Turkey: Free jailed trade unionists now
On 25 June, Turkish police detained 71 trade union members and leaders in around 20 cities. They are members of the ITUC-affiliated Confederation of Public Sector Workers’ Unions (KESK) and the KESK-affiliated unions such as BTS, Tarim Orkam-Sen, Egitim-Sen, SES, Tum Bel-Sen, BES, ESM and Haber-Sen. The police raided the union offices and houses of trade unionists in the early hours of the day. This attack – carried out under the pretext of an operation against an illegal terrorist organisation – is the latest in a number of acts of intimidation and harassment against trade unions and their members during the years under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). For example, in February this year, 15 women leaders and activists of a number of KESK-affiliated unions were arrested. While the first link between Turkey’s trade unions and any real or perceived terrorist organisation has yet to be found, the authorities leave no opportunity untapped to refer to such an alleged link as an excuse for harsh and arbitrary repression. Join the ITUC and Global Union Federations such as EI, ITF and PSI in condemning these anti-union harassment tactics by sending this message to Prime Minister Erdogan, urging him to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all 71 detained trade unionists.