EPSU calls for solidarity with Turkish unions

Türkiye solidarity banner

(21 September 2023) The leaders and members of the SES Union will be in court next week due to their trade union activities. Ahead of the next hearing on 2 October, EPSU demands the juridical authorities drop all the charges and calls on its affiliates to show solidarity with SES.

What happened?

In May 2021, police organised a dawn raid against SES, the Health and Social Service Workers Union of Türkiye. Then, a heavy penal court arrested our trade union colleagues, including current and former co-presidents Ms. Selma Atabey and Ms. Gonul Erden, respectively. The official accusation was terrorism, but the real reason behind this persecution was their trade union activities.

Gonul Erden, the former chair, was sent to prison on 21 September 2021. She was released in the hearing, attended by Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU General Secretary, on 13 March 2023.

Selma Atabey (the chair of the union at that time, now the woman secretary) was arrested on 5 July 2022, and was released after a hearing almost one year later, on 6 June 2023. Françoise Geng, EPSU Vice-President, was there to welcome her in front of the prison.

Along with EPSU executives, an international delegation of trade unionists of many EPSU affiliates was present at the hearings.

Although no trade unionist remains in prison, some of our colleagues are still under house arrest. The charges are also still standing. SES members and executives are under constant threat of arrest.

EPSU affiliates will show solidarity with SES throughout the week and demand an acquittal from the juridical authorities. We’ll be sharing the solidarity pictures from our affiliates on our social media channels as we receive.