Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The following appeal for solidarity comes from the online labour solidarity site Labour Start.
Turkey: Free jailed trade union leaders:
Recently, the Turkish government has been systematically pressuring KESK (the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Unions) with banishments, dismissals, investigations, detentions and arrests. The operation against KESK started on 28th May 2009 in the early hours (about 04:00 AM), and 22 trade unionists including KESK women's secretary Songül Morsümbül, former General Secretary Abdurrahman Daşdemir, women's secretary of EĞİTİM-SEN Gülçin İsbert and former one Elif Akgül Ateş were arrested and the number of KESK arrested members increased to 32. These people are now in "F-Type", or small group isolation prisons. On 28th May 2009, the headquarter of KESK, its branches in İzmir and Van and houses and workplaces of the detained members were raided and searched by the Gendarmerie. In the search of the office of Songül Morsümbül in KESK all official documents, national and international documents about women's issues and trade union activities were seized as evidence of crime. These proceedings took place in contradiction of the Code of the Constitution and Criminal Procedure. In Turkey, collective "talks" by which the living and working conditions of public employees are to be determined, are going to be launched on 15th August. KESK took the first step of our struggle for transforming Collective Talks into Collective Agreements on 15th May. KESK had organized a great demonstration against the effects of the economic crisis in Ankara on 29th November and in İstanbul on 15th February with the participation of more than 100.000 people. On May Day KESK demonstrated in Taksim Square. On 5th June 2009, the march of Eğitim-Sen (the biggest teachers’ union) was prevented by the police using very extreme violence. KESK calls on the Turkish government to secure the immediate release of all trade unionists, to take any necessary steps to guarantee their safety and to abide by the international norms ratified by Turkey.
Please go to THIS LINK tos end the following letter to the Turkish authorities.
I have learned of the operation against KESK started on 28th May 2009, in which 22 trade unionists including executive committee members were arrested and the number of KESK arrested members increased to 32. The living conditions in the prison are very bad and one of the trade unionists is now ill. The basic principles of law were violated as the headquarters of KESK was raided and searched by the gendarmerie, and many documents were seized. This anti-trade union attitude, and these detentions and raids are the clear violation of ILO Convention No. 87 that was signed by Turkey in 1993. The rights of the workers can only be exercised in an atmosphere that is free of violence, pressure and threats. Therefore I firmly condemn this anti-union attack and I urge you to release all KESK members immediately and unconditionally.

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