Bia News Center – 04.09.2006 – Turks to Rally Against Troops to Lebanon

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Turks to Rally Against Troops to Lebanon

As Turkish MPs meet tomorrow to debate a government ruling to send troops to Lebanon, peace activists opposing the move will take to the streets in a major rally.. DISK calls for mass participation to prevent coffins coming back from Lebanon.

As the Turkish parliament convenes on September 5 Tuesday to debate a government ruling on sending troops to Lebanon, peace activists are geared up to take to the streets in protest of the move under the slogan “we will not be soldiers in Lebanon”.

Turkey’s Revolutionary Workers Unions Confederation (DISK) chairman Suleyman Celebi has issued a public appeal calling for mass participation in the scheduled protest asking for “all mothers, fathers, youths, children and anyone who do not want persons return to Turkey from Lebanon in coffins to express their will in Ankara”.

Celebi added, however, that what mattered was not the number of protestors who would be gathering tomorrow, but the willpower that they would express.

Yildiz Onen of the Global Peace and Justice Coalition (Kuresel BAK) who recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Lebanon said, “we managed to make them revoke the March 1 ruling [on sending Turkish troops to Iraq]. We can do this again”.

Of the country’s political parties represented at Parliament, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) together with the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) are in favor of sending troops to Lebanon while the main opposition Republic Peoples Party (CHP) and Motherland Party (ANAP) are against the ruling decision.

Unity Among Workers and Professionals

Tomorrow’s protest in Ankara coinciding with the parliamentary debate comes after various leading unions and trade organizations agreed on September 1, Friday, on joint action against the troops decree.

The Revolutionary Workers Unions Confederation (DISK), Public Workers Unions Confederation (KESK), Union of Architects and Engineers of Turkey (TMMOB), Union of Turkish Physicians (TTB), Turkish Dental Physicians Association (TDHD), All Pensioners Union (Emekli-Sen) and All Bag-Kur Pensioners Association representatives who met on Friday reached an agreement to issue a public appeal for Turkish soldiers not to be sent to Lebanon.

The organizations decided to be the leading force of tomorrow’s protest.

Onen: No different than 1 March

Kuresel BAK will head for Ankara on September 4 Monday night and according to Onen, expects supporters from all over the country to be participating in the event. “As peace supporters we managed to make them revoke the March 1 decree. We can do this again” Onen said.

She believes the protest to be held on September 3 is no different than the previous protest which forced Ankara to reconsider its role in the Middle East and argues “the government was then in an effort to create the hegemony of the United States of America in the Middle East”.

“Israil aims to blockade Lebanese resistance”

According to Onen, the USA is now behind the so-called peace force aiming to support Israel in the region.

“As someone who has personally traveled to Lebanon and seen it with my own eyes, I can say that Israel, which has killed more than a thousand people, injured tens of thousands, destroyed and burned down bridges, houses and neighborhoods, is in an effort to blockage the resistance in Lebanon with the peace force” she said.

Onen argues that Turkey’s plan to send troops to Lebanon is being against the Lebanese people and says that while two thousand peace force troops failed to protect Lebanon during the Israeli attacks, an increase in the number of troops is not going to prevent any future attacks.

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