Nationwide Protests Highlight Poor Governance and Economic Despair

Protest supporting animal breeders
[Unions Join Animal Breeders Protest]
Animal producers have entered the eighth day of their protest in Nicosia, which began on Monday, May 20th, Yeniduzen reports. Today, their voices are being amplified by the support of numerous unions, civil society organisations, and political parties. Following last week’s general strike decision, various unions, civil organisations, and their members are taking to the streets alongside the animal producers.

However, although the Air Traffic Controllers’ Union pledged to join the strike today, the Council of Minister issued a decree postponing the strike for sixty days. In the decree published in the Official Gazette, it said: “The Council of Ministers has recognised the critical and essential nature of Civil Aviation Services and Airport Services, which are vital for national and public security. Consequently, it has been decided that the 24-hour strike planned by the Air Traffic Controllers Union and other unions, set to commence on May 27, 2024, at the Air Traffic Control Branch Office and all units of Ercan Airport, will be postponed for 60 days starting from May 27, 2024”, Kibris Postasi reports. 

Throughout the week, the animal producers, who initiated their protest in front of the Prime Ministry, have been unable to reach an agreement with the government. Prime Minister Ünal Üstel had previously stated that meat imports, specifically frozen meat, would be brought into the country.

The government is only concerned with lining its own pockets

President of the Animal Producers and Breeders Association, Mustafa Naimoğulları, expressed his frustration, saying, “It’s like talking to a wall“. He emphasised that his union’s aim has always been that the country’s citizens have access to affordable meat and questioned the relevance of frozen minced meat and other meat imports. Naimoğulları pointed out that the government listens to Turkey when it suits them and lamented that there are no animal producers left. He accused the government of focusing solely on its own interests and neglecting the needs of the people.

Meanwhile, protesters were chanting “Government Resign”.

Our country is being mismanaged

Guven Bengihan addresses Meat Producers Protest in NIcosia
[Güven Bengihan Head of KTAMS addresses rally]
President of the Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Union (KTAMS) Güven Bengihan remarked that those who care deeply about the nation’s issues are present in the square today. Bengihan stated, “We are back in the squares today. Our nation is being driven towards poverty and ruin. Mismanagement is pushing our people into despair. We are here for social solidarity“. He emphasised that they are gathered for their culture, identity, and children, declaring, “This country is ours, and we should be the ones to govern it“.

The goal isn’t cheap meat, but to create business opportunities for a few traders

President of the TRNC Public Workers Union, (Kamu-İş) Ahmet Serdaroğlu, expressed his admiration for those who have come to demonstrate despite pressure and threats. He noted that the prime minister, who claims to support democracy, made every effort to avoid coming to the square over the weekend. Serdaroğlu added, “Those who view this protest as a political manoeuvre are not aiming for cheap meat but are instead trying to create business opportunities for a handful of traders“.

Political parties, unions, and civil society organisations that support the protest have now reached the Prime Ministry, carrying banners and chanting slogans.


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