From EMEP (Party of Labour)
September 9, 2001

Feeling a great sense of fear of the workers and labourers becoming organized and joining the fight for their rights in the face of the economic crises following one another and the social conditions deteriorating day by day, the sovereign forces are trying to obstruct this struggle by continuously intensifying attacks, threats and intimidations. Sabri Topcu, President of the Transport Workers’ Union (TUMTIS) being handcuffed and taken by force to Istanbul Police Headquarters from his house at some late hour of the night, has been the latest example of how unrestrained these attacks have become.

From the day it was established, TUMTIS has shown itself as a militant trade union and has served as one of the examples of class-based trade unionism in our country. The transport workers of Aktif Transport (a transporting firm based in Istanbul) are continuing the resistance they have started in order to become unionized with marches, demonstrations and absolute determination. This struggle maintained by the workers despite all the pressures and threats of the employers is undoubtedly disturbing not only their bosses but the rest of the capital circles. Sabri Topcu being taken under police custody handcuffed is an attempt to intimidate both the Aktif Transport workers, resolute to continue their resistance in spite of all the pressures, and all militant trade unionists.

It is necessary to clearly state that this aggressive attitude is a specific policy directed at all militant trade unionists on the side of the working class, beginning with TUMTIS. In the event of assuming silence and not demonstrating a sufficiently strong attitude and reaction, these assaults will and shall continue. The sovereign forces are trying to terrorize the labour forces of the country with such attacks directed at militant trade unionists and the labour movement. On the other hand, they are also aiming to render the taking away of the forces they haven’t been capable of manipulating, from their houses by force and the police pressure towards militant trade unionists seem as everyday ordinary incidents. Their efforts today are entirely along this direction.

We, as the Party of Labour are maintaining our efforts necessary to build an active struggle regarding this issue on a country-wide basis and shall continue to do so. However, the importance of reactions and support put forward on the international arena is indisputable.

With these thoughts, we call on you to demonstrate your reaction to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Government of Turkey. Jointly resisting these attacks on a national and international scale and openly displaying our power is the most definite way of overcoming these games.

Below you will find the press statement made in connection to the house arrest of Sabri Topcu by our Party. Furthermore the TUMTIS workers will be leaving their jobs tomorrow on a country-wide scale in order to protest Sabri Topcu being taken under custody by the police. We present it to your attention:

President of TUMTIS (Transport Workers’ Union) Should Be Set Free!

Last night around 1:00 A.M., the house of SABRI TOPCU, President of Transport Workers’ Union (TUMTIS) and member of the General Executive Board of our Party, has been RAIDED BY POLICE and SABRI TOPCU has been TAKEN INTO CUSTODY. Subjected to grave insults, Sabri Topcu was taken to Istanbul Police Headquarters handcuffed. The only thing that could be understood from the documents of the police who searched the house was that Sabri Topcu was being subjected to such treatment due to a "complaint" made about him.

After the ‘Aktif Distribution’ workers, also members of Tumtis, being put under house arrest the attack is now being directed at the trade unionists. This clearly demonstrates the forces behind the complaint. The boss of Aktif Distribution, who has responded to the unionization struggle by dismissals, has been attacking the workers with the support of the police forces for days now in order to break the resistance.

A few days ago the Organization Secretary of Tumtis, Sukru Gunsili, was threatened and it was expressed that the trade unionists and workers will be subjected to treatment seen fit for "organized crimes."

The situation of the right to become unionized in our country is evident. Acting only as officials of the employer capital circles, the armband forces of the state are able to handcuff and carry off the president of a trade union from his house on the pretext of a so-called complaint. And this is law; this is democracy! The aggressive and oppressive capital regime has resorted to its usual methods in order to suppress the fight for labour and rights.

It is necessary to ask the supposed trade union administrators hand in hand with the employer organizations and who are a part of the calculations regarding new sacrifices on behalf of the workers; where despotism finds the strength to impose these unacceptably arbitrary illegal conducts, so open that even they cannot turn a blind eye to them.

Those to give the necessary answer to this attack actualized on behalf of capital’s bosses will once again be the working class and labourers who are holding the struggle for rights and labour of our country, beginning with the Aktif workers. The ‘human hunt’ continued on the streets throughout 1 September (International Peace Day) has now changed its course towards the trade unionists and tomorrow it will be directed at other militant forces of our country. Nor are the representatives of this corrupt, collapsing system able to do anything else.

Beginning with the militant trade unionists; we call on all the forces of labour and democracy to take a decisive attitude against these dark forces and implementations as well as claiming and being in solidarity with the unionization struggle of the Aktif Distribution workers.

Sabri Topcu Should Be Released Immediately!

An Investigation Should Be Started About the Officers Who Have Arbitrarily Taken Sabri Topcu Under Custody And Those Responsible!

International Relations Bureau

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