türkiye’ yi sarsan iki uzun gün – kemal sülker

15-16 Haziran olayları Türkiye tarihinin en önemli işçi hareketlerinden birisidir. Sendikalar Kanunu’nda DİSK’in kapatılmasına neden olacak değişikliklerin yapılmasını protesto eden onbinlerce işçi, 15-16 Haziran’da yürüyüşe geçerek İstanbul’da hayatı felç etti. Ertesi gün de devam eden eyleme, İstanbul’daki hemen hemen tüm özel fabrikalardaki işçiler katıldı. Asker ve polis barikatları eylemi durduramadı. Demirel Hükümeti, yürüyüşün iki kolunun birleşmesini engellemek için Galata Köprüsü’nü kapamak zorunda kaldı, Eylemi durdurmak için sıkıyönetim ilan edildi. DİSK’in pek cok yöneticisi tutuklandı. Olaylarda 3 işçi hayatını kaybetti.

Elinizdeki kitap 15-16 Haziran olaylarının merkezinde yer almış Kemal Sülker tarafından hazırlanmıştır. Kemal Sülker eylemler sırasında Disk’in Genel Sekretiridir. Olayların ardından sorumlulardan biri görülerek tutuklanan Sülker, kitabında 15-16 Haziran’a neden olan gelişmeleri inceliyor, eylemin hazırlık aşamasını ve olaylaron gelişimini gün gün, saat saat, hatta an be an tüm ayrıntılarıyla aktarıyor.

History of Turkey is full of uprisings and resistance of working class. 15-16 June is one of them. Those uprisings became the most significant issue of the society and showed how a powerful working class could lead the politics.

From 27 May 1960 to 15-16 June 1970:

First Steps

Although the fight of Turkish working class has rooted back to Ottoman Empire, it has gained its leading power in  politics in 1960s.

The first huge working class demonstration, after the 21 May Revolution, is the massive Saraçhane Meeting which holds 31 January 1961. The demand of the demonstration, which was attended by over 200 thousand people, is the right to strike. The meeting is very important, for it is the very first attempt to establish the Workers’ Party (of Turkey). And also it is the first effective meeting at which Kemal Türker, who would become the General Secretary of DİSK and would take an important role in the fight of working class till being killed, becomes an important leader for working class.


After the Saraçhane Meeting, the right of strike is put into the 1961 Constitution. However, this right is not carried out for it is not put in order with required laws. In 1963, the meeting, begining with a wage resistance in Kavel cable factory, which belongs to Koç, one of the richest families of Turkey, and continuing with 9 workers’ being expelled, grows up immediately. When Koç responses workers’ sitting-in action with a lockout, a strike begins in Kavel Cable. Upon the supports from İstinye Dockyards, Demirdöküm, Sungurlar and General Electricity, the bosses step back and the law giving the right of strike is passed within the council immediately.

After this victory, The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions begins to take side with the bosses. The leaders of the trade unions want the demonstrations to be stopped. They begin to take decisions and make contracts without asking the workers. At the end of this process, a general meeting, in which five unions were set up, was hold in İstanbul and in that meeting those unions set up Confederation of Revolutıonary Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK).

The Gowernment made a new arrangement, limiting the right of workers to choose unions and defusing DİSK, towards the fight of working class which gained acceleration after DİSK being established. The 15-16 June uprising of the working class was made in response to that legislation.

From March 12th to September 12th:

Working class on the brink of power

Working class that took action after the martial law of March 12th , started to influence Turkish politics starting in 1975. First time in 1976, mass celebrations for May Day took place in Taksim Square.

DİSK, who intervened the preparatory phase of the foundation struggle of State Security Courts (DGM), started a campaign with the motto of „DGM means martial law without a martial law“. The strikes and activities aiming to overthrow the First Nationalist Front Government, ended by the rejection of DGM proposal in the National Assembly.

By this way, on May Day of 1977, the working class which showed that it can resist any legislative action that aims to weaken the struggle for socialism while dealing with the issues related to its own interests, made the greatest celebration of its history. This action, mainly remembered for the provocation of counter-guerilla forces in which 43 people killed, was also meaningful for demonstrating the quantity, the struggle of the working class have reached.

