KESK has been established by progressive public employees in 1995 yet it has a longer history. It is a national confederation of 11 trade unions that organises all public sectors. Currently, KESK has about 150.000 members in all public services. However, KESK is the voice of 2 millions of public officers in Turkey.


Considering labour as the key driving force in history,

Recognising the fact that trade union movement is part of the broader struggle for democracy and freedom,

KESK defends public services that are free, equal, and accessible for everyone, of the highest quality and provided in mother tongue.

KESK struggles to achieve full rights and freedoms for workers. These rights and freedoms include collective barganing rights and right to strike. Our struggle centralises in protection and promotion of economic, democratic, social, political, legal, cultural, professional rights and interests of public employees.

KESK organises activities and actions based on universal human rights principles. In this respect, KESK defends all rights and freedoms enshrined in  international instruments particularly ILO Conventions.

Our confederation is against all forms of discrimination in all parts of social and professional life. Furthermore, KESK aims to eliminate all problems based on unemployment and poverty.

Some Key Principles:

Gender equality is a key principle for KESK. Accordingly, KESK created certain administrative structures namely co-presidency, women’s secretary and women assembly.  In this respect, KESK is one of the driving forces to achieve gender equliaty in Turkey.

KESK is aware of the fact that people destroy nature. KESK struggles for protection of nature and environment.

Public employees are prevented from joining a political party in Turkey. KESK defends that all public employees should be free to join a political party.

KESK carries out its activities and actions based on democractic principles; inclusive, transparent, participatoary and accountable.


KESK has been critical to wrong public policies and raising its concerns about potential problems resulting from such policies and practices. As a result of this position, KESK faces various forms of judicial and administrative harassment. KESK members and leaders are arrested by security officers and detained by courts; they are beaten by police forces; suspended or even dismissed from the public services. Moreover, there are dozens of KESK members and leaders who were killed by unknown forces in the 1990s. There are also colleagues who had to leave the country and live in exile.

National and international initatives

As a key actor in the struggle for labour rights, democracy, peace, and equality in Turkey, KESK is part of various national initiatives and coordinations. KESK makes contributions to various organisations in Turkey. Our efforts focus on peace, democracy and equality.

Similarly, Our confederation is fully aware of the significance of being part of the international trade union movement. Accordingly, KESK is the only affiliate of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) from the public sector in Turkey. In addition to the organic relation with ITUC and ETUC, KESK is in close cooperation and solidarity with trade unions and labour movements as well as democratic forces across the world.