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Cyprus: teacher unions urge Turkey to end political and economic pressure

published 3 March 2011 updated 5 April 2011

Cyprus: Union urges Turkey to end political and economic pressure EI affiliate, the Cyprus Turkish Teachers’ Trade Union (KTOS), has joined other national unions to denounce the impact of AKP policies on education workers in the country.

In a letter by the Union Platform addressed to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cyprus Turkish unions have deplored that “AKP is continuing its policy to culturally and socially marginalise Turkish Cypriots, to impoverish workers and to see them migrate from their own country by using religious propaganda.” The Union Platform, founded in order to protect and develop democratic, social and employee personal rights of the labour organizations, has said Erdogan did not respect the will expressed by tens of thousands people, which exerted their democratic rights by demonstrating against Turkey’s imposed economic and political package and measures. Unionists have added: “We are watching in horror the neo-liberal Islamic policies of AKP on the Turkish working people, and we as a community living in another country would like to declare on behalf of our patriotic and working people that we will not permit these policies and we will not step back.” They have also clearly rejected Erdogan’s statements that the civil servants’ national minimum salary is 10 thousand Turkish Lira, claiming it is in reality 1,540 Turkish Lira. KTOS Secretary General, Sener Elcil said: “In violation of the 1949 Genève conventions, Turkey is transferring its population to the North part of our island and has been granting its citizenship within the separatist state established in 1983. On one hand, the global economic crisis is presented as an excuse to decrease wages and salaries by 40%, and workers are made to pay for this crisis; on the other hand, Turkish Cypriots’ public prerogatives are given to authorities close to the Turkish Republic.” Elcil further deplored the “destruction of a community,” and explained that “our organisations are determined to continue their struggle by the mean of strikes and actions in schools, public institutions and harbours.” EI supports KTOS in its struggle to guarantee human and trade union rights, in particular the right to decent work and wages, and condemns the facts reported by its member organisation. It urges Turkish authorities to end the occupation and let the Cypriote people decide about their future themselves. The European Trade Union Committee for Education, EI Europe region, is also reporting all such incidents to the EU Commission, which is negotiating on Turkey’s possible EU membership.