Turkey "Social Forum" Convenes

02.10.2006

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Bianet-Social Forum of Turkey convenes in Istanbul over the weekend bringing together the country's opposition groups from anti-war movements to NGOs, unions to trade chambers. In more than 40 meetings held , the highlighted message was: "End USA Imperialism."

Istanbul’s most famous Sultan Ahmet Square this weekend hosted more than just awed tourists with opposition voices from anti-war groups to NGOs, unions to trade chambers coming together in the country’s first “Social Forum of Turkey” if not identical to, still inline with, the World Social Forum or the European Social Forum.

Between September 30 and October 1, Turkey’s opposition groups held a series of meetings where every current issue from the Anti-Capitalist? Manifest to the country’s energy problems, from alternative globalization to the future of the anti-war movement, union movements, education, the Kurdish problem and even the controversial isolation-style maximum security F-type prisons were discussed.

Meeting were held at various locations from the Darphane-i Amire, to the Istanbul Journalists Association in Cagaloglu district and in the meeting halls of the Istanbul Chamber of Physicians. In over 40 seminars and a twice that many events altogether, the message that surfaced from participants to the forefront was one: "End USA Imperialism”.

Opening speeches for the Forum were delivered by leading and known activists who themselves chair organizations representing thousands of citizens. Among those addressing the opening were Turkey’s Chamber of Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) Mehmet Soganci, Public Workers Unions Confederation (KESK) Chairman Ismail Hakki Tombul and Revolutionary Workers Unions Confederation (DISK) General Secretary Musa Cam.

Speakers addressed current issues in Turkey together with the influence of military politics that were remnants of the post-1980 coup period in Turkey, while calling for stronger public opposition to anti-democratic legislation and practices.

“Down with USA Imperialism”, “Long Live the Brotherhood of People” and “Resisting People Will Win” were slogans frequently heard before the assembly staged a rally marking the last day of the Global Anti-War? Week having gathered at the entrance of the Gulhane Park in the Topkapi Palace.

“Another World, Another Turkey is Possible, Social Forum of Turkey” was the highest level placard under which placards of various attending groups were displayed.

Eventless the rally led way to tens of seminars and workshops at various different sites in the city which continued until the end of Sunday.