Voices of Resistance

Since our establishment Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) has stood firmly with the labour movement in Turkey, with those fighting for democracy and human rights. Since COVID-19, working people globally have suffered whilst multinational corporates benefited from the crisis and anti-democratic and despotic governments went unchecked. During this period, we increased our online campaigning activity to shine a light on the inspirational fight-back by the people of Turkey. In particular, we amplified the struggle of women’s organisations, academics and striking workers across Turkey.


For this series of videos, we worked with journalists and photographers in Turkey to expose the true impact of the AKP regime on the lives of people from all walks of life. The videos explore increasing poverty, hardship and oppression from the perspective of those fighting back: covering the discrimination and exploitation of minorities, the targeting of unionised workers and criminalisation of democratic opposition.


We demand an end to these attacks on the people of Turkey and an establishment of the rule of law, alongside freedom of the judiciary, media and academia. Stand in active solidarity: share and amplify their stories and join us in taking action to call to account the ruling AKP regime for its ongoing attacks on democracy, human rights and civil liberties.

Voices of Resistance: Online Exhibition

Efsun Kesal - Health sector workers fight
back: "Our only way out is to organise"

Every day health workers save the lives of millions of people all over the world and Turkey is no different. Yet the poor pay, insecure working conditions and unpaid overtime has made life difficult for workers in Turkey, who have faced deteriorating conditions.


Journalist Dilek Omaklilar spoke to Efsun Kesal, who works as a health care worker at a public hospital in Turkey about her experience as a health care professional and importance of unionisation to secure fundamental workers’ rights.

Ali Riza Cinar - Bakırköy Workers on Strike

Only through collective action and unionisation can workers in Turkey protect themselves and their jobs. Throughout the pandemic, as the economy crashes, public sector workers have faced increasing attacks on their wages. In a fantastic example of solidarity, members of Belediye-Is (Local Authority) Trade Union working at Bakirkoy Municipality went on strike to defend their livelihoods.


Here Ali Riza Cinar, who has been employed there for 23 years, talks about fighting the municipality bosses’ refusal to address workers concerns. The strike continued for 100 days and workers returned to work in February after a collective agreement was reached protecting the right to pay increases. Video and story by Eren Ergine.


The women’s movement in Turkey has been an inspiration for us all. They have fought tooth and nail against the oppression of women at work and in the home, and the right to live free from violence. In this video we hear from women leaders inspiring women to stand up and fight back.


Journalist Elif Ekin Saltik spoke to Adile Dogan, Chair of Esenyali Women‘s Solidarity Centre and Sevda Karaca, Ekmek ve Gul (Bread and Roses) Coordinator to hear about how the AKP regime‘s Islamist conservative agenda is fuelling violence against women and impacting the safety and livelihoods of women and girls across Turkey.

Dr Mehmet Ruhi Demiray - "There have always
been brave academics in Turkey"

Dr Mehmet Ruhi Demiray is one of the founding members of Kocaeli Solidarity Academy in 2016. As part of the wider purge of universities across the country, 19 academics were dismissed from Kocaeli University following the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. Emergency decrees were used to dismiss academics viewed as critical of the AKP regime, and Kocaeli University was amongst the first casualties.


Here Dr Demiray tells us about what life is like for academics in Turkey and warns against taking society backwards by limiting academic freedom. Interviewer: Gozde Meydan | Photography: Hasret Gultekin Kozan

Seda Taşkin – "Violence has never been
more commonplace"

Seda Taşkın is a Journalist in Turkey. She was taken into custody on 20 December 2017 in Muş, whilst working for the Mesopotamia News Agency. Seda spent a year in prison and personally experienced the wrath of the AKP regime.


Seda talks here about what life is like for journalists in Turkey and highlights that silence paves the way for further violence and criminalisation of journalists and the press.


Interviewer: Damla Kırmızıtaş

Yıldız Tar – What does it mean to declare war on LGBT+?

Yıldız Tar is an opinion columnist at Kaos GL, a news portal for LGBTI+.

Yıldız talks frankly about the Turkish government’s war on LGBT+ and how the lives of LGBT+ are marred by violence, discrimination and torture in all areas of public life. 

Interviewer: Meltem Akyol 

Mustafa Durmus – Everybody that has meddled in Syria has fought for their own interests and money. 

Syrian refugee, Mustafa Durmus is 25. He works in the textiles and shoe making industry in Turkey. Syrian refugees have been pawns used by President Erdogan to boost his own political interests  – both within and outside Turkey’s borders. Refugees in Turkey face dire conditions, and have no access to minimum wage or wider employment rights. In this video Mustafa talks frankly about fleeing Syria, the cost of living in Turkey and the treatment of refugees in Turkey. 

Interviewer: Volkan Pekal 

Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki – In Turkey the wall of fear has been torn down!

Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki, is HDP co-spokesperson responsible for elections and also Batman MP. The criminalisation of democratically elected opposition has been used as a weapon by President Erdogan and the AKP as a way to stifle resistance. Despite this opposition political parties, such as the HDP continue to struggle to maintain democratic representation and fight back against a regime intent on silencing them.

Cihan İşçi, DERİTEKS Organiser Thousands of leather workers deprived of the right to collective bargaining

Cihan İşçi is a trade union organiser in Izmir, Turkey. He spoke to Eda Aktas about the challenges they face despite technically having the legal right to collective bargaining and unionisation in Turkey. In this video, İşçi explains how unions are prevented from organising and denied authority to engage in collective bargaining through arbitrary national sector thresholds.




Thank you for visiting! A new video will be released in this series every Monday. Join us in taking action to call the regime to account for its ongoing attacks on democracy and human rights.  Stand in Solidarity with the people of Turkey: share and amplify these stories.

With thanks to NEU and Unison