Saturday, July 03, 2010


The Turkish government is presenting holding five unionists on trumped up charges. The Public Service International believes that this is part of a deliberate campaign being waged against workers in Turkey and particularly those of Kurdish descent. The online labour solidarity site Labour Start has initiated a campaign to demand that these people be released. Here's the appeal.

Turkey: Free jailed trade unionists now
Five trade unionists belonging to PSI affiliates in Turkey are currently in prison on trumped up accusations of "belonging to illegal or terrorist organisations" or making propaganda on behalf of such organisations. The prison conditions are harsh and concern is growing over the mental and physical health of the imprisoned unionists. PSI contends that these arrests are part of a deliberate policy by the Turkish authorities to misuse the courts in order to harass and intimidate trade unionists, particularly those belonging to the largely Kurdish confederation, KESK.

During the International Labour Conference in June, Turkey was questioned about the spate of arrests of trade unionists. The cases of Meryem Özsögut and Seher Tümer from SES were specifically mentioned, as well as those of Metin Findik and Ferit and Bestas Epözdemir of PSI affiliate Tüm Bel Sen.

A cloak of secrecy surrounds each case, on orders of the public prosecutor. This means that lawyers are denied access to the detainees and are unable to view their case files.

You can help by sending a letter of protest to the Turkish government.
The Letter:
Please go to this link to send the following letter to the President of Turkey.
Dear President,

I write to the Government of Turkey to protest in the strongest terms possible against the continued judicial persecution of trade unionists.

Ms Meryem Özsöðüt, Executive Board member of PSI affiliate SES (trade union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services) was arrested on 19 June 2010, in connection with her trade union activities. This is the second time Ms Özsöðüt has been imprisoned on allegations of terrorist activity. She previously spent 8 months in an F-type prison without any clear evidence being presented of her involvement in or membership of a terrorist organization.
I also voice outrage at the sentencing of Ms Seher Tümer, Branch Secretary of SES, and the on-going detention of Mr Metin Findik, Mr Ferit Epözdemir and Mrs Belkýza Bestas Epözdemir, members of PSI affiliate Tüm Bel Sen (Union of All Municipality Civil Servants).

I call on your government to take the necessary steps to secure the immediate release of Ms Özsöðüt and her fellow trade unionists and request once again that Turkey abides by its international obligations to secure the human and trade union rights and freedoms of its workers.

Yours sincerely,

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