Educational International (EI) and European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) strongly condemn the police raid against union members of the Confederation of Public Employees’ Unions (KESK) on 13 February in Ankara, in connection with the 8 March celebrations. Fifteen women union leaders were dragged from their bed and taken into custody. The union offices and personal computers were also searched.

Four days after the event, 9 women leaders, including 3 members of EI’s affiliate Egitim Sen, are still under arrest:

•  Canan Çalağan, KESK Women’s Secretary
•  Guldane Erdogan, Women’s Secretary of Egitim Sen Ankara Branch 2
•  Hatice Beydilli, member of Egitim Sen Ankara Branch 1
•  Evrim Özdemir Oğraş, member of Egitim Sen Ankara Branch 1
•  Güler Elveren, Women’s Secretary of Tüm Bel Sen
•  Bedriye Yorgun, Women’s Secretary of SES
•  Belkis Yurtseven, member of the SES Ankara Branch
•  Hülya Mendillioğlu, member of the SES Ankara Branch
•  Nurşat Yeşil, member of the SES Ankara Branch.

Six arrested female officers, including three branch members of the Egitim Sen Ankara branch, have been released on bail:

•  Şefika Şimşek, member of the Egitim Sen Ankara Branch
•  Nezahat Asrav, member of the Egitim Sen Ankara Branch
•  Meral Hız, member of the Egitim Sen Ankara Branch
•  Songul Morsumbul, former KESK Women’s Secretary
•  Özden Özmen Gök, SES Ankara Branch Member
•  Leman Kiraz, SES Former Executive Board Member.

The raid targeted female officers of the following KESK affiliates: the teacher union Egitim Sen, of SES, the Health and  Social Service Workers Union and of TUM BEL SEN, the Union of All Municipality Civil Servants.

The female officers had been meeting earlier in the KESK offices to prepare the 8th March International Women Day program. The KESK Women’s Assembly had adopted a resolution requesting the authorities to make the 8th March an official holiday.

KESK indicated that these illegal arrests should be considered as part of “a political operation which undermines our struggle for women’s rights, labour rights, democracy, peace, and freedom.”

The EI General Secretary requested that EI members strongly protest against these renewed and serious violations of international human and trade union rights.

Please send your message of PROTEST to:

M. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Istanbul, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 417 04 76, +90 312 419 20 71

Mr Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey
Fax: (312) 470 13 16

Please send SOLIDARITY messages to:

Egitim Sen:

Please send a copy of your letters to

You will find the joint letter that EI and ETUCE, together with PSI, EPSU, ETUC and ITUC, have sent to Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan here (pdf).

Education International represents organisations of teachers and other education employees across the globe. It is the world’s largest federation of unions, representing thirty million education employees in about four hundred organisations in one hundred and seventy countries and territories.