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Operation against KESK: 35 KESK Trade UNIONists in Police Custody

Operations in five provinces have led to the detention of 35 trade UNIONists.

Thursday In the early morning of Thursday (28 May), the police took Songül Morsümbül, member of the central executive board of the KESK trade UNION confederation and women’s secretary, as well as Gülçin Isbert, women’s secretary of the educational Eğitim-Sen trade UNION into custody.

The trade UNION Eğitim-Sen is a member of the KESK confederation.

No prosecutor present during search

Later, the headquarters of KESK, the confederation of trade UNIONs of public employees, was searched. Press spokesperson Tamer Kozaklı told bianet that the police, which had surrounded the building, entered when lawyers arrived and searched Morsümbül’s office. According to NTV news, Morsümbül was taken into custody at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.

Zübeyde Kılıç, president of Eğitim-Sen, said that Isbert had been taken into custody by gendarmerie stopping a bus from Istanbul to Ankara. Kılıç added that she did not know the reason for the detentions, and that the KESK building had been searched without the presence of a prosecutor.

35 people detained

Eğitim-Sen has announced that members have been taken into custody in different provinces. The trade UNION has demanded the release of its members.

According to various TV channels, the operation, in which 35 people were taken into custody in the provinces of Istanbul, Izmir, Manisa, Van and Ankara, was targeting the PKK.

Following the local elections of 29 March, a similar operation took place against leading members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on 14 May. 52 people are still under arrest.

DTP members, intellectuals and other dissident groups, including KESK, had protested against the operation against the party.

Evren: Such an operation unnecessary
Sami Evren, president of KESK, has said that he did not know the reason for the operation against the trade UNIONists.

The operation was decided on by the Izmir 10th Heavy Penal Court

In a press statement, Evren said that it was not right to label the operation a “PKK operation” when no details were clear yet. He also criticised the style of the operation, saying, “These people are members of our trade UNION. Their work places and addresses are known, and the police could have called them for statements. With such an operation, our image is damaged, which is unacceptable.”

Protests organised

Emirali Şimşek, general secretary of KESK, told bianet that the operation had started at 5.30 am. Among those taken into custody were KESK’s former general secretary Abdurrahman Daşdemir, Eğitim-Sen’s former women’s secretary Elif Akgün and Yüksel Mutlu from the Peace Parliament’s Secretariate.

Şimşek also criticised the fact that there had be no prosecutor present during the search of the KESK headquarters.

He announced that people would gather in Istanbul’s Gezi Park in Taksim, as well as in other cities in Turkey, at 6 pm in protest at the operation.