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Turkey: Stop the judicial harassment against unionists

On 13 December 2012, Turkey will see a new episode in the judicial harassment against trade unionists, as three women unionists, including Güldane Erdo?an from the teacher union Egitim Sen, will appear in front of the Court in Ankara. Those women were amongst of the 15 female union leaders who were arrested on 13 February 2012 in connection with the International Women’s Day preparations. Six of them were released by the Court last month, as nothing linking their legitimate trade union activities to any illegal activity was found.

Education International (EI)is launching a new urgent action appeal to condemn the on-going governmental persecution and judicial harassment against trade unionists in Turkey who are targeted for exercising their rights to freely associate and peacefully demonstrate.

EI invites you to take action now and send your protest message to the government of Turkey:


Please give high visibility to the appeal by recommending it to your colleagues, your union members and your networks. Post it on your website, Facebook and Twitter.


In recent years, many trade union members and leaders have been arrested and detained supposedly for having unproven connections to illegal organisations. On 28 October 2011, 25 Egitim Sen and KESK members were condemned to 6 years and 5 months imprisonment despite large international mobilization and protests. On 25 June 2012, police actions across Turkey resulted in the arrests of 71 union leaders and activists in their homes and offices, including 3 members of the Executive Board of Egitim Sen – Mehmet Bozgeyik, General Secretary; Sakine Eren Y?lmaz, Gender Secretary and Abdullah Karahan, Secretary for Financial Affairs.

These arrests are part of a disturbing pattern of injustice against individuals and groups – many are teachers, trade unionists, journalists, political activists, or members of the human rights community – seeking to exercise their basic rights as citizens.

To date, 66 trade unionists (28 from Egitim Sen) remain in detention in Turkey; and many more are waiting to appear in the court.

EI wrote to the Turkish authorities to express its serious concern over the recent events in Turkey in which trade unionists representing teachers, health and social workers, and local government employees have been targeted. EI also reminded the government that the harassment and detention of trade union leaders and activists becauseof their legitimate democratic activities are serious violations of the ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association and Convention 98 on collective bargaining, both ratified by Turkey.

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