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15 public sector trade unionists have been arrested in Turkey

February 16, 2012
MayDay 2010 - Turkey
On 13 February 2012, 15 women union leaders and activists belonging to PSI and EPSU affiliates SES (Trade Union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services), Tüm Bel Sen (Union of All Municipality Civil Servants) and BES (Trade Union of Public Administration Employees); as well as to Education International (EI) affiliate Egitim Sen and to the Confederation of Civil Servants Trade Unions, KESK, (affiliated to the ITUC), were arrested and dragged from their homes in early morning raids. The police also invaded the unions’ head offices as part of a so-called police investigation.

The 15 detained women are:

Bedriye Yorgun - SES Women’s Secretary and SES Former President (PSI affiliate)
Belkıs Yurtseven - SES Ankara Branch Member
Hülya Mendillioğlu - SES Ankara Branch Member
Nurşat Yeşil - SES Ankara Branch Member
Özden Özmen Gök - SES Ankara Branch Member
Güler Elveren - Tüm Bel Sen Women’s Secretary (PSI affiliate)
Leman Kiraz - BES Former Executive Board Member (PSI affiliate)
Canan Çalağan - KESK Women’s Secretary (ITUC affiliate)
Songul Morsumbul - KESK Former Women’s Secretary
Güldane Dogan - Egitim Sen Ankara Branch (no.2) Women’s Secretary (EI affiliate)
Hatice Beydilli - Egitim Sen Ankara Branch (no.1) Member
Evrim Özdemir Oğraş - Egitim Sen Ankara Branch (no.1) member
Şefika Şimşek - Egitim Sen Ankara Branch Member
Nezahat Asrav - Egitim Sen Ankara Branch Member
Meral Hız - Egitim Sen Ankara Branch Member

In an urgent appeal to Public Services International and our European branch, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, Tüm Bel Sen General Secretary İzzetin Alpergin says these should be considered illegal arrests as part of “a political operation which undermines our struggle for women’s rights, labour rights, democracy, peace, and freedom.”  

Under Turkey’s AKP government many union members, directors, political party members, human rights activists, elected mayors, intellectuals, academicians, columnists, journalists and lawyers have been imprisoned.

Alpergin adds: “In this context, we have been experiencing a reign of terror in this country so we need you and your affiliates support and solidarity in order to forge public opinion at the international level and stand strong against this atrocity.”

According to SES General Secretary, Mehmet Sıddık Akın, “The people taken into custody are the most important and active organisers of our International Women’s Day activities. We think that these attacks aim to decrease our organisational strength, but we will continue to resist.”
PSI General Secretary Peter Waldorff reiterates that, “The harassment and detention of trade union leaders and activists because of their legitimate democratic activities are serious violations of international human rights law, including the International Labour Organisation convention 87 on freedom of association, ratified by Turkey in 1993.”

EPSU General Secretary Carola Fischbach-Pyttel says, “We will continue to extend our support to Turkish trade unionists against police terror. We will call on members in the European Parliament to come out against such practices of intimidation and suppression.”

Please send your message of PROTEST to:

M. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Istanbul, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 417 04 76, +90 312 419 20 71
E-mail: receptayyip.erdogan@basbakanlik.gov.tr

Mr Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey
Fax: (312) 470 13 16

Please send letters of SOLIDARITY to:

Tüm Bel Sen: posta@tumbelsen.org.tr
SES: ses@ses.org.tr
BES: bes@bes.org.tr
KESK: kesk@kesk.org.tr
E-mail: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr


Please find below the letter that PSI has sent to Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Please send a copy of your letter to rights@world-psi.org.


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