On Monday some 10 trade unionists – members of the Executive Committee of ETUC member KESK - were arrested in several cities across Turkey along with journalists and politicians from the HDP opposition party.
The arrests were made in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Diyarbakir and Bursa and relate to the organisation of and participation in a demonstration in 2016.
“There was no need to make these arrests” said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. “For alleged offences relating to the right to demonstrate, the accused could simply have been summoned to present themselves to the authorities. Instead police smashed their way into people’s homes, using a show of force to terrify their families.
“It is intimidation of people active in trade unions and politics and a warning to their families, probably in an attempt to silence critics in the run up to the municipal elections next year. It is contrary to human rights and democratic principles.”
“We will protest to the Turkish authorities, to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and to EU and international bodies.”
Thankfully the trade unionists were released earlier today, but the harassment, intimidation, arrest and imprisonment of trade unionists is a regular occurrence in Turkey, and the ETUC will continue to protest such actions until it is possible for a trade unionist to go about lawful and peaceful activities in Turkey without fear of interference by the authorities.