Turkey: Arrest of union leaders – Discrimination and dismissals
In the aftermath of the attempted coup in July 2016, civil liberties have been severely downtrodden in Turkey and trade unions and their members have been systematically targeted under the guise of the state of emergency. In April 2017 alone, more than 2,125 persons were detained and 3,974 workers were dismissed from public services. During the year, the government banned numerous strikes organised in the glass and the metal sectors because it deemed them “prejudicial to national security”.
In April 2017, 14 TUMTIS officials, including Ankara branch president Nurettin Kılıçdoğan, received heavy prison sentences ranging from 1.5 years to 6.5 years for recruiting new members and obstructing the freedom of conducting business, while Zeynep Çelik, a nurse and former DISK Executive Committee member, was arrested in May 2017.
In August 2017, 682 teachers in the southeastern provinces, all members of Eğitim-Sen (Union of Education Workers), were subject to compulsory reassignment in other provinces for “participating in marches contrary to the Turkish Republic’s fight against terrorism”.
In February 2018, Elif Cuhadar, a KESK Executive Committee member, was arrested for statements she had made during a panel discussion in 2014.
Three other public service trade union members, Cagdas Yazici, Recep Temel and Idil Ugurlu, were detained without due process in March 2018.