Mahir Kiliç has already had two long-term hunger strikes in one year, which has allowed him to assert his rights. Or rather, if we have to be more precise, they have twice tried to lie to him. Because the promises made to him have not been kept. Mahir Kiliç has therefore once again started a daily protest sit-in in front of the regional council building of the main opposition Republican Popular Party, the CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi).
Mahir Kiliç has been fighting for his job for two years, to the cost of cold, heat, hunger and attacks by the CHP and the fascist police.
In 2017, Mahir Kiliç was fired from the company İZ ENERJİ, for which he worked. İZ ENERJİ is a company owned by the municipality of Izmir. In November of the same year, he launched a protest entitled “I Want My Job Back!”.
After 184 days of hunger strike, a protocol was signed allowing Mahir Kiliç’s return to the municipality of Karsiyaka, Izmir. Although 120 days had passed since the protocol was signed, Mahir Kiliç had not yet been called to work. It later became known that this was a lie and that no application had been made. This became clear after CHP deputies Veli Agababa, Ozgur Ozel and Aykut Erdogdu had a telephone conversation with ministry officers. In fact, the CHP had lied to Mahir Kiliç so that they could highlight their image in anticipation of the presidential and parliamentary elections of June 24, 2018. But the fight is stronger than anything. The rights of a worker fighting for work and honour are strong enough not to be used for an electoral farce, so Mahir decides to continue his struggle.
The CHP, not following the protocol signed by Mahir Kiliç, lied to all the workers. During the election campaign, the CHP often used rhetorical phrases to present itself as a “friend” of the working class.
In the months that followed, Mahir Kiliç stood up again in front of those who took away his bread. He held a 35-day sit-in and a 67-day hunger strike in front of the CHP headquarters in the capital, Ankara.
In November 2018, the president of the CHP Regional Council of Istanbul, Canan Kaftancioglu, participates in the ongoing resistance while his advisers and lawyers met Mahir Kiliç’s lawyers. The President of the CHP Regional Council takes responsibility for resolving the case personally.
The agreement between the lawyers of Kaftancioglu and Kiliç provided for three main points:
1 – All amounts due (salaries and bonuses) would be paid.
2- Until the local elections (31 March 2019), Kiliç would start working in the municipality of Cigili, Izmir region.
3- If, after the local elections, a mayor other than Aziz Kocaoglu (the former Mayor of Izmir) would be elected, Kiliç would be reemployed in the municipal enterprise of İZ ELMAN.
After his demands were accepted, Mahir Kiliç put an end to the protest and hunger strike. In a brief statement after the end of the protest, he said: “This victory is not mine, but that of our Great Family. Those in whose hearts this great love beats, those who once wore the red jacket, cannot lose, sooner or later they win”.
The first point of the agreement was respected, with all amounts due. Instead, on March 8, his contract with the City of Cigili was terminated without any explanation, on March 9, a new employment contract was signed, but his salaries and benefits were no longer paid.
On 8 May, a meeting was held with Canan Kaftancioglu, who claimed that he had made no promises to Mahir Kiliç regarding his employment in the municipal enterprise. The meeting ended after Mahir stated that he had no choice but to fight for his job.
On 14 May, in front of the City Hall in the centre of Izmir, Mahir Kiliç and some of his comrades read a protest statement in which he said: “I am fighting for my son’s bread. I want the promises made to be kept, my salary paid and I employed to work. If the promises are not kept from now on, I will move my protest to the CHP Regional Council in Istanbul.
Since May 21, Mahir Kiliç has been on hunger strike under the slogan “I Want My Job Back!” in front of the CHP Regional Council building in Istanbul. The fight for bread of a worker is mostly an electoral affair, a game behind the scenes and above all party interest. In a country ruled by fascism, elections are only part of the theatre of democracy. While CHP tries to show itself as a “friend” of the workers by exploiting the emotionality and hopes of the people with slogans like “everything will be fine”, it causes a worker to be arrested and tortured by the fascist police. Workers have no choice but to fight for their rights and justice.
Since August 22, Mahir Kiliç has been on hunger strike again in front of the CHP Regional Council in Istanbul. He will continue his protests until Canan Kaftancioglu and the CHP satisfy his demands.
Neither the CHP nor any other bourgeois party can take away our rights. Mahir Kiliç is doing what is necessary. No one has the right to do pre-election business and play with the bread and honour of a worker. This protest will not end until Mahir Kiliç returns to work in Izmir, as promised. Canan Kaftancioglu must stop ignoring the problem and denigrate the protest. He must keep his promise as soon as possible.
Source: Gercek Haber Ajansi (Gercek Press Agency)