we are unable to be physically present with you at this time but we assure you that are with you in spirit, and that we intend to continue to work with you and all other progressive forces in the struggle for the recognition and respect of the rights of the Kurdish people and all democratic and progressive forces in Turkey.
Our union was present in a delegation to Diyarbakir in February of this year and we witnessed first-hand the vicious assault of the Turkish state. We also know what has happened in other Kurdish cities and are fully aware of the massive repression that is taking place. We know that thousands of human rights activists, journalists, trade unionists, NGO workers and many others have been arrested and jailed without any due process and we have consistently expressed our total opposition to the actions that are being undertaken.
We were utterly outraged to hear that the leader of your party Kamuran Yüksek – who only a week before had been present at an event organised by our union and likeminded MPs in the UK parliament – was arrested and charged with being part of a terrorist organisation. In our view Kamuran, like thousands of other comrades, was arrested and charged for no other reason than calling for a return to negotiations and for a peaceful solution to be found to the Kurdish question within a truly democratic state.
Our union has written to the UK Foreign Secretary expressing our total condemnation at was has happened and demanding that action be taken with the Turkish government to ensure the release of Kamuran. We trust you know that British trade unions are stepping up their solidarity activities in a major way and are planning to help build further international solidarity with your cause. We know from our rich experiences in campaigns that international solidarity is immensely powerful and has successfully brought many brutal regimes to account in the past and we shall not cease in our efforts until this is the case in your struggle as well.
We wish you a very successful conference despite the current situation and hope to welcome your colleagues again in the UK and to be able to visit you in the future.
We remain in full solidarity,
Director of International – UNITE