January 12, 2006
Adana branch of ESP (Socialist Platform of the Oppressed – SPO) greeted the ruling party JDP’s members with protest during their holiday celebrations in Adana, the fourth largest city in Turkey.
While the members of the ruling religious Justice and Development Party (JDP) gathered to celebrate and accept greetings at 10:00AM in Adana for the Muslim religious holiday, an opposing group of SPO (Socialist Platform of the Oppressed) members surprised them by appeared on the scene wearing shirts that read,“TEKEL can not be closed”, “Deaths due to avian flu is the responsibility of JDP”, “Health Minister resign!”
The group was referring to the latest decision to close down the TEKEL state monopoly public factories to allow major foreign interests in tobacco and alcohol to flood the markets in Turkey. After the September 12th coup in 1980, one of the first decisions of the following military governments was to allow US and other tobacco companies to have unimpeded access to markets within Turkey to sell tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol which was under the state control up to then. This was followed by decisions to privatize or close other plants which were seen as a thorn in the side of foreign tobacco monopolies. The decision to close down the plant will result in many workers losing their jobs.
Police arrested the protesters after they unfurled a banner reading, “TEKEL can not be closed”. The socialist protesters were taken to the Adana police headquarters and were later released.