The greatest worker resistance before September 12th, was the „MESS Strikes“ which was between DİSK and Metal Goods Industialists Syndicate (MESS). The strikes, carried out with the motto „We’ve smashed DGM, now it’s time for MESS“, were sometimes called „The Great Strike“. The strikes, started against the attitude of MESS that ignores the rights of the labour unions and its enforcement of collective bargaining that involves all of the factories, started on May 30th 1977 and continued until February 3th 1978. The strikes ended with outstanding economic gains but were also criticized by Aziz Nesin because it helped the bosses to melt their stocks out in a gentle way.

As a fact, although the economic gains of the last great worker resistance were huge, its political demands were weaker in consideration. From this date on, the actions such as „Warning To Fascism“ after the massacre took place on March 16th 1978, demonstration of the „Damnation of Fascism“ that took on 5th of January after the massacre of Kahramanmaraş and the resistance against the collective dismissal in Tariş which aimed to establish the ground for fascist staffing, became defensive in nature. This defensive situation meant a step back despite the massive dimensions of the demonstrations and the path to September 12th was paved afterwards.

From 12 September to today:

A hibernate in the darkness of the counter-revolution

The working class’ activities have been interrupted under the control of fascist junta which had taken over rule. There was no strife in this period till 1984 and the case of the DİSK, in which more than seventy people underwent a trial under the demand of capital punishment, was proceeding.

Even though, in 1989, some important strikes such as the Netaş Strike occurred, the working class had to steer clear of the country’s politics. The first mass movement which broke this silence was the Spring Movements, which was held in the spring of 1989. Public workers from Türk-İş kept doing some other than strike activities from the last day of May to the end of April. These movements covered 30 cities and 15 different work branches and were considered against the amendments which tried to make throwing a strike more difficult. As a result of these movements, slowdown strikes, starting working late deliberately, services and dinner boycotts, silent strolls to name but a few, the government had to approve the demands of the workers and signed the collective agreement.

The greatest activity of the working class which was stimulated by the Spring Movements in 90s was the hike of Zonguldak’s coal miners to the Ankara. In 30th November 1990, roughly 50 thousands coal mine workers came out on strike and this great movement started because of the government’s non-reconciliatory attitude and the provocative speeches of the President of the Republic Turgut Özal regarding with the necessity of the closure of the Turkish Coal Mine Institution, the strike expanded rapidly. In 4th January 1991, families of the coal mine workers started hiking towards Ankara. The hike which started with 60 thousand people reached 80 thousand at the end of the first day in Devrek where a break was held. The hike with the slogan of “Çankaya’s fat man is the enemy of workers” was stopped by Gendarme and Police forces within few kilometers to Ankara. Gendarme detained 200 people from the crowd which spread 10 kilometers area. After one day waiting, the hike was finished by the chair of the Maden-Iş Union Şemsi Denizer with a controversial decision. The strike which was postponed for 60 days by the government on the ground of the first Gulf crises arrived at the conclusion with a collective agreement that was signed in 1991.

When it comes to the middle of the 90s, the stimulated by the 94 crisis working class, brought about a great meeting in Ankara. In this meeting that was called “respect for the elbow grease”, DISK appeared one more time on the battle fields collectively and a crowd composed by 100 thousand people walked from Tandoğan to Kızılay. Subsequently, workers protested the current situation and made some acts like don’t living the working place. However, despite of all protests and meeting, as a result of government’s negative attitude against negotiating with the confederations, these movements ended up in a massive act with the attendance of 300 thousand people. This act is considered the greatest one in the history of Turkey and forced the Çiller Government to resignation. Afterwards the resignation Çiller tried forming a coalition government but obscured one more time by the workers.

Activities of the working class have decreased since 2001 crisis noticeably. Since the AKP Government establishment except acts taken against Tekel’s privatization and some more individual acts, there has not been a significant act. Recently, working class’ most collective act was held against the amendment of the Social Security System and other similar activities of the Government which attach the working class’ acquired rights.

The working class is keeping being the only power of putting an end to the darkest times which Turkey is undergoing now by its organized power comes from manufacturing even though it seems it is in a deep sleep.

türkçe / turkish !!!

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