Dear Friend,

This year Democracy Now! is celebrating our 25th anniversary—that's 25 years of bringing you fearless, independent reporting. Since our very first broadcast in 1996, Democracy Now! has refused to take government or corporate funding, because nothing is more important to us than our editorial independence. But that means we rely on you, our audience, for support. If everyone who tunes into Democracy Now! signed up for a monthly donation of just $10, we could cover our operating costs for the entire year. Please do your part today. Right now, a generous donor will even DOUBLE your first monthly gift, which means it’ll go twice as far! This is a challenging time for us all, but if you're able to start a new monthly donation, please don’t delay. We’re counting on your support. Thank you and remember, wearing a mask is an act of love.
-Amy Goodman

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


Turkish Unions Hold National Strike as Protesters Face Worst Crackdown to Date

Media Options

More than 800,000 people are believed to be taking part in a national strike by Turkish unions in protest of the government’s crackdown on nearly three weeks of protests. The strike follows a weekend that saw the protests’ worst violence to date. On Sunday, around 400 people were arrested as police used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets in the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and other cities. Medics treating wounded demonstrators were among those detained. We’re joined from Turkey by Çigdem Öztürk, an independent journalist covering the protests for Express magazine.

Related Story

StoryApr 26, 2021Biden Recognizes Armenian Genocide of 1915, Despite Decades of Lobbying & Denialism by Turkey
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In these last few minutes, we turn to Turkey, where a nationwide strike called by several of the country’s leading unions is underway now with calls to end the police crackdown on demonstrations. The Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions and the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions are among those filling the streets. Other groups representing doctors, engineers, dentists have also joined the action.

Today’s strike comes as riot police continued their violent crackdown on protesters, using tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds. The anti-government protests have swept the country for more than two weeks and were renewed this weekend following the forced eviction of protesters at Gezi Park, which was occupied for 18 days by people protesting against plans for its redevelopment. The prime minister has defended the crackdown, saying he did his duty as prime minister.

For more, we go to independent journalist, also speaking to us from Istanbul and from Express magazine, Çiğdem Öztürk.

Can you describe what’s happening now?

ÇIĞDEM ÖZTÜRK: Well, hello. Can you hear me?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, we hear you fine.

ÇIĞDEM ÖZTÜRK: OK, so, hello to everybody.

Actually, what’s happening at the moment in Instanbul is we are waiting a little bit tensely about the 4:00 rally, which is for the general strike declared by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey and Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions. So, at 4:00 normally, the people will march in Taksim Square, but the Instanbul governorship declared that this is not a legal act, and they will not let the people walk. So, there is just a few minutes, and the people are gathering, not just in Istanbul; as this is a general strike, it’s all over Turkey and in other parts of Turkey, as well. The people, the civil servants and the workers are on strike, and they are walking. So we’ll see what’s going to happen.

Maybe I could tell you a little bit about what happened last night. Last night, Instanbul had to face one of the most brutal police attacks—and not just the police, actually, also the AKP, the ruling party, supporters were some—in some groups, were on the streets with sticks and knives, trying to attack the demonstrators. And yesterday, again, according to the bar association, here at least 400 people were detained. But the problem is there is no real numbers. So, they only get news by phones and by interviewing people, so we don’t know the exact numbers, and we don’t know the names of the people who were detained. Well, that’s the situation, in short.

AMY GOODMAN: Çiğdem Öztürk, we just have about 30 seconds, independent journalist, also speaking to us from Instanbul and from Express magazine. The significance of where these protests go from here?

ÇIĞDEM ÖZTÜRK: Well, actually, what’s going to happen, the main problem is the governor and the political parties are not so in the protests. Opining by the political parties is only the Justice and Development Party in the protest. The least is the people, I would say. I mean, they did [inaudible] on the prime minister naming the protesters as some workers and some, you know, terrorists. But, anyway, these are people. Just a part of it is from organizations. So this is a moment for the people.

AMY GOODMAN: Çiğdem Öztürk, we’re going to have to leave it there. I thank you very much for being with us. We’ll continue to cover Turkey.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Up Next

Biden Recognizes Armenian Genocide of 1915, Despite Decades of Lobbying & Denialism by Turkey

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation