The Arrested Executive Committee Members of KESK Affiliates Must be Immediately Released!

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State of Emergency practices, which are arbitrary and unlawful, are still in force. Continuous pressure, arrests and detention cases have become part of daily life.

The upcoming local elections, public employees and workers’ struggle for labour and trade union rights, KESK regional demonstration in İzmir and preparatory activities for other regional demonstrations to be held in Samsun, Adana, Diyarbakır and İstanbul, women’s activities to protest violence against women must have worried the political power and the state. This is why KESK members were arrested by security officers.

Less then 24 hours after the violent police intervention in İstanbul, several colleagues were arrested by security officers on 26 November 2018. The following KESK members were taken into custody: with Ms Gönül Erden, the Co-President of Trade Union of Employees in Public Health and Social Services (SES), Mr Yılmaz Yıldırımcı, General Secretary  of Union of All Municipality Civil Servants (Tüm Bel-Sen) and Mr Adem Yavuz, the executive committee member of Tüm-Bel-Sen, Mr Ramazan Tas, former executive committee member of Media Communication and Postal Employees Union (HABERSEN), Mr Yusuf Güler, Head of Audit Board of Tüm-Bel-Sen. In addition to KESK members, several other journalists and political party and and NGO representatives were arrested by the officers.

All these arrested people have a permanent resident of which address is known by the officers. Had they been summoned to make their statements, they could have gone to the public prosecutor’s office. However, the Government deliberately implements this policy in a systematic way because it aims to silence dissident voices through arrest and detention practices, to create and maintain climate of fear. In order to maintain its power and legitimize its fascist policies, the Government presents activities to join democratic events as if a criminal offence. Freedom of assembly is not a right that is at governors or administrators’ discretion only. We do not have to obey governors’ arbitrary decisions. We do not have any obligation to obey orders that are contrary to law and the Constitution.

Joining a press conference, freedom of thought and expression activities, and other type of democratic actions and events are part of fundamental rights and freedoms that are under the protection of the constitution. Therefore, initiating an investigation,let alone the practice of arrest, is contrary to the Constitution.

KESK has learned that our colleagues were arrested for joining an activity called White Flag to demand peace in Sakarya Avenue, Ankara, in 2016. The activity was organized on the basis of SES Executive Committee’s decision and supported by several organizations.

It is unacceptable to consider peace demand a criminal offence. In the period of increasing armed clashes in our country and the region, what demand can be more human activity than peace demand per se. As it was a case in the past, public employees and workers will struggle for peace now and in the future no matter what will be the result.

Law has never been destroyed at this level. There is no period that violations of fundamental rights and freedoms reached at this level. KESK would like to warn the political power once again that arrest and detention practices will not remove us from struggle for labour, peace and democracy!

KESK condemns the arrest of our colleagues. They must be immediately released and such pressure practices contrary to law must stop.

KESK Executive Committee

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