Journalists at Morning Star union make Leyla Güven honorary member
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Morning Star Chapel made Leyla Güven a “symbolic member” following a meeting held on Zoom on Thursday night.
Journalists at Britain’s Morning Star newspaper have launched an appeal for trade unionists to award Leyla Güven honorary membership in a gesture of solidarity as part of international efforts to secure her release.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Morning Star Chapel made the Kurdish politician a “symbolic member” following a meeting held on Zoom last night.
The Chapel is set to write to the General Secretaries of all of Britain’s trade unions that represent some 6 million members asking them to do the same.
It will also call on them to press the government to secure the release of Ms Güven who was jailed for 22 years and 3 months in December.
The journalist’s union at the Morning Star has a long standing history of support for the Kurdish people.
In 2019 it launched the Journalists for Democracy for Turkey and Kurdistan initiative with artist Zehra Dogan which supports at-risk journalists and those in jail, sharing work and offering a twinning programme.
It sent a message of solidarity to the Peoples’ Democratic Party women’s conference last year which was read out to delegates at the Ankara gathering.
In an interview with the Morning Star last summer Ms Güven described the newspaper as “an extremely important publication” and stressed the importance of international solidarity.
“We can breathe because of your solidarity. Otherwise fascism would suffocate us,” she said.
A number of leading trade unionists including Transport and Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) General Secretary Manuel Cortes and UniteAssistant General Secretary Tony Burke met with Ms Guven in February 2019 as she led a determined struggle with her hunger strike in protest at the continued isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Honorary membership stands in the tradition of Britain’s trade union movement which prides itself on internationalism and the fight for workers and the oppressed wherever they are.
In a message, the NUJ Morning Star Chapel said: “We are honoured to welcome you as a member of our chapel and will continue to raise our voices for your freedom and those of all political prisoners rotting in Erdogan’s dungeons.
“There is a saying in our movement – an injury to one is an injury to all and we are proud to stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people.
“We will carry the flames of resistance in your name through the walls of the prison cell, across the ocean and onto the streets, into our workplaces and our communities.
“We call on all trade unions to join us in giving you honorary membership and fighting for your freedom. As long as you remain in jail, none of us are free.
“We write this message with love and solidarity. Your cause is the cause of all humanity. The future belongs to us. Biji Kurdistan, biji Leyla Güven.”