Five trade unionists belonging to Public Services International (PSI) affiliates in Turkey are currently in prison on trumped up accusations of “belonging to illegal or terrorist organizations” or making propaganda on behalf of such organizations.
The following is a letter written by Paul Moist, CUPE National President, to Abdullah GÜL, President of the Republic of Turkey, to express outrage that our colleagues in the Trade Union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services (SES) and the Union of All Municipality Civil Servants (Tüm Bel Sen) have been arrested and imprisoned for trade union activities.
July 8, 2010
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is extremely concerned with your government’s continued judicial persecution of trade unionists. CUPE represents 600,000 members across Canada, providing a wide range of public services at the regional and municipal level. We are outraged that our colleagues in our sister unions the SES (Trade Union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services) and Tüm Bel Sen (Union of All Municipality Civil Servants) have been arrested and imprisoned for trade union activities.
Ms. Meryem Özsöğüt, executive board member of SES was arrested on June 19, 2010, in connection with her union activities. This is the second time Ms Özsöğüt has been imprisoned on allegations of terrorist activity. She previously spent eight months in prison without any clear evidence of her involvement in or membership of a terrorist organization.
We are appalled at the sentencing of Ms Sheher Tümer, Branch Secretary of SES, and the ongoing detention of Mr Metin Findik, Mr Ferit Epözdemir and Mrs. Belkiza Bestas Epözdemir members of Tüm Bel Sen. It has been documented that their lawyers have had no access to the case files and so have been prevented from preparing their defense.
This flagrant disregard for human and trade union rights must be stopped.
We appeal to your government to take the necessary steps to secure the immediate release of Ms. Özsöğüt and her fellow trade unionists and we demand that Turkey abides by its international obligations to secure the human and trade union rights and freedoms of its workers.
CUPE National President
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