Journalists Union head İpekçi on hunger strike
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ercan İpekçi (M) protested the Anatolia news agency and said pressure against the members of the union to resign from the union should be ended.Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) chairman Ercan İpekçi began an indefinite hunger strike March 9 outside the Anatolia news agency offices to protest what he described as union-busting efforts by the agency’s administration.
“Pressure against our members to resign from the union should be ended. Our members who resigned from the union under pressure [from the agency’s administration] should have the chance to regain their union membership. There is bullying and oppression, I have no other option other than a hunger strike to draw attention to this. I will continue my action until our demands are recognized,” İpekçi said as he began his protest.
About 400 TGS members working at Anatolia news agency demanded an extraordinary convention to discuss the chairmanship last month. However, İpekçi said the signatures for the convention were forcibly collected by the agency’s general director, Kemal Öztürk.
Öztürk, a former media adviser to PM Erdoğan, was appointed to the state-run Anatolia news agency’s general directory in August 2011. After Öztürk came to his post, about 100 agency staff retired.The agency’s administration allegedly forced the staff to resign from the TGS last month, while about 200 journalists reportedly resigned from the union last week. İpekçi, who also used to work for the agency, said there was a “dictatorship of those who were appointed and who were elected in the agency.”