British Turks join international solidarity rallies against Greek fascists

British Turks join international solidarity rallies against Greek fascistsBritish Turks join international solidarity rallies against Greek fascists

 19 January 2013, London: British Turks braved the cold to join 500 anti-fascism demonstrators outside the Greek embassy in London today. Organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), the rally formed part of a global series of solidarity events that also took place in cities such as New York, Sydney, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Vienna, Warsaw, Moscow, and Toronto, to support the Greek anti-fascist movement protesting in Athens against the fascist party Golden Dawn.

Turkish Cypriot human rights group Embargoed! was represented by co-founder Ipek Ozerim. She was one of the speakers, alongside British MPs David Lammy and Jeremy Corbyn, veteran activists Tony Benn and Gerry Gable, columnist Owen Jones, Greek actor Rahil Liapopoulou, representatives from Greek political party Syriza, Day-Mer, UAF’s Weymen Bennet and many more. The peaceful event in Holland Park, West London, was interrupted briefly when a dozen British fascists were allowed to assemble close-by in a counter-demonstration, prompting an angry response from David Lammy who remonstrated with the police.

In her speech, Ipek Ozerim talked about the “indoctrination of Greeks and Turks, brought up to view each other as enemies” and that “Golden Dawn and their sister party ELAM in Cyprus perpetuate fear and hatred, of Turks, immigrants and others who do not share their narrow, bigoted view of the world.” She highlighted incidents of race hate in Cyprus and Greece, emphasising the need for everyone to unite against fascists. She ended with a message of solidarity to people in Greece, “British Turks and our brothers and sisters in Turkey and North Cyprus stand together with you to fight against fascism and racism wherever it rears its ugly head, on the streets of Athens, in London or Nicosia.” The speech was well-received by Greek and Greek Cypriots, who congratulated her afterwards.

Since it was formed in 2004, Embargoed! has been at the forefront in exposing racism and fascism by Greek extremists. The group was itself targeted by Golden Dawn sympathisers last year, when horrific posts of Turks having their throats cut with the caption “a good Turk is dead Turk” was posted on their Facebook pages. Following Embargoed!’s complaint to the police, UAF also pressed the London Assembly and Metropolitan police to ensure the culprits are found and prosecuted.

Former Embargoed! chair and trade unionist Fevzi Hussein said, “Today was an important occasion for Embargoed! to lend its support to the global anti-fascism movement and in turn help raise the profile of the issues Turkish Cypriots face because of race hate in Cyprus.”

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