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I am writing to you on behalf of the International Trade UNION Confederation (ITUC) which represents more than 175 million workers in 156 countries, including Turkey, to vigorously protest the relentless repression of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which consists of two ITUC-affiliated national UNION centres and several professional associations.

The UNION centres are the Confederation of Progressive Trade UNIONs of Turkey (DISK) and the Confederation of Public Workers’ UNIONs (KESK). The professional associations include doctors’, engineers’ and architects’ associations.

The repression went as far as to call for a special midnight plenary session on Tuesday 9 July and to push through a new piece of legislation, in a couple of hours only, which increases ministerial supervision over all trade chambers, cuts their income and curtails their ability to review and approve relevant public projects. This was clearly a move by your ruling AK Party, which used its majority in Parliament to retaliate against a number of professional associations which had been supportive of the massive popular protests which have left your country in turmoil for several weeks now, especially the UNION of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), which had joined the Taksim Solidarity Platform to express its support for the Gezi Park protests.

In their determination to retaliate against everyone who puts your policies into question, Turkish police also searched the house of DISK General Secretary Arzu Atabek Çerkezoglu. The search warrant needed for this was presented only afterwards, access to her house was forced by breaking the door, personal belongings including a computer were confiscated and both Ms. Çerkezoglu and her husband, who is a spokesperson for Turkey’s medical association, were detained.

On Monday 8 July, the governor of Istanbul organised a press conference, together with a.o. the mayor of the city and the chief of police. A statement was issued saying that Gezi Park was open to the public again. Nevertheless, when a delegation from the Taksim Solidarity Platform wanted to go there, the police immediately detained 48 of them, in an operation in which in total, 80 people were detained.

They were immediately tried by the Court of Justice, and twelve of them were arrested. The charges against them include “belonging to a criminal organisation” and “inciting people to disobey the law”.

Prime Minister, since the beginning of the protests in your country, your government has lashed out against protestors with completely disproportionate force, which has deeply tarnished your country’s image abroad. The statistics are very telling: over 4,000 detentions, 134 arrests, and 7,832 people were injured of whom 60 very seriously (eleven of them lost their eyesight following the extortionate use of teargas by the Turkish police). Finally, five people have died, of whom three workers.

These are horrible figures which are unacceptable for a country which calls itself a democracy. They fly in the face of the right to freedom of association, such as enshrined in the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 87, which has been ratified by your country.

It is with growing disbelief that the ITUC notes that your government only increases the repression and the abuse of power to silence all opposition. Time and again, we have protested the abuse of the judiciary to muzzle trade UNIONs in Turkey. The abuse of AKP’s majority in parliament can now be added to this, as well as the non-relenting use of violence by the police to crush popular dissent. We urgently and emphatically call on your government to immediately stop this way of dealing with anything it perceives as a problem, and to immediately and unconditionally ensure that all the people who were detained on Monday 8 July are released and the charges against them DROPped, and that the professional associations who were stripped of their funding and their basic competencies by the abovementioned legislative package, have them restored and guaranteed.