Özgen, the head of KESK union meets President over its arrested members’ situation. AA photo
The head of a union, a number of whose members have been arrested in an ongoing terrorism probe, has taken his complaints to President Abdullah Gül, calling the investigation and arrests since the operation kicked off on June 25 “unfair and illegal.”
A total of 71 people, many of them high-level figures in the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), were detained June 25 on charges of membership in the Kurdistan Communities Union
(KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
Six more members were arrested on June 29 as part of the ongoing KCK
probe, while seven members, including Lami Özgen, the confederation’s chairman, were released. Meanwhile, an Ankara
court rejected on July 10 the release demands of arrested KESK members.‘Criminalizing process’
Özgen, speaking to reporters following the meeting with Gül, told reporters that he had handed over a file to the president which contained questions prosecutors had asked him and others about their union activities.
“We said we have been facing a process that is discrediting, criminalizing and oppressing civil society organizations,” Özgen said, noting that Gül pledged to do his part in the upcoming process. The steps to be taken are up to Gül himself, Özgen said.
The request for the meeting was conveyed to Gül a week ago and he replied positively on Tuesday, Özgen said.
During the meeting with Gül, Özgen was accompanied by executives from the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) and the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK).