WORKERS AT the SEKA factory in Izmit, 50 miles south of Istanbul, have been in occupation since 27 January.
We were part of a recent solidarity demonstration where hundreds of us went on a march to the plant. We were met at the gates by 700 workers’ wives and children. Everyone united in chants of support.
SEKA is a state owned paper-making plant which the Islamist AKP government wants to close. The mainly Muslim workers have been in occupation since the closure was announced.
Their union rep proudly told us that every worker at the plant is inside. Their wives and children had been joining them during the day. Then the police went in.
The men barricaded themselves in the workshop and the police used teargas on the women and children. Since then entire families have been living inside the plant.
The men are living in the workshop. Small areas are sectioned off where people are sleeping on mattresses on pallets. We spent about three hours in the workshop chatting to workers about everything — the war, capitalism, colonialism, the European Union and more.
They didn’t like their action being called an “occupation”. “America occupies, UK occupies, this factory is ours — we are defending our home.”
The TEKEL cigarette plant has also gone into occupation. Reps from the two factories are in contact, chanting support slogans down the phone.
For updates in Turkish and pictures go to www.sekaizmit.com