Turkey: teacher trade unionists arrested on terrorism charges for demanding collective bargaining rights

On 28 May, the Turkish police invaded headquarters of KESK (the public sector trade union confederation) in Ankara as well as their local offices in Izmir, Istanbul, Van and Manisa. More than 30 Egitim Sem members (teaching union affiliated to KESK) were arrested. Six of them were released the same day. The others remain in detention! 

According to the Turkish press, the operation was part of a “bigger operation aimed at cracking down on the terrorist organisation PKK", but they coincide with big demonstrations in Ankara by the Egitim-Sen union calling for collective bargaining rights.   

Unfortunately, these actions are consistent with many others carried out by the Turkish state against Turkish trade unionists exercising their right to freedom of association. The TUC therefore joins with the ITUC in calling for the imprisoned trade unionists must be freed and all other threats of imprisonment against independent trade unionists for their legitimate activities should be lifted.

Sean Bamford 

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