Unions mourn the assassination of Turkish trade union leader Abdullah Karacan

Abdullah Karacan, general president of DİSK/Lastik-İş (Rubber and Chemical Workers’ Union) was assassinated 13th November, while visiting union members at a Goodyear factory in the city of Adapazarı.

Unite the union in the UK and Ireland is deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the assassination of Abdullah Karacan, general president of Turkey’s DİSK/Lastik-İş (Rubber and Chemical Workers’ Union) and the attempt on the life of regional president of Lastik-İş Mustafa Sipahi and shop steward Osman Bayraktar, while visiting union members at a Goodyear factory in the city of Adapazarı in Turkey.

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: Unite sends its sincere condolences to Abdullah’s family and to the members of Lastik-İş and confederation DISK, as well as the whole trade union movement in Turkey.

 “A committed internationalist, Abdullah Karacan visited the UK in 2015 in support of Unite members in Goodyear who were fighting against closure in Birmingham. We have lost a good friend and comrade.

“Sadly the situation facing trade unionists in Turkey is increasingly becoming more dangerous. The government of president Erdogan targets all those who stand up for their communities, their beliefs, human and workers’ rights and anyone who opposes the slide into authoritarian dictatorship that clearly is taking place in Turkey. Unite will continue to stand in solidarity with all the progressive forces in Turkey.

 “Unite joins with the IndustriALL global union federation in calling for a thorough investigation into this heinous crime.”

The United Steelworkers condemned the brutal assassination today of Abdullah Karacan, general president of the Turkish Rubber and Chemical Workers’ Union Lastik-İş.

Karacan was murdered while on a visit to workers at the Goodyear factory in the city of Adzapari.  The union’s regional president, Mustafa Sipahi, and shop steward Osman Bayraktar were also wounded in the assault.  Bayraktar remains in critical condition.
 
“We are outraged by this vicious assault on our sister union, which reflects the erosion of democratic rights under the Erdogan government in Turkey,” said USW International Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson.

“We send our condolences to the family of Brother Karacan and to all the members of Lastik-İş, and our prayers for the recovery of brother Bayraktar. The Turkish authorities must immediately investigate, arrest and prosecute the criminals who are responsible for this attack.”


Johnson co-chairs the rubber industry section of IndustriALL Global Union, the global union representing industrial workers to which both USW and Lastik-İş are affiliated.  Karacan, a member of IndustriALL’s Executive Council, led the fight against contracting out by major tire companies in Turkey including Bridgestone, Pirelli and Goodyear, winning permanent jobs for thousands of union members.

A committed internationalist, Karacan visited the United Kingdom in 2015 to support of members of UNITE the Union at Goodyear who were fighting against closure of their plant in Birmingham.

The USW and UNITE are partners in the global union Workers Uniting.

IndustriALL Global Union is horrified to hear that Brother Abdullah Karacan, general president of our Turkish affiliate DİSK/Lastik-İş (Rubber and Chemical Workers’ Union) was assassinated today, 13 November, while visiting union members at a Goodyear factory in the city of Adapazarı.

Regional president of Lastik-İş Mustafa Sipahi and shop steward Osman Bayraktar were also hit by the gunman. Bayraktar remains in critical condition after the attack.

“We are shocked to hear that Brother Karacan has been assassinated,” says Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary. “Brother Karacan was a genuinely committed union leader. We expect a thorough investigation into this heinous crime.

“Our sincere condolences go to his familty, his union Lastik-İş, his confederation DISK, as well as the whole trade union movement in Turkey.”

A highly respected union leader, Karacan, who was a substitute member of IndustriALL’s Executive Committee, managed to win a significant victory against precarious work by persuading multinational tyre companies to end outsourcing at their operations in Turkey.

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