M. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister, (9th May 2012)
The Women’s Committee of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) expresses its outrage over the abusive arrests suffered by our women colleagues from the KESK, a trade union affiliated to the ITUC. We demand the immediate release of our nine sisters still imprisoned and the dropping of all charges against the 15 women who were arrested on February 13, 2012. As far we know there is no legal basis for their arrest. The women officers were arrested following a meeting in the KESK offices in Ankara to prepare their 8th March International Women’s Day programme.
Our sisters were imprisoned for speaking out against the intolerable violence suffered by women and the huge gender inequalities that prevail in Turkey and for having exercised their right to organise peaceful mobilisation. Most of the women arrested have helped shape and implement policy on gender equality within the labour movement and in society. The Turkish government, instead of repressing these acts, should support and encourage them as a contribution to social justice and democracy in the country.
To our knowledge, the following women remain in prison:
Güler Elveren, Women’s Secretary of Tüm Bel Sen
Bedriye Yorgun, Women’s Secretary of SES
Belkis Yurtseven, member of the SES Ankara Branch
Hülya Mendillioğlu, member of the SES Ankara Branch
Nurşat Yeşil, member of the SES Ankara Branch.
Canan Çalağan, KESK Women’s Secretary
Guldane Erdogan, Women’s Secretary of Egitim Sen Ankara Branch 2
Hatice Beydilli, member of Egitim Sen Ankara Branch 1
Evrim Özdemir Oğraş, member of Egitim Sen Ankara Branch 1
Six others have been released on bail:
Özden Özmen Gök, SES Ankara Branch Member
Leman Kiraz, SES Former Executive Board Member.
Songul Morsumbul, former KESK Women’s Secretary
Şefika Şimşek, member of the Egitim Sen Ankara Branch
Nezahat Asrav, member of the Egitim Sen Ankara Branch
We demand an immediate end to the harassment of all unions affiliated to KESK and the full compliance with Conventions Nos. 87, 98, 100 and 111 of the ILO (International Labour Organisation). In addition, we call upon the Turkish government to take seriously its responsibility in the fight against all forms of violence against women and to preserve and restore the dignity of women trade unionists.
We will continue to defend freedom of association and expression and women’s rights, in Turkey and all around the world.
ITUC Women’s Committee