From the TUC

502 Turkish Trade Unionists in court after protest crackdown

17 Jan 2014, By

Turkish demonstration attended by thousands of public employees protesting against the draft law on Public Employees Trade Unions.

The Turkish state’s oppression of trade unionists and other dissenting voices is plumbing new depths. On Monday an initial hearing took place in Ankara of a case involving 502 people. Defendants included the President and General Secretary of the Turkish public sector trade union confederation KESK, as well as many of its members

They are  charged with causing damage to public properties and using violence during a strike and demonstration on 28-29 March 2012 in Ankara. This demonstration attended by thousands of public employees was organised  to protest against the draft law No. 4688 on Public Employees Trade Unions and a draft amendment to the Law on Education. The trade unionists concerns were varied including both the continued restrictions on public sector trade unions but also education reforms which they believe will lead to greater inequality for female students and more child labour.

The Turkish police sadly ended the demonstration with their customary violence. As a result of the police attack, two demonstrators were severely wounded. A complaint was lodged against the police officers for the damages caused by their violent attack but no criminal proceeding has been launched. It is of course the demonstrators who are in the dock.

In addition, on 23-24 January, the first hearing of a separate case against KESK’s members and leaders will be held in Istanbul. They were arrested during a police raid carried out on 19th February 2013 across much of Turkey. The police not only raided the headquarters of KESK in Ankara but also searched KESK members’ homes as well as the public buildings where they work. Overall, more than 150 persons were arrested with 47 of them being kept in prison awaiting trial. In this instance the state has made use of the notorious Turkish Anti-Terrorist laws under which defendants can find themselves serving long sentences without ever being involved in or condoning violence.

To express solidarity with those before the courts delegates from ETUC, EPSU, ETUCE and European national affiliates have and will attend these hearings.

You can show your solidarity with Turkish trade unions by using the ITUC online action to tell the Turkish government to release immediately all the arrested union members and end the judicial harassment against trade unionists. You can help strengthen this action by spreading the word and asking as many friends, family, and co-workers as possible to protest against this  judicial harassment of Turkey’s trade unionists.

Take action online now

5 Responses to 502 Turkish Trade Unionists in court after protest crackdown

  1. savrun su
    Jan 18th 2014, 9:52 pm

    Sendikac?lar derhal serbest b?rak?lmal?d?r,çünkü onlar en onurlu insanlard?r.

  2. Peter Goodrick
    Jan 21st 2014, 9:41 pm

    Trade Unionists should be able to represent their members interests and the interests of the greater community…no matter what.

  3. Doug Oxer
    Jan 21st 2014, 11:46 pm

    As a member of the RMT, we believe in Unity and Solidarity to all our brothers and sisters around the world.
    Its so important that every individual has the right to express there democratic right to speak up, for what they believe in, to have decent working conditions, a working wage and a to be given the proper human rights that is encountered in the west. We have fought against suppression and human people being treated as second class citizens. If you dont have democracy and the chance to speak up with dignity and honesty ,then you dont have a proper society. Great men and women have fought for equality for all, and its not the answer to lock them up, its the answer to democratically listen and come to a peaceful and amicable solution. So it is imperative to release our union brothers and sisters and negotiated their demands and enhancement of their lifes.

  4. Turkish trade unionists on trial: the second stage begins | STRONGER UNIONS
    Jan 25th 2014, 3:45 pm

    […] Sean Bamford wrote last week, the Turkish state’s war on the KESK public sector union entered a new phase with the opening of […]