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Turkey: 69 trade union leaders to be tried for 'terrorism'
Correction: It was earlier reported that all 69 trade unionists were women; this is not the case. We apologize for the error.
On 4 October, 69 leaders from Turkey's public sector union KESK, will stand trial on terrorism charges for merely engaging in trade union work. This is part of a clear strategy from the authorities to bring the union to its knees. While judicial harassment of unions, and in particular of KESK and its affiliates, has become endemic in Turkey over the past year or so, the court case against KESK has been dragging on for years. The evidence held against those who stand trial is at best flimsy: participation in trade union events and activities (of which photos and videos are being kept on file as "proof"), attending demonstrations or press conferences, participating in strikes, printouts of anonymous reports, illegally tapped phone calls that merely concern trade union-related issues etc.. Of all 69 leaders of KESK who stand trial on 4 October, none has ever been involved in any action related to or resulting in any violence whatsoever. The ITUC, ETUC, EI, EPSU and others in the international labour movement are very concerned that they will be sent to prison as terrorists merely because they stand up for the rights of Turkish public sector workers, including those belonging to minority groups.
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