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ITF calls for release of Turkish trade union detainees

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9 April 2013 – The ITF has called for the release of Turkish trade unionists detained under unsubstantiated terrorism-related charges. The detainees, who are due to face their first trial hearing in Ankara tomorrow, include Yunus Akil the former President of the ITF’s bus union BTS and international affairs officer Osman Isci.

The trade unionists were detained in one of several operations targeting members of trade unions affiliated to the public sector union centre KESK, which peacefully supports the basic rights of Kurds. They were arrested alongside 67 other union activists during early morning police raids on 25th June 2012, and have been in custody ever since.

ITF Acting General Secretary Stephen Cotton today declared:
“There is no evidence or legal basis for these cases. The four and a half million transport workers in the ITF strongly support their sister unions in Turkey and their eyes are on the Turkish authorities. We urge them to ensure justice is done today, by releasing the detainees”

“We additionally call on the Turkish state to live up to its obligations, as a member of the international community, and to guarantee the respect of trade union rights and all human rights in Turkey.”
A delegation of international trade unionists is in Ankara to observe the trial, including representatives of the ITF¹s sister global and European federations.

“We send a strong message of support and solidarity to our affiliate BTS, to Yunus Akil and Osman Isci. The ITF is behind them in their fight for workers’ rights and justice” Cotton added.

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