Public service union wins freedom of expression case for European Court of Human Rights

The Turkish union Egitim Sen (Education and Science Workers Union), member of KESK won an important victory in a freedom of expression and association case. The union defends the right to be educated in one’s mother tongue. It had put this in the second article of its by laws saying that “it is the the right of all individuals to receive democratic, secular, scientific teaching, free of charge in their mother tongue”. The Turkish government prosecuted the union and threatened to close it down if the term mother tongue was not deleted from the constitution. The union complied but brought the case before the European Court of Human Rights. It argued that the Turkish government was interfering in the trade union’s affairs and this was a violation of the freedom of expression, assembly and association which are protected by the Convention. Please find attached the press statement of ECRH for more details.

Members and leadership of Egitim Sen and other KESK unions such as Tum-Bel Sen, SES and BES are regularly attacked by the Turkish authorities. EPSU was part of a delegation that attended a recent court case against arrested representatitves. For more information see www.epsu.org/a/9002

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