Saturday 13 July saw a massive turn out at the 135th Big Meeting organised by the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) now in its 150th year. The organisers claim that the Gala is the largest celebration of community and working class culture in the world and is a tribute to the DMA who have revived the celebrations in recent years, giving it stronger community, national and international involvements. Despite the brutal shutting down of the UK’s mining industry following the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike and the devastation of their communities which threatened the very future of the the DMA, the Big Meeting goes from strength to strength.
Not according to a recent briefing by CEFTUS, the UK based Centre for Turkish Studies who reported on 11 July that dissidents within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are on the brink of forming an alternative party which could deprive the government of its majority in Parliament.
Today is municipal election day in Turkey when voters elect local mayors and councillors. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the poll is about the “survival” of the country and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkey is in recession, with 20% inflation and the lira which has plunged by a third in value, is causing bankruptcies. The result will be as a referendum on President Erdogan’s record and he knows it. One journalist who will not be covering the elections is NUJ member and Morning Star international editor Steve Sweeney. Last week he flew out to Istanbul, but on arrival at the airport he was detained without explanation, questioned, branded a terrorist and deported. Steve takes up the story: Continue reading NUJ member harassed and detained then deported by Turkish authorities for just doing his job