There were muted celebrations in Ankara today (on Thursday, 27th October) among trade union members generally and members of Egitim-Sen, in particular, when the Judge in the Second Labour Court announced his decision that the union did not have to close down because it had removed the article from its constitution which had led to the Supreme Court’s decision that it should be closed.
The celebrations were muted not only because this is the Moslem holy month of Ramadan and a large proportion of the people of Ankara are Moslem, but also because the Judge pointed out in announcing his decision that the Attorney General of Ankara had eight days within which he could appeal the decision back to the Supreme Court! After the court hearing a visibly-relieved President of Egitem-Sen, Aladdin Dincer, addressed the large crowd which had been demonstrating outside the court from early morning. He welcomed the decision and said that it was an important step for democracy and for trade union rights in Turkey. The demonstrators were surrounded by a large force of armed police. It was a peaceful, if noisy, demonstration, however, and the large numbers participating were a clear indication of the support for Egitim-Sen among its own members and other trade unionists. Sources in the union stated that international pressure had played an important and very significant part in ensuring that the union was not shut down. They are hopeful that that pressure will also prevent an appeal being submitted against the decision of the Judge in the Second Labour Court. Further letters of support for the union to the Turkish Government would be welcome over the next eight days! Charlie lennon, 27th October 2005.