Exploited Turkish workers hit the streets on May Day

Working people in Turkey are engulfed in a deep economic crisis. Facing an inflation squeeze and huge price hikes, the conditions and rights of workers in Turkey are deteriorating day by day. On May 1, International Workers Day (May Day), hundreds of thousands of workers rallied across Turkey to protest exploitation by their employers and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government. Video journalist and new TRNN contributor Daniel Thorpe reports from the May Day protests in Istanbul, where workers united in calls for organized action.

Pre-Production/Studio: Daniel Thorpe
Post-Production: Adam Coley


TRANSCRIPT

Crowd: End the order of corruption and poverty! Long live May Day!

Speaker 1: Today is May Day, international day of unity, struggle, and solidarity of the working class.

Speaker 2: May Day is really important for us. As a shipyard worker, I came here today to protest layoffs and workplace homicides, which happen often in shipyards, and to demand our rights.

Speaker 3: Turkey is a low-wage labor haven where people work like slaves and a worker’s labor is one of the cheapest.

Speaker 4: So far in my life I’ve never seen such deep poverty and crisis. Every day we face new price hikes. From soup to nuts, everything is becoming more expensive. From cheese to olives, from tomatoes to cucumbers, from electricity to gas.

Crowd: Humane living conditions! 

Long live May Day! 

Either all together or none of us! 

AKP will answer to the people!

Speaker 5: Turkey is among the countries where the crisis of imperialism and capitalism is felt the most.

Speaker 6: Capital is responsible for this, and the government forces that represent it. Or, more generally, capitalism.

Speaker 7: The AKP government is primarily responsible for this, Tayyip Erdoğan who rules this country and his government. From the government to the opposition and its municipalities, no one thinks about the workers.

Crowd: AKP will answer to the people! 

Right, Law, Justice!

Speaker 8: The way I see it, the workers’ struggle in Turkey is accelerating every day and taking steps to claim their rights every year. We haven’t been able to take steps to organize and struggle shoulder to shoulder against this crisis. This is our fault.

Speaker 9: Today on May Day, we call on workers around the world and in Turkey: Workers have nothing to lose but their chains. We must organize, unionize in every section of life, and, most importantly, get involved in politics.

Daniel Thorpe

Daniel Thorpe is a video journalist based in Istanbul. He graduated from Oxford University where he studied Turkish and Persian. He has worked for the BBC, Radio Free Europe, and other media organisations.