Turkey: Serious Violation of Press Freedom

An increasing number of serious violations of press freedom and arrest of journalists have been reported in Turkey.

According to the information received by the ITUC from the IFJ and the EFJ (International and European Federation of Journalists), the Turkish government is attacking the TGS (Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi), a union playing a leading role in the Press Freedom Campaign, a campaign to release over 100 journalists currently in jail in Turkey.
The new General Manager of the Anatolian Press Agency (the state news agency) is making efforts to force the agency’s journalists to resign from the TGS. A new union has been formed with the backing of the employer and the government to challenge the TGS, clearly to undermine independent trade unions.
“This situation in Turkey can no longer be tolerated,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary. “We have been denouncing for months now the heavy restrictions on the right to organize unions, government manipulation of union membership figures and the anti-union climate of threat and intimidation.

The authorities should remember that Turkey has ratified all eight core ILO labour conventions including No. 87 on Freedom of Association and No. 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining.”

The ITUC, together with the IFJ and the EFJ, strongly protest against these serious violations of press freedom. In a letter sent to the authorities, the ITUC is urging Prime Minister Erdogan to take all necessary measures to allow the members of the TGS to go about their lawful union activities free from fear of reprisals by their employer and/or the authorities.