Education International
Education International

Attacks continue on Turkish teachers

published 5 June 2009 updated 5 June 2009

Turkish police and security forces used excessive violence against teachers who were demonstrating for the right to collective bargaining.

According to a 5 June statement from Mehmet Bozgeyik, Secretary General of Egitem Sen, EI’s affiliate in Turkey, many members of the union were severely beaten by the security forces as they marched through the streets of the capital city, Akara.

“Today, the marching columns of Egitim Sen members who departed from all over Turkey on 3 June reached Ankara to demand the right to collective bargaining for public workers,” Bozgeyik said.

Union members declared their intention to march to the building of Ministry of National Education, but they were confronted by police, who employed tear gas against the protesters. Some teachers, including at least one member of Egitem Sen’s National Executive Board, were beaten and wounded, and taken to hospital. At least one teacher required surgery.

“The city center which was encircled by the security forces at the moment is transformed to a battlefield,” Bozgeyik reported. “Members of the union … have been staying there and conducting a sitting protest at the moment. The demonstration goes on.”

Last week Education International wrote to the government of Turkey to condemn the fact that more than 30 members of Egitim Sen were arrested in the early hours of 28 May. In a strongly-worded letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, EI deplored this police action against democratic trade union organisations.

EI will continue to support its member organisation and its full and free trade union rights.

Below are the names of the 14 trade unionists still in custody since 28 May.

o Abdurrahman Dasdemir, Former KESK General Secretary o Elif Akgül Ates, Former Egitim-Sen Women's Secretary o Lami Özgen, Egitim-Sen Ankara Branch member o Haydar Deniz, Egitim-Sen representative in Izmir/Bergama o Sermin Günes, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Nihat Keni, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Mehmet Hanifi Kuris, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Sakine Esen Yilmaz, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Aydin Güngörmez, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Mustafa Beyazbal, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Harun Gündes, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Abdulcelil Demir, Egitim-Sen Izmir Branch member o Hasan Umar, Egitim-Sen Van Branch member o Hasan Soysal, United Trade Union of Transport Employees (BTS) Izmir Branch member