Turkey: More Than 100 Trade Unionists Arrested

The ITUC has strongly condemned the full-scale attacks against Turkey’s public sector union carried out by the authorities. On Tuesday 19 February, the police issued arrest warrants for 167 people in 28 of the country’s 81 provinces for alleged links with a terrorist organisation.

It went on to arrest over 50 people in Istanbul, and raided the headquarters of public sector union KESK in Ankara. Over a hundred members of KESK, including Steering Committee member Akman Simsek, were arrested. Mr. Simsek and his wife were later on taken into custody.

In addition to Mr. Simsek and his wife, the police also arrested a woman while she was awaiting her treatment for cancer. A three-month-old baby also ended up in jail, as both its mother and father were arrested.

It is not the first time that the ITUC has to protest the misuse of anti-terrorism laws in Turkey. “We can no longer accept that trade unionists are arrested, detained and jailed under false accusations of terrorism. The Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all arrested trade union members and stop labeling them as terrorists. In a true democracy, trade unionists have the right to play their legitimate role without having to fear being arrested,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 02 04 or +32 476 621 018

photo: Helge F.