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Take action NOW to help free Cihan Erdal!

In partnership with The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canada's largest trade union.


Cihan Erdal was ordered released on June 15, 2021 by the presiding judge, pending the conclusion of the criminal trial. The release is conditional, and Cihan is subject to conditions. He must remain in Turkey and must report to the local police station twice per week.

While this is certainly good news, Cihan Erdal remains under conditions that prevent him from returning to his residence in Ottawa, Canada, separated from his spouse and family. He also remains at risk of future imprisonment based on charges that are clear violations of his freedom of association and freedom of expression.

Under the circumstances, our fight continues. We want Cihan home!

CUPE 4600 member Cihan Erdal has been unjustly jailed in Turkey since September 2020. CUPE is pressing the Canadian government to support Cihan as he prepares for trial on 14 June, and to work to get him released from jail and safely home to Canada.

Cihan is a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, a sociologist, an academic, youth researcher, peace and LGBTI+ activist. He is a PhD student at Carleton University in Canada.

Cihan was detained 7 months ago in Istanbul, Turkey where he was conducting his research. He was kept in a basement cell of a detention center with no air circulation and daylight for 8 days before he was transferred to a prison in Ankara.

He was kept in solitary confinement for one month. He could only leave his cell for 1 hour each day. Access to books, school materials and legal assistance was strictly restricted.

Cihan is imprisoned because he was, 7 tyears ago, a member of the People's Democratic Party in Turkey (HDP in Turkish). The HDP was and is a legal political party that opposes many of the policies of the current Turkish government. The evidence against him? 2 social media posts.

More than 30 international organizations and 2500+ academics have released statement in support of his release. His colleagues and friends organized events in Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, and Turkey.

The next few weeks are critical. We need to make Cihan’s case a top priority for the Turkish government, and demand action.

CUPE National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury have sent a letter to Canadian foreign affairs minister Marc Garneau with three specific demands for action and reiterating CUPE’s call last fall for Canada to work on Cihan’s behalf. You can help by reminding the Ankara Prosecutor, Turkish Minister of Justice and the President of Turkey of their country's human rights obligations and encourage them to release Cihan and to allow him to return home.

Our solidarity will help get Cihan safely home.

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