The mission, from 3 to 5 May 2017, met with leading political parties the AKP, CHP and HDP; the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; the EU Turkey Delegation: the ILO Country Office; the Turkish Union of Bar Associations; human rights organizations and journalists.
According to different reports, around 100,000 people have been have been detained and arrested since the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. In the meantime, almost 140,000 civil servants, teachers, bureaucrats and academics have lost their jobs in the country and around 150 media outlets have been shut down, with 159 journalists imprisoned.
The state of emergency in Turkey, which has recently been extended, gives the president the power to bypass parliament, rule by decree and suspend rights and freedoms.
The delegation to the Turkish capital Ankara, included representatives from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), IndustriALL, UNI, European Public Services Union (EPSU), European Trade Union Committee for Teachers (ETUCE) and national centers from Germany (DGB), Great Britain (TUC) and Belgium (FGTB).
In a statement made following the mission and released together with Turkish unions Turk-Is, Hak-Is, DISK and KESK, participants expressed deep concern at the massive wave of dismissals, which have been carried out without justification or proof.
The joint statement also said the state of emergency and the decrees have gone far beyond what is necessary for security reasons and are disproportionate. Meanwhile, the dismissals and suspensions are destroying the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers, becoming a humanitarian problem.
As well as the negative effective of state repression on business, investment and jobs; pressing issues such as the much-needed improvements in occupational health and safety, precarious work and the renewal of collective bargaining agreements have been put aside, said the mission.
In the meetings, the delegation demanded that the Turkish authorities to lift the state of emergency, stop the dismissals and arrests, and called for the release of all detained workers, public employees, journalists and parliamentarians who have been imprisoned without any clear accusation.
The mission called on the Turkish authorities to restore freedom of expression, speech and the media; and reopen the democratic media outlets that have been forced to shut down.
They also demanded respect for and implementation of ILO core labor standards, in particular Conventions 87 and 98 on trade union rights.
Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL, who also represented industriALL Europe in the delegation, said:
“The situation in Turkey is getting worse and worse. Our high level mission again made it clear that we will continue to stand by Turkish trade unions and the forces in society which support the cornerstones of democracy, such as basic freedoms and the rule of law.
In March this year, IndustriALL Global and European trade Unions conducted another mission to Turkey to support workers with a clear demand that “All barriers before fundamental rights and union organizing in our country must be lifted”.