As anger and suspicion towards the Turkish government mounts in the wake of a deadly bomb attack over the weekend, the country’s largest labor union and the left-wing People’s Democratic Party (HDP) launched a nationwide strike on Monday to “protest the fascist massacre and to commemorate the death of our friends.”
From the University Medical Hospital in Istanbul to the main square in Adana, located in the country’s south—workers, students, and pro-Kurdish campaigners staged mass protests and pickets across the country, in the first of a two-day general strike. Employees of the municipality of Maltepe walked joined in the work stoppage, holding signs that read, “We are in mourning, we are in protest, we are on strike.”
The Confederation of Public Sector Trades’ Unions (KESK), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), the Turkish Medical Association and the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) have all thrown their weight behind the strike, which comes just days after a bombing killed at least 128 people and wounded more than 200 at an Ankara rally for “Labor, Peace, and Democracy.”
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“We came together to struggle for peace against war, for freedom and democracy against violence and oppression and for labor against corruption and exploitation,” declared the Turkish Medical Association in a statement released Saturday announcing the general strike. “We are sad, we are angry, we are mourning, and we are rebelling.”
The Turkish government on Monday cast suspicion on ISIS for Saturday’s attack, but many are distrustful of the official line on the bombing, which follows another deadly bombing of pro-Kurdish activists in Suruc in July. Some are charging that the government is responsible—either directly or indirectly—through intelligence failures and its efforts to stir anti-Kurdish sentiment.
Thousands mobilized across Turkey over the weekend—including at funerals—to express their outrage at the government, with many carrying placards that read “killer state.” Meanwhile, solidarity protests took place around the world, from Paris to London.
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