UPDATE 03/04/2019 Arzu Çerkezoğlu appeared in court on 02/04/2019 and her case was adjourned to 09/07/2019
UNI supports Arzu Çerkezoğlu, president of UNI affiliated Turkish care-worker union and of the Turkish trade union confederation DISK, facing imprisonment for advocating democratic free speech
UNI Global Union stands in solidarity with Arzu Çerkezoğlu, president of UNI affiliate Dev Sağlık-İş, who faces up to three years in prison. The penal court of first instance in the city of Sapanca in Turkey will hear her case on Tuesday 2 April.
The case against Çerkezoğlu, is related to comments she made during a public panel in June 2016 in Sapanca which had been organised by Turkey’s largest opposition party CHP (Social Democratic Republican People’s Party).
UNI supports Çerkezoğlu’s right to free speech and her right to call for peaceful protest. The government of Turkey continues what has been described as a ‘suffocating crackdown’ on free speech, with thousands of detentions in the wake of the failed coup attempt in 2016.
In court, Çerkezoğlu is expected to repeat her testimony that to fulfil labour rights we need a democratic and egalitarian society in line with international law, including the relevant ILO conventions.
The charge against Çerkezoğlu brought by the public prosecutor is that she ‘provoked people to be rancorous and hostile’. The union leader faces up to three years imprisonment.
Çerkezoğlu was elected the first female president of DISK in May last year and the following month addressed UNI’s world congress in Liverpool.
The head of UNICare, Adrian Durtschi said, “UNI’s 20 million members send a message of support and solidarity to our sister Arzu. We applaud her for standing up for democratic free speech. Arzu is a champion of workers in Turkey and is committed to safeguarding their right to decent work.”
UNI is closely following her case.