ITF protests against jail sentences for Turkish trade unionists

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has demanded the unconditional withdrawal of convictions against 14 union members caught up in Turkish government moves to outlaw trade unionism in the country.

Writing to the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ITF president Paddy Crumlin and general secretary Steve Cotton stated:

We wish to strongly protest at your government’s continuing moves to stifle free and democratic trade unionism in Turkey. These include the treatment of fourteen members of the ITF-affiliated TÜMTİS trade union’s Ankara branch who were targeted in dawn raids in 2007 following a complaint by a logistics company where the union had just completed a successful organisation drive. As you will know these men were given prison sentences in 2012.

TÜMTİS and the ITF appealed against those verdicts, but despite international protests and all the evidence of abuse of process – in breach of international law – the appeal court has just upheld the sentences. We the ITF are therefore demanding that the politically-motivated convictions against these colleagues are overturned.

We call on you to listen to the chorus of international disapproval against the victimisation of these members of the TÜMTİS Ankara branch, as well as to the finding of the European Court on Human Rights, and withdraw the politically motivated and deliberately anti-union sentences and charges against Nurettin Kılıçdoğan; Hüseyin Babayiğit; Süleyman Demirtaş; Serdal Cenikli; Cihan Türe; Atilla Yılmaz; Selahattin Demir; İhsan Sezer; Metin Eroğlu; Candan Genç; Binali Güney; Halil Keten; Satılmış Öztürk; and Erkan Aydoğan.

Adding to the pressure for the dropping of charges against the men is a new online campaign hosted by LabourStart. This allows trade unionists and the public to add their voices to the calls for justice for the men at the click of a button. It can be seen here: www.labourstart.org/go/tumtis.

For more information, including the history of the case, please go to: https://goo.gl/D83HsP.

In recent years the ITF has consistently criticised the deliberate persecution of Turkish trade unions and their members by the country’s government, including by mounting coordinated international protests (see https://goo.gl/zznBWQ).

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