On January 9, Ayca Kilic, the the wife of worker Mahir Kilic, who has been on an indefinite hunger strike since August 2019 for his job at the department of sanitation in Izmir, announced that she is starting a daily sit-in protest from 12:00 to 14:00(local time) in front of the building of the Izmir metropolitan municipality, western Turkey.
In a brief statement before the start of the action, Ayca Kilic said the following:
“My husband, Mahir Kilic, is fighting for the future and honor of our children. Every day, despite the cold and endangering his life, he continues to tell to Canan Kaftancioglu and the leadership of the Republican People’s Party (in Turkish Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi – CHP; , “you are stealing the future of children, whose father you left unemployed.” This shame belongs to Canan Kaftancioglu, this shame belongs to the leadership of the Republican People’s Party, who during election campaigns claim to protect workers, labor and justice.
As of today, I Ayca Kilic, for my children, and until my husband gets back to work, I began a daily sit-in protest. Either you return the work of my husband, Mahir Kilic, or you risk to kill a worker in front of your doors.”
We have told the story of Mahir Kilic several times, but let us briefly recall it.
At the end of 2017, Mahir Kilic and a group of his fellow workers begin a daily sit-in protest in front of the Izmir city hall, protesting their dismissal by then-mayor Aziz Kojaoglu, elected in 2014 from the lists of the main opposition party in Turkey – Republican People’s Party. After weeks of daily protests, Mahir Kilic decides to launch a hunger strike, which continues until mid-May 2018, when, after repeated meetings between lawyers representing the workers and the metrpolitan municipality of Izmir, an agreement has been reached for them to be hired at department of sanitation of the administration of the Karsiyaka district in Izmir.
Although several months have passed since the agreement was signed, Mahir Kilic has not started work. After his urgent attempts to contact representatives of the Republican People’s Party, it turns out that they practically lied to him for the purpose of repairing their damaged image in the eve of the presidential and parliamentary elections, which where held in June 2018. In August 2018, Mahir Kilic begins a sit-in protest in front of the headquarters of the Republican People’s Party in the capital city, Ankara. After numerous attacks by the police, accompanied by torture, and total neglect by the party leadership, Mahir Kilic decides to start a hunger strike, the second in less than a year. In December, after nearly 70 days of hunger strike, the chairman of the Regional Council of the Republican People’s Party in Istanbul, Canan Kaftancioglu, promised to solve the problem, with a two-point agreement reached between her lawyers and the lawyers representing Mahir Kilic. promises to pay all Mahir Kilic’s payments and benefits and he his temporary employment in the department of sanitation of the Cigli district in Izmir. With this promise hunger strike was ended.
A few months later, in February and March, although Mahir Kilic went to the Cigli district administration’s department of sanitation several times to be hired and start working, he was hired but was not allowed to start work. Representatives of the Republican People’s Party again used lies and manipulation to cover up their fraud. Eventually, after the local government election, Kilic was thrown out from his temporary job in the Cigli district. Shortly before, a meeting was held between Kilic, his lawyers and Canan Kaftancioglu who displayed arrogant behavior towards the worker and his defenders.
In May 2019, Mahir Kilic starts a sit-in protest again, but this time in front of the building of the Regional Council of the Republican People’s Party in Istanbul. He has been detained and tortured several times by police. In the heat, the rain, the cold, for more than 6 months, Mahir Kilic has been on the street in front of the party’s regional council 24 hour and 7 days per week. Since August, he has also been holding a hunger strike with a single demand: “give me back my job at the department of sanitation of Izmir metropolitan municipality.