Public sector workers across Turkey rallied in Diyarbakir (Amed) and Istanbul on Saturday under the Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK), to demand a shift in budget priorities. The demonstrations, especially significant at Diyarbakir’s Station Square, drew participants from diverse regions, uniting in opposition to the current fiscal policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
🔴 Turkey's public sector workers rallied in Diyarbakır (Amed) and Istanbul on Saturday against the ruling AKP's 2024 'war budget', demanding allocations that prioritise public welfare and labour interests.#WarBudget | #Protests | #Economy
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Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) President Nejla Kurul criticised the AKP’s approach to the 2024 budget, stating, “It’s clear and evident that this is not a budget favouring democracy or the people, nor is it a budget favouring labour. This budget is security-focused, centred on uniformed employment, not favouring life, and can be described as a war budget.” She highlighted the disproportionate allocation of funds to security policies and the reinforcement of capital interests, which benefits a small, wealthy fraction of the population.
Echoing Kurul’s sentiments, Kadir Demir from Eğitim-Sen in Mardin (Merdin) spoke against societal “oppression” and advocated for inclusive public participation in budgetary decisions. Union of All Municipality Civil Servants (TÜM BEL-SEN) Diyarbakir branch Co-chair Çağla Sanay emphasised the necessity for a budget that centres on workers, women, and the economically vulnerable, as opposed to military and political expenditures.
Gülser Sargut of Eğitim Sen Diyarbakir highlighted the budget’s focus on war expenditure and called for a shift towards supporting workers, gender equality, and peaceful living conditions. Mahmut Binici from Eğitim Sen Şanlıurfa (Riha) branch criticised the AKP’s budget allocations since its rise to power, for favouring personal ambitions and a select elite over the general populace.
Kurul added that a rise in labour, democracy, peace, and freedom movements must counteract these challenges. “Nearly all sections of society see that we cannot continue living this way, in a Turkey where life is confined to home-work-home or job searching,” she said. “We will break through this gloom to bring joy, hope, and courage.”