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John Monks, ETUC General Secretary declared: ‘It is a blow for the European trade UNIONs to hear that an unknown person got into the DISK President’s office and fired at him. We have been relieved to hear that the wounds are not serious. It remains that these kinds of attempts are not acceptable. Trade UNION action is a right and trying to take the life of one of the leaders flouts this fundamental right’.

Strong shock at murder attempt against President of DISK, ETUC Turkish affiliate
The European Trade UNION Confederation (ETUC) expresses shock after an armed raid against Süleyman Celebi, President of the Confederation of Progressive Trade UNIONs of Turkey (DISK), one of the ETUC affiliated organisations.


Süleyman Çelebi, the head of the Confederation of Progressive Trade UNIONs, or DİSK, was shot in the legs and feet in his room at DİSK’s building in central Şişli on Monday, news channels reported.

Cahit Tunçbilek, the assailant, was revealed to police by the UNION members and Tayfun Görgün, the general secretary of DİSK, who were near Çelebi in his room at the time of the shooting.

Tunçbilek was using his brother’s ID card, and first disclosed his name as Rıza Tunçbilek. Cahit Tunçbilek is in his 50s, according to witnesses. DİSK is open to everyone who asks for help and Çelebi usually meets people who ask, said DİSK’s leaders.

“He immediately took out a gun and shot him. He shot once, I tried to intervene and he pointed the gun at me, then at the bodyguard. Then he continued shooting Çelebi until we stopped him,” said Görgün, one of the closest witnesses of the event, talking to news channel CNNTurk.

With three or four bullet wounds on his legs and feet, Çelebi was transferred to hospital, but not in life threatening condition. Two bullets remained in his legs as he went into surgery, said Mücahit Akmanoğlu, the chief physician of Florane Nightingale Hospital where Çelebi was hospitalized.

Meanwhile Istanbul Gov. Muammer Güler said the suspect was carrying two full-clips and 37 more bullets with him. “What makes us happy is that Çelebi’s health condition is good and we have the weapon,” he said.  

Fahrettin Erdoğan, the DİSK press adviser, said he had seen Tunçbilek a couple of times before in DİSK’s building but he did not know him. “I heard the sound of the gun and ran upstairs,” he said. Erdoğan said the police came late despite being called from 155, the police emergency line. Officials asked questions like “Where is DİSK?”

“They always come early, but this time they came very late. Moreover, our friends brought police officers from a nearby police station,” he said.  

It is not the first time a DİSK leader’s life was threatened. Kemal Türkler, the head of DİSK in 1980, was shot to death.