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Support jailed Turkish unionists

September 29, 2012
Seven months after their arrest, 15 female Turkish unionists are still in jail, accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation. On October 4 a hearing began in Ankara, and pickets and demonstrations took place at many Turkish embassies and consulates.

The situation for the Turkish public sector trade unionists is becoming increasingly difficult. After arrests early this year, there have been raids against several public sector trade unions, among those, the PSI-affiliated KESK.

Some of the arrested unionists were released but 69 are still in jail, accused of ludicrous crimes, including belonging to a terrorist organisation. Amongst them are 9 women with executive functions within KESK.

Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU Deputy General Secretary has stated that ‘We demand the immediate release of the jailed trade unionists and an end to the Turkish government’s intimidation campaign. Its only purpose is to curtail the unions and to give a free hand to corporations and public authorities to exploit workers and citizens. The Turkish government is fully aware that its acts violate European and international legal standards that protect freedom of organization and speech. We join hands with Turkish and European unions, human rights and other organisations in our colleagues defense’.

This is to put pressure on Turkey in countries were there is a sizeable Turkish [or of Turkish origin] population.

EPSU is coordinating with ETUC to make a similar call. Also other federations such as Education International (and ETUCE) are already organizing actions involving, for example,  their Dutch affiliate.

After this hearing, in the coming months more members of KESK will be at court so the next steps will be communicated later on. This is a first call of action.

EPSU organised a delegation to visit Turkey and to meet with the lawyers, political representatives, the authorities and visit the prison where our members are being held.


In another 6 days, the trial begins in Turkey of 69 trade union leaders -- all of them women, from the public sector union -- on trumped-up charges of "terrorism". Send a letter of support to the accused.

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