OVER 200 people attended the launch the Solidarity with the People of Turkey (Spot) campaign at a conference hosted jointly with the National Union of Teachers on Saturday.
The conference brought together journalists, trade unionists, activists and human rights campaigners from both Britain and Turkey, holding a series of workshops, debates and discussions on issues including freedom of speech, the Kurdish question and the refugee crisis.
Spot announced the event following the failed coup in Turkey to support the battle for democracy in what it sees as an increasingly dictatorial country.
Speakers included Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German, who condemned the West for creating the refugee crisis through the so-called “war on terror” forcing people to flee their homes.
Morning Star campaigns manager Calvin Tucker denounced the Turkish government for attacking freedom of speech through the closure of opposition and pro-Kurdish newspapers and TV stations.
Conference organiser Oktay Sahbaz, from the Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish community centre in north London, said: “As our conference came to an end, we received the news of the suspension of a further 1,267 academics; another 10 newspapers have been shut down; the broadcasting rights of two more news agencies has been taken away.
“The discussions during the conference and the news that followed show, once again, the urgent need for international solidarity.”
The conference passed a motion demanding the immediate release of the co-mayors of the south-eastern Turkish city of Diyabakir, who were arrested last week, and calling for the release of all Kurdish political prisoners.