“We are all Turkish democrats”: A Statement of Solidarity with the Turkish Struggle
Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA Press Statement 10 June 2013
“Abahlali baseMjondolo is a democratic, membership based movement of shack
dwellers and other poor people in South Africa. In 2005 our experience of
suffering and injustice led us to decided to organize ourselves and to
represent ourselves. We are struggling for land and housing as a vital step
towards the restoration of our dignity and the recognition of our equality. We
have been severely punished by those who want to keep us in our place and we
have faced serious repression.
When we have come under attack we have received solidarity from across the
world – from Auckland to Istanbul, Nairobi, London and New York. We have stood
with comrades facing repression in places like Haiti and Palestine. Today we
stand with our comrades in Turkey and with all Turkish democrats.
We keep over movement strong by making sure that it always remains in the
hands of its members and that we take forward the struggles that affect
people’s everyday lives. We call this a living politics. But we take very
seriously the fact that the system that has marginalized and oppressed us here
in South Africa is the very system that marginalizes and oppresses the people
of Turkey. And we have not forgotten that the first people to be in solidarity
with our struggle outside of South Africa were the comrades at Sendika and
People’s House in Turkey.
Your dignity is our dignity. The politicians and their police who vandalize
your dignity vandalize our dignity. In South Africa as in Turkey it is clear
that we will not have dignity or peace until there is a fair and equal
distribution of land, wealth and power. We stand with you. We struggle with
people and not for people and so we will be guided by you as to how we can be
most effective in finding ways to build a living solidarity with your
We have studied the statements from our Turkish colleagues carefully. We
condemn Prime Minister Erdogan and his government’s attack on people who are
trying to voice out their democratic reactions and demands in the city
squares. We condemn his attack on you with despotic measures including tear
gas, water cannons, beatings, shootings and threats of civil war. Such attacks
are not just undemocratic. They are criminal.
We call upon Prime Minister Erdgan and his Turkish government to stop waging
war on democrats and democratic formations.
We call on all progressive movements around the world to stand in solidarity
with the Turkish struggle.
We also call upon the South African government to remember how the world stood
in solidarity with the struggle against apartheid in its darkest days. We call
upon our government to put justice before self-interest, to stop disgracing
the memory of our struggle by supporting oppressors and to offer its full
support to the struggling people of Turkey.
The undemocratic and brutal practices of the apartheid regime in South Africa
gave rise to the popular mobilization that gave birth to our democracy. The
growing brutality of the post-apartheid regime is giving birth to new
struggles in the shacks, on the mines and on the farms. We wish to warn that
the anger of the poor can go in many directions. We wish to remind all
oppressed people, and their oppressors, that once the oppressed realise how
much power is in their hands the world can be changed from below. We must
never allow our oppressors to divide us. Our power comes from our own
recognition of our humanity and the unity that we build on that foundation.
The Turkish Embassy is in Pretoria and we are in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western
Cape. However we will send this letter to our Turkish comrades assuring them
of our support for their struggle. We will send it to the Turkish Embassy in
Pretoria too. And we will be holding a picket in front of the Durban City Hall
in solidarity with Turkish people.
For more information please contact:
Mnikelo Ndabankulu: Abahlali baseMjondolo Spokesperson (081 263 3462)
Bandile Mdlalose: Abahlali baseMjondolo General Secretary (071 424 2815)
S’bu Zikode : Abahlali baseMjondolo Former President (084 547 0474)
No House! No Land! No Vote!