All posts by Begum Zorlu

Begüm Zorlu is a researcher, freelance photo-journalist and translator from Turkey living in London.

A Year of Terrorist Bombings in Turkey

1468660_1380355852209302_1554478118_n“While the ruling elite remains emotionally and physically unaffected by the bombings, this year of violence has left thousands dead and injured, broken dozens of families, and shattered the previously fragile peace in the country’s southeast. In a state where funerals and lawlessness have become common, the victims of these mass atrocities feel isolated. At a time when Turkey should be protecting and defending its citizens, there is a profound lack of justice for those who are most deeply affected by the country’s many, recent tragedies”.

See full text at Muftah.org

The 2015 Renault Strike in Turkey

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At the end of their shift, almost half of the workers at the Renault factory in Bursa, Turkey decided that they will not be working the next day.

“Oyak Renault”, as it is known in Turkey, is a joint venture between the French automaker and the Turkish army pension fund Oyak.

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The strike started on a Thursday night.

It lasted 14 days.

The number of those who launched the strike amounted to 2,500.

They expressed discontent both with the company and their union.

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The strike spread to other companies such as Fiat’s affiliate company factory Tofas and automobile part suppliers in other industrial zones of Turkey as well.

I was able to go there a couple of days later, take these photos and witness the slogans and the atmosphere of “resistance” and “solidarity.”

This was the post in Turkish.

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In this photo, it can be seen that a popular slogan from the Gezi Park Protests is diffused. The slogan states: “Everywhere Reno, resistance everywhere.” Those who write it probably belong to the supporter group of sports team Beşiktaş, named Çarşı.

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Those who were striking and their supporters rallied in front of the factory, while some of the workers camped inside. Cheers and voices were loud when these small rallies took place.

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Also, there was some hostility towards the “foreigners” as one worker stated: “We do not trust those “foreigners” coming from İstanbul. They may exploit us!”

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Yet, the negative encounters with journalists were limited. They stressed some of the workers cards for entering the factory were not working. There was anger and mistrust towards the authorities. Mostly, the messages of solidarity and resistance were dominant.

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In this placard it writes: “if you do not resist today, you will beg tomorrow.”

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Oguz Alyanak wrote probably the best, a comprehensive article on the dynamics of the protest at Open Democracy. Definitely recommended.