As some 200 people assembled in London on Saturday, 20 January at the conference organised by Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT), Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. It marked the launch of a military operation with the support of the Free Syrian Army and cynically named operation ‘Olive Branch’.
Turkey’s justice system was plunged into confusion last Thursday after two criminal courts defied an order by the country’s highest court to release two jailed journalists. Last Thursday the constitutional court ruled that the pre-trial detention of Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay violated their right to freedom of expression and said they should be released from Silivri prison. But hours later two separate Istanbul penal courts said they could not implement the decision because they had not been notified of the ruling.
Chris was a long standing colleague and his death at the end of last October came as a great shock. I sent the following appreciation of his life to the editor of The Journalist (the NUJ magazine) in early January for possible publication in the next issue of our magazine. My thanks to colleagues who assisted in this appreciation.
Chris Bartter, socialist, journalist, trade unionist and campaigner, died on 28 October aged 64 from a heart attack. Always larger than life, I first met Chris in the 1980’s when I was a publicity field organiser for the public service union Nalgo (now UNISON) and he was a lay publicity activist and campaigner in Scotland. Scotland was his adopted home. Chris was born in North London and then moved to Dorking in Surrey before moving on to Glasgow to study at Strathclyde University. In 1975 he went to work at the Mitchell Library, now one of Europe’s largest public libraries. There he joined Nalgo and met his partner Doreen Keen. Continue reading Remembering Chris Bartter