More Than 100 Trade Union Leaders Face Imprisonment in Turkey

More than 100 Turkish trade union leaders and members have received criminal indictments for participation in a massive workers’ rights protest that occured in Ankara on April 1st of this year, and are now facing 5 year prison terms if found guilty. The charges — which have yet to be substantiated by Turkish police — are believed to be government retribution for the TEKEL (Turkish Tobacco and Alcohol Monopoly Workers) union’s fight against the government’s decision to summarily privatize state-run TEKEL without negotiation, leaving 12,000 employees jobless overnight.

From a statement by the IUF, the international umbrella union with which the Turkish food workers (TEKGIDA-IS ) are affiliated:

The union ceased public action and waited for a response to their demands for new employment with acquired rights — as required under Turkish law. When the government failed to offer anything concrete, TEKGIDA-IS and their many supporters demonstrated again in Ankara on April 1, 2010. They were beaten and pepper-gassed — and now they face prison. The list of those indicted by the Ankara Public Prosecutor include TEKGIDA-IS President Mustafa Turkel. The indictments are intended to cripple the labour movement in Turkey by criminalizing protest action in defense of employment and social rights. Labour law in Turkey already severely restricts organizing and bargaining rights.

Trials for the indicted union officers and members are set to begin June 3rd, 2011.  

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition demanding that all charges be immediately and unconditionally withdrawn.


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Photo credit: Wikimedia commons


KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago


Wendy Mason
Wendy Mason6 years ago

bah humbug making up "reasons" to discount civil liberties is just so pathetic. man up

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Ximena Verónica O.

Que ridiculez, ¿los trabajadores turcos protestan por sus derechos, sea cual fuera que haya sido violado, y son apresados durante cinco años en un país que se dice demócrata?!!!!!!!!. En Chile cada vez que tenemos protestas se apresan a los manifestantes junto con los vándalos que inducen los desordenes y dejan a todos en libertad previo pago de fianzas!!!!!!!!. Esto también es una injusticia pero por lo menos todavía podemos protestar.

Bernadette P.
berny p6 years ago

Laws restricting right to peaceful protest being considered in previously liberal countries. Police given greater powers to hold prisoners without trial in UK and US (for terrorism obviously - what about the scary TERRORISTS?!?!)

IF you look at prostester ...THEY ARE NOT PEACEFUL.....if you do it peacefully fine ...if not...then they have to be stopped....many business have folded because of them and that is not acceptable...freedom...yes....riots NO!

Zee Kallah
.6 years ago

Well, how about that?

Cesar L.
Cesar L.6 years ago

help people out

Jan G.
Jan G.6 years ago

Helen S. , Unfortunately,the EU has nothing to do with human rights. It's essentially an opportunist alliance between corrupt bureaucrats in Brussels and big business that buys laws from them.Nobody in Brussels cares how many Kurds are killed or expelled in Eastern Anatolia by the Turk as long as it doesn't lead to bloodshed and destructions under their noses in the streets of European cities infested with Kurds and Turks. And you are really naive if you believe that any culture and religion can produce democracy and human rights.A swift look at history should have told you they don't do that!Quite teh contrary, democracy and human rights are in fact luxury peculiar to and possible only few cultures and religions.Islam as an intolerant oppressive and primitive cult is in principle incompatible with democrcay and human rights.Note that Turkey is a 99,8%(sic!) purely Islamic monoculture - the feat achieved with repeated genocides,forced conversions and expulsions of non-Moslems to which Kemal himself - the so called "Ataturk" - had contributed most exterminating probably more than 2 mln Christians.So let's be realistic and speaking figuratively let's not expect that pine-trees will one day bear apple-pines because both share a common word!

Helen S.
Helen S.6 years ago

How can we consider the entry of Turkey into the EU with such a poor record of human rights? My oppostion is not about culture or religion, but the lack of democracy and human rights.

Celine V.
Celine V6 years ago

Petition signed. Thank you